central England, I now explore the eastern
part of central England.
Anglesey Abbey Garden
and Lode Mill open way too late, but the time is spend on stitching
my sleeping-bag, make accountancy and a walk in the area. The sun
and clouds are fighting, but it is not that cold.
Within the premises, a long serpentine path leads along two lines of beds with flowering
plants, in back of them are different bushes.
Statues and other features are hidden all over the place, and the
layout of the garden is defiantly different from anything else I
have seen. Here are some of the usual ingredients, but also some
real different, and they are gathered in a strange way.
The statues span from what look like classic Greek over to some
quite modern. Some are actually not good at all! A pair of lions
look a bit dogish while a griffin have the most goofy impression I
ever seen on a statue. Some of the gates could have been made today
by scrap metal. Many of the features are not really beautiful, but
they sure are big.
In the fare corner of the real huge garden, is the water mill. It was
original a four stone mill, and one stone is still working, and the
NT sell flour to local shops. The entire waterway system in the area
was build by the
Romans for transport. The mill works by the water
runs under the wheel, not over as usual.
I keep finding new areas with their special characteristic.
is a rose garden, one will be a nice Dahlia garden. Several alleys
leads out from the centre of the garden, and they seems endless. The
formal garden is fare the smallest and less impressive.
The house opens, and it is
stuffed with art and ancient objects. All too impressive for the low
rooms they are in. Then I get the explanation: The estate was bought
unseen by the son of an America oil billionaire in 1920. He
and all the oak-panels, drapes and art is bought
second-hand. He might not have had much taste, but sure money
Here are collections of criosphinxes with precious stones, a mosaic
table, which is estimated to have taken five years to make, a
bouquet flowers, carved in soapstone and numerous ancient paintings.
Impossible to set a class to anything, it is all over the place. But
I'm sure it have been a nice house to live in, and it have a lot of
From this strange mix, I head
north to the clean and stylish
Oxburgh Hall and Garden. It is drizzling a bit,
but I start with the gardens anyway. The walled kitchen garden, then
greenhouses with collections of Pelargoniums and other flowering
plants. The walled garden with flowering plants and bushes and a
impressive, although small formal garden.
The main house is a proper castle, placed in a mould. It was build
in 1482 by a Catholic family, who survived the king's change of
religion. Though, they did have a priest hole. In this ancient "safe
room", the priest could hide, when the king or his men pop-bye. It is
truly hidden, and hard to get in. But considering it would
cost you your head, to be caught with a Catholic priest, one would go a
long way to hide him.
The man who constructed the room made many others like it. He was
tortured three times, but never gave
in. He died the third time
The rooms are filled with huge paintings of kings and
queens from the 15-16th century.
The interior is Victorian Gothic, and here are no errors. Oak
panels, immense carvings on walls and furniture, embroideries by
Mary, Queen of Scots, wall draping, real nice art and household. A
winding staircase lead to the roof at one of the towers. The only
thing missing - is the sun.
It is getting late, and I won't have much time at
the next sight, when I finally get there. And to judge from the
picture I have seen, it will take quite some time to see. But I can
up nearby, and enjoy the drive, making stops if something interesting should emerge. I have no
camp-sites in this fare north-east, but I just have to find
internet. A larger town have numerous cafes, pubs and alike, but
after trying most, I end at a gambling shop. Here, I find sites
north, east and south of Norwich. The next site is north of, and I try
that one. The GPS does not recognise the village name, and the first
part of the zip-code it work with, list four "The St." - none in the
village I want. The one near Norwich only have the village name - which the
GPS don't. Then it will be eastern camp-site.
I manages to find the tiny village and even the lawn. "Tents only"
might work, but here are no
showers. I can't see any point in paying
for parking on a lawn alone. 80 kilometres wasted. At least, I did see the
landscape, which looked just like the Danish.
Then I have to try the northern site,
75 kilometres north-west of here. At least, it is close to the
first sight of the morning.
I simply try the four options the GPS
come up with, one by one. Considering they have the first five digits common in
the zip-code, they must be close. On the way, I find another site,
but that is only for members in proper caravans.
After quite some fumbling around on The St. I finally find the site,
and it look nice. They even accept that I sleep in the car. But I refuses
to pay 25,50 pound for a shower!
