Wednesday, 7 December 2016

I Capture The Castle



Bloody hell, I must be getting old! When Jon asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, rather than suggesting an all-day bender, I opted for an outing to a National Trust property, Powis Castle in North Wales.


Yesterday was exactly ten years to the day that we'd visited St George's Fort in Chennai, once the official residence of the Governor of Madras, Edward Clive (1754 - 1839). Powis Castle was Clive's British seat. Okay, Wales wasn't quite as tropical as Tamil Nadu but at least we didn't have to run the gauntlet of street vendors, beggars, pi dogs and Madam, Madam, just one photo, please.


First stop was the Clive Museum located in the old library, housing over three hundred Indian artifacts acquired by Edward Clive and his father, Robert (better known as Clive of India). I shan't go into the ethics of how a large part of the collection was acquired, if you've read much Indian history you'll already know that Clive was a complete and utter Tory bastard (William Dalrymple's essay is a wonderful starting point) . It was great to finally see Tipu Sultan's tent, previously on loan to the V&A for their Fabric of India exhibition, although I did think I could make a fab dress from it (it's massive, surely they wouldn't miss a tiny corner?)

The castle dates back to the 13th Century and, unlike nearby castles which were built by the English to subdue the Welsh, Powis Castle was the fortress of a dynasty of Welsh princes.


Like many properties, inside photos weren't allowed. It can be a good thing, I think. You can enjoy the moment rather than feeling pressurised into taking decent blog photos.


When we arrived there were deer loitering around the car park, like a gang of teenagers outside a chip shop. The volunteers told us that they get fed during the winter as conditions make it tough for them to forage for food, so they hang around all day waiting for tidbits. Of course, the moment we attempted to take a photo, the little sods did a runner. 


The peacocks were also ridiculously tame. One of the volunteers had to keep chasing them out of the castle with a broom.


Pom-pom alert! Look away now, Frank!



In the month leading up to Xmas the castle's gardens are illuminated. I loved how even the tiniest of spaces were strung with fairy lights and wicker baubles, it must have taken them months.



 The Baroque style of landscaping apparently caused a sensation back in the day. Even on a damp, foggy day in the depths of winter the garden remained extremely beautiful.

It was good to see traces of India in the planting with banana trees and palms dotted around the more traditional foliage.



These yew trees apparently date back to the 18th Century. I love how they've been clipped.




Guess what? We had such a fab time exploring that we only went and signed up for a years' National Trust membership. Middle-aged respectability albeit in false eyelashes, 4 inch heels, junk jewellery and a psychedelic wardrobe.


Powis Castle, Welshpool, Powys, SY21 8RF

Cultured out and freezing cold we made our way back over the border, home. Later on we met the gang in town and went for a bostin' slap-up dinner at Basil of Anatolia, Walsall's new Turkish restaurant, which led to a few too many in 'Spoons afterwards and not rolling out of bed until 11.30 this morning. (Don't tell my brother there's a photo of him on my blog, he'll kill me!)


Judging by yesterday, I think 50 is going to be fun.

Thank you so much for all the birthday messages, you lot totally rock!

113 comments:

  1. Welcome to the club! Glad you had such a great day.

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    1. Thank you! It's good to join you! x

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  2. Happy birthday, Vix: How fabulous!! Those yew trees are amazing.
    And I won't tell your brother!! :)
    xoxox

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    1. Thanks, Carol! Those yews are incredible, aren't they? I'd never have the patience! xxx

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  3. beautiful castle. And those Yew trees are crazy.

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    1. Isn't it? We're lucky to have castles on our doorstep! x

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  4. This place sounds so interesting...and no I wasn't aware that Clive of India was a complete and utter bastard, I shall address that gap in my education and google him forthwith. How incredible are those yews? A Welsh lady told me last week that peacock feathers are unlucky, I don't believe superstitious claptrap and it seems neither do the management of Powys Castle. Looks like fun last night. xx

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    1. There's some great books about the Raj, there really were some horrible bastards profiteering and plundering.
      I don't know where the peacock feather superstition came from. A lady commented on Facebook and said the big boy is called Alan and is known to steal scones from tourists' cream teas when they're dining al fresco in the summer months. xxx

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  5. Glad to see you had a great day. X x

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  6. HBD From Finland!Wish we have castles like that in here.

