Monday, 2 August 2021

The last hurrah.

After this weekend I expected to be writing about our final English Heritage visit to Down House [home of Charles Darwin] before our membership runs out. It's been brilliant having it this last year, but with the number of places local to us the National Trust is more beneficial for us. As has been the mantra of these past few months things change don't they and our trip had to be cancelled because of problems at the property. Ah well it means that our last EH hurrah then was the visit we paid to Audley End....reputedly the finest Jacobean house in the country.

I have to agree that the house is very impressive both from the front and the back with some of the carved detailing above the two front doors. However, in all honesty the interior did nothing for me [photography wasn't permitted]...it was incredibly opulent and not my taste at all. However, the grounds were another matter entirely.....



The gardens were fairly predictably designed by Capability Brown [he seems to have been a man much in demand with the aristocracy of the day] so you've got bridges, lakes, tree lined avenues and this rather surreal cloud hedge which looks rather like it's escaped from a Dali painting!









Beautiful though it all was the thing I shall remember most is the lovely chat we had with the lady who was working in the Victorian stables below. It was very quiet when we were there and despite all the Covid stuff she asked us if we'd like to come in and meet one of the horses. They've got five in all and from memory they're all rescue ones. This magnificent beast was a former race horse called Nash who came from a charity that looks after such horses. Now traditionally these are highly strung creatures who need an experienced hand to manage them except this one hadn't apparently read the script. This fellow had won a few races in his career, but he wasn't really the right temperament. Instead he's loves people, cuddles and food. A more chilled chap you couldn't hope to find and apparently he's happy to be ridden by all the stable hands. I just loved the obvious connection and affection this lady held for him and I'm not even a horsey person. It was such a warm, friendly encounter and I could see why he'd stolen her heart! 

It made the perfect place to while away a couple of hours when we were travelling home a few weeks ago.

Arilx

8 comments:

  1. All the years I lived in London, and had EH membership and never visited - even though I knew I should. Probably with you on opulent interiors but the outside and the grounds look fabulous. (F)

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    1. EH has a lot of castles which I do enjoy, but I probably prefer the wider variety of buildings the NT has. Arilx

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  2. I do love a Capability Brown designed garden, they make for wonderful photos.
    Not a fan of huge, pristine stately homes, I love them rough around the edges! xxx

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    1. I'm with you there Vix...much prefer the properties that have that lived in feel. Some of them carry a real atmosphere still. Arilx

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  3. My mother as a teenager owned and rode an ex-race horse... he never forgot his original job description and they were often found flying around at high speed - she said she could barely hold on and he (Oliver the horse) would gallop just for pleasure - she did not keep him long!

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    Replies
    1. I don't think I've ever ridden a horse. Am not a fan of the racing. Too many animals destroyed. Arilx

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  4. It looks like a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for the photo's.

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