Thursday, 25 June 2020

Random Ramblings :: Feeling Hot, Hot Hot!

Hi there everyone 😀

Well I don't think there is going to be much on the agenda at all for today ... we are expecting temperatures to reach over 30 degrees. Whilst we like it warm ... for us that is just too flippin' hot.

We have spent this morning doing all we can to prepare for a BBQ this afternoon ... otherwise I think it would be a case of being too hot to bother.

What we should be doing is digging out the turf and leveling the bricks for the second of the vegetable beds, but I'm not sure that either of us can face that today ... we have got it all laid out ready though ...
We got very lucky with the bricks. Having mentioned to a friend that we were looking for some they called us a day or so later to say a neighbour was looking to get rid of some and did we want them. We thought the chances of them being what we were looking for were slim, but we were very lucky and were soon off in the car to pick up about 30 lovely 3" Victorian bricks, which match the others perfectly ...
There was an afternoon of sitting in the sunshine chipping off the old mortar and generally cleaning up for Martin, but we were well chuffed.

Yesterday was a scorcher too ... we'd got a day out on the cards. We'd managed to book tickets to visit Calke Abbey for the afternoon, through the current National Trust pre-booking scheme. Tickets are released on a Friday for the following week and sell out like hot cakes ... we'd managed to book a slot to arrive between 2.00pm and 2.30pm.

As it happened we were up and ready pretty early so decided to head to the garden centre at Staunton Harold in our quest to find some smallish terra cotta pots to place on the bricks around the vegetable beds. We didn't hold out much hope as we'd tried quite a few places to no avail.

Well we got quite lucky ... again! Whilst they didn't have a massive selection we did manage to find enough to get us started ...
And ... just look at these ... I just couldn't resist ... I love anything William Morris at the moment and just had to pop a few of these in the trolley ...
I have no idea where they are all going to go, but I'm sure we'll manage to squeeze them in.

We'd finished at the garden centre by 1.00pm so still had an hour before we could go to Calke so we decided to head to the visitor car park at Staunton Harold reservoir and have our picnic lunch there. We found a lovely spot in the shade and set up the camping table and chairs and enjoyed our Al fresco lunch.

Lots of people had the same idea and it brought back real memories of childhood when that was what a day out consisted of. A drive to somewhere pretty, a picnic lunch out the back of the car and a bit of a wander ... a really cheap day out.

The temperature was really cranking up by now and we were both a bit apprehensive about how much walking about we'd want to do but we headed off to Calke to see what we would find.

Checking in was easy and contact free with no queue. We were quite surprised to see the number of cars we did on the car park though ... to us it didn't really look any quieter than it would on a normal visit.

Chatting to one of the National Trust staff I think she said that there were a maximum of 1000 visitors allowed each day, which was a fraction of their normal capacity. They will be increasing it a bit from next week, but the plan is to continue to operate in this way for the forseeable future.

Our first stop was the cafe for an ice cream, where the set up is really easy to follow, with plenty of space and reassuring measures in place. It did seem a little strange, but comforting at the same time.

We headed for the gardens in the scorching heat ... there was plenty of signage making sure that the likelihood of having to pass others on narrow paths was considerably reduced and, though the car park had seemed full on arrival, it was easy to maintain social distancing from other visitors.
The gardens were looking lovely ... this was our first view ...
... followed by the auricular theatre, from which we took the inspiration for our own plant stand ... not on quite such a grand scale obviously ...
It was very strange seeing lots of the garden gates closed ... but this did make sure that everyone was heading in the same direction ... and the NT had done their best to make it look pretty ...
The borders were looking full of planting and colour ...
From this part of the walled garden we were chanelled out through the back into the more natural area ...
There was not an ounce of shade and we were soon heading back into the second of the walled gardens ...
Now the last time we visited Calke in the Summer it was also a really warm day ... not as hot as this time though. We'd visited with our good friends Jackie and Phil and Jackie and I had really enjoyed dipping our hands in the water by the old pump ... Martin and I were both a bit gutted that we couldn't do this today ...
By now we were both feeling pretty hot and bothered ... you can tell I didn't want to hang around as I couldn't even face waiting to get this shot with no people in ... but at least the lady's dress matches the lavender ... 
We didn't even walk round the narrow paths of this part of the garden. We just kept to the outside and headed for the way out in the opposite corner ...
It was lovely to get into the shade of the woodland at the back of the garden walls and we found a nice bench and sat for a while, just watching the deer ... just grazing lazily in the sunshine and the shade of the trees ...


Isn't he an absolute beauty ....
We broke up the walk back with a stop off at the grotto ... which we'd never seen before ...
... and another sit in the shade at the side of the house ...
... before slogging our way back up the hill to the stables and on to the car park ... where the air conditioning was the best thing ever.

It had been lovely to get out and the National Trust really have done all they can to open their spaces safely ... I think I will be waiting for it to cool down a bit though before I arrange another visit 😀

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