It’s been a fair week with decent enough weather – a bit overcast on the whole but the sun has managed to peak through a few times. Still feels very autumnal, I’m afraid but I continue to hold out hope for a prolonged Indian summer.
As mentioned last week, on Sunday afternoon we wandered over to Burmington Grange, an open garden near Shipston-on-Stour, with our pal Vicky. It was a reasonably pleasant day and the gardens were lovely. The house, in spite of its grand-sounding name, was only built 20 years ago and the gardens were laid out at the same time. It must have been marvellous to start with, essentially, a blank canvas. There’s clearly been a lot of garden design input and seemingly an unlimited pot of money but the result is lovely and will only become more so as the gardens and trees mature. There are lots of “rooms” separated by hedges, gorgeous weed-free lawns (actually, we did see one dandelion in one of the lawns) and a stunning view over the countryside.
A very pleasant afternoon.
When we finished with the garden we trundled down the road to Shipston for lunch at the White Bear Inn. While the gardens were a delight, lunch was a disappointment. The food was “ok” but the service was simply appalling. We waited and waited and waited for our food to arrive – ultimately I had to stop the waitress and ask her if there was any danger we might be fed that day. She apologised and pointed out how “packed” they were (not very). Eventually our food arrived and the girls’ fish and chips were very nice, apparently. My “deluxe” burger was anything but deluxe – dry and overcooked. Shame but I guess we won’t be going back there anytime soon.
Couple of decent bike rides this week and I’ve now finally made it into Scotland on my virtual Land’s End to John o’ Groats bike ride. After slipping over the border I’m now just past Lockerbie – still a ways to go.
We’ve also had a couple of lovely walks, most recently around the Fawsley Estate just down the road from us.
As usual, Ms Playchute strides out ahead!
I had a lovely, close encounter with our neighbourhood sparrow hawk the other day. I was up in the orchard happily strimming and mowing the lawn when I felt an ominous presence. I glanced over my shoulder to see the sparrow hawk seemingly eyeing me up for a mid-day feast. I guess it thought better of it but it was a marvellous spectacle to see up close. I was delighted but the abundance of smaller birds in the surrounding shrubs and trees were less than enthusiastic about its presence.
More from the “You could not make this stuff up” department. I am telling you, this stuff literally writes itself.
Having negotiated the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU which set the framework for Brexit, rammed it through Parliament in three days to allow little scrutiny and having won a General Election majority on the strength of the Agreement, Boris has now decided that it’s a crap agreement after all. He has now introduced new legislation in Parliament to overturn some of the key elements relating to the position of Northern Ireland. So far, so Boris. But what was extraordinary was a government minister actually told the truth in the House of Commons – yes, this legislation would break international law and the treaty the UK had only recently agreed with the EU.
As you might imagine, the proverbial shit hit the fan and the EU is now threatening the UK with legal action. Even some of the looniest and most hardy Brexiteers are pointing out the obvious – if the UK feels it can break an international treaty whenever it likes what hope for its position in the international market place where it hopes and expects to sign marvellous new trade agreements to compensate for its exit from the largest free-trade bloc in the world. It also makes their criticism of China over its Hong Kong policy and other international miscreants somewhat laughable. Still, it’s more or less what we have come to expect of this world-beating government.
Finally, I ran across this in the Washington Post – a Ninja Squirrel Obstacle Course. It’s a long watch but most enjoyable.
Meanwhile, keep happy, keep smiling, keep isolating as much as you can, wear a facemask when you go out and keep your distance. And keep safe.
Lots of love to you all,