Boboli Gardens

early view

Early morning view of Florence from the Boboli Gardens Terrace

Friday morning dawned dry and promising so, having foregone a wet afternoon there on Thursday, I decided to get packed and hurry over to the Pitti Palace and gain entry to The Boboli Gardens when they opened at 8.15. This gave me about an hour and a half to walk around, check out the most significant features and return to the apartment to collect my bag by 10am and head to the Railway Station to pick up our bus to Pisa Airport. Continue reading

The Arts & Crafts House in Newcastle and in Leeds

Back in the summer of 2015 on my drive down to Cornwall I was faced with a dilemma. Whether to visit the LAND sculpture created by Antony Gormley as part of the 50th birthday celebrations of the Landmark Trust and installed alongside the Stratford upon Avon Canal outside the Landmark property Lengthsman’s Cottage. Or whether to call in at Compton Verney House to view the exhibition “The Arts and Crafts House; then and now”. In the end the Landmark won the day.

Then earlier in January, I don’t remember how I came across it, I found that the Laing Gallery in Newcastle was showing the same exhibition until the 31st of the month. I knew I would get to see it and who I hoped would come with me. Continue reading

A Book Launch at Middlethorpe Hall, York

Garden Equation

A couple of months ago I contacted Sally Tierney (The Yorkshire Garden Designer) as I’m hoping to improve an overgrown area of the garden and make it into a little haven of tranquility with raised beds of herbs and flowers and a special garden seat but with minimal upkeep as I am away such a lot. I liked her premise that your garden should fit into your lifestyle and not the other way round. When she first arrived in October and we talked about my ideas she christened it ‘The Reading Garden’. Sally then told me about her forthcoming publication and invited me to the book launch. Continue reading

Ancient Ireland [6] : Youghal

youghal poster

It’s beginning to seem like every place in Ireland has ancient connections and that this thread will run and run. But here is another walk description of the ancient port of Youghal (pronounced Yawl), Co. Cork. My walk was a guided one with local town crier, Clifford, in his full town-crying regalia. But it more less followed the suggested Town Walk in this leaflet which I have abbreviated here.

ring-of-cork-clifford-winser

Clifford Continue reading

Wentworth Castle Gardens Revisited

In June 2013 I wrote about my visit to Wentworth Castle Gardens mentioning that I hoped to return to inspect the completed restoration of the Victorian Glasshouse. Yesterday, at last, I managed to get back there and noticed that the trust, the employees, contractors and volunteers had made many further improvements and additions.

Glasshouse

The Fully Restored Victorian Glasshouse

Continue reading

Report of a Sunday in Lancashire

Last weekend I ventured over to Lancashire. I’d been invited to a garden party at a friend’s allotment (dress code: fascinator and wellies) in Higher Walton, near Preston. It was raining as I left home in Yorkshire but by the time I was across the Pennines it had stopped and we enjoyed a Jacob’s Join lunch in the open air. I must say that allotment gardening, and gardening in general, look like an awful lot of hard work … but the gain is tremendous; Kath’s plot exceeded all expectations.

Plot 98 7

Welcome to the Party!

Wildflower bed

Wildflower Bed

Plot 98 1

Plot 98 6

Kath's Bee Hotel

Kath’s Bee Hotel

The Pottering Shed

It may be a shed

Trespassers

It turned out that the allotment is just a few minutes from Hoghton Tower so after lunch two of us made our way to the Tower where we came across a reenactment of the Battle of Preston (1715). Amongst the reenactors I was surprised to see the Leeds Waits a group of musicians specialising in medieval music and, incidentally, my next-door neighbours!

Leeds Waits

The battle of Preston at Houghton Tower 2015 : a short film showing the musicians that used to play at executions!”

We booked a tour of the house at 2.30 and made for the tea room for refreshments beforehand.

Hoghton Tower

Some significant people are associated with Hoghton. In particular our guide was impressed by the James I connection. James is reported to have spent a few nights at the Tower in 1617 and it was here that he was so pleased with his roast beef dinner that he knighted the joint Sir Loin. James was apparently a small chap and instead of dismounting outside in the courtyard he rode his horse right into the house and up the stairs.
It is also reported that William Shakespeare spent some time here during the period known as his ‘lost years’.

Charles Dickens was also familiar with the house and wrote a short story centred around it including a description of the building as a farm house: George Silverman’s Explanation.

And so, by fragments of an ancient terrace, and by some rugged outbuildings that had once been fortified, and passing under a ruined gateway, we came to the old farm-house in the thick stone wall outside the old quadrangle of Hoghton Towers.

Courtyard today

The “quadrangle” today

Read here about another blogger’s visit to Hoghton.

The Battle's over

The Battle’s Over – Time to go Home