It is getting late, and I head for the major
village in the area; Aylsham. The first two pubs don't serve food,
and I have decided to treat my self with a warm Sunday dinner. The posh
Black Boys' Hotel Bar have internet and vegetarian courses. A real
delicious goat-cheese/mushroom dinner cost only 12,50, but it seems
like the entire town's internet have gone. Here have been some
lightning, and in England, the telephone cables are still on top of
poles. I ask around for camping, but the only one I get, is the
The internet work a split second, and I get one page, then it is
gone again. A combination
of maps, GPS, intuition and pure luck
bring me to Mill Farm. All the signs at the road have been removed,
but way back on the estate, I find some campers, and the light and
warm water work. Considering I'm all by my self, I guess they might
have closed - just a tiny bit. I decide to wait until to morrow to
pay - just so I don't get kicked out now. It is nice and quiet, except
from the birds sinning. Rabbits and water-hens and a single pheasant
are all around the car, but they are quite. Later on, after dark,
the eerie sound of an owl takes over. It is not the hooting kind, it
is the one sounding like a TV lost the channels.
13/6 I find
a nice lady, willing to
receive ten pound for the camp-site. Despite here are campers all
over a huge area, and everything is lilted up, I am alone. Might be
people have gone back to work after the weekend?
I head right around the corner - not more than ten kilometres at the
most, and find
Blickling Estate and Garden. The village is not big, but the
castle sure is.
I book a guided tour in the huge house before it actually opens, but
first, there is a bit of time for the gardens. They are, just like
the house; huge. The usual mix of formal-, kitchen- and romantic
gardens. But these are real neat kept, and they have many rare
loop pass the formal part, along one of the endless alleys and
the temple and back again through the more rough part. The
Rhododendrons are still partly flowering, but the beds are not
really up to it yet.
A great guide with lots of humour lead a small
group through the house. It was original build by Wilhelm Eroberen
in 1066 - in pre-fabricated wood. That didn't last, and a new one in
stone replaced it. It is still to be found underneath this giant red
brick house, build 400 years ago. It is not showing the wide
side to the visitor, but the ancient mould was not that way, and it
remained. The fortune came from
politics and marriages.
many really nice objects, and a huge library, where the
last book came in in 1750. One painting by Antonio Canaletto
(1697-1768) seems a bid odd to me. I do re-framing every evening,
and this is out of balance. It turns out is was part of a
significantly larger painting- the other part is on Cuba. NT offered
them 8.000.000 pound in 1988, but they knew it was way more worth.
For half a painting!
The rest of the house is impressive. Here is a royal bedroom,
although the king never slept here. The bed-robes are, however, form
three kings and queens.
Back in the garden, the
walled garden draws me in. The first corner
is a bit of a mess, but at the same time; it look awesome! The rest,
including the glasshouses have been restored within the last year,
and is general a kitchen garden and flowers for the house.
Next to the formal garden are real long beds, with abundance of
flowering plants. Way out in the back, next to the fields, the
orangery is for once filled with orange and lemon trees. I try to
find new areas, and despite I succeed, the dark and light drizzle
spoils it a bit.
Back in the house, I make another tour around in the 20 rooms, which
are open. Dinning room, drawing room, kitchen, bedrooms, dressing
rooms and even toilets. In the lady's bedroom, the theme is Chinese.
Two tall ivory towers contain bells, and they will ring when a
earthquake occurs. Useful, right?
The sealing are fantastic plaster works. Beside from the armour
shields, here are the five senses (not the last), and illustrations
to a book which was famous at that time. The tapestry is a bit pale,
but fantastic work. I guess both house and garden was kind of what
the creator of
Anglesey Abbey indented.
Another tour around the house, then I have to head on, if I want to
achieve more today. It is a 110 kilometre drive to Orford village
and castle, and the rain have picked up.
I have seen signs warning about the roads could
be flooded, but I had not imagined it this bad. I'm so glad I got
new tires just before I left home. The castle is under
administration of English Heritage, and they want 7,60 pound. I'm
use to get in for free by now, and it is a tiny castle! I do a walk
around it in the rain, and head on for the camp-site, on the way to
the next site.
I'm a bit anxious about this site: I got a complete address with
road and even house number: Spooky! But here is actually a camp-site, and despite
here are none else, the owner turns up in his car a minute after me,
and I'm welcome to sleep in my car. Another scary feeling is; it is only half pass
three, and I know where I'm going to sleep: That is a first. But what will I do the
rest of the day?
I head for the nearest bigger village; Melton, and find a pub. A
pot of tea and something to eat. Then internet and the usual work.
