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
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.