Wednesday, 15 July 2020

The Distancing Diaries - Day 116 & 117


On Tuesday (day 116), after my Wii Fit session and our usual fruit and yogurt breakfast, Jon made sandwiches and we headed half-an-hour down the road, crossing into the neighbouring county of Staffordshire.


Our destination was Shugborough Estate, best known as the ancestral home of Patrick, Earl of Lichfield (1939 - 2005), the celebrated British society photographer. Built on the site of a moated medieval bishop's castle, Shugborough was bought by the wealthy Anson family in 1624 for £4,000 (a fortune at the time) but was torn down in 1693 to create a more modest country house. The building was enlarged in 1745 by architect Thomas Wright to create the elegant Georgian mansion that stands today.


Thomas Anson (1695 - 1773), great grandson of the original owner, inherited the Shugborough Estate in 1762 from his brother, George who had died heirless. George Anson joined the navy as a 14 year-old boy and rose through the ranks to become the First Lord of the Admiralty. In 1740 he commenced an epic 4 year voyage circumnavigating the world. On the journey he captured a Spanish treasure ship laden with £400,000, the largest haul ever seized by an English sea captain. 



Thomas had been on the Grand Tour as a young man where he'd developed a passion for classical Greek art and commissioned his friend, the architect James Stuart, to reproduce classical monuments in the grounds of Shugborough.



After Thomas's death, the family fortune leaked through the hands of his grandson, also called Thomas (1795 - 1854), who gambled his vast inheritance away. In 1842 the contents of the estate was auctioned to raise funds. In 1960, in lieu of his grandfather's death duties, the 5th Earl, Patrick Lichfield, gave the Shugborough estate to the National Trust. For many years it was looked after by Staffordshire County Council until the National Trust took over the administration in 2019.


The estate is still occupied by the Earls of Lichfield and has a working farm and several varieties of rare breeds of livestock.


Based on the Horologium of Andronikos in Athens and designed by James Stuart, the Tower of the Winds was completed in around 1765. 
















Designed by Thomas Wright in 1750 as a folly, The Ruin was once more extensive, was composed from parts of the original manor house and included a Gothic pigeon house. 









Built around 1760 the Doric Temple was designed by James Stuart and based on the Temple of Hephaistos in Athens. 


The design for the Chinese House was taken from sketches made in Canton by Sir Percy Brett, who accompanied Admiral Anson during his circumnavigation of the globe. It was completed in 1747, making it one of the earliest examples of oriental design in the country and a precursor to the Chinese Pavilion at Kew.


Built in the late 1750s, the Shepherd’s Monument takes its name from its central marble relief by Dutch artist Peter Scheemakers and originally formed part of the kitchen garden wall. The outer columns of the monument were added later, in 1763 by James Stuart.


Hadrian's Arch, based on the building of the same name in Athens but with tributes to Thomas's brother George & his wife, who had recently died after he'd commissioned the construction.


Two theories exist that explain this monument. Designed in 1749, the Grade II Listed Cat Monument either commemorates Admiral Anson’s cat who accompanied him on his voyage of circumnavigation aboard Centurion, or it’s a monument to Thomas Anson’s favourite cat Kouli-Kan, the last in a line of Persian cats that he kept as pets for many years.







Unlike other National Trust properties we've visited, although beautiful, there was an air of neglect hanging over Shugborough, maybe because the cash-strapped council had scrimped on the upkeep for years. The mansion's exterior was sad, grey & dingy and both the cottage & formal gardens felt melancholic and uncared for. Hopefully, the National Trust can lavish some much needed care and attention on Shugborough, it will become the grand family home it once was.

WEARING: Vintage block printed kaftan (bought from our friends, Old's Cool Traders, last month), plum hat (retail buy, October, 2019), 1970s tooled leather lion's head belt (charity shop), vintage tooled leather bag (car boot sale, 2012), Doc Martens (eBay)

After a few hours of wandering the extensive grounds we returned to the van for our picnic lunch and drove back home. Although neither particularly warm nor sunny we sat outside with a coffee and the lads at our feet. I did some pruning and dead heading while Jon squashed down the rubbish in the garden waste bin, due for the fortnightly collection tomorrow, managing to squeeze more in.


The rest of the afternoon was spent at the PC, I caught up with blogland, downloaded my Shugborough pictures and tried on last week's Ebay purchase which had been delivered while we were out. Ever the optimist, Jon booked a room for us in Greece for the first couple of nights of our September adventures (fully refundable in case it doesn't happen!)


Tea was stuffed vine leaves, grilled haloumi, bread and salad. We watched two episodes of Dr Michael Scott's Ancient Invisible Cities, Cairo and Athens which, by bizarre coincidence, featured several of the buildings which Thomas Anson had reproduced in the grounds of Shugborough.

I was surprised that it was 6.15am when I woke on Wednesday (day 117), the lads were sound asleep and it was really dark. Although yesterday had been dreary and dull, this morning we had the added pleasure of drizzle. I did my daily Wii Fit workout and ate my fruit & yogurt alone as Jon needed to be at the MOT place early so he'd taken a flask of coffee and a pack of yogurt topped rice cakes to eat while he waited.


