Tag Archives: National Trust

Parasols & Sponges

Parasols wait in the early morning light, about to spread their wings to celebrate the reopening of The Firs: Elgar’s Birthplace on 1 September 2017 under National Trust stewardship.

Reflected in the kitchen utensils, the first sponge-cakes are out of the oven, to be finished and served in the new Tea Room.

© 2017 Peter Young

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Wilderness Seat

Wilderness Seat

The seat where we once sat together, contemplating an expansive future,
Is now bare-bones cold in a winter landscape that fades into mist.
The half-remembered hot summers lie buried under the leaves of autumn.
Yet, in this Wilderness, the shoots of a new Spring are already pushing through.

© 2017 Peter Young

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Rainbow Black & White

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The National Trust property Greyfriars House is reflected in the rainbow display in The Hat House in Friar Street, Worcester.
© 2017 Peter Young

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The Imaginary Village

Lacock Red Lion We’re in the Wiltshire village of Lacock, owned and preserved, sort of, by the National Trust. Well, no visible tv aerials or satellite dishes are allowed. The village has been the location for many films and tv series set in earlier times.

They shot the exteriors for Pride and Prejudice in the High Street here. You remember the scene where the sisters go to buy their ribbons at the milliner’s? That’s the shop over there. Then it was dressed with fashionable nineteenth-century items – and they encounter the officers coming down the street looking very smart in their scarlet uniforms: Mr. Denny and his friend, Mr. Wickham. What you don’t see is any tarmac – that was all covered with sand and wood chippings. It takes a lot of work getting back to Jane Austen’s time. People would complain if there were anachronistic trappings visible. So they cover the double yellow lines with dirt or something, or keep them carefully out of shot.

Nor do you see the dozens of technicians, crew, electricians, make-up artists, all off camera, ready to do their bit to make the make-believe believable. It’s a weird sanitized reality. But that’s not the point. It’s the story that matters, the loves and hates, the gossip, the truths of the human heart. Much easier to get sucked into the world of the film, just as long as it doesn’t jar.

When they were making Emma, the Kate Beckinsale version, they closed off Church Street. There was a scene where they hoisted a piano into an upstairs room. Well, not a real piano, just a box. You imagined that there was a bunch of people hauling it up on a rope and pulley, but in reality they used a crane – which of course you didn’t see.

With film-making, things go wrong or have to be reset for another take. Sometimes you’re waiting for someone to turn up, or they need a rehearsal. There seems to be far too much hanging about in real life. I prefer my reality edited. Given how long it takes to make a film, it’s a blessing that it can be cut down to two hours or less.

Oh, in front of the Red Lion, there are some people hanging about like a bunch of extras. It looks like their tourist coach has broken down and they’ve been herded off the bus, and are having to wait while it gets fixed.

Just like the time when my bus home from school – it was a trolley-bus – they had these two arms on the top connected to a pair of overhead electric wires. Trouble was, they were frequently coming off. One day the trolleybus went round the Beehive pub corner and lost contact when crossing the ‘points’. So we had to get off and wait while the conductor used this great long bamboo pole with a hook on the end for re-engaging the arm, so that we could continue our journey.

But no overhead wires here – and no triple-decker buses either. Remember that crazy bus in the Harry Potter movies? Hogwarts school was here – well, part of it. In the Abbey cloisters, that room with the huge cauldron. I was quite young when the Harry Potter books appeared, year after year. I used to queue up in the street until midnight, waiting for the book to go on sale. There was quite a cameradie with those queuing – well, we all had a similar interest in the goings on at Hogwarts, so we were talking to each other, speculating about what the next book would be about – and of course, we were way off – none of us could imagine the story the way JK Rowling did.

Lacock Abbey Cauldron

Oh, I think the coach is mended now, they’re all getting on board. I wonder what they made of Lacock. It’s just an ordinary village, a place where people live. It’s not magical, nor is it the nineteenth century here. No one is wearing crinolines or pointed hats, or driving a barouche-landau.

