I'll probably do this in bits and pieces rather than one big bit because it's a lot of scenery, photos, ponies, whinging, fog, rain... dangerous roads... for one post.
We started off for Devon around 10am. It's a six hour drive (maybe 100 miles?) on twisting and meandering roads that hook and unhook in no logical sequence. You go up to go down and down to go up and over to go back... it's really quite bizarre. But the Navigator has it all under control and she has a method to her madness on these crazy English roads.
Since seeing Pride & Prejudice last year I've had a hankering to get to Stourhead Gardens to see the site where Mr Darcy laid out his proposal to Lizzy Bennet on the steps of the Temple of Apollo on a windy and moody and rain-soaked day.
So a little bend here and a little bend there and several hundred more after that and we found ourselves at Stourhead. It was a brilliant day with amazing clouds and I was loaded for bear with my big fat 8 gig memory card.
The tricky thing about this Temple of Apollo is that it isn't within easy walking distance of the car park (parking lot). It's about a three mile walk around the grounds and most of that three miles is getting to the Temple. Blahhhhh... but then... that means I can have a dozen cream teas guilt-free because of all the exercise. 'tis the hard life of a photographer and one must bear such hardships stoically.
Stourhead is really very nice. The house (you saw it in yesterday's post) is kind of tatty inside (there are residents) but the exterior is quite cool and when you have clouds such as those we were blessed with on that Sunday - well, that's a photo op of the highest order.
After coming out of the house and following the path that would eventually get us to the Temple of Apollo, we came upon this pretty sight, peeking through the flowers and the trees.
The Temple of Apollo, which at some point started to remind me of a kind of ancient and abandoned space ship. Such a shame. I'm going to have to watch P&P so I can erase the space ship image out of my mind.
One of the two remaining statues decorating the Temple. There were several empty porticoes which makes me think that at one time there may have been several more statues.
The bridge that Lizzy ran across to escape the discovery that the dastardly but oh so appealing Mr Darcy broke up the relationship between her sister and the awkward but endearing Mr Bingley. Interesting to me that this bridge is grass covered. Inconsequential but interesting.
And so our "one hour" side trip on the road to our side trip turned into more like three hours. But it was a lovely day even if it ended on a slightly sour note (a slight scolding from our host at Highcliffe House when I called to tell them we would be later than we expected - thank goodness I "did the right thing by calling" them to alert them to our later arrival. His long-suffering response to my phone call had me on the verge of suggesting that we'd just spend the night in our car and arrive in the morning so we wouldn't inconvenience them any further).
And of course, this...
Welcome to the West Country.
But today it is gorgeous and we have places to go and people to meet, photos to take. In the meantime take a wander over to Draw's blog - he's a much faster typer than I.