Taking advantage of Jon being out of the way I went on-line and bought him some presents for his birthday next month and then swept the upstairs rugs and dusted the spare bedroom & landing bookshelves before getting dressed. Obviously I had to wear the latest addition to my wardrobe, the 1970s cheesecloth top I'd bought from eBay that had arrived yesterday. If you buy a garment 'cos love it, it's almost guaranteed to slot into the rest of your wardrobe seamlessly, this the perfect match with my Phool midi skirt and Lottas.


By now Jon was back - without a vehicle. The mechanic had found a problem so he'd had to catch a taxi back and leave the car at the garage while they fixed it. As nobody we knew had been in a taxi since Covid hit, Jon was a bit wary but both he and the driver wore masks and there was a perspex screen dividing passenger and driver with a gap to pay by card, so he felt perfectly safe.

Yes, those are more clumps of crocosmia but no signs of flowers yet!

The massive lime tree does have its benefits. Despite the drizzle, the area beneath the dreaded tree remained dry so Jon was able to apply woodworm treatment to the skirting boards he'd salvaged from Liz & Al's woodpile.


Meanwhile, having cleaned the spare bedroom, I decided on a midsummer review of my wardrobe, adding a pair of sandals & a top to the charity donation bag and five vintage dresses, two scarves, a belt and three pairs of sunglasses to the stockroom. That should atone for the new-to-me cheesecloth top and another amazing blouse I won on eBay yesterday (whoops!)


Whilst ferreting through my belongings I came across these Clarks' Artisan sandals I'd bought last year. While coral pink & rhinestones aren't my thing I'd liked how they looked when I tried them on. They were absurdly cheap & still in the box and I thought that with the cushioned sole & suede interior they'd be brilliant for walking around Greece - much as I love my Indian chappals they offer no support and, after wearing them for hours, they play havoc with my hip. How wrong I was! The bouncy sole was perfect but after walking to the beach on the first day in Corfu my heels were blistered to buggery.  I'm going to make a determined effort to wear them in properly this week and, if I still get blisters, they're going back to the charity shop.


I also rediscovered this block printed rucksack whilst I was rummaging. I'd spotted it in the charity clearance shop a couple of weeks before lock down and, as I was already loaded down with books, had asked Jon to grab it for me knowing that it was something good....


I can spot vintage Anokhi from 100 yards! This is mid-1970s, it's huge compared to Frank (who's a big lad) and well worth £1!


Next up was a bit of problem solving. I use this hair oil most days - the owner of Asian food group KTC is one of our neighbours & he has a fleet of Mercs with the personalised plates to prove it - it's great on my hair but annoys me as there's no inner lid to moderate the amount you need. After another oil overload I remembered that when I'd emptied the kitchen cupboard last week I'd unearthed this 1970s kitsch souvenir drinks pourer.


He does the job perfectly!


I bought him from a car boot sale along with a handful of other kitsch Spanish holiday tat a few years ago but rather than a bullfighting relic I've decided that he's a Cretan Minotaur.


After our lunchtime noodles Jon applied a second coat to the skirting boards and, as the drizzle had ceased, trimmed the laurel bush, refilling the garden waste bin within minutes of it being emptied. I had a wander around the garden and discovered.....beans!

Squirrel hates the drizzle

Jon got a call to say the job was sorted and the car had passed the MOT so he went off in a taxi to pick it up (this time, although both Jon and the driver wore masks, there were no screens and the driver had a coughing fit halfway through the journey). Despite the on-off drizzle my patio plants felt dry so, after a catch-up with Liz on the phone, I unraveled the hosepipe and got stuck in.


Yesterday at Shugborough I'd fallen madly in love with these huge pom poms which I assume are members of the allium family.


As luck would have it Jon got this gardening catalogue through the post yesterday and I've spent the rest of the afternoon drooling over it, although he's not quite sure why they think he's a member of the aristocracy.


I can't decide whether the pompoms are Beau Regard, Cristophi, Globemaster, His Excellency or Jackpot but I know I need some in Stonecroft's borders, in fact I've compiled a massive wish-list of plants I want.



Tonight we're having grilled haloumi with roast veg for tea. It's Wednesday which means it's rum and cola for afters. Cheers!

Stay safe & see you soon.  

73 comments:

  1. Love the photos of the Shugborough Estate, let's hope it will finally get the care and attention it deserves The kaftan and plum coloured hat look wonderful on you, along with green it's one of my favourite colours. I know how Jon feels about the taxi, yesterday I had to take the train into the centre of Barcelona, (first time since lockdown) as I was examining at the British Council. Fortunately it was practically empty. After my ordeal I had to treat myself! Picked up a copy of Gerald Durrell's Corfu Trilogy, (what a coincidence with you talking about Corfu) which starts with My Family and Other Anilmals, a beautiful, hilarious read. Also bought Murakami, Kafka on the Shore. Have you read these? Really hoping you can go on your Greece adventure in September, it's somewhere I've never been but would love to visit.Stay safe and have a great evening!! xxx

