Haywards Heath and Standen House in Sussex

We have been here in Haywards Heath for about a week.  We are taking care of a sweet kitty named Coco.  coco

We rented a car and drove to a nearby National Trust house called Standen House.  It was built between  1891 and 1894 and designed by architect Philip Webb for the Beale family.standen house It was designed in the Arts and Craft style, and in the interior it was decorated with William Morris carpets, fabrics and wallpapers.  Here are some photos of the wallpaper.morris wall paper blue peach


morris wallpaperI love this style of interior design.  This house is particularly pleasing because they have set up chairs for the visitor to sit and read about the furniture and even have letters written by family members who lived there.  It is like being invited into their family home on a lovely summer day in 1935.  Here is the dining room table set for the fruit and cheese dessert course.Standen house dining room tableThis is a photograph of the business desk that the family used; including the typewriter.  If you are careful you can hit a few keys and experience what it was like to type on one of those machines.standen house deskBut when you go down to the kitchen you are reminded that our modern stoves were not in use in the 1900s.  Here is the stove in Standen House.Standen house stoveThe gardens have been restored to what they would have looked like in the early 1900s.  There is an extensive kitchen garden with lots of healthy pumpkins, pears and flowers.pumpkina perfect pearsunflowerthistle bee 1The staff is very kind.  One gentleman sat with us on a bench for a few minuted to answer our questions about the buildings.  The cafe in the old barn has a nice range of lunch food on offer and ice cream too.

It was a delightful afternoon of historical adventuring in a lovely part of Sussex.


We go to Greys Court and Waddesdon Manor

It has been raining a lot here in Oxford shire during the last week so we mainly have been staying home with the dogs.  I have been cooking and working on my art travel journal.

But we did get some time to go to a couple of National Trust homes that are near the house we are sitting .  The first one is called Greys Court.  This is a Tudor house and gardens near Henley on Thames. It is quite beautiful.  They do not allow photographs inside the house but the outside had many lovely places to photograph. Greys court house 5x7 netThis is the house.  Here are some photos of the gardens.Greys court brick 5x7 net David is standing in one of the garden’s arches out of the rain.David Grey netAnd the garden flowers are exquisite. sweetpea lavendar 5x7 netsoft pink rose 5x7 netGreys court tower 5x7 netThat tower you see in the background is a fortified tower built circa 1347 and is the only remaining part of the medieval castle that stood here.  This estate has an intact donkey water wheel and well.  It is a huge wooden wheel that a donkey walked in to bring up heavy buckets of water from a well that is 200 feet deep.  Here is a photo of the bucket being drawn up.well bucket 5x7 netThis provided water for the house and the animals.

The second National Trust home was Waddesdon Manor.  It was built in the 19th century in the Neo Renaissance style for the very wealthy Baron Ferdinand Rothschild.  This was to be his weekend residence for elaborate entertaining and a place to show off his amazing collection of Dutch and English paintings.  Many of the items that the baron had collected would be seen only in a museum.   It was totally amazing inside.  If you are in this part of England you should try to see it.  Here are some photographs for you to enjoy.

Waddesdon Rothschild 5x7 net

The house

Inside the house were many paintings by famous painters.  Here is a Thomas Gainsborough portrait of a lady in the guest reception room.Gainsborough painting 5x7 netThis is the formal dining room set up for a large party. Waddesdon dinner table 5x7 netThe place settings have priceless china and gold monogrammed wine glasses. Waddesdon table 5x7 netThere were desks used by French Kings scattered throughout the drawing rooms so that guests could write letters from the mansion.  Waddesdon Manor desk 5x7 netAnd a lovely robin who was in the courtyard where people were eating and continued to sing as if no one was there. Robin sings 5x7 net

Godalming, Loseley Park, Hatchlands Park

We have mainly been hanging out here at the house with the sweet guinea pigs; Olaf Olaf net and Elsa Elsa netIt has been raining a lot but that means that the flowers have been amazing.  We did get to visit a couple of National Trust homes ( we purchased a pass so it is now essentially free to go).  They both did not let you take photographs inside the houses but the gardens were lovely.  This is Loseley Park; losely Park 5x7 netHere are some of the flowers from there; pink lily 5x7 netdahlia soft pink 5x7 net purple spikes flower 5x7 netThis house is called Hatchlands Park; Hatchlands Park 5x7 net.As you can see there are children playing in the front of the house.   The National Trust is very good about including things for children to do at their historic homes.  They often have a dress up corner for kids to wear costumes from the time period which is a good way to teach history to the young ones.

Our family will be returning tomorrow so we are cleaning the house and getting ready to move to Reading for 3 days until our next sit.  We have really enjoyed being here in Godalming.

