United Kingdom

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    • Day 29

      Manchester to Stratford-Upon-Avon

      July 13 in England ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

      Road trip south today to catch up with Sarah & Paul. They visited us earlier this year in Melbourne.

      The EV tyres needed to be adjusted with the four of us plus luggage. I’ve learnt a great deal from Alan about electric vehicles. This Kia is a great car.

      After a delicious lunch with Gail & Alan we headed off to Reading. We will see them again tomorrow.

      The afternoon activity was to firstly visit a historically important manor and gardens that is owned by the National Trust.

      Records of the Hidcote Manor date back to 1539 but the gardens were more recent when they were established by a Lawrence Johnston who bought the 287 acre Hidcote estate in 1907 for £7,200.

      Lawrence moved into Hidcote and began to build his dream, of a world class garden and it is magnificent. The garden has plants from all around the world and is brim full of colour and bees!

      Hidcote was transferred to the National Trust in 1948. We thoroughly enjoyed wandering around admiring the different sections. A truly classic English garden.

      Next stop was to visit one of the areas oldest pubs. On the way we called in to pick up Emily (Sarah & Paul’s daughter).

      Emily and her partner Toby have just bought a brand new 3 story house in an estate that was an airfield during the war. She was very excited to show us through. Emily is a fabulous artisan baker and Toby is becoming a plumber. Cute couple.

      The Fleece Inn is also owned by the National Trust and was originally built in the early 15th century as a farmhouse. It later became a pub and remained in the Byrd family until 1977 when Lola Taplin bequeathed it to the National Trust. The Inn suffered serious fire damage in the thatch roof in February 2004 but survived. The entrance is barely 6 foot high and the bar seats only 4 patrons who didn’t mind posing for a photo. All the other rooms are set up for meals or a quiet place for a pint. The fireplace even has the original white circle markings to ward off witches.

      Back to Sarah & Paul’s for a delicious home cooked meal. Toby joined us, so we got to meet him for the first time. The workers get up early so they took off after dinner.

      At dusk we all took a walk to check out their allotment which are strips of land you rent on which you grow vegetables and flowers. It is a great concept and we checked out the tomatoes, lettuce, beans, rhubarb, squash, and more.

      Then we wandered down into the village and like all of these estates there is a manor. It is a beautiful place here. No wonder Paul & Sarah love living here so much.
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    • Day 35

      Hidecote Gardens

      September 4, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

      Let’s go to Hidecote Gardens, only 20mins up the road and it’s mostly road not lane.

      Ah, we have been here before. Not to worry says Bernadette I don’t remember anyway. Alas.

      Still a lovely place particularly without the heat and crowds of last time.

      School is back and the demographic has certainly changed. Average age increased by 45years and the walking aids by a hundred fold.

      The National Trust has had the property for 70 years, left to them by Lawrence Johnston who created the gardens between 1907 and 1938. A major in the army he also had the good fortune to be the son of a very rich American mother who bought him the property as a “blank canvas” and $20 million on her death.

      It’s good to be a gardener.
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