Saturday, April 11, 2015

Early morning Swimming and National Trust Visiting

We went to D.W. Fitness for a swim early yesterday morning. The first time in quite a while due to Carol being unwell due to the confounded cough. We went into Asda and had some breakfast, although having fried breakfast did somehow undo any good the swim was likely to do us, but never mind. I was by then quite hungry so it was deserved. What is it about Asda that I dislike? The Tannoy system is very loud, almost deafening, and it seems totally pointless them calling their staff when you can barely understand what is being said. The vast, echoing cave of a building hardly helps but it does put you off shopping in there. We decided to drive to Waddesdon Manor for a visit. Another National Trust property, and it's not too far. We haven't been there for quite a while. So we drove home having purchased some rolls and bits to eat as a picnic when we got to Waddesdon and collect our cameras, we left Milton Keynes and headed off along the A5 and out towards Aylesbury.

On arrival in the grounds of Waddesdon Manor we were somewhat surprised to find that we didn't drive up through the park to the mansion as we expected and were directed by the staff along what seemed a new road and into a brand new carpark. We then had to get on a bus and be ferried up to the mansion.  A very similar system to 'park-and-ride' which have been introduced at many towns and cities in the United Kingdom, such as Oxford and Cambridge. I imagine it prevents any more erosion of the environment by the over-use of cars. The parking arrangements had always been somewhat poor at Waddesdon so this new arrangement was a good idea, although there seemed to be a very large queue at the bus stop. They are also currently building a new pavilion which presumably is where you will eventually pay or show your National Trust card when you visit. Several of the National Trust properties we have visited over the last couple of years have had new visitor centres and restaurant blocks constructed and opened, which include Castle Drogo in Devon and Stowe Landscape Gardens near Buckingham.

On arrival at the fountains near the mansion we discovered why there was such a crush of visitors. Something called Colourscape, a vast tented structure on the lawn in front of the mansion, rather like a sort of multi-coloured set of balloons is the best way to describe it. On the website for Waddesdon this is described as 'a magical labyrinth of colour, light and sound.' But we had no intention of discovering more as there was an extremely long queue of parents of children waiting to get into this tent-thing. We walked along the gravel drive and spent our time photographing various details of the mansion and the garden, statues and other bits and pieces and went round to the aviary which we have seen before as well as the magnificent fountain behind the mansion.

We found a vacant bench to sit on to eat our little picnic and then continued our wander around the gardens and enjoyed the sunshine, this being Carol's final day of her Easter holiday so it was good to be able to enjoy our time together. 
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