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    1. Hello Diana! Shugborough would be incredible with a bit more care and attention although I suppose it must cost millions to maintain a mansion that grand. I must go back when they open the house so I can have a look at the Grand Tour treasures inside.
      How weird it must have been to be on an empty train. The concept of public transport seems so alien to me after 4 month of not using it.
      Isn't My Family and Other Animals wonderful? I love Gerald (and Lawrence's) writing. Have you read The Durrells of Corfu? It's the real life story of the family, there was a dark tragic story behind their apparently idyllic life which explained the rather lackadaisical behaviour of their mother.
      The few books I've read by Murakami have been fantastic, I shall track down Kafta on the Shore on your recommendation. thank you.
      Have a lovely day. xxx

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    2. I'll definitely check out "The Durrells of Corfu", sounds really interesting! Thanks!! Have a great weekend! xx

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  2. I walked through part of the grounds of Shugborough and over what I seem to remember a large stone bridge with my dogs and saw the cows-it looked faded then but I quite like that.You look stunning in that dress Vix and hat on your visit.I wonder if Jon has kept it a secret Vix and Really he is a Lord which means You are A Lady x

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    1. Hi Flis! Shugborough is a dog walker's paradise, we met some beauties on Tuesday including a mummy dalmatian and her puppy! The stone bridge was closed off to the public (for repairs, I think) but I know the one you mean.
      Yes, maybe Jon's got a castle hidden away somewhere, his memory is terrible, he must have forgotten to tell me. xxx

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  3. Totally understand your problem with the Sandals. I have a pair of Geox walking shoes. If they don't stop hurting me they are gone. Biggest blister of my life, and they are usually so comfortable.

    My husband is on Team Jon and his booking plans. Mine's planning our February trip to Spain. I fear it's a dream.

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    1. Isn't it weird about the Geox shoes giving you a blister, once that happens I get really nervous about wearing them again, those hateful things can be agony and blister plasters are expensive!
      I'm keeping everything crossed that you get to Spain. xxx

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  4. Looks like a fab day out. You look stunning in your purple outfit. Lord Jon, ha ha ha! I guess that's what I'll miss about being retired now, no more chatting to Lords and Ladies but the list of 'things-I-shall-miss-about-working' is relatively small! What about getting some of those gel pad thingies for the backs of your sandals, assuming there's space to fit them on. Those Allium heads look brilliant after they've been hung up to dry for a couple of weeks and sprayed silver or gold at Christmas time. Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday evening. xxx

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    1. Thanks, Annie! maybe Jon's the rightful heir to Shugborough although I feel it would be even more neglected under our ownership!
      I'm glad the benefits of not working outweigh the joys of retirement.
      That's a good idea with the gel pad thingys, I'll see how I get on with breaking them in this week.
      I bet those allium heads would look amazing spray painted, they've got a bit of a 1950s sputnik vibe going on. xxx

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  5. The gardens of Shugborough look beautiful in the photos but I'm with you in thinking the house looks grey and forbidding.
    I'm glad the lime tree has proved useful for something!
    Your new top is a perfect match for your skirt and I love the Anokhi rucksack. The colours are perfect for a holiday in Greece and speaking of which the Minotaur has solved a problem! I hope you get your Greek holiday, fingers crossed.
    Have a good evening with your rum, sodomy and the lash! And hope we finally get some sunshine tomorrow. xxx

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    1. That's exactly it, that bleak grey exterior looks more municipal building than fabulous mansion. Stark white would look terrible but there must be a lime wash they could use to make it look a bit more welcoming and less town-hall like.
      I don't have many stripes in my wardrobe but when I spotted that top as a Buy-it-Now at 6am one morning I knew it would be the perfect match with several of my skirts.
      We're trying not to build up our hopes with the holiday but it made sense to book somewhere for our first couple of nights especially as we can get a refund! xxx

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  6. What a magnificent mansion, even if it does look grey and forbidding, which is no doubt enhanced by the greyness of the day. I love all the semi-crumbling follies and lichen sculptures among the planting, and I personally don't mind a bit of neglect. Maintaining the right balance won't be an easy thing for the NT to do. What a brave decision to book your first nights in Greece in September. Well, you can't wait forever, can you, and if they are fully refundable, why not take the chance? I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you! Sorry to hear there was a problem with the car, but I'm glad Jon had a safe journey back in a taxi, although the second trip wasn't as enjoyable. So, the lime tree does have its advantages after all ... I admire your ability to do away with five vintage dresses to accommodate for your new buys. I'm forever dithering over what to keep and what not, and I'm actually having regrets about some of the dresses I sold back in February. The huge pom poms are indeed Alliums and I think they are Globemaster. I love them too and I'm forever admiring them during garden visits. The gardening catalogue addressed to Lord Jon made me laugh! xxx

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    1. I did wonder if the grey skies emphasised the greying walls of Shugborough. I'm all for neglect if it means the beds and borders and lawns are bursting with life and insects, I think the other places we've visited were probably the better for it, this felt more like years of just getting the job done without much love or thought put into the process although the photos do make it look beautiful.
      I thought Jon booking the accommodation might be tempting fate but, like you say, you can't wait forever and leaving it any longer the affordable choices would doubtlessly sell out.
      Oh dear, I'm sorry you're regretting selling those dresses. I can be ruthless with clothes but I get so much pleasure when I see that they've gone to good homes.
      Thanks for the heads up about the Globemaster, I might have to invest! xxx

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  7. What stunning photographs, Vix!

