Monday, 29 July 2013

Hardwick Hall

Hooray for 2 weeks spent in Yorkshire with the family.  And we were so lucky with the weather.

On one of the days, Mum, Dad and I chose to go somewhere that I've not been for a while, and since I had my National Trust card, I thought it might be nice to go in the house instead of just the gardens for a change.

It seems as though Hardwick Hall grounds have undergone a bit of redevelopment since I was last there.  The cafe has been perked up and serves a delicious range of food - try the Huntsman's Pie if you get chance - delicious!  There is heaps of seating inside and out, so you could also take a picnic if you wished.  Also some really beautiful gardens to walk through and relax in.

Much quieter than the front view of the house...
the side view from the gardens

I was so happily surprised that we decided to go inside the house as well.  From the moment you walk in, there are some incredible pieces of embroidery and tapestry, which I wasn't expecting at all.  Bess of Hardwick must have been one heck of a collector, because it is on almost every wall, and I imagine that was one way to make the stone walls feel a bit more welcoming and homely.  As an added bonus, there was an exhibition on 'Threads of Time' - showcasing 16th century items such as needlework and furniture.

Please find below some photos of some of the things on display - but if you are able to visit in person, I highly recommend doing so - it's wonderful to be able to get up close to such amazing pieces of needlework (and feel completely inadequate with all of my own pieces given the scale of some of theirs!)

Some of the tapestries are also being restored - a hugely costly undertaking but incredible to see the difference and clarity in those which already have been.

Needlework Cushion cover: Silk on fine linen
Centre in tent stitch, border in cross stitch
Embroidered whilst Bess was married to
George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury

The Muniment Room - pretty impressive!!
These contained legal documents showing
who owned which pieces of land.

The Tobit Table Carpet which shows via embroidery
the story of Tobit as told in the Old Testament.
(the bare pieces are either missing
or too fragile for conservation)

Detail in the Tobit Table Carpet

The High Great Chamber where guests
would have been greeted

Gujarati floor cloth, on display only for one week

One of the restored tapestries

At the end, if your mother pushes you into it,
you get to dress up like this.
Stop laughing.

Monday, 8 July 2013


Yesterday was pretty exciting.

Firstly, the decision whether to watch the F1 or the tennis - thankfully, the German Grand Prix was well underway and finished before the end of the first set of tennis.  We did have the tennis on the laptop screen as well so we wouldn't miss any.

But back to the F1.  Poor Mark Webber with his wheel coming off right at the beginning.  I felt so bad for him.  Hubby said he'd have given up at that point, but then I reminded him that it only takes the safety car having to come out for him to catch right back up again and be in with a chance of points.  A good job he didn't give up too, as that's exactly what happened.  I couldn't believe what I was seeing when the burnt out race car of Jules Bianchi started rolling slowly backwards down the track and onto the grass at the other side.  Very lucky there were no race cars flying past at that exact moment.  So a very close fight to the end of the race for the top 10 cars for positions, which made it pretty exciting indeed!

Then the Tennis, and it was so so good.  I found myself shouting at the screen quite a lot which is unusual for me, but so pleased that Andy Murray won.  Each year it seemed like he was getting closer and closer to the title and it was so good to see him finally do it, especially given all the hard work that he has obviously been doing and the maturity he is showing in his games now.  I think everyone here had a good feeling that he was going to win yesterday.

It's been a lot of fun, I could get into watching more sport - it's a shame there are no Olympics to watch this year - I'm quite in the mood for watching a bit of swimming or hockey.

I rounded the day off with a lovely refreshing gin and soda and a nice Bond film and then a sit in the sunshine on the balcony, so it was a pretty wonderful day.

Who else caught some of the sport yesterday?

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Happy 4th July!

Just wanted to pop in and wish my US friends a Happy 4th July! I hope that you all have a wonderful day.