Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The National Trust casts its spell

It's Mr Grigg's birthday and I've splashed out and bought us joint membership to The National Trust.

It wasn't that expensive and we should have joined years ago. We're surrounded by beautiful stately homes and are regular visitors to this place, just up the road from us in Lush Places.

It's the highest point in Dorset (one of my friends got deliciously lost here, which she recounts in this blog post on Totally Dorset). Lewesdon looks down on The Enchanted Village like a protective parent.

But joining the Trust was always something we were going to do when we had more time. And, besides, it's what old people do, and we're not that old. Yet.

And then my work changed (hey, if there is anyone who needs a writer, please get in touch!) and I suddenly had more time. And, after a conversation with my young stonemason nephew (who has worked on the glorious Tyntesfield, which I am saving up to visit on a metaphorical rainy day), I decided now was as a good a time as ever.

The cards and car parking sticker arrived just in time for Mr Grigg's birthday, so we've just spent several, rather wonderful, hours wandering around my favourite National Trust mansion - Barrington Court, near Ilminster, Somerset. This was one of the trust's original properties. 

It's just a few miles from where I was born and brought up. I first visited it with my family back in the 1960s and I remember being entranced by this piece of old Somerset. The traditional estate fencing and parkland trees got my heart racing, even before I reached the house.

Some years later, Mr Grigg and I went to Barrington Court when it was home to a rather snooty interiors company. The magic had disappeared.  Now, though, the company has moved on. Barrington Court is as I remembered it, all those years ago: a fine, Tudor mansion with the unmistakable and wonderful 1920s touch of Colonel Abraham Arthur Lyle and his architect, James Edwin Forbes.

You can read more about it here.

The gardens were looking absolutely stunning. There were people having picnics and children playing hoopla on the lawn.  A cricket match was underway on the pitch just beyond a stream and a herd of cattle gently lolloped across the meadow in front of the house. The steward we met at the door was a mine of information and absolutely charming. Even the cake at the cafe was brilliant.

This will be the first trip of many, I think. I don't want the magic to end.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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