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    1. Hello and lovely to meet you. You might not have castles but I bet you've got some wonderful forests! xxx

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  7. Castle, dinner out and booze with friends and family - sounds like the perfect birthday to me! If I lived there I would buy a National Trust Membership too - love the history (it's not just for old fogies)

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    1. I do love a bit of history and I'm always fascinated by how people lived so I think we'll be getting our money's worth over the quiet season. xxx

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  8. Belated happy birthday vivacious Vix!! I do like a day trip fir birthdays, and you picked a cracking place to visit. I've never been there. I love a National Trust property and I'm in my 30s, I'll have to look into membership.. ;) xx

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    1. It's a fabulous place, highly recommended. I bet you'd love all the quirky Xmas displays in the castle, too! xxx

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  9. What a great birthday, and lovely to read about. I could definitely have enjoyed it myself! I loved the birthday outfit too, it's gorgeous xx

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    1. Thank you! It made an ace change from the pub! xxx

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  10. The detail inside of Tipu's tent is sublime!
    What a beautiful birthday.
    xox

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    1. Isn't Tipu's tent wonderful? Such amazing condition considering it's 300 years old! xxx

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  11. What an absolutely fecking gloriarse castle!! Le sigh-shame we don't have a few lurking around here. A perfect way to spend ones 50th!
    XXX

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    1. I know you love a good castle. You need a trip to the UK! xxx

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  12. FABULOUS! I love Powis castle and the mad yews. We used to live nearby years ago and you could hear the peacocks in the distance. Noisy sods. Glad you had a great birthday in Welsh Wales an I must say you look very at home there.
    Hell yeah! Fifty is a blast...you'll have a riot.
    Loves ya!
    xxxxx

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    1. I do love Welsh Wales - the North's just over an hour up the road, too.
      The peacocks are noisy buggers, they're like hungry cats. xxx

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  13. happy happy happy birthday!!
    (belated - but here we believe a congratulation before brings bad luck)
    no bad luck on your end i see! that castle is totally cool and i wish i had such a beautiful garden complete with deer and peacocks :-) we like to go to such places for our special days since we´r came together......
    oh - and the evening looks great too!
    i wish you wonderful 50´s!! <3 <3 <3
    big birthday hugs! xxxxxxx

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    1. p.s.: perfect outfit for the location!!

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    2. Thanks, Beate! I'd love a few peacocks and deer in my garden, too - not sure if the cats would! xxx

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  14. Happy Birthday! It was mine yesterday,too. No gorgeous castles but chinese, wine and chocolates with more celebrations later. Love the fairy lights, we have a few in our garden.

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    1. Happy Birthday, twin! Your day sounds just as much fun. xxx

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  15. Happy Birthday from sunny Arizona! Rapidly approaching 50 myself, I echo your sentiments. The castle is wonderful, perfect choice for a birthday outing, you looked splendid in your outfit, adding a much needed burst of color against the winter landscape.

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    1. Thanks, Audra! Yes, no sunshine here (unlike Arizona) so bright colours are the order of the day. xxx

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  16. Welcome to your 50's doll! Any year is what you make it, and you will rock your 50's just like you've been doing with your 40's. I can't do late nights anymore, but I've never been a big night owl anyway. I would enjoy a trip to a castle, and those Yew trees are astonishing!!

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    1. Thanks, Shelley!! I always think I won't be able to stay out late but when I check the clock when i get home I'm often surprised at myself.
      I think 50 is going to be a good one! xxx

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  17. Glad you've kicked off your 50th in style. You reminded me that we went there a number of years ago when we'd been to Llandudno, it was lovely to see it all again. See if you can keep your birthday going as long as me. Mine lasted a year 😂 xxxxx

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    1. I think you had the longest lasting birthday ever - fair play to you!! xxx

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  18. Powys Castle looks beautiful - and so do you! I think you can enjoy all sorts of completely contradictory things, don't you? A night in with shit TV and a blanket, or a mad night out on the piss? A full-on Turkish mezze and many too many in 'Spoons, or a National Trust day trip? Have them all, why not?!
    Such great photos, and lovely to see you out with the gang, and your brother too (shh, he doesn't need to now!)
    Happy, happy birthday to my delicious friend - 50 and fabulous!
    Love you! xxxx