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  8. Ooops, I pressed publish before I was ready! Another coincidence, I planted two alliums in the garden today - but the wee souls paled compared to the huge pom poms of the Globemaster you saw. I would love them too! You definitely have the gardening bug now, you are well and truly hooked! Congratulations on your first crop of beans. Oh, and excitement galore, I have a crocosmia flower about to bloom!!!!

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    1. Hello Catmac, we're on the same wavelength! I shall order those Globemasters and maybe some smaller blue ones (I've circled far too many things in the Sarah Raven catalogue!) and get them planted. I love how they look. Maybe we'll get VIP treatment what with Jon being a lord!
      Your crocosmia are on their way! I'm excited for you! xxx

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    2. Thank you, Vix. A well needed burst of colour!

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  9. Shugborough looks a beautiful vast place to visit, despite the neglect and you like your on a fashion shoot on your first pic.
    In the garden next one down to us they have some of those Pom Pom plants and they are really tall and just about ready to pop. I keep going and having a look to see how they are doing. I’ll take some pics.
    I’m hoping you haven’t set me off again mentioning yoghurt covered rice cakes. I went through a phase of eating them by the packet load. Philip used to bring them home from Aldi and I had to tell him to stop. They are far to addictive.
    Lynn xxx

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    1. Shugborough was huge, we could have spent many more hours there, I can understand why it's so popular with dog walkers. I'd love to go back and see Patrick Lichfield's studio and all the Grand Tour treasures when we're allowed back in.
      Aren't those pom pom plants fabulous? I keep running outside and gazing at my agapanthus, I do love a weird looking flower!
      Those yogurt coated rice cakes are addictive, aren't they? I used to love the yogurt coated bananas they sold in Holland & Barrett, too! xxx

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    2. Stop talking about those rice cakes haha xxx

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    3. I bet you come home with some later! x

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  10. Being in a part of the world with a very recent history of hosues big and samll. I am stillimpressed even if Shugborough needs a refresh. Just being able to get out and about must be a nice change, though you do so well keeping busy. I've never seen yogurt covered rice cakes, but they sound like a good way to wait for a vehicle. I still have haloumi envy.

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    1. When I looked back at the photos I was surprised at how beautiful Shugborough looked, it seemed rather dismal and imposing close-up! It is lovely to get out and see different things, even the most mundane plant takes on new meaning when you've seen the same things for a week! xxx

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  11. What a lovely estate! Shugborough Estate looks great. I haven't heard about it before, nor about Earl Patrick the celebrated photographer, whose ancestral home it was. How interesting that it was build on a site of a medieval bishop's castle. It is a lovely estate for sure. I really like the gardens and the sculptures. Everything look so green. The entrance to the estate is gorgeous. The Chinese house looks lovely. Interesting that that oriental part of the garden was build such a long time ago, before Asian gardens became a thing. Somebody had style and great ideas.
    I like the purple maxi you wore to the estate. I also like the skirt and the blouse combo. I agree that when we buy items that we truly love and that reflect our personal style, it is easy to fit them into our wardrobe.

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    1. Patrick Lichfield was part of the Swinging Sixties scene here in the UK although you might know him better for his Princess Diana engagement photos which were world famous.
      I loved the Greek buildings, the wealthy really knew how to spend their money in those days, investing in beauty that could be shared rather than flashy cars and designer handbags!
      A lot of women struggle with buying what they love, they're too distracted by what's fashionable and what the magazines/influencers tell them to buy. It's best to ignore the advice and buy what you love. xxx

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    2. I'm old enough to remember Lady Di but her engagement photographs don't ring a bell. I googled Patrick Lichfield, he really took some extraordinary beautiful photographs. Only one of them I recall seeing before and I think that is the photograph you shared on your blog, a photograph of Talitha Gelly and Paul Getty JR on a terrace. She is wearing a fabulous folklore inspired outfit on that one.
      Speaking of wealthy that knew how to spend their money, I wonder whether they had good taste or were trashy things frowned upon? I imagine they didn't all enjoy classical music, Greek architecture and art, but they were brought up to at least appreciate and display it, whereas today it seems people are brought up to appreciate trashy things.
      Women really shouldn't listen to anyone telling them what kind of clothes to buy, it is no way to develop a personal style and find what really works for us.

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    3. I only noticed what you wrote about the estate not being kept in top shape today. I didn't notice any shabbiness or greyness on the photographs, I must have been distracted by all the greenery and the adorable sheep but it is always a shame when such a wonderful estate isn't properly cared for.

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  12. Love your posts they are so cheerful. Had a big chuckle over the unkempt comments of the Shugborough estate as I had been excitedly oh-ing and ah-ing over everything.

