Sunny Easter Bank Holiday Monday at two of Cheshire’s beautiful stately homes – perfect opportunity for a bit of photography.
The problem with sunny bank holidays is that you, the world and his wife, all want to get out and go somewhere special. The result is that the motorway system grinds to a halt and most places are overwhelmed with a flood of people in scenes not dissimilar to the battle of Helm’s Deep.
So, with this in mind we set our sights on two locations within easy reach to avoid the jams on the M6 – Biddulph Grange Gardens, which we’d never been to before, followed by a quick hop over to Little Moreton Hall, which we had been to before, before straight back home for tea and medals (as my old pal Al Wright used to say).
Biddulph Grange is a stunning stately home still in private hands but the gardens are owned by the National Trust. I am curious what the arrangement is as you can’t go round the house but are free to wander the grounds. There are plenty of exotic plants on show, but as I’m no gardener I’m afraid I can’t really go into details. Needless to say, they are beautiful, and they are exotic – apparently.
I was especially impressed by the geometric hedges and egyptian temple.
We were blessed with great weather and everything looked perfect, the only problem was trying to capture it in a photograph. Virtually every scene of horticultural perfection and architectural magnificence was spoiled by a procession of toddlers, pushchairs and pensioners all wandering through it in brightly coloured clothing, in case you hadn’t noticed them – I know, I’m anti-social, and they have as much right to be there as I do, but you weren’t lining up a shot for ages only for a family of five to shuffle into it and set up a picnic!
But, hey, it’s Bank Holiday Monday isn’t it, so we made the best of it and just kept moving – onto Little Moreton Hall.
Little Moreton Hall is an Elizabethan Mansion over 500 years old. It’s not as huge as some National Trust houses nearby but it’s got bags of character and is genuinely fascinating with a history that includes the Reformation and the English Civil War.
Constant additions and dodgy foundations mean the upper levels are so twisted and deformed it can feel like a visit to a funhouse but it all adds to the charm.
It was still busy here, but it didn’t feel quite so oppressive, so we succumbed to a cream tea on the lawn – rock and roll!
I looked around as I scoffed my scone, jam and clotted cream (you could actually hear me getting fatter) and noticed that the only people without small children were all pensioners – is this a sign I wonder?
Next week we have decided to go scuba diving to get back our adventure credentials, so watch this space.