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    1. I couldn't have put it better myself. Too much of anythings a bit dull (unless it's vintage maxi dresses!) xxx

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  19. Hello dear Vix! How nice to be here and to have the pleasure of admiring this place! It is absolutely fantastic, that unique atmosphere! Those hedge-trees are amazing, I had never seen anything like them, what a show! I'm a bit 'away from my blog (and not only from that) but hope to return, it is a complicated period, fortunately here at least in referendum went well, so I can relax a bit', because they are really in pieces! Here's what I need: a bench in the corner of this park and ammiare the castle, statues, and your clothes!
    a big hug

    serena

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    1. Serena! Lovely to hear from you. Glad you're back in Blogland. xxx

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  20. What a beautiful castle and garden! Thank you for sharing your day with us.
    Happy belated birthday! I shared your blog with my stepdaughter and she's as inspired by you as I am.

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    1. What an honour! I hope I live up to expectations! xxx

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  21. such a great birthday!, middle-age respectability never looked so fabulous!! (ohhhh, lovely purple hat!), I would love to visit that castle, it looks magnificent!
    Wish you lots of happy days after your fabulous birthday!
    besos

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  22. Such a beautiful place, like out of a fairytale! And you looked fabulous for your birthday outing! By the way, that sounds like my kind of birthday outing too! :)

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    1. It was very fairytale like, I'd love to see it in the dark all lit up and sparkly! xxx

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  23. That sounds like a perfect birthday trip. I know why the peacocks bolted-they knew they were jealous of you!

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    1. Haha! I think they were mind readers, they knew I wanted to snaffle a couple to take home. xxx

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  24. That sounds like a perfect birthday trip. I know why the peacocks bolted-they knew they were jealous of you!

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  25. Heard of it but never seen it; it looks stunning, I almost don't even need to see the inside the outside and gardens are so glorious. As is your wonderful self. Go 50!!
    Zxx

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    1. It's gorgeous, inside and out. Well worth a trip over the border! xxx

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  26. Great place for a birthday trip, and about the only age appropriate thing I've seen you do, touring a NT property! You'll get hooked and want to join English Heritage and Historic Houses soon (we use them as stopovers for holidays and long trips, beats boring service stations).

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    1. We're already members of the Camping & Caravan Club but don't tell anyone, it'll ruin our reputation! xxx

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  27. Belated happy birthday to you!! Hope the next year treats you grand. I always enjoy seeing photos of National Trust properties over on your side of the pond, so beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, Tasha! Lovely to hear from you. xxx

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  28. Happy Birthday! I live in cape Town but was born in Quarry Bank. My Dad was from Kingswinford. I enjoy your blog so much for a touch of the past as have only been back to the area once since leaving age two. I love your blog for your fantastic unique self. I was amazed to see Powys castle, my uncle Emrys was a houseboy there 80 years ago. He had to fill bathtubs without being seen.

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    1. Quarry Bonk, as the locals call it! What a small world. Lovely to meet you, Stephanie!
      Fascinating story about Uncle Emrys, there's actually a parlour off the kitchen with ledgers detailing the staff's wages and photos of them through the ages. I wonder if he gets a mention? xxx

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  29. Happy Birthday! I live in cape Town but was born in Quarry Bank. My Dad was from Kingswinford. I enjoy your blog so much for a touch of the past as have only been back to the area once since leaving age two. I love your blog for your fantastic unique self. I was amazed to see Powys castle, my uncle Emrys was a houseboy there 80 years ago. He had to fill bathtubs without being seen.

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  30. Those yew hedges, that garden, my dreams are made of that. Don't go knocking the yearly membership I've had many a great day out with Soo on hers! Glad you had such a fab birthday. Xx

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    1. Aren't they amazing? You and Soo need a trip up there. There's a fab looking B&B on the same road and loads of charity shops in Welshpool itself. xxx

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  31. Happy Birthday! Here's to the next rockin' 50 years and I love your recipie for a Grand Day Out!

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  32. Hi Vix, lovely to see you had a fab birthday. The castle and garden looks beautiful, I suddenly have an urge to go on a day trip myself. Xxx

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    1. Thanks, Jess! You should go on a trip. I travel more in India that I do my own country. Hopefully the NT membership should rectify that. xxx

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  33. Welcome to the FABULOUS FIFTIES !! The Yew trees are awesome.

