Tuesday, 30 December 2014

A Tale of Two Houses

Suddenly the house that had been a bustle of activity, was quiet and still.

The visitors had departed, off on their long journey home, with a planned pause to celebrate the New Year en route.  The Knotty Haired Teen was away in search of adventure and we were home alone.  We peered out at the fearsome whiteness of the frost and felt no urgency to brave the harsh reality beyond the protection of the central heating.

Finally the sun broke through and we decided to venture forth.  The choice was between Packwood House and Baddesley Clinton, was clinched by the new and brighter catering facilities at Packwood, which are always a delight to visit.  That and the fact that it is nearer!

Having enjoyed a 'Pulled Pork Caserole' we wandered around the small gardens, but there was not much to see, just the droplets from the melted frost. Understandably the lawned sections were closed to prevent them becoming complete quagmires.

We hoped that the walk around the lake would be open, but the gate remained defiantly closed. All we could do was gaze mournfully through the gate, and admire from a distance the path we had hoped to tread. The parkland walks were open, but are generally very muddy and unpleasant in wet weather.

We decided that it was time to move on to Baddesley Clinton, and were not alone in making that decision!  I quite understand the need to protect the ground, but Baddesley just seems to manage visitor access during challenging weather better than Packwood, where even the footpaths are awash with muddy redness!

At Baddesley Clinton half of the moat was frozen.  Ducks waddled clumsily across the ice, keeping carefully out of reach of the daring antics of the boys, with the self appointed task of destroying as much of the ice as possible, without actually falling in the moat.  A winter tradition passed on down through the generations and still alive and kicking - literally!!!  We all waited for the most enthusiastic of the participants to fall in, but by some miracle he managed to stay on the bank. I think God must have a soft spot for ducks...

We continues our walk around the icy lake, detouring though the nature area in an attempt to seek sanctuary from the icebreakers, and failed, for the lake contained more ice for them to break, so we left them to their timeless endeavours and retreated in search of the latte we had promised ourselves earlier.

Trees silhouetted against the sky reminded us that it was time to head home, chasing the last of the golden rays as we travelled  vaguely westwards.

Two properties, both very different, but now it was time for the tip and Tesco - a day of contrasting culture!