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    1. Thanks, ratnamurti! When I looked back at the photos I was surprised at how lovely everything looked! xxx

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  13. Jon will be getting ideas over his head like Paul, when I tell people I am married to Paul young!! They think the singer!!! Poor Japanese people!! no just a balding 52 year old with gimpy legs!! He is really sweet though. Shame about the estate though. I liked the different styles it had . Oriental and greek odd but it work. Says a lot about councils give something like that to them and they run it into to ground typical!!!
    But it’s not like that here. They take great pride in everything in keeping the heritage alive . I really don’t understand I really don’t .
    I love tunic. I think bingo wings and sigh!! I love sandals, I am like you, I love wearing them, but my deformed feet remind erm nope don’t go there! So I wear slydes horrific plastic sandals but my feet don’t hurt.
    Packages have come yay!!! Just need to unpack and clean and sort. I can’t wait. Love and huggs

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    1. He will! he'll be barging to the front of the queue in Morrisons shouting "Don't you know who I am?" I love that Paul is Paul Young, I bet he was teased mercilessly for it back in the 1980s!
      I loved the eclectic buildings in the garden, it was a bit like going on a round the world trip. The rich really knew how to spend their money back then, didn't they? These days it'd be a facelift and a hot tub!
      Don't get me started with councils and heritage buildings, I can't tell you how many listed buildings in Walsall mysteriously burn down in the night.
      My Indian chappals are amazing but I limp so badly after a few hours in them. My feet break out in blisters in anything else and it drives me mad.
      I cannot wait to hear about your parcels!
      Stay safe, Allie! xxx

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  14. I really enjoyed reading the history of Shugborough, it would make a good film! especially the gambling away of the family fortune part. Love your beautiful dress, it looks fantastic on you. I find the way you match pattern and colour interesting, creative and, infact, sometimes a work of art like your skirt and top. Those alliums are spectacular,I think you can dry them and have indoors. I think you need to join your local allotment society (even though you don't need one) for plant and seed swaps, cheap compost and new gardening friends :)

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    1. Would it just? What a variety of characters lived there, from the groovy photographer of the Swinging Sixties to the Lord of the Admiralty, a world traveller, a cat lover and a gambler!
      I've been dying for the right day to wear the new-to-me kaftan, I like that it matched the alliums! I love holding a top up against my rail of skirts and seeing the prefect combination appear before my eyes.
      I shall investigate local allotment societies, great tip! xxx

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  15. The Shugborough Estate looks amazing. There appears to be plenty to look at and I love the images of the bridges. Hopefully a bit of TLC will bring it back to it's former glory. Our NT visit wasn't anywhere quite as grand.
    I love the mirror picture of you in your new cheesecloth top. It reminds me of a chain of paper dolls. X

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    1. Shugborough is huge. I've been trying to book it for weeks, it books up really quickly! You could spend all day walking the trails and crossing those wonderful bridges.
      I'm looking forward to hearing more about your NT visit.
      xxx

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  16. Lovely photos of the amazing Shugborough Estate, sorry it looked a little bit neglected. Love particularly the Chinese House and the Cat Monument. Lots of architectural details to enjoy anyway!.
    And I'm loving your purple kaftan and plum fedora, how gorgeous you look in this magnificent background!. Also love that your new top goes so nicely into your wardrobe!, it looks fab with the midi skirt and cute clogs!, Totally Agree with you about buying things you love because they usually fit into your wardrobe perfectly. (you've explained it wisely!). Looking fab in this ensemble too!
    Love your cute sandals and your block printed rucksack (such a great find!, you're so talented!), and you're right about break in sandals before holidays, they're tricky!. I also prefer more supportive sandals when we go on holidays to Portugal, there are lots of gravel paths and cobblestones.
    And your new Cretan Minotaur oil dispenser is such an amusing thing!, love that you found a use for something so incredibly kitsch!. Brilliant!. I've used all kind of oil pourers and dispensers through the years and the best one was the cheaper, a recycled one from an old vinegar bottle. Yours is way more stylish!
    I admire all these alliums, such a beautiful plant. Hope they grow nicely in your garden!
    besos

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    1. Although the mansion and the gardens were rather neglected I absolutely loved all those structures and statues in the garden, they're wonderful, weren't they? What vision Thomas Anson had.
      I was almost happy that the weather was gloomy and chilly on Tuesday to be able to wear my hat with my purple kaftan and was very pleased with how the stripes and block print complimented one another.
      Much as I love my Indian chappals and how they never give me blisters, like you I need some foot support these days. I shall persevere with the sandals for the next week or so and see what happens. xxx

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  17. Thanks for the nice photos of you guys on your lovely day out. The gardens are lovely and you look spectacular in your purple plum outfit.

    I'm a fan of the old birkenstocks for the summer, as they seem to be the only sandals I can walk around in all day.

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    1. Thanks, Julie! I love my Birkenstocks, trouble is that I can wear them in the UK with no problems whatsoever but as soon as I take them abroad they rub - it must be the humidity - it drives me mad! xxx

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  18. I'm mesmerized by the photos of Shugborough. I kind of like a bit of a distressd look actually.For some reason I am attracted to abandoned run down buildings. There's a bittersweet aura that surrounds them. Seeing these pix make me want to visit UK all the more! My fingers are crossed we can re-plan our trip for 2021.