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    1. Thanks, Vicky! I see I'm in great company! Those trees really are mad, aren't they? xxx

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  34. Looks like a great celebration!

    50 looks damn good on you!

    Those yew trees are insane. Like something out of a Guillermo del Toro film.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. Guillermo del Toro is one of my favourite directors. You're so right. They would be right at home in a creepy orphanage. xxx

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  35. Amazing! I enjoyed every bit of this post as much as you enjoyed your day of exploring. Whatever you wish for the day must be just what's right for you at that moment. I often think that we sometimes replace the feeling of happiness NOW with trying to document every step of our NOW. But then I am also thankful that we can!
    Turkish is one of my favorite cuisines, I hope you enjoyed!
    Lots of love!

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
      Yes, while it's nice to share things, living in the moment is often more rewarding.
      xxx

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  36. Happy Birthday! Sounds like a perfect mix of sensibility and fun!

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  37. Thank you for a tour of this beautiful place. And you, dressed to perfection in the velvet SLEEVES! (Drooling still over those sleeves) The grounds and gardens are stunning, so atmospheric in the mist. I can see you lounging in the tent! So pleased you had such a fabulous day... Wishing you love, peace, fulfillment, fun and everything you dream of. You're at the beginning of the best path in life. xx

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    1. I thought the sleeves were perfect for a Medieval castle - get me, dressing appropriately. Must be an age thing...not! xxx

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  38. Happy birthday to you, you dear person! Cheers to you. Looks like it was a great time. The castle looks stunning. It always blows my mind when you mention the age of the buildings that surround you, and those you visit. Needless to say, we have no authentic castles here!

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    1. Thanks, Louise! We Brits do take our ancient building for granted! xxx

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  39. The depressing bit of being 50 is having to scroll to the box for 50 - 60 on forms . the older you grow the further you scroll

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    1. Haha! Tell me about it. I nearly got RSI from trying to find my birth year on the Indian visa application form! x

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  40. We went to Powis last year in the summer and it was absolutely mobbed. I don't tend to go to NT in the winter which is daft because it looks so much less crowded. I'm thinking of Whitwick Manor next weekend after seeing another blog. Didn't realise either that we had a new Turkish place nearby, will have too look out for that as well.

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    1. We only really have any free time in the Winter so it's worked out perfectly for us. Wightwick's ace, my friend works there. Turkish place is fab, weird eating in Leonard Neasham's shop window though! xxx

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  41. Great to have a National Trust pass - you can save a fortune on parking for a start! Looks like you had a great birthday, the yew trees were interesting (I am a tree hugger). Look forward to seeing more trips via your new pass in 2017! Betty

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    1. I'm quite excited to be able to combine exploring with charity shopping. Hoping there's a visit on the cards next week! xxx

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  42. Ha, my family had close ties to Laurence Sulivan, Clive of India's great rival. (My lord-knows-how-many-times-great-grandfather was sometimes derogatively referred to as 'Sulivan's jackal'.) They probably weren't any less bastardly, though. That castle looks like a fab place to visit - really fascinating.

    Sounds like you had a deservedly great birthday.

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    1. Oh, fancy that. They were a pretty nasty lot, weren't they? Although Clive seems like one of the very worst.
      It's a gorgeous place to visit, very atmospheric in the December mist, too. I bet it feels a whole lot different in glorious sunshine. xxx

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  43. What a lovely place to spend your birthday! It looks glorious there and I love how they Christmas up the grounds. Beaulieu House looks a picture at Christmastime. I like a birthday trip, but by the time my day rolls round, most places are closed except for ones like Hampton Court but it's £21 each and then they charge an hourly rate for parking! Add to that petrol and it's a pricey day trip. But usually Andy's working so I'm alone anyway so it's neither here nor there!

    Deer on the car park, how lovely! Just like them to scarper from the paparazzi! Andy had to fend off a young peacock once, it was really feisty!

    Glad you had such a lovely day, you looked gorgeous and the sleeves were perfect for the setting xxx

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    1. Blimey, that's expensive! The NT membership was £8.50 a month for the two of us and includes free admission and parking to most properties. It's a great incentive to go exploring on our days off. xxx

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  44. Happy belated birthday, I'm glad you had such a great day! Your outfit is fab, I absolutely love that jacket.

