Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day 2017: Packwood House

The mistletoe is still hanging in my second story window. Heavy rain yesterday gave way to glorious sun this morning.  We've have been working a Christmas puzzle, since the 23rd, and it's a tough one alright.
After tea and porridge, we all piled into the car and drove to Packwood House. Martin and I walked in the gardens that were open, while brother and sister-in-law walked the dogs in the woods.
The estate is known for its large yew garden of over 100 trees. It was laid out in the mid-17th century with the clipped yews representing "The Sermon on the Mount". Twelve great yews are called the 'Apostles', and four big specimens are 'The Evangelists'. A tight spiral path climbs a hummock named 'The Mount', and a single yew crowning the summit is called 'The Master'. Smaller yews representing 'The Multitude' were planted in the 19th century replacing an orchard. Some of the trees are 50 feet in height.

The oldest section of the house began as a modest farmhouse built in the mid-1500's, and after 300 years in the same family, it was purchased by industrialist Arthur Ash. It was his son who, starting in 1925, spent 20 years turning it into a Tudor house. The property was donated to the the National Trust in 1941.

The day was very cold and windy. We were all happy to get back into the car and search for a pub for a drink. That took some doing as the pubs were open for only a portion of the day and filled with gobs of people.

This evening, we watched a program called "The Miniaturist", based on a 2014 novel by Jessie Burton. It's been made into a 2-part mini-series. Part 1 was intriguing, and ended with a cliffhanger. So very glad that part 2 is on tomorrow night. The story is set in Amsterdam, and the author was inspired by a 1686 dollhouse owned by Petronella Portman, which is on display in the Rijksmuseum.

As I write to you from my bed, the whole house is asleep, and a heavy rain has given way to a few snow flurries.

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