Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A week in the country

In the second week of the month, I took Karen for a week at the Park House Hotel at Sandringham.

Park House

Park House

Unfortunately, the weather was not as nice as the previous week -- winds off the North Sea bringing cloud much of the time -- but at the other end of the house, there's a large conservatory joining the main building to the Coach House annex, which was amply warm (indeed, needed air-conditioning on the mornings when the sun shone); and the location was sufficiently secluded that we were not disturbed by the neighbours whose house we could see from the bottom of the garden

Sandringham house at evening

The neighbours

The late spring meant that the rhododendrons were at full flush

Rose-red rhododendrons

Rhododendrons

The accommodation was basic, but apart from sleeping we didn't spend much time in the room; and the catering was adequate. Day one was a misdirection with a menu including gyoza to start and locally-reared steak as a main; the clientèle being mostly seniors the food was somewhat unadventurous without quite the plain home cooking feel that Vitalise Netley did. But the location did give perks -- like an estate tour that went into the Royal Stud

Royal Applause

Royal Applause deigns to make an appearance

and into the non-public bits of the gardens.

Sandringham gardens

Sandringham gardens from backstage

We made an independent expedition to the Gin Trap at Ringstead for lunch and Norfolk Lavender for smellies

Harvester

Harvester

And while we skipped the organized outingd to King's Lynn and the Thurston Collection of steam things, we did go to Pensforth, jorneying down narrow lanes in driving drizzle, only to have the sky clear and the sun shine as we arrived to be mugged by waterfowl.

Mugged by waterfowl

Mugged by waterfowl

The red squirrels were rather more obliging

Red squirrel

A red squirrel

Red squirrel displaying

Another red squirrel

Other items of note -- I managed to drink them dry of Adnams by the end of the week, and had to move onto Old Speckled Hen; the wifi didn't agree with the 7 year old hardware and 4 year old drivers of my travel laptop, but fortunately I could get at an ethernet connection instead, or use a tablet. And there are miles of trails in the park (and on the sandy soil, comfortable for going barefoot), so it didn't matter so much that I didn't have a bicycle

Beware of the raven

Beware the Raven

So well rested, we headed home, having loaded up with very tasty local beef from the butcher at West Newton

Terrace

Park House Terrace

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