Monday, October 5, 2015

Blenheim in the Rain

The long walk up the drive to Blenheim was a wet one. Rain had ushered in the day, and persisted through most of it. After the now familiar trek to train station and bus stop, we alighted at the Hensington Gate and started up the drive in a light rain. We purchased our tickets, after receiving a 30% discount for using public transport to get there. (America, take notes!)

We found the cafe onsite, and settled down to a cup of tea and called Anne's good friend Pauline. She lives nearby and met us as we were having a look around the Great Court. The house and grounds are truly massive, as befits the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough. They were no less impressive for being shrouded in gray and mist.

The rain was hit and miss throughout the day, and we were still able to enjoy our walk to the Column of Victory, the Queen Pool, a short walk along the Main Lake, viewing the Cascades and the South Lawns. We heard plenty of birdsong, saw pheasants meandering across the fields, and some sheep grazing on the side of a hill.

Visiting as we did, on a rainy weekday, off-season, offered a chance to enjoy the grounds without encountering a great deal of people. It is a peaceful place, inviting one to walk slowly in quiet meditation. The highlight for me were the trees. So many ancient trees, with gnarled roots, and craggy bark - measuring time in centuries, not years. Oh the stories they could tell.

After a lovely tea break (Thank-you Pauline!) we took a bit of a walk through the secret garden. It was absolutely lovely, and every turn in the path was a delight. We elected to stop our tour there, as we had to be mindful of catching the bus back to Oxford train station. I would love to make a trip back to Blenheim one day, when it's sunny, and I have time to tour the house as well as the grounds. 

Now, home, fed, and showered, we can relax. Hopefully, we'll make it to a lovely Cotswold village tomorrow.  Stay tuned...

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