Now, I just have to figure what to do in the evening...
The sun returns, and why not go for a walk in the village? Well,
mainly because it is closed and not that interesting anyway. I end
up at the Red Lion, and study the NT's book on their precessions. It
turns out, I have missed quite a few in the south-eastern corner, which I
just must return to. Ought to be done in less than a week - I
I finish the
Mid-east general slideshow -
although I still have a bit to see here. Back at camp at nine, I sit
and work on other things, till too late.
14/6 Ickworth House, Park and Garden opens just as I get there. The main buildings
are huge, around 100 meters facade. It was build around 1800 by an
Earl, who lived Italia and adored its art. The building are classic Italian,
created by an Italian, and the heating is ridiculous. The plan was
that the earl and his family should live in the glorious rotunda,
and the art he collected on his many tours around Europe should fill
the wings and the two huge wing-buildings.
Unfortunately, he and his entire collection ran into Napoleon in
Italy, and all was confiscated. He tried to get it back the next
four years, but died before he even got back to see his house.
The coming generations of Earls and Marquises have filled the
some extend. Most of the paintings are of the right
masters, the collection of fans and silver, including the fish are
outstanding, and so are the collection of books.
The NT's volunteers are real informative here - even more than they
use to be. I get some long stories, just because I look at some of
the numerous items. It is amassing how much they actually know of
these families through time. Here, the same family have lived here
until 1966. One room is special that way, it is made up by two walls
- one being the outer round one. Their piano is special that way, it
is the first one constructed to hammer the strings, not pulling
The servants' area is in the basement, and that
something special. It is wide, nice and light. While they dug down
for the foundation, they only re-filled some of the soil. The rest
were filed back on a second wall, making a kind of a mould around
the building. That gave room for large windows in the basement. The
common rooms, the private rooms and the entire kitchen is nice to be
in, for once. I got the feeling of, it might have been a nice place
to work for once.
When I talk to an elder gentleman, he confirms that thought. He
traded furniture with the last marquis, and always looked forward to
come here. If the lordships wanted to talk with the staff, they
didn't call for them, they went own to them - unheard! The last
marquis' farther loved to work in the garden, sweeping leaves,
weeding the lawns and so on, along with his numerous gardeners.
The garden is mostly Italian inspired, but it does disappoint me to
some extend. The flowering parts are fine, but small, the odd
British stumpery is hard to say, if it is coming or going. The round
wall surrounding it all seems endless, especially because you can't
see it all at once - or half for that matter.
The Italianate garden look like a shrubbery that have been neglected
for 20 years. The walled garden is way down at the big lake, pass
the church. It is just been restored - to some extend.
It is huge,
and the main part is now a flowerbed with semi-wild flowers. The
smaller sections are kitchen-gardens.
Except from a few wild orchids, I see no interesting plants, and no
real interesting creations or ideas in the garden.
It is a relative short drive to the little town
Lavenham. It became real rich on the wool in the 15the century,
but when that marked collapsed, they just maintained the timber
framed houses. I park close the the church, which almost seem
cathedralish. Way too big for this little town. Like the Ickworth
church and many of the old houses in this part of the country, the
walls are covered in fist-sized flint stones.
Every corner you turn, more of this (slightly at best) angled framed
houses dominates the road. Those who look slightly more modern have
the old wood underneath the plaster. I try to capture them, but the
cars parked along them kind of spoils the picture.
A few old and real tiny cars passes me, and I follow them back to a
square. I have a long chat with a local lady, but then the rain
The first bottle of methanol is used up, and the White Sprit I found
is "lamp oil" and give a lot of sod. I try some larger supermarkets,
but although they kind of understand what I'm looking for, they
don't know where to find it. I think around 95% of Danish households
have it, and all supermarkets will surely have it. The pharmacy
can't help, but a tiny petrol station have it.
The next bigger village; Cavndish is almost as cosy, but I have had
framed houses enough for one day, especially as it stats to rain.
Haven't mentioned it before, but the Brits are
week from the EC voting. I have seen 1000s of "Vote Out" signs and
three to "Stay". One guy in Oxford had a banner and shouted "Stay,
we are stronger together" once in a while. One was building a ten
meter ship-model on his field, in blue with stars, sinking fast.
Guess he meant "Leave!"
