Sunday 17 May 2009

My 60th Birthday Week - My Favourite Bits

The view looking out from the escarpment at Hardwick Park over Derbyshire.

It was my 60th Birthday last week and as I didn't want a big fuss made, we kept it simple with a couple of outings which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The first was a midweek visit to Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire just my OH and myself. As a child I used to live very close to Hardwick and spent many school holidays exploring the park with it's fishing lakes and beautiful Elizabethan hall. Although since leaving the immediate area when I got married I still only live about 30 minutes away but haven't visited in over 40 years. It really hasn't changed much since my childhood except that they have put in a different entrance and a one way road system which at first disoriented me completely. I soon got my bearings though and we spent a lovely afternoon, having first been for a carvery lunch at the Young Vanish pub, Glapwell, exploring the Hall and gardens. I only ever went inside the Hall once before on a school trip when I was about 12 but I did remember the beautiful tapestries which adorn most of the walls. There is an ongoing project by the National Trust to restore as many of these lovely works of art as possible. When we first went into the Hall we listened to a brief life story of Bess of Harwick given by a really nice gentleman who made it extremely amusing and interesting. Boy, was Bess some lady! She sure had the men beaten at their own game.

The gardens of the Hall are not very big but are well worth a walk round. There is a huge herb garden and a sort of wild meadow area as well as an orchard and a small (for a house like this) formal garden looking out over a formal avenue of lime trees.

We really have to go back soon because we left it too late to explore the Old Hall ruins and I would like to have visited the Stonemasons' workshop too because my youngest brother who was sadly killed nearly 10 years ago worked on some of the stone restoration of the Hall when he served his stonemason's apprenticeship about 30 years ago.

The second outing of my birthday week was last Sunday and myself, hubby, my son and his wife, my daughter and her partner, my 2 little granddaughters, my step granddaughter, my Mum and not forgetting the 3 dogs we have between us, all went to Fountains Abbey near Rippon for a picnic.

Of course, it rained but not enough to spoil our day. We positioned the 3 cars in an almost circle, raised the boot lids and stretched a tarpaulin over them and had our lovely picnic (mostly courtesy of my daughter, thanks sweetheart for your hardwork) underneath out of the drizzle. Unfortunately, I never thought to take a photo but it was great fun. The men and the dogs had a great game with the frizbie and then we borrowed a wheelchair for my mum and did the walk all around the abbey and grounds. I absolutely adore Fountains Abbey and could not have wished for a better place to visit for my birthday picnic. It was nice to take my Mum to see the place I'm always whittering on about too.

These are a few pictures to remind me of the beautiful flowers I received.

I also received quite a few pressies and some beautiful cards from my family and friends but only one absolutely gorgeous handmade card from my crafty friend Jo. We met through our mutual love of crafting over the internet just about a year ago and I'd like her to know that her friendship has come to mean a lot to me, so thankyou Jo for the wonderful card but most of all for your 'crafty' companionship and encouragement. Finally the two most precious gifts in my life alongside my own two lovely kids are my granddaughters


and Alexa

This post was really a record for myself but I just wanted to share a little bit of the lovely week I had with anyone who feels like visiting.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had such a lovely day and belated happy birthday from me. I've always been intrigued by Bess Hardwick and keep meaning to read up more about her. I think perhaps a trip to Hardwick Hall would be a good idea!

take care

Jules said...

Hi Lesley

What a wonderful post - full of happy memories for you and full of beautiful pictures for us.

Love Jules xx

Beryl said...

Many belated congratulations on your 60th birthday. It sounds just like the sort of celebration that would appeal to me. Hardwick Hall looks amazing. Is it anywhere near Stoke on Trent where one of my daughter's lives? The card from your friend Jo is truly beautiful. I'm sure you will treasure it.
Thank you for your lovely comment on the Elusive Images poppy card. It's from a lovely sheet of images which include Arum Lily, Geranium and the big script convulvulous. It was painted using Lyra watercolours.
Beryl xx

Isabelle Norris said...

happy 60th birthday ! And love the pictures! that's what I miss the most about England (besides my friends of course)

Jo said...

I love this post. What a perfect souvenir of your week. Nice for us to see your scrumptious girlies growing up before our eyes. Thanks for your touching comments too. I'm proud to be your crafty companion!

Theresa Momber said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Your photography is stunning. What incredibly gorgeous locations. I love your beautiful card and those granddaughters are adorable!

veronica said...

A very belated happy birthday! That was a gorgeous card from Jo, equally gorgeous pix of the babies and of Fountains and the river.
Hardwick hall looks great - we did intend to go there a couple of weeks ago en route to a meeting, but it was closed on we ended up in the rain at Rufford instead.

Aquarius said...

What a lovely post and it seems you had a great birthday week. Belated greetings from me.

Many thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comments about my cards - much appreciated.


Rosietoes said...

Many happy if belated returns on your 60th birthday. I love your post and the photographs are stunning. I'm looking forward to my 60th soon and yours is my kind of celebration.:)
Your darling GD's are gorgeous, thank you for sharing this special time with the rest of us. :)

judith@poppy cottage said...

Many belated Happy Returns, for such a special Birthday! Looks like you had a good one. Thanks for visiting my blog, and for your kind comments about my cards. I agree with your comments about Jo too, she's a good internet friend, she and I met that way too. Her chats make me laugh when I'm feeling a bit down. Love the photos, Fountains Abbey looks a lovely place to visit, Judith x

lisa said...

I've just found your lovely blog while browsing and I love what you do. It sounds like you had a wonderful 60th Birthday and the photos of your days out are stunning. We live near Fountains Abbey and it is such a beautiful place isn't it?
Your baby card in your last posting is so pretty. Something to be treasured for ever.
I shall definitely be back for another visit.


Shirley said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and your grand daughters too! Congratulations on your birthday and your really received beautiful flowers and cards!