It's half-term here and I'm really enjoying a break from work. The grey rain and cold of January just seemed to go on and on, and I felt a great sense of relief when we arrived in February. I couldn't seem to get warm, and being without heating and hot water for a weekend didn't help, when our boiler broke down and had to be repaired. I've craved sunshine and warmth, and felt in need of being perked up. P and I have continued our runs/walks (more in another post), so I've been outside a good deal, but indoors has called me back inside to cosy up and knit or crochet.
However, a change is in the air and although there are still grey, wet, cold and very windy days, there is also sunshine. Warm sunshine. And I can't tell you how glad I am to see it.
Yesterday P took the day off and J is home on a short visit, so we took ourselves off to Tyntesfield, a nearby NT property, for the day. It was a day of sunshine and showers, with a heavy hailstorm at one point, but when the sun came out, as it always did, it brought with it a breath of spring. The house is a recent NT acquisition and is still a work in progress. It's built in Victorian Gothic style, a mass of turrets, gables, pinnacles and so many architectural features.
Inside it is stunning, with a light and ornate central hall which all rooms radiate from.
There was pattern and ornamentation everywhere in the form of stencils,
carved wood and stone,
and lots and lots of colourful, intricate stained glass. Since I've been learning this art I'm fascinated and inspired by the windows I see in buildings around me.
The colours and traditional glass-painting are just gorgeous.
After dodging another shower, outside was just as lovely, despite there not being much in bloom. The orangery was a place I could've settled down in for an afternoon, surrounded by the colours and scents of warmer climes in the form of oranges, lemons and bright camelias. I could imagine myself whiling away the hours here in a rattan chair with a good book and a cup of tea.
Next came the greenhouses, most of which were closed to the public for maintenance work. I must confess I was disappointed as I would loved to have wandered through them, but I consoled myself with taking photos of the beautiful spring and summer flowers inside them through the glass.
The scent of these hyacinths was so strong you could smell it as it wafted through the vents at the top of the greenhouse.
Inside this one were fan-trained fig and apricot trees.
Next came the beautiful kitchen garden. I do so love the order and neatness of a walled garden with its rows of onions and netted cabbages. Here there was forced rhubarb and fan-trained fruit trees.
There's something so beautiful and well-tended about these trees. They have been carefully pruned and trained and, growing on this sunny wall, must produce delicious fruit.
The gardens surrounding the house were a mix of formal and parkland, with structure and symmetry.
The topiary holly trees were clipped to perfection and must be a job in themselves.
As we left the gardens we dropped by the rose garden where two gardeners were busily pruning, ready for the year ahead. In two corners were these pretty little arbours. We sat in one out of the cold wind and felt the warm sunshine. They were also heavily decorated with these pretty tiles.
I'd love to come back later in the year to see the roses in bloom and the fruit trees in blossom. I really can't wait for spring to get going now.
I've also been busy creatively in recent weeks, and plan to show you what I've been up to soon. Hopefully I'll post about that this weekend before I go back to work, fingers crossed.
See you soon! x
See you soon! x