I had an unexpected afternoon out. Younger son and husband were off at a football match, eldest son acquired an extra Sunday lunch shift at the local pub, so I found myself at a loose end. Then I remembered Snowdrop Sunday at a stately home about ten miles away, so I hopped into the car and set off. It was a stunning day here. Blue skies and no breeze at all.
We seem to have quite a few smaller stately homes in our area. Many are still inhabited and they just open up occasionally. It feels like being let in on a secret....this is Deene Park, Northamptonshire. This might be rather a long post as I took lots of photos!
It's an imposing house, with formal gardens surrounded by parkland.
The formal gardens remind me of the setting for Atonement, by Ian McEwan (a brilliant evocation of a country house, if you haven't read it). I could imagine women in 1930s dresses and louche men smoking cigarettes...it must be Atonement that planted the image in my mind as I was surrounded by elderly folk in fleeces and young families!
I love the doors-in-walls....and there were lots of them....
This one leads to the tea shop....
There was a fine display of snowdrops, of course, and some shy hellebores, crocus and early anemones.
Beyond the formal area, some wilder outreaches, all very beautiful.
I was very taken with this little house, presumably for the estate workers. It reminded me of a woodcutter's cottage in a fairytale.
The summer house was sweet, too.
I think this teapot topiary is a reference to the excellent Old Kitchen tea room. It was heaving, I don't think they had expected quite so many visitors. I had my tea and scone outside in the sunshine, but the interior was gorgeous. I really like these old storage boxes:
A roaring fire (not a very good shot, it was crowded and people were looking at me as if I was mad).
Just time for a final wander, before heading home.
My journey was picturesque. I went through the country lanes. Even the animals look to be enjoying the unexpected weather.
The open garden season is only just beginning. I can't wait for the next one!