|The Chateau, Lincolnshire
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
For the bloke's birthday two weekends ago (How? Where does time go?), we went to a Landmark Trust property in Lincolnshire called The Chateau. We went to another property, St Winifred's Well Cottage, last year - see the "landmark trust" tag to view photos from that visit. I'm reluctant to call this a tradition just yet, but it's a rather appealing one.
The Chateau was built in 1747 by an enterprising chap who could afford to purchase a big plot of land, but not to build a stately home upon it, said land being sadly lacking in such an established building. So instead, he designed a pretty place atop a small hill that, from the road, would look like an imposing edifice when in fact it contains only a single bedroom. A succession of estate owners became increasingly unable to keep it up to its original standards, especially after the grand estate finally was built a couple of miles down the road. It was bequeathed to the Landmark Trust, who opened it to paying guests in 1984.
The Chateau from the front.
We rocked up on Friday night by the light of a full moon, in gale-force winds, armed with plenty of wine and insufficient firewood.
Full moon with clouds.
Humans make fire, stare at fire. Mmm.
Hands-down the best entry in the log book (spanning five volumes over 30 years).
The mirror over the mantlepiece.
Humuhumu toddling around the grounds of the Chateau.
Self-portrait by Humuhumu.
The following day, we trekked to Lincoln city centre to have a look at the stunning cathedral. After viewing it, I was left feeling a bit like Bill Bryson in Notes from a Small Island when he finally visits Durham. How is it that I've lived in this country for nearly a decade, and no one has said to me, "What? You haven't been to Lincoln? It is beautiful and there is good food to be eaten and tiny shops to explore. Run along now, the train is departing. Shoo."
Cathedral spires viewed from the car park.
First glimpse of the cathedral's interior. WOW.
A space this big is toddler heaven.
Back to Mummy (she made this trip quite a number of times).
Stained glass windows.
Oh, you know, just one of the four remaining copies of the original Magna Carta. This is the one that usually lives in Lincoln Castle, which is closed for refurbishment until 2015.
Stained glass in the corridor leading to the cloister.
Taken by Humuhumu, a view of a corner for candlelit prayer.
On the way out.
Our appetites sharpened by cathedral exploration (and fighting the winds in the streets), we went in search of pie.
Pie available at the top of Steep Hill.
Waiting patiently for pie.
Back in the chateau, we waited patiently for the sun to swing over the yardarm before opening more wine. Also, the stinky cheeses that the bloke received from me for his birthday. Pictured here are an Oxford Blue and, in the round container, a French cheese called Epoisses which is banned on the Paris metro and with good reason. I preferred the former to the latter.
Wine, shandy, birthday card.
Ready to attack stinky cheese with knives and biscuits.
The next day, someone woke us bright and early on an unexpectedly sunny, calm morning.
Wake up, sleepyheads!
Possibly the cutest picture I have ever taken of Humuhumu (outside the chateau, in front of the view of the power station and the overflowing river) and hence outside the cut.
Running through the snowdrops around the Chateau.
Holding Daddy's hand.
Later in the day, the bloke's sister and family paid us a visit, so we headed out to a nearby pub.
Little Niece inspecting her face in the funny round Chateau mirror downstairs.
Waiting to order.
No no, Humuhumu, the pub is called the Crossed *Keys*.
After a gluttonous meal, we returned to the Chateau to enjoy the sunshine. And pudding.
Little Nephew2 looks out over the river.
Humuhumu found something interesting!
It's an overwintering ladybird on a snowdrop.
Little Niece, Little Nephew2 and Sister-Out-Law collecting snowdrops.
We had to depart at 6 AM the next morning, so this is not a true goodbye shot as it was still pitch-dark when we left. But it's prettier than what I would have taken then.
It's a beautiful house and location, but it lacked the cosiness of St Winifred's and I reluctantly concluded that it didn't delight me as much. I got more out of the previous year's stay in large part because of the sense of abiding love for St Winifred's that's imparted by the log books. The woman who donated the cottage to the Landmark Trust goes back there every year and makes an entry full of memories and old photos, and repeat visitors (most of them are) fill its logbook pages with creativity and outpourings of fondness for it. Something about that, perhaps also because of the wellspring and its religious associations, connected me with the place in a way I didn't get out of The Chateau despite its longer tenure with the LT.
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