Saturday, 23 August 2008

Holiday activities

Last week, the Fen girls and I had an afternoon out at Oxburgh Hall, near Downham Market in Norfolk. The weather was great as in not too hot and not too fresh, and the company was good as we met up with the elder Fen girl's godfather and his daughter. The house and gardens are owned by the National Trust, and since I have a family membership, the visit was "free". I regard the membership as a donation to help to keep such national heritage available to us all, and so any visits we make are a bonus. This one is well worth another trip sometime, as there is so much to see.

This is the gatehouse, where the King's Room, Queen's Room and Armoury are located. There is a rather terrifying spiral stone staircase which links them. It is terrifying to one such as myself who is scared of heights! Others clattered up and down quite happily. The house was built in Tudor times, and is beautifully kept.

The elder FG (EFG) attended a course at the University of Cambridge during the summer holidays so the younger FG (YFG) and I went to Wimpole Hall, near Arrington, just south of Cambridge on one of the days, and to the Fitzwilliam Museum on another day. Wimpole is another NT property, so we are having our money's worth this year! It was privately owned until relatively recently (the seventies, I think) by Rudyard Kipling's daughter and her husband. The FGs like going to the Farm as well as the Hall, and so we started off this visit on the Farm, ate lunch there and then dashed back to the Hall in a downpour!

The YFG asks the most pertinent questions - she asked the room stewards at Oxburgh and Wimpole about the toilets! The woman at Oxburgh explained about chamber pots but the chap at Wimpole said that there are bathrooms there, we just don't see them all. There is, though, a magnificent room where there is a sunken bath the size of a small swimming pool - my boiler would never cope with filling it!

Going into Cambridge is an experience for the FGs. The YFG loves escalators so when we entered the new John Lewis in the Grand Arcade, we just HAD to go all the way to the top and then back down again! None of the shops in our local town even has an upstairs, so it was a treat for her to ride the escalators - she wanted to try the lifts too, but since they had a panoramic view over the city, I declined quite forcibly. Poor deprived child.......

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