I have a camp-side half way to the next sight,
which I won't make today. It is quite a detour, but it is a
campsite. The rain is massive sometimes, and the lakes on the roads
huge and deep. Sometimes, it feels like driving in a river
with quite some stream. A few times, the water is splashed over the
car. The Lupo take it nice, but many newer cars are pulled over,
because of water in essential parts.
80 kilometres brings me to a little cosy place, with none home. I
park so that they can see me, and eat my dinner. When they get home,
I'm kicked out, as they only accept members. Radham nearby should
have a less strict camp-site. They sure have, but no showers.
Nothing to do but drive on towards the next sight, 75 kilometres
west, looking out for signs. I see one sign, but can't find the place. At
eight, I reach Stowe's Gardens, but the entrance to the parking lot
is closed, I find some big trees nearby, and call it a day. A few
runners passes bye, and a group of cattle gather other side of the
fence. At nine, I figure I'll save some work for the morning.
15/6 I sleep eleven hours, and start
working after breakfast. I'm finish just as the opens, but the sun is not
ready, however it will come. I enter the
House, Park and Garden, and the park seems endless. Much of it is designed by the
very famous Lancelot "Capability" Brown, and it is regarded one, if
not THE one, first English landscape garden.
Here used to be a strict formal garden, but gradually, it was
transformed and expanded through 300 years. Here have been a garden
for many years, and the Eleven Acre Lake (4,5 hectare) was made by
the Romans. The ground is clay - which is good, sand and limestone,
both bad. The Romans used cupper to tighten the limestone under the
Here have been dug a lot to create the "natural" valleys. One took
250 men some years to dig, but it was never filled with water after
all. The statues from the formal garden have been hidden around, and
you just bump into them, one by one.
Other larger items have been shifted too, like the statue of Queen
Caroline, standing on a colon. Here are a rotunda, a temple to
Venus, a temple of British Worthies, a Palladian bridge, a Gothic
temple, Queen's temple, the Temple of Concord and Victory , Lord
Cobham's Pillar, two Boycott pavilions, a Chinese house, Bell gates,
the Western Lake Pavilion, the Hermitage, a Doric arch, Captain
Cook's monument, a three meter fantail - or waterfall, a Temple of
Friendship (which is falling a part), the Temple of Ancient Virtue
and of cause a grotto - along with more buildings. Some are larger
then some castles I have seen.
The grotto was original a temple, which were partly buried with some
of the soil from a excavation. Then another architect imported a lot
of Italian volcanic rocks, and volá; a grotto.
I do a lot of walking, but have to join a guided
tour to see a bit of the giant house
inside. It is a working
boarding school, but the rooms are still in their glory. A bit hard
to get photos, as the "children" are not to be taken photos of, but
just the sealing are fantastic. The artificial marble columns look
so real, and the fake ones might have been more expensive, but the
rock too heavy.
Just as I get out after one hour, and need a tea brake, another tour
starts. It is about the work of Lancelot "Capability" Brown, and of
cause, I would like to join. We do a hour walk in another part of the
park/garden, and get explanations to many of the features, and how
they were made.
All kind of histories were hidden in this "natural" garden. The
long, narrow lake is Styx, the grotto's opening the mouth of Hades
and so on. Other themes are more political, because the owner was
very much for liberty - for the over class that is. It is
interesting, and amassing how much work have gone into every thing -
and at what expenses.
The tour end at the Temple of Concorde and Victory, but the cafe
only have cake and sweets. I do the long walk to the main house, and
catch up on a few more features of the garden on the de-tour.
Then it turns out I have to proceed to the entrance to get proper
food, several kilometres down a narrow drive. And I'm not finish
with the garden yet. Well, tea and bagged Flapjack it is .While I
sit there, it start to drizzle a bit, and I hurry on to see the
Gothic Temple, which someone apparently have rented to live in. The
Palladian Bridge is also big, while the Chinese house is small. The
views over the meadows with scattered trees and the lakes are
fantastic - just like Capability Brown is famous for.
At three, I have hurried the garden/park through, and the rain
pick-up. A jacked potatoes, tea and internet at the main restaurant,
as I must realise; I never make it to Windsor today anyway. Further more,
I would like a camp-site with showers and a laundry by now. I
have one south of London, but I keep an eye out through the heavy
rain. It pays of outside Chalfont St. Giles.
I read up on Windsor, and I might see it one day, along with London.
I'll just pop-bye on the way to KEW for now.
From the eastern England, I passes
London and return to the south-east.