Jun 27, 2006 06:00 PMBlackwell - Arts and Crafts House
We went with a friend by car to the Lake District to look at two specific places. This was the first.
Blackwell was a house built to the design of Baillie Scott, an architct of the Arts and Crafts movement, at the very end of the 19th century for the head of the Holt brewing company [still selling real ale in Manchester area.]
Unfortunately The first world war ended its use as a dwelling house and later it needed significant restoration.
The furniture was not that originally in the house but bought in to reflect the styles of the movement.
A good use of poor weather in the Lakes - but it would be a shame to miss the views!
http://www.blackwell.org.uk/history.shtml The upstairs is OK too although I can't find it on the website!
Jun 27, 2006 06:00 PMHolehird Gardens
After visiting Blackwell we made for these gardens, recommended by a neighbour. It is a place of outstanding beauty and has two features of particular note.
1. Entry and parking are FREE though donations are requested.
2. EVERYTHING is done by volunteers.
Almost incredibly there is scarcely a weed to be seen in the large area and the gardens make the site for three national collections - including the astilbe shown. They have well over 200 varieties and were all due to be in flower two weeks later.
May 30, 2006 06:00 PMItalian trip in retrospect
Well, we have been back since Friday. The itinerary worked except for one occasion when we missed our connection when a train was late. This was only once in a fortnight of pretty intensive travel and I shan't be joining in any sneering at Italian trains. Anyone living in England can't look down on the rail systems of other European countries anyway, unless blind to our own manifold defects.
None of the hotels were bad - but I shall cover them in more detail in travel tips. I shall also give some advice on planning a public transport holiday in Italy under General Travel advice.
I shall be doing some reports but, as I am not sure yet whether Modena [put the stress on the first syllable if you want to avoid problems of communication] will be included so I have used a photo of part of its lovely Romanesque cathedral here.
May 02, 2006 06:00 PMTime flies
but will it beat the Canada geese? last year I watched geese nesting for some time, only to leave my camera at home when I could have taken a perfect close-up of the whole family with the goslings being tiny yellow balls of fluff.
I only saw them once later, swimming on the larger mill pond on the other side of the path. I suspect the goslings were murdered - I have to admit they are a pest to local farmers.
However the question this year is will they have goslings before I go to Italy on 12 May?
If not - next year perhaps. I think they choose the same place each year to an inch!
May 01, 2006 06:00 PMPreparations for Italy
This time I'm setting out the planing in advance and I'll do reports on how it pans out.
Why Italy? Pam hasn't been to Italy since 1976 and I've only been on the mainland once since. Also friends in L'Áquila invited us to stay.
That wouldn't fit a package and we were pleased to do our own planning this year after our group trip to Peru last year. So where? Abruzzo obviously but why not take the train from the north and see a bit more? Enter the jet2.com schedule of flights. A constraint was heat - neither of us fancied summer so May was the latest possible. Flights between Pisa and Manchester don't start until 24 May but that makes the two days following really cheap for the return flight [£2 + taxes.]
Outwards Leeds to Milan seemed the best bet and we have a son within reasonable reach of the airport for our early flight.
So it's out to Milan and train to Modena for the night - then 2 nights at Trevi in Umbria. From there we shall make for hte National Park of Abruzzo and stay at three different places before making for L'Áquila. Finally we shall have two nights in Spello and two in Lucca. I've double checked all the bus and train times - at least Abruzzo doesn't keep its bus services a closely guarded secret - and booked accommodation in VERY limited Italian - but I shall have my fingers well and truly crossed.