Friday, 24 September 2010

Stourhead, Charmouth, and some boats in Bristol Docks.

The last of my holiday ramblings.

Lying in secluded privacy in its own valley, Stourhead features one of the world's finest 18th-century landscape gardens. A magnificent lake is central to the design, and there are classical temples, enchanting grottos and rare and exotic trees. A majestic Palladian mansion housing a unique Regency library with fabulous collections of Chippendale furniture and paintings.

I came across this artist in residence who had been at Stourhead for weeks sketching and painting the views. He was working on a tree, to his right, but, although happy to talk, he wasn't giving away any of his secrets!

Mick Abbott is a full time artist, dividing his time between Cambridge, Brittany and New York.  He has a fascination and fondness for gardens.

Some views across the man-made lake to a folly on the distant slope, and some snapshots of the grotto.

The estate workers' cottages.

A view across the lake from the grotto, and inside the grotto.

I think this was supposed to be Neptune. There's a close up of the rock ceiling above.

Lots of trees of course; I loved the trunk on this one, all twisted ... make a fabulous drawing.

We ended our short break with a delightful paddle in the sea at Charmouth.  It was so wonderful to hear the sea and feel the cold water on one's toes; I can't tell you how happy it made me!

The beach is an famous place to hunt for fossils.



 And then a cup of coffee, a packet of biscuits and a warm blanket!

And a quick look at Bristol and some boats before home.

The SS Great Britain.
SS Great Britain was a passenger steamship designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel for transatlantic service between Bristol and New York. It was the first ship to be built of iron and have a screw propeller.

I remember her coming home to Bristol in 1970 and seeing her towed down the estuary to dry dock. It was where she was built and has now been turned into the most beautiful vessel.

She was launched in 1843 and was by far the biggest vessel afloat but she was expensive and was forced out of business in 1843 and left standed. She was sold for salvage and then carried thousands of immigrants to Australia until converted to sail in 1881.

She was then retired to the Falkland Islands where she was used as a warehouse and coal hulk and was scuttled in 1937.

......and The Matthew

(for DD2 and Talk Like A Pirate day.)

Over 500 years ago John Cabot and his crew set sail for Asia aboard the original Matthew hoping to trade goods and commodities with the people who lived there.

However, he finally arrived on the coast of Newfoundland and therefore was the original discoverer of America, not Christopher Columbus as most people are led to believe. (Mind you, I think there may be even earlier claims, but I haven't the energy to go and look this up at the moment!)

We had a quick look around The Matthew But our visit was cut short as the crew were waiting to take a lot of pirates on board for a cruise and fish and chip supper. It was someone's birthday, and was also Talk Like A Pirate Day. Unfortunately Johnny Depp was nowhere to be seen.


  1. What lovely weather you have had and love that tree!!!

  2. I love the image of the lake from the grotto