I suppose each visitor makes sense of their visit in their own way – connecting with a fictional past, or a fantasy reality, an escape from their everyday lives. They leave with their memories, connections made, scenes identified and ticked off. When they see Lacock in another movie, they’ll have a sense of recognition: “I’ve been there.” Or maybe there were simply here on a guided tour and knew nothing of its literary connections; it’s just “that place where the coach broke down and we had to wait.”

© 2017 Peter Young

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Changing Seasons

Over the last few months I have been visiting the National Trust property of Hidcote Manor Garden. I thought it was time to look back at how the garden and the surrounding area has changed since the summer, as it beds down for winter.Coloured Leaves Once plants have finished flowering, they retreat into the soft, soggy state of winter regeneration, and sometimes do this with a final show of colour. I’m not sure what this was earlier, but it attracted my eye in an otherwise dark, earthy environment.

Hidcote Bathing Pool 2I found the bubble wrap on the Fountain quite amusing, especially as the water was still squirting out. Here’s what’s under wraps:

Hidcote Bathing Pool 1The field has seen many changes over the last few months. During the summer it was high with wheat. Track across the field 1Now it’s ploughed over ready for next year’s crop.Track across the field 2And here’s the view looking up the Old Track that leads from the carpark. This is a far more subdued picture than the my entry ftwo months ago.

Hidcote Track© 2016 Peter Young

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Sheffield Park

On a visit to Sussex, I came across more stunning autumn colours at the National Trust property of Sheffield Park.

Sheffield Park Middle LakeThe view from the Cascade looking along Middle Lake.

Sheffield Park Swamp CyprusRAA group of three Swamp Cypresses contrast with the reds and oranges of the Acers and Nyssas.

Sheffield Park Nyssa A magnificent Nyssa.

Sheffield Park Montezuma PineA close-up of one of the Montezuma Pines which are grown at Sheffield Park.

Sheffield Park Red Acers Pampas GrassPampas Grass seen between the dark red leaves of an Acer at the edge of the Middle Lake.

© 2016 Peter Young

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The Geese are Flying

Geese 1Autumn geese flying

Geese 2V-formation overhead

Geese 3Past the Chinese Bridge.

© 2016 Peter Young

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The Old Track

Hidcote TrackAutumn sunlight shines through the early morning mist on the track that leads uphill from the National Trust carpark at Hidcote.
© 2016 Peter Young

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Sandbox

SandboxCreating a landscape in sand.

A sensor tracks how you move the sand and then projects contour lines and elevation colours onto your creation.

Sandbox #2
The new installation of the augmented reality sandbox as part of the Capability Brown exhibition at Croome Court.

Capability BrownNathaniel Dance’s famous portrait of Capability Brown on loan from the National Portrait Gallery.
© 2016 Peter Young

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The Village

Mess Room Conduits

It’s all about connection – to places, but more importantly, to people. Although we might believe we are connected to everyone else on the planet in six degrees, what matters more are the actual links we have to the people we meet face-to-face on a fairly frequent basis. These people – and the measure is not any fantasy figure associated with social media ‘friends’ – are numbered more in the scores or the low hundreds. And these people, become our ‘village’. And being a village, we take our place in the grand scheme of things. We take on a role, engage in work that promotes the whole and make friends. This is not a passive thing – we have to be actively involved in the ongoing growth of this community. And the more we contribute, the more we gain respect and are honoured by the others.

My current village is the National Trust property of Croome. I became a Volunteer at Croome over a year ago, so I’m very much a newcomer. Yesterday we had a celebration for the Volunteers: one purpose was to acknowledge those with long-service awards. Another was to announce the results of a photographic competition, run during the Festivol month of June. The photo at the top of this entry was chosen as a winner in the Close Encounter category (photos of something up close at Croome whether the landscape, house or a detail onsite). So my thanks go out to all those at Croome who have supported my photography over the last year.

The picture shows various water pipes, electrical conduits and junction boxes in the Volunteers’ Mess in the basement of Croome Court. Many wouldn’t give this a second glance; it’s just a part of the unnoticed scenery. But in its ‘symbolic’ position over the door, it reminds us of the connections we are yet to make each time we go out to encounter the public whom we are making welcome in our village.

© 2016 Peter Young

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