9th September 2019 - 3rd October 2019
Deriving in the rain is hideous and that is what we did all the way to The Manor. Technology break down had us very tense as we drove around in the countryside looking for the pig farm we had to turn right at. We found 2 pig farms and eventually bumped into the manor by accident very relieved to get there. WOW this really is a manor lots of land and a huge house split into huge apartments, The carriage house and the forge has also been converted with an Asian Temple being built as another apartment and a series new of townhouses out the back, still lot of land around for walks and sitting in the sun. This is one of the loveliest places we have stayed both outside and in.
We are very close to Cambridge and the scenes of my youth. I grew up in this area for the last three years of my life in England. We then emigrated to Australia. I delight in walking around the Back's and along the river dawdling on bridges hoping to see someone fall over board from a punt. This often happens as punting is a little harder than it looks. Cambridge is a gorgeous city.
We went to Cambridge to catch the train to London. Having difficulties finding the car park I did a u turn and travelled up a bus lane. Another fine for Clare!! In London we visited Buckingham Palace, with Fiona (from Australia) what a place to live, everything was so gorgeous the chandeliers all hand cut glass, carpets that we sank into. The paintings were lovely it was a great tour. I just wish we had been allowed to take photos , but l guess it is their home. I would not want people taking photos in my home.
An American tourist wanted to smoke in the gardens and was told he could not, very upset he was arguing and asking why the answer “it is the Queen's Garden and she forbids smoking” end of all arguments.
On the way home we could not find the manor in the dark and drove around for a long time in the dark, again I had visions of sleeping in the car, not a good outcome when we had a visitor with us. I was getting a little worried about the animals crossing the road too deer and rabbits mainly, but I would hate to hit a deer. Eventually we found the place and Fiona was impressed with our abode.
Scenes from Saffron Walden
With Fiona we set off to see Audley End a place I remembered from my Childhood. We got to Saffron Walden a beautiful old town had quite a walk around found an ancient pub and never got to Audley End.
We did see the Mildenhall Museum while waiting for Ross to have a haircut. The Mildenhall museum was a gem. We expected a boring little town museum and only went in because we had time to kill. The museum held the skeleton of the only ancient English warrior buried with a horse (the horse bones were there too. It also has a replica of the treasures found on a local farm. 43 pieces of Roman silver the originals are in the London museum and one piece went missing after they were found. A tour guide from the area believes he knows who has it but will not tell without proof.
Another visitor to do things with, Sue has been a regular visiting every year. We enjoy having her and can relax and catch up on the Aussie gossip. Sue was very impressed with the manor and agreed it was the best accommodation so far.
We had a great visit to a small local town called Sudbury, it was the home of Gainsborough. His old home is now a museum. It is the repository of all the Gainsborough paintings that have been given to the government in lieu of taxes. I did not know you could do that, not that I have a Gainsborough in the cupboard.
The garden has a few very old trees a huge Quince tree weighed down with fruit and a mulberry tree that was planted in the 1600's. It was 100 years old when Gainsborough was born in the house.
Our trip home took us through Clare where we had a roast Sunday lunch in the pub, one of the joys of England.
I had las been to Audley End 50 years previous and as one of the guides said a lot has changed. Much more of the house has been restored.
The house is a third the size it was when it was built in King Henry VIII time. It belonged to the Catholic Church, but Henry acquired it when he disbanded the church. Henry gave it to the Earl of Norfolk. It moved through many families the last one being Lord and Lady Sandringham. Lord Sandringham died and their two sons died in the war leaving Lady Sandringham with 3 lots of death duties (I think anyone dying in the war should be exempt death duties, but what would I know), because the death duties could not be paid the house was given to the government They must not have had enough Gainsborough's. The family still own all the contents which are in the house.
I loved the library which contains books from 1600's. They are cataloguing the collection, what a fabulous job.
In one room is a bed made especially for King James II, it has never been used as he cancelled his visit.
One of the lord's of the house William Parker, 13th Baron Morley, 4th Baron Monteagle stopped the Gunpower Plot. It is said he fell from favour when he later embezzled money from the king
Sue And I walked through the Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds a really gorgeous town. We then joined Ross at the pub which is the smallest in England. There were 4 other people in and us it felt cosy. The barman said they can squash 12 people in and have had as many as 18!!