    Your fabulous outfit against the backdrop of the building looks right out of the pages of a fashion magazine. The new top is adorable. I never find cute stuff like that on Ebay. Guess they have better selection in the UK.

    I am completely intrigued by the Jasmine hair oil and now have to have it.My hair is curly, but tends to by dry and frizz out. So this might work for me. Not sure I can get this same brand in the US, but hopefully something similar.

    Thanks for your entertaining post.

    xo
    Theresa

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    1. Hello, Theresa. I do love a derelict building and a bit of faded grandeur but there was something about Shugborough that felt sad rather than just shabby. Hopefully, now it's in complete control of the National Trust it might get a bit more love lavished on it and at least scrub down the grey exterior.
      When I'm searching eBay I always select UK Only, there some incredible stuff on the US eBay but, like Etsy, the prices are way beyond my budget!
      Try Amazon for the jasmine hair oil. xxx

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  19. of cause you need to grow some extra huge alliums in lord jon´s garden!
    the estate of the week indeed looks a bit deserted..... but the livestock is lovely. you look fab in your kaftan - and the new blouse is gorgeous with that skirt!!
    great eye - the beautiful backpack for one pound.....
    oh - and beans! mine need to flower yet - we had a frosty start this year.
    xxxx

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    1. Lord Jon does need some giant alliums!
      I loved the rare breeds, the sheep had curly fur on their faces and looked like alpacas. xxx

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  20. That plum broad-brimmed hat adds elegance an ordinary straw would lack. As you say, Vix, buying only what you love makes such (rare) retail purchases slot seamlessly into use!

    The cryptic inscription on the Shepherds Monument may be more famous among code-breakers, but I much prefer to speculate about the "Grade II Listed Cat Monument". My vote is for the ship's cat who probably stirred feline gene pools in harbors around the globe.

    Hurrah for the lime tree providing useful cover for Jon's skirting board project (which I researched to learn more about "life in historic buildings")! As local schools try to open in the new normal, outdoor classroom space under big trees is at a premium. Much nicer than tents!

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    1. The advantage of unseasonably cool weather is that my hats come into play!
      I'm with you on the monument being dedicated to a feisty ship's cat as opposed to a pampered Persian. I bet we've come across his descendants hanging around harbours in the Med.
      The lime tree does prove useful although my job is to paint the skirting boards today so I'm praying there's no wind or my work will be ruined by helicopters sticking on it! xxx

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  21. Good afternoon Vix! I have just sat at in the garden with the mother - in -law and listened lol er I mean had a hat and picked plumbs fom my sons tree. I then had a wander around the garden. I am always amazed at how soothing to the soul nature is. Which brings me to your lovely outing. You could sense a bit of neglect but as usual your photos also showed such beauty. What an interesting story to the house. I tried to book a slot for a local castle but like you say murder to get one. I am loving your spare room I bet that is a nice place to do your make up and get ready for the day. Another great ebay find. Like I admitted to Sheila I do not have such style but boy I sure can appreciate it. have a great evening. Shazxx

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    1. Hello Shaz! Listened....haha! You've done your dutiful daughter-in-law duty and got that job out of the way, well done!
      Picking plums? Jealous! Next door have a damson tree leaning over the wall that, since I cut back the ivy in the Spring, looks quite accessible. I'm anxiously checking their ripeness and might have to get the ladder out in the dead of night!
      Shugborough was quite sad in the way it had been run into the ground but the classical statues in the grounds made me like it a lot more. I hope you have more luck booking in today, I was up at 6am and on the PC within minutes - we're booked for next week!
      I can't believe that you don't have style, don't do yourself down, love.
      Have a happy Friday. xxxx

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  22. blimey just re read my comment should say chat! I type as if I am talking to you and well look at all those mistakes hey who cares. Meant to say also am looking forward to A Suitable Boy toox Shazx

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    1. I'm just as bad, my brain and fingers can't communicate fast enough. I was tempted to start rereading A Suitable Boy in time for the series but I think it'll take me longer than a week! xxx

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  23. Thank you for the tour-always love having a look at the places you visit. I've been seeing those globe-like plants around Omaha and admired them without knowing what they are. They look like giant flowering chives. Will be curious to see what you end up with.

    Your hair oil spout is hilarious, and perfect.

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    1. I think alliums are part of the chive family, until Jon got that catalogue through the post i didn't know that there were so many varieties though, I want them all! xxx

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  24. Beautiful photos of your and Lord Jon's day out together :-)

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  25. I very much got the feeling that Shugborough looked a bit shabby and down at heel just from looking at your wonderful photos. I hope the NT works its magic and restores it to its former glory. Still the statuary and the fabulous buildings made it look well worth a visit. I want to live in the Tower of Winds!

    With our recycling bin; OH gets in and jumps up and down on the waste sometimes to make the lid close!

    Loved your kaftan and your new blouse is ace; a perfect match for the skirt and shoes. Good luck with the 'new' sandals. My Clarks sandals are 10 years old this year and are still among the most comfortable I've ever owned. What a lovely bargain the block printed rucksack was!

    Very pleased to hear you will make Greece this year. I'd like to surprise OH this year in October half term and take him to Corfu or even Malta...

