Thursday, 24 June 2021

The Distancing Diaries - 23rd & 24th June, 2021

 Wednesday got off to a glorious start and it was already warm when I got up and wandered around the garden. After my Wii Fit session, we had breakfast, Jon made sandwiches and we jumped into Gilbert and headed off to The Cotswolds for our weekly National Trust adventure, this time revisiting the utterly wonderful Snowshill Manor.


We'd last visited Snowshill in September 2020 - see HERE for the full history & background to Charles Paget Wade's masterpiece.


With foreign travel pretty much off-limits (fingers crossed for some good news from BoJo later), a lot more people are having to holiday at home at the moment and with The Cotswolds already a popular tourist spot, I was lucky to snaffle the last two slots when I booked our trip last week. A lovely couple on holiday from Newcastle Upon Tyne offered to take this photo of us together. It's the first wearing of this 1970s Sidgreene of London maxi dress, one of the fabulous garments my friend Cheryl gave me earlier this year. It's the maiden voyage for Jon's bostin' bird shirt too, found in the clearance charity shop at the back end of last year.


 Snowshill is a sixteenth-century house best known for its 20th-century owner, the marvellously eccentric Charles Paget Wade, who spotted the property advertised for sale in Country Life magazine whilst in the trenches of France during WWI and bought it upon his return in 1919. Fascinated by his grandmother's cabinet of curiosities, Charles made it his life's work to collect beautiful handmade objects. He used the manor as a showcase for his collections, living in a tiny cottage elsewhere on the estate.


Charles was adamant that Snowshill wouldn't be a museum. It would be a dramatic theatrical space to display his remarkable objects. He would greet visitors to the manor dressed in one of his two thousand theatrical costumes. Sadly his extensive wardrobe wasn't on public view when we visited but it's the perfect excuse to return later in the year. What a fabulous looking man and, to further add to his appeal, he was a cat-lover as well as a clothes lover!




A trained architect, talented painter and skilled craftsman, Charles confessed that he was no gardener and he wasn't interested in collecting rare and exotic blooms, he just wanted a garden that looked beautiful and gave pleasure to all who visited and he certainly achieved that.




























When we'd visited last September Covid restrictions meant that we weren't allowed inside the house, although I vividly remember my visit as an eleven-year-old schoolgirl on a snowy Easter Tuesday back in 1977. Forty-four years later and the house was just as exciting as it was the first time around.


Charles wasn't widely travelled and almost all of his treasures were found in England, some picked up for pennies or rescued from destruction and others he paid small fortunes for. He spotted this collection of ancient Samurai armour hidden beneath a tarpaulin in a derelict shop in Cheltenham! 


 Charles believed exquisitely handmade objects like these held stories which connect us to the craftspeople who made and used them, a tangible link to the past that he thought should be appreciated and preserved. 


A minimalist's nightmare and an absolute dream to me! I know I've said it many times before but our £10 a month National Trust joint membership fee is worth every penny.  


We ate our picnic in the 24°C sunshine lounging on the grass in the orchard and even took a middle-aged selfie for posterity! 


We'd been invited to a bit of a soiree and were back in Walsall drinking ice cold beer in one of the neighbours' gardens within ten minutes of getting home. Having had a few nibbles with our drinks, when we got home we didn't bother with tea, cracked open the rum and watched the thriller that was France vs Portugal, staggering to bed emotionally drained shortly after 10pm.


On Thursday, after a day's respite, it was back to the mirk and gloom of earlier in the week. I'd left the bathroom plants soaking in the bath overnight and, after putting them back, did my Wii Fit workout and had a wander around the garden to harvest a few more strawberries.


After breakfast, I managed to do some deadheading, cut back the Candytuft in the chimney pot, pinch the side shoots from the tomatoes and stake some of the nasturtiums & sunflowers before the heavens opened and I had to scuttle back indoors. If the utility room sink leaking wasn't enough, we had more water problems, the tap in the bathroom had stopped working so Jon had spent the morning sorting that out. Old houses, eh? You've got to love 'em!


I spent the remainder of the morning catching up with Blogland until Jon called me for noodles. After lunch, we spent a while pottering around a somewhat damp garden accompanied by the lads.





I'm dressed from head to toe in clothes bought on my travels in India - although I should say head to ankle as my feet were bare. 


The recycled sari silk top was bought in Jodhpur last year and the organic cotton, block printed maxi skirt was from Cotton Cottage in Margao, Goa back in 2016.


After trawling through previous posts to find out how long I'd owned my skirt I spent the rest of the afternoon reading about our past adventures on my blog and giggling at how Jon nearly fainted with fright watching me scale the side of the stepwell in my bare feet for a photo (more HERE). Oh, how we miss travel - although I shouldn't really moan, it's only been 9 months since we last escaped these shores! I'm keeping everything crossed that the bargain flights to Greece I booked in a moment of mad optimism in the midst of lockdown go ahead in the Autumn.


Tea was a Spring Garden vegetable (broccoli, broad beans, leek & mint) Higgidy pie for me and a steak & ale one for Jon & Frank. Euro action returns on Saturday which means that we've got two football-free days so we'll be catching up with East European cop drama Zadasa Przyjemnosci (The Pleasure Principle) later.


See you soon! 

48 comments:

  1. What a fantastic place to visit. Charles seemed like such a fascinating man. I love his passion for clothes, handmade things and cats. I'm getting Oscar Wilde vibes from that photograph of his. His collection is amazing. I loved reading about how Charles saved that Samurai armour from ruin. His dedication to hand made things is wonderful. The garden of his estate looks very nice as well. It is a lovely estate, thanks for sharing. I was just telling my husband about National Trust and how it is such a great project. If I lived in UK, I would be a member for sure. I love the dress and the straw hat you wore to this estate. Good luck with the flight to Greece. I don't travel abroad, but if I did, I would definitely visit Greece.
    I also love your outfit consisting of Indian clothes. Great throwback photograph from your Indian travels. India is