In Godalming and England is abloom

We are in a small town called Godalming in Surrey, England.  We are petting sitting two beautiful but shy long haired guinea pigs named Olaf and Elsa.  I have not been able to catch them out of their houses to get a photograph.  Here is their outdoor cage and they are in the house.  backyard container netThe netting is to keep cats and birds of prey away.  I will post one of them soon.

We are doing our normal house sitting routine here.  We have been to the grocery store, spent some time feeding and cleaning the guinea pigs enclosure, and doing our laundry.  It has been raining for the last two days so we are being home bodies.

I had time today to work on some of the photographs that I have been taking and thought I would dazzle you with the stunning flowers that are abloom everywhere here.

pink primrose sky 5x7 net

dusty rose primrose 5x7 net

purple ball flower 5x7 net

yellow daisy 5x7 net

dark pink rose 5x7 net

pink white flower 5x7 net

sunflowers 5x7 net

passion flower center 5x7 net

You can see why I am going crazy with my camera in this country full of glorious flowers.

Powerscourt Gardens, Ireland

We rented a car!  This greatly expands our choice of adventures during this last week in Greystones.   We no longer need to try to fit into the bus system out here in the country.  So on Sat. we went to the local beach and just walked and took photos of a fun dog who loves to fetch the ball in the water.  dog ball ocean 5x7 net The next day we drove over to Powerscourt country house and gardens.  This is a large  country estate which is noted for its stunning landscaped gardens, which today consists of 47 acres.  This is a photograph of the house.  powerscourt house 5x7 net_edited-1There is an Italian garden that is spectacular. Here is the fountain in the lake.  It is located just behind the back of the house.powerscourt fountain 5x7netHere are the terraced grass areas leading down to the lake.  What a lot of grass to cut. powerscourt lawn netThe Japanese gardens are very picturesque. powerscourt japanese gardens 5x7 netHere is a young couple enjoying the view. young couple 5x7 net But it was flowers everywhere that were the main attraction. white many petals 5x7 netpink flower flames 5x7 netpink peony hybrid 5x7 netfull pink rose 5x7 netWell you can see what a stunning place it is to visit.  If you are ever down this way south from Dublin be sure to add it to your itinerary.

Exploring Belfast, Northern Ireland

We have been in Belfast, Northern Ireland now for a week.  I have to admit I was a little reluctant to come here because of “The Troubles” between the Catholics and the Protestants at the end of the 20th century.   But peace has been place now for almost 20 years and Belfast is flourishing.  They have constructed an excellent tourist exhibit about the Titanic and her sister ships.  The ship was built here in the Belfast shipyards in the beginning of the 1900s.  belfast titanic 5x7 netIt is a modern architectural building that has some excellent exhibits that document this period of human grandiosity and folly, when they believed they had created the unsinkable Titanic. titanic belfast ship drawings netThis is a photograph of the ship’s designers hard at work coming up with a truly remarkable ship.  But they forgot to add enough lifeboats for all the passengers and crew in case the unthinkable happened. There are complete mock ups of the first class cabins with exact replicas of the luxurious furnishing.titanic belfast 1st class room 5x7 net  It was an intense experience.

It was easy and inexpensive (a weekly bus pass was £15 each) to get around the city on the big, pink buses.Belfast pink bus 5x7 netWe took a different bus to Hillsborough Castle which is 20 minutes outside of Belfast.  This is really a large Georgian town house where the queen comes to stay when she visits Belfast.  Hillsborough Castle Ireland netWe had an excellent tour given by this lovely guide, Helen. Hillsborough castle guideShe told us all about the history of the house and how it is still used by the English royal family.Hillsborough castle diningroom netHere is the dining room all set for lunch with china and crystal.  The extensive gardens and grounds are stunning.  Here is a photograph of the garden lake.Hillsborough Castle Lake netIt rains a lot here and there are lovely flowers everywhere.blush rose 5x7 netpurple spike flowers netTomorrow we are off to Greystones, which is a little below Dublin.  We get to take care of 2 wonderful kitty cats and 2 chickens.

England; rain and flowers

It is summer here in England but sometimes it is hard to tell.  There has been more rain than sunshine during our visit.  For someone from Southern California it is an amazing amount of water from the sky.  The wonderful part of all of this rain is the glorious flowers that bloom here.  I have been going crazy taking photographs of some of these lush blooms.  I thought I would share some of them with you.  A bouquet of English blossoms for you to enjoy. wells flower pink yellow smallflower purple smallflower white green smallpink flowers A  smallflower pink purple smallChartwell flower back smallJanet pink bells smallcambridge flowers 5x7flower pink spikes small