Hinton Ampner House


Earlier this year we took a day trip, out into the countryside, with our heavily pregnant granddaughter. We ended in the grounds of the National Trust house, Hinton Ampner.

From the National Trust website ….

This elegant country manor and tranquil garden sit so harmoniously within the landscape that one cannot exist without the other.

The house was lovingly rebuilt by its last owner, Ralph Dutton, after a catastrophic fire in 1960. Enjoy the beautifully proportioned rooms which house his exquisite collection of ceramics and art, each window offering undisturbed views to the tranquil countryside beyond.

Beautifully manicured lawns lead the eye down avenues of sculptured topiary, past borders full of the heady scent of roses, to breathtaking views across the South Downs.

National Trust

We enjoyed walking the grounds and hopefully the following images will give you a flavour of this beautiful property.

Sadly due to my granddaughter not feeling very well we had to cut short our visit. We, therefore, were not able to see the inside of the house.

The good news is that this place is only a short drive away, so we will be back.

Staunton Country Park Farm


A few days ago we spent a cracking day with some of our grand children. We visited Staunton Country Park Farm, a calm oasis just a short distance out-of-town. Calm that is, if you ignore the general hubbub of the excited children feeding the animals or in the play park.

From the Staunton website ….

Our farm, based on the 1830s style ferme ormeé (ornamental farm), is home to many different animals. Ranging from the everyday farm animal, like pigs, sheep, Shetland ponies, and chickens, to a selection of other animals such as llamas, a Poitou donkey and alpacas.

Here are just a few snaps that I took between pushing grandchildren on swings or carrying the youngest. Operating a Canon EOS 7D Mk II single-handed is no mean feat, weighing, as it does, nearly as much as my great-grandson.

So, for your delectation and delight ….

All in all a great place to take young children.

The farm is just part of the greater country park which has walking and cycling trails as well as three permanent orienteering courses. In the past we have hired bikes and explored the park. Sadly they no longer do the bike hire.

Staunton Country Park is a real gem and right on my doorstep.

Still Bloody Cold


Despite the dire warnings of the forecasters, we still don’t have any snow. Well, not strictly true, I guess, as my car does look like it has a bit of a dandruff problem.

My Car Has Dandruff
My Car Has Dandruff

The wind blew a hooley most of last night, so I was expecting snow drifts this morning. Boy was I disappointed and I know my great-granddaughter, Summer, is too. She was hoping for a “snow-day” or two off from school. To be fair the school is closing at lunchtime.

How do I know this ?

The school, much to my surprise, sent me a text message early this morning. Unbeknownst to me, my granddaughter had provided my number as one of the emergency contact numbers. They, exercising due diligence, had informed the parents and emergency contacts.

Anyway, the forecasters are still warning of imminent snowmageddon so, Summer may still get her wish.

So, until “The Beast From The East” puts in an appearance this is what I’ll have to put up with, looking out of my lounge window …..

Snow - No Show
The Beast from the East still hasn’t put in an appearance

Although we haven’t been inundated with snow it is still cold, bloody cold. It is -4 outside and there is still that biting wind to contend with. Not sure what the windchill factor is but all I know is, I am staying inside to keep nice and cosy.

My thoughts are with all those in the UK who are having to contend with conditions much worse than we are experiencing down here in southern Hampshire.

 

Petersfield Heath Lake


Petersfield Heath Lake
Petersfield Heath Lake

Petersfield is a market town in Hampshire, England. It is 17 miles north of Portsmouth.

Petersfield Heath Lake is a popular spot for mums and their kids as there are playgrounds and a cafe along with nice walks around the shoreline. Boats can be hired and the lake is also popular with fishermen.

A November Afternoon


A short while ago, I had the great pleasure of going for a walk with my granddaughter Becky. We chose to visit Emsworth, a short drive from home. Becky is 21 and, as with all my grand children, always perks up this grumpy 66 year old.

Emsworth is a small town in Hampshire on the south coast of England. Driving along the A27, Emsworth forms the border with West Sussex and lies at the north end of an arm of Chichester Harbour.

Here are a couple of snaps, taken during our stroll on a brisk November afternoon.

 

View From The Conservatory


I was both astounded and disappointed to discover that my last “View” was posted just over a year ago. I know that we have been busy and there have been other more recent posts.

Admittedly, the conservatory has been rebuilt and we did take off to Australia for three months followed by a month in France and a fortnight in Antigua. There have been several lesser UK based jaunts. However, we have also spent time at home and I have had my camera to hand. So, feeling suitably ashamed, here is a compilation of pictures taken over the last few weeks. We are now into the UK summer season and the garden plants are growing like crazy.

First up then is a regular subject, squirrels. Once again we are being visited by the albino variety.

Albino
Albino Squirrel

As you can see they do have the requisite pink eyes.

Albino1
Albino Squirrel

Here in the UK squirrels are sometimes referred to as tree rats. The example above is the most rat-like squirrel I have ever seen.

Of course we do have an abundance of the grey variety. Just a few days ago there were four greys in the garden. Of course my camera was out of reach and since these guys were raiding the bird feeders, any movement on my part just scared them away.

I thought that the pure grey squirrels would have attacked the albino, but apparently not. Judging by the shenanigans going on, high up in the trees, I believe the albino may have found a partner. Maybe we’ll see some piebald babes around this year.

As I mentioned earlier, there are many flowers on show already. So, just a few snaps ….

Iris_Flag
Iris

This Iris was discovered in a shady overgrown area of the garden. It was not planted by us and, as we are the only owners of this property since it was built, we have no idea how the Iris arrived. Pretty though.

We have a few rose bushes, which we did plant….

…… and a few other plants that we bought as plugs for potting on ….

And finally, for now ….

Lilac1

We don’t know what this is. The plant is a climber and for the moment it is in a pot on our deck and is entwining itself around the handrail.

Retirement Lunch


Just to upset you folks out there that haven’t retired yet …… tee hee !

Hopping Hare
Hopping Hare

It’s beer o’clock …. Since the temperatures are rising here in the UK. 30 degC in my conservatory and that’s with the doors and roof windows open.