iBeastie

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Life Bog – A Sad Day

Yesterday was a very sad day. My Mum’s husband Anthony passed away peacefully. He was a true Gentleman – simply a decent chap. RIP Anthony. Our thoughts are with you Mum xxx

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Life Blog – Highnam Court Gardens Gloucester

Yesterday we went to The Gloucester Car Show, which is held at Highnam Court. This was a smashing event and you can read about it here. A very pleasant bonus we got when we went was access to the gardens at Highnam Court which we thought were beautiful. Click on the photo above for a slideshow of the gardens and if you get the chance pay them a visit. You wont be disappointed.

A Brief History

Highnam Court was built in 1658 after the original house was seriously damaged in the Civil War. It is one of the few houses built during the Commonwealth period. The design of the houses is linked to Ernest Carter who was a pupil of Inigo Jones.

The Highnam Estate was bought in 1838 by Thomas Gambier Parry, who was an accomplished artist, musician and art collector. This talented painter is also responsible for the magnificent frescoes in Highnam Church. He started to layout his garden in 1840, and by 1874 it rivalled any in the UK. Unfortunately since the turn of the last century almost nothing had been done in the gardens. Consequently when the process of restoration started in 1994 the gardens were totally overgrown.

During the last 18 years, since Roger Head has been the owner, the gardens have been totally and lovingly restored to their former glory, with many new additions being made to compliment and enhance the original design.

The gardens surround several large lakes, with walkways around them. They are bordered by beds planted with thousands of plants to give colour  and interest in all seasons. Whilst many of the plantings are still young and getting established there is nonetheless much to see.

In Spring there are thousands of daffodils throughout the grounds, planted together with other spring bulbs to give a tremendous show. There are many different sections including the Broad Walk and rose tunnel, a Knot Garden, a Wisteria walk and much more. A large oval Rose Garden has been planted too with over 2000 roses and 60,000 Spring Flowering Bulbs.

I wont profess to being an expert on British Gardens but I cannot recall seeing such a grandiose garden restoration being undertaken to result in such a powerful and satisfying effect. Some might consider it showy, perhaps even lacking subtlety – the bridges crossing the lakes and streams are certainly overtly Monet like – but if that is the case then clearly I like showy. Quite simply, this is one of the best gardens I have enjoyed in a long while and I am sure I will be back soon.


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Life Blog – The Beastie Diamond Jubilee Weekend

Well we have had a lovely Diamond Jubilee weekend from start to finish.

 

The Fabulous Baker Boys

Friday night and work was behind us both and we headed into Malvern to watch The Fabulous Baker Boys movie at Malvern Theatre. Yes, I know the movie is from 1989 but hey Malvern is a bit like that but it was a fabulous movie and we really enjoyed it. Michelle Pfeiffer Makin’ Whoopee on top of a Grand piano is a sight to behold. In fact you can by clicking here! Do it people – it’s good!

Saturday Night at the Thai Rhama IV

Saturday had us entertaining my cousin Lorraine, my Auntie Enid and Uncle Jim. They arrived at noon and first off we headed into Ledbury where we had a walk up and down the High Street and a lovely lunch in a French cafe there. For good measure and to do some culture we also checked out St Michael’s Church and well worth a look it was too.  The evening saw us on the other side of the Malvern Hills to where we live at The Thai Rhama IV restaurant in Colwall. It was a lovely meal and we would happily recommend it to anyone but it was especially nice because of the great company we had. We came away with lots of book and film recommendations after a very stimulating evening’s conversation.

Sunday with Mum and The Jubilee Boat Pageant

The busy weekend continued and the next day we headed to Chester to visit  my Mum and her husband Anthony. We spent the afternoon watching the Boat Pageant which was fine and dandy and all that but if I’m honest, for me it went on a bit and wasn’t really that exciting. The Duchess of Cambridge  did however, brighten the pageant up in a stunning scarlet outfit which looked simply gorgeous. She wore a bright red Alexander McQueen dress, topped off with a flamboyant red hat by Sylvia Fletcher from royal milliner James Lock & Co. I just couldn’t fault it. The next morning though I was reading The Daily Mail (please remember I was at my Mum’s and anyone who knows my Mum, knows that she is in fact the real Queen, so a copy of the Daily Mail in the house was inevitable) and read an article by Amanda Platell – Did Kate really have to steal the show in her scarlet dress? This article carried on in the same vein from start to finish, ranting about how Kate should not have tried to outshine the Queen on her special day. Honestly Ms Platell get a grip do! The Queen looked resplendent and we all loved her and the Duchess looked as beautiful as we all would want our Duchess to look – end of! I tell you  my fruit and fibre cereal was spluttering all over the table as I read this nonsense!

The evening saw us in Chester for a chinese meal, which was yummy as it included crispy duck. result!

Monday and Gary Barlow’s Diamond Jubilee Concert

Back home and we eased ourselves back into work mode (yes we were both working on Tuesday) by watching the concert at Buckingham Palace. Well if I thought the Boat Pageant was a tad dull this more than made up for it. The best of British and all that and a chance to use great words that roll of your tongue such as “jingoistic”! Well ok, take off the belligerent foreign policy bit and you have it. It was smashing and Prince Charles taught all the comedians who were presenting there, a thing or two about delivery, timing and that wonderful British quality of gentle understatement. The pause before he said “Mummy”  was timed to perfection. Don’t quote me on this but I suspect that Prince Charles has made one or two speeches before!

Anyway, it brought a tear to my eye it did – it was all just champion.