    Good idea with the Minotaur spout. I use Moroccan Argan Oil which I first ordered online years ago. I buy the oil in the 1.00 shop now and decant it into the original squirty bottle!

    Garden porn - now that's a very Covid 19 phenomenon!

    Take care
    xxx

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    1. That's so funny, I said to Jon that I wanted to live in the Tower of the Winds as soon as I saw it, it reminded me of a lighthouse - only on dry land!
      The kaftan was perfect for the NT visit - the pockets enabled me to snaffle a few seeds! I was really excited when I spotted the top, it breathes new life into all my skirts.
      I hope those Clarks' sandals soften up soon, the sole is wonderfully supportive and bouncy, it's just that evil back strap.
      There's some amazing bargains for Malta flights at the moment, my brother paid £56 for a return in October (he says it's the perfect month to go!)
      Covid has changed us, I'm already excited about watching Gardener's World later! xxx

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  26. We have Leith Hill Place near us which is similarly quite run down. Aside from being where Vaughan- Williams lived it was also a private school. There's virtually no furniture and the tearoom is run by volunteers. You can even take dogs in with you. However, it has a lovely warm feel to it. Funny how we pick up atmospheres in different places. Arilx

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    1. Leith Hill Place sounds very unusual. I remember Croome having hardly any furniture and I rather liked it as you can really appreciate the architectural details. xxx

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  27. Hi Vix, I wonder what you think of Miami -- nothing much historic here to speak of! The art is weird and the weather is hot; actually, I'm not sure if you have traveled the States much? I ask because I am from New England and was shocked at what passed for "old" in MIA. These grand estates in the U.K. are just WOW! I have been to a few because I lived in London.

    Gorgeous top; keep showing off your finds and adorable fur-babies! xo xo Mei

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    1. Hello Mei!
      I've only been to the USA once, a long weekend to Boston in 2000! It was a beautiful city with so much fine architecture and the people we met were so friendly. I was horrified by the portions of food served in the restaurants and bars though, there was so much of it!
      I'm always amazed by Greece, where streets are often littered with 3000 year old artifacts and nobody seems to bat an eyelid (except me!)
      Have a lovely day! xxxx

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  28. That's rather sad that the Shugborough has been neglected - the buildings did look a bit decrepit in the photos. I wonder how many estates have become the property of the National Trust because of spendthrift former owners who couldn't pay the bills.

    That's unfortunate about the Clarks - I haven't had luck with that brand either as far as comfort goes. Is that a Holt Howard Kitty I spy in the photo of your hair oil? I love those, and have the salt and pepper shakers and the string holder.

    I like the top you purchased on EBAY and look forward to seeing the other one when you receive it. It's been so hot and humid here all of July and I just want to wear loose tops and dresses with wide sleeves like that.

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    1. It's those greying walls, isn't it? I'm all for wild and overgrown in the gardens but there's something sad about an unloved house. You are right, the National Trust has been gifted many an amazing stately pile as the owners can't afford the upkeep, they can still live there, it just means that - in normal times - you get the public traipsing around your house, I think I could live with that, it's an incentive to keep things tidy!
      That is a Howard Holt six penny money box - my Dad bought him for me when my brother was born in 1968! I've always wanted a string holder.
      Cotton tops with voluminous sleeves are just the thing on a hot & humid day, I never understand why women wear tight vest tops, I feel hot just looking at them! xxx

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  29. Lord Jon standing between the gumdrop bushes is my favourite picture!

    I like your idea of an outing - visiting historic places is so fascinating. You look lovely in your purple dress, and I love your new top too - very neutral for you!

    Admiring your pared-down bookshelf as I wrestled stacks of books in our library this morning. We need to cull some of our collection!

    Cabs here are also a little on the okay to iffy side.

    Have a good rest of your week, Vix! Enjoy your rum!

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    1. He's like the lord of the manor, isn't it?
      We'd always loved visiting historical places when we travel abroad but found it really expensive at home in the UK (admission is around £10 per person) - that's until we discovered that National Trust membership for a couple is £10 a month, you could spend that on nonsense in a charity shop every day!
      I was excited to give the purple kaftan and outing and there's something about those natural earthy colours, after years of admiring them on other but thinking they weren't "me" I love wearing them.
      Have a fab weekend, dear Sheila! xxx

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  30. Hello Vix. Thank you for the tour around Shugborough Estate. These historic buildings and their gardens have so much charm ... and intriguing stories! I don't mind a little neglect, far more appealing than something perfectly coiffed!

    You look gorgeous as ever in your new top/skirt combination. Actually, worn together, they could pass for a dress. Hope you manage to wear in your sandals. There's nothing worse than uncomfortable shoes and blisters! (A little tip: throw them in the microwave for a few seconds then put them on your feet) I used to have a few chappals but got rid of them as without support for my arches, they got really uncomfortable. The older I get, the comfier shoes I need.

    Beautiful bedroom view, fantastic new backpack, delicious looking beans and the best is still to come - your HOLIDAY, YIPPEEEEE!