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  46. Not a bad way to spend your birthday at all. Powis Castle is looking splendid and aren't those yew trees amazing? If I lived in the UK, I would have a NT membership too. If we are going somewhere with lots of NT properties, we usually take out a two-week membership. Love the peacocks, although they do pale against your colourful outfit. Seems like that Turkish dinner was fab (I used to eat Turkish a lot when I still lived in Antwerp), and I love, love the colour of the dress you are wearing to show off Jon's present! xxx

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    1. I'm usually rubbish at deciding to go anywhere so I'm patting myself on the back for coming up with Powis Castle. You'll have to pop in when you're next in Wales, there's loads of chazzas in Welshpool! xxx

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  47. Those yew trees are so funny, well they made me chuckle anyway. Love that you wore purple! That castle looks like it would be cosy inside, when many look pretty austere.
    Glad you had a great Birthday. xx

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    1. They're strange, aren't they? At an angle they looked like faces with massive noses! xxx

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  48. How on the earth do they trim those yew trees? Sky hooks?? Imagine!
    Glad you've been having such a great birthday - happiness is being a year older as the alternative isn't much chop....
    XX

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    1. Thanks, JP! Hope to be celebrating a few more yet, much rather get older than the alternative! Mind boggling those yews, aren't they? xx

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  49. Happy Birthday. You may have to do a blogpost on those Yew trees. They were crazy cool.

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    1. Thanks, Debby! Those yews were crazy. Weeding and a bit of light pruning are the level of my expertise, topiary looks like rocket science, x

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  50. Fucking amazing----what a spectacular day :)

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  51. Happy birthday Vix - you're a fab looking 50 year old!

    Powis Castle looks wonderful and as for those yew trees - amazing - they looked almost other worldly. Jon looked in contemplative mood in his little niche with fairy lights.

    Fabulous outfit - that jacket is gorgeous and the dress/skirt a beautiful shade of blue.

    I do hope the headache the morning after wasn't too bad - unfortunately the downside of getting older is the hangover headache gets worse!

    Have a great weekend

    Veronica

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  52. Glad you had a fab time Vix! Thanks for the tour of the castle :)

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    1. Thanks, Charis. Hope your birthday was just as much fun! xxx

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  53. Happy belated Birthday to you!!!! Can't believe you turned 50 - you look decades younger!

    This castles seams to be a wonderful place ...

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  54. Those clipped yews are surreal; however, the nuisance peacocks and deer are familiar phenomena. Once upon a time I worked weekends in a museum situated in a large park, and I was the one who waved the broom at the pesky birds and beasts.

    How lovely you are in that rusty brown and lilac ensemble, Vix. The hat, the sleeves, the skirt -- all are as beautiful and timeless as the scene itself.

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    1. Apparently one of those peacocks is called Alan and is notorious for wrestling cream scones off visitors dining outside in the summer. I can't image you wielding a broom and fending off peacocks, Beth. The image makes me giggle. xxx

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  55. Very belatedly, happy birthday! How time flies. I vaguely remember my own 50th, long long ago.
    You looked absolutely fabulous! I love the colour of the maxi-skirt you wore, the plush look of that amazing velvet top and the lovely wide-brimmed hat - a gorgeous outfit.
    Powis Castle looks huge - quite a bit to take in. Those Yew trees are amazing.
    Best wishes on your second half-century! I hope your birthday wishes all come true!

    http://www.full-brief-panties.blogspot.com/

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    1. Lovely to hear from you and thank you so much! xxx

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  56. Happy belated Birthday to you lovely Vix! !

    Anne-Marie xxx

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    1. Thank you, dear Anne-Marie. xxx

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  57. Sounds like you had a great birthday Vix! xx

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  58. Happy birthday, and thanks for the picture tour! Those gardens are really something. As for the National Trust membership - hey, if old clothes are worth preserving, as we clearly agree, then why not old buildings?

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    1. Thank you! You're right there. Old buildings (and their gardens) are very much worth preserving, just like clothes and cars. If only more countries would embrace their histories. xxx

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Love from Vix
xxx