We have just spent a super weekend with our son and dil at their new house between Maidenhead and Windsor. New to them that is, but in much need of renovation, they have a lot of work ahead of them, but I’m sure it will be wonderful eventually as they are a very fit and hard working couple. Their house is among others which are at the side of a lake and after a short walk we were in amongst beautiful scenery, with lots of trees around the water’s edge, such a calm, serene view of the lake.
The swans woke up when they thought that food might be offered, but no luck I’m afraid.
Underfoot was a golden carpet of fallen sycamore leaves.
On Sunday we were taken out for lunch to The Oakley Court Hotel where we had a wonderful meal. The building is very Gothic in style and has been the setting for numerous horror films. Dracula and also Agatha Christie films have been set here along with some of the Avengers series with Joanna Lumley when she was a young lady. More recently, it has been the setting for some of the Harry Potter films.
The building is set in beautiful grounds at the side of the River Thames and after our meal we were free to wander and enjoy the sculptures that we found.
The first driftwood sculpture we came across was at the entrance, it was a life size Red deer stag and looked very realistic. Made entirely from driftwood, bark and twigs found as storm damage and a few added bits, he had metal hooves. It must take such a long time searching for just the right piece before each sculpture is complete.
The attention to detail impressed me. All these pieces of wood are mounted on a metal armature and the end result is very lifelike.
Inside the entrance hall is a sculpture of a heron just taking off, again, very realistic.
In the grounds by the Thames, we found a group of lions, not real fortunately,
the notice explains why the sculptor feels strongly about the lions of Lake Manyara.
so many twigs to form the mane, amazing. I didn’t think that he looked very fierce, more like a cuddly dog!
Two females and a cub up a tree trunk beside the male lion.
As this is a gardening blog, I had to find some plants to photograph. By the hotel and the Thames, there were a few boats all planted up for winter with cyclamen and winter pansies. Some of them had cordylines as their central plant which looked rather nice.
I took this photo of our son and dil’s back garden, like the house it has been rather neglected over the years. It is a small space, but small can be very beautiful and I’m sure that one day it will be a lovely place to sit. I have been asked to draw up some plans, but first of all decisions have to be made as to what sort of garden they are wanting, how much maintenance they are willing to do, formal, cottagey, modern, minimalist? Do they want to attract wildlife? At the moment it is on 3 different levels, will the levels be staying or will it become a slope? Do they want a lawn or not in such a small space, all these questions have to be answered before I can think of drawing some plans for them. Obviously nothing will be done while they are working on the house, that is their first priority and will take quite some time, but maybe by the next time we see them, they will have some ideas for me to play around with.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the number of red kites that we saw in the area. To start with we wondered if they were buzzards that we kept seeing, but when we saw the wonderful forked tail, we realised we were in an area full of red kites. The were wheeling and swooping over the roof tops and the trees, once over the garden. When turning in the sunlight, the colouring was absolutely beautiful. Sorry, no photos, but lots of wonderful memories of so many fantastic large birds of prey. At one time these birds were almost extinct in this country and were only to be found in mid Wales. We have been twice to the farm there, where they are fed each day at 3 pm, 60 or 70 of them, filling the sky, we never thought that we would see so many of them so close in a semi rural setting, it was wonderful. The journey back to Devon was horrendous with torrential rain all the way, but we got back safely, having had a wonderful time.