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    1. Hi Suzy!
      I'm with you on neglect over perfection - you've seen our house!
      I love how those natural dyes and spicy colours fit together seamlessly, it's like magic. As for footwear, you're right there. I'm still shudder to think of how I used to walk two miles to work in 4 inch heels weeks before my hip replacement. I probably couldn't get as far as the gates these days without developing a blister or breaking a bone! That's an interesting tip about the microwave, wouldn't the metal buckle blow it up?
      I'm keeping everything crossed for our trip - friends flew to Greece yesterday after their flight being cancelled 4 times in the last four moths, they couldn't be more excited! xxx

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  31. How lovely to have a virtual tour of Shugborough, Vix - it is the local NT place near where my aunt and uncle used to live. If you go inside the house, there is a puppetry collection which was donated by my uncle. You fit right into the surroundings in your beautiful outfit! I love your new top too, which goes so well with the skirt. A lovely post as always, so full of interest and great pics of the house and garden.

    Thank you for your visit - I've had a very busy week and haven't been blog hopping as much as usual so I'm a bit behind. I'm glad you like my latest modelling shot lol! One of my absolute favourite tops, and like most of my favourite stuff, it was an impulse buy. I bought a new Indian skirt on Ebay and it came today - fabulous! I shall probably model that next week, together with my second shi-sha top which goes brilliantly with it. I so agree with you, when you fall in love with a garment and just have to buy it, it always slots into your existing wardrobe perfectly! I am very happy to have got the idea from you of posting photos of myself wearing my favourite things - I'm getting some lovely comments on my blog! What I love about this style of clothes is that they are unique an also very inexpensive as a rule, and you can mix and match a lot of things.

    Thank you for visiting and leaving such a lovely comment. I'm really glad you like my tiny carpet designs. I've started stitching the first one and so far it's coming out really well. In the old days I could work as fine as 28 stitches to the inch with no glasses but these days it's a different story - at 22 stitches per inch I need very good light and magnification! Working with a single strand of stranded cotton this is pretty fine work. Our mutual friend Lynn Holland has asked me to do a rug for her hallway haha - I told her that at 22 stitches per inch, it might take me rather a long time - at least till the end of the lockdown!!

    I can never resist taking photos of the kitties - they are always up to something funny! Ruby wasted no time at all investigating those boxes.

    It sounds as if you and Jon are pretty healthy apart from some joint problems - well done. I am very pleased to have got my weight down now, and keeping it down with very little effort on the whole-food plant-based lifestyle. We are both enjoying the food and I cook a lot with spices - we love Middle Eastern flavours too - more subtle than Indian - although I do make a lot of curries and always mix the spices myself. Eating plant-based never needs to be boring or tasteless! A few years ago becoming vegan would have been the last thing on my mind, and it's sort of happened gradually as I've educated myself about the importance of proper nutrition for health, and also about the ethical and environmental aspects of food production too.

    You have a lovely week too!
    Shoshi xx

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    1. Hello Shoshi!
      I've been wanting to see the interior of Shugborough ever since the National Trust took over in 2019, especially Patrick Lichfield's apartments & the Grand Tour pieces. Your uncle's donated puppets make it even more appealing!
      I'm delighted that you're enjoying modelling your clothes and can totally understand why you're getting such positive comments, you look fab and blogs are always more personal when we see the face (and wardrobe) behind the writer. Keep them coming! I hope you share your new skirt next week - I also snagged a bargain vintage Indian skirt yesterday (like I need more) and shall be eagerly awaiting the post until it arrives!
      Those tiny rugs are incredible, I'm blown away by your skill and patience.
      Cat photos are one of the best things about the internet. I follow numerous cat rescues on Facebook and love seeing poor neglected cats learning how it feels to be loved when they find a forever home.
      Middle Eastern, Indian and Greek cuisine are my favourites. I'm longing for a bowl of gigantes, some crusty bread and a carafe of wine in a taverna!
      Have a lovely week! xxx

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  32. Such a gorgeous trip -- only a half hour away... I am so envious of all that is around you. Even if it is in a bit of disrepair, it is still lovely.

    It is also so nice that you are living with a member of the aristocracy these days. Does that mean your kitties are marquesses?

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    1. We are really lucky to have so many amazing places on our doorstep, joining the National Trust was one of the best things we've done and at £10 a month for both of us, great value for money.
      I better not suggest the lads are nobility, they might get even more demanding! xxx

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  33. Isn't it lovely to go into the garden and find something has appeared. I noticed my first sunflower had appeared this week, I was so excited but had no one to tell as Andy was at work.
    I think every cat should have such a monument. Shugborough Estate looks like a lovely place, despite being a bit ramshackle, and as you say, with luck the National Trust will get it back to it's former glory.
    Plant catalogues are dangerous, as are the bays of packet seeds in garden centres, it's all just too pretty and inviting.
    xx

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    1. I'm excited about your sunflower, after doing really well with them once in the 1990s every crop since has been an abject failure!
      Shugborough was a bit sad but those lovely Greek Classical buildings, the bridges, curly faced sheep and the cat monument made up for it.
      You're right, plant catalogues are very dangerous and I gave the seeds a wide berth when i braved the garden centre last week! xxx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. If you have a blog I'll pop over and return the favour.

Lots of love, Vix