Monday, February 16, 2015

A Day Out

Last Saturday both KJ and I had the desire to go out and see something and to spend the day outside.  We want to be intentional about doing and seeing things because there is so much to do and see when everything is new to you; you don't have to drive very far at all.  I think it was less than a 30-minute drive to Beningbrough Hall, which we chose for its proximity and the fact that we could enjoy walking around out of doors and still have access to a bathroom.  (It actually took me several seconds to write that sentence because I had to think through about 4 options for saying we wanted to be close to a toilet.  Our vocabulary is changing.)

We knew we'd be spending most of the time out of doors because the main floor of the house is still closed for the winter.  The top floor has portraits from the National Gallery that we were able to walk through and see, which ended up being surprisingly fun for the kids.  There were computer stations where you could have your picture taken and put into a painting.  It resulted in some very humorous portraits like this one.

Your portrait would appear on the wall for 90 seconds, but they also e-mailed us the files, so those are fun memories. We also saw lots of busts, and they had another station where kids could sit for their portrait and use different backgrounds and props.  Ella and James stayed in that room for a long time.

The gardens were, of course, winter bare, but it was actually a nice time to visit because it was fun to spot the green shoots coming up out of the ground.  Having read The Secret Garden with Ella earlier this school year it was especially fun to see a garden starting to come back to life.

Ella is a girl after her father's heart and loves a good map.  No walking aimlessly for these two.  We must visit each point in the correct order!

We had been told by many people that becoming members of the National Trust would be well worth it, and it definitely is.  Becoming members for the year gives us access all year long to so many beautiful places.

It was a really beautiful day, and you could feel in the air that Spring is coming, but at some point I laughed to myself because, Spring was coming, and I knew it because I didn't have to keep my coat zipped up all day, and I didn't have to wear a hat.  But wearing a coat and gloves was still required for maximum comfort.

One of the outbuildings was used as a laundry during the Victorian era.  I thought the wooden sinks were beautiful, but I'm so glad I don't have to spend as much time and effort on my laundry today!

There was a great playground at the edge of the property, which the kids enjoyed.  And I took some time to photograph the snowdrops, which were in abundance.

From the playground you could walk across a field to a public footpath beside the River Ouse.  The English just do landscapes right.  And muddy fields.  They do muddy fields really well.

I do find choosing the right footwear difficult at times.  What shoes are appropriate for walking on beautiful hardwood floors as well as tramping through muddy fields and keeping your feet warm?  It's a challenge.

Ella and James have been learning some French at school, and since French is obviously the language of fencing, they fought in the field, shouting nonsensical French words at one another:  "Bonjour!  Rouge!  Ce Va!"

I was walking with a friend last week, and she used the phrase, "the slow reveal" to describe the continuing unfolding of landscape design as we walked.  I don't know if thought was given to making this public footpath a slow reveal, but as we walked on the path by the river, enjoying the sight of the fishermen and sheep grazing in the field, we rounded a curve, and I was a little bowled over by the sight of the village and the church spire.  Could the scene be any more idyllic?

And just to make it a dash more English, we'll throw in a man training his dog in the fields in front of the house.

Coming home we had to stop at a toll bridge where we met an older gentleman who had bicycled across the United States from Seattle to Maine and then from New Orleans to Canada.  I was so impressed by that that I kind of wanted to make it a new life goal. 

It was a refreshing day out together.

1 comment:

  1. The answer to your shoe question is a pair of Hunter wellies. Though a bit of an investment you would get much use out of them, and they are perfectly adorable with jeans or skirts and thoroughly practical. :) Also it is so hard to believe all that beauty surrounding you, but the thing I couldn't take my eyes off of was your sweet James! oh my is he growing handsome. love you friend.