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2018 - UK Rutland - May
In April we enjoyed a Murder Mystery evening on the Bluebell Railway. The event was a Christmas present from Brian and Alexa. It was an excellent evening. First of all, there was a play staged in the railway restaurant where you witnessed the build up to the murder. You were familiarised with the characters and the circumstances and who had been murdered. We then boarded a pullman train and enjoyed a top class meal and drinks whilst the train steamed up and down the line. The various players travelled through the train and you could interview them and hopefully, identify the murderer and the motives. Detective Desnée identified the culprit fairly quickly! After dinner we alighted from the train and returned to the restaurant where the play continued and the killer was exposed. We did indeed have the right person but came in second place as we had missed out a few key pieces of evidence. An all round excellent evening and well recommended.
In early May, Brian and Alexa flew into UK for a short visit. It was lovely to see them and we visited Sheffield Park Gardens where we met up with Geoff. It was a warm, sunny spring day. The rhododendrons and azaleas were in full bloom! Sheffield Park Gardens are a National Trust property and are a very enjoyable visit in May/June.
In the middle of May we were in Greetham in Rutland for the Carthago Owners UK Spring Gathering. Rutland if a very beautiful county. It was great to meet up with friends old and new and the weather was kind to us. We used the local village hall as our club house for the time we were there and the local team looked after us really well. A vintage car rally took place on the village green and there were some fascinating old cars and motorcycles.
A coach outing was arranged to visit Burghley House and then to Stamford. Burghley House has lovely parkland gardens and displays an eclectic collection of sculptures. (below left) these cows are made from wood and canvas, (below centre) the geese and their goslings are real (below right) an amusing sculpture called “The Moonshiner”
(above) Star Wars sculpture (right) an eclectic collection of Carthago Owners waiting for the return coach in Stamford. (see more photos from 2017 visit) (below) An organised cycling tour from the campsite. We completed a circumnavigation of Rutland Water on another glorious day.
After the Carthago Owners Gathering had finished, Desnée and George visited Hamilton Gardens, which is just south of Greetham village. These gardens were created by Geoff Hamilton (of TV fame) and they comprise many cameo gardens each with their own theme. Informative and gives you plenty of ideas for your own gardens. (below) Hamilton Gardens
There was no planned visit to Yorkshire this year as we were anticipating building work to start on our house and work was due to start at the end of May. Instead, we went south and visited our friends Paul and Deborah Kenyon. They are wardens for the Caravan and Motorhome Club and in 2018 they were assigned to Moreton-in-the-Marsh. We stayed a couple of nights and enjoyed some pleasant evenings with them. During the day we wandered around Moreton and made the compulsory visit to the local toyshop. This shop has a huge range of high quality toys on display and it is almost impossible to leave the shop without buying something for the grandchildren!
On our way down to Moreton we had taken a small detour to the Silverstone race track. We were visiting Desnée’s nephew, Neil Patterson, who is the Principal at the University Technical College. Neil gave us a guided tour of the very impressive facility which provides an excellent standard of education for would- be engineers. We came away feeling we had seen something good and worthwhile in the education system. During the visit we were stunned by some artwork that had been acquired by the College. The artist, Nikki Douthwaite specialises in portraits but not only are the portraits almost like a photograph of the subject but they are created by Nikki selecting and cutting out thousands of tiny pieces of paper which are stuck to a background. Up close the work looks like a jumble of coloured circles of paper but stand back and you instantly recognise the models. With the College’s collection all the models were well know racing drivers. Visit Nikki Douthwaite’s website:
From Moreton-in-the-Marsh we dropped south to Bath and stayed for two nights at the Bath Marina campsite. It is a convenient location for hopping on a bus to the city centre. It is also beside the river and beside the Bath to Bristol cycle route. To get some exercise, George took an evening ride from the campsite to Bitton Station. This area is a delightful part of England and has so many lovely locations to explore. Our spring travels drew to a close and we returned home to be ready for the builders to start in one weeks time. However, this was not to be! When we got home the builder told us that he could not start for 16 weeks and that he had under estimated the costs. Our summer was now in disarray and we told the builder not to bother, we would look elsewhere. We now had to rearrange all our plans. We are fortunate to have children in the building trade and they recommended another builder who may be able to help us out and who would do a good quality job for a reasonable price. In the meantime, George would strip out the kitchen and re-install new units. This job was planned for after construction work had finished but we now brought it forward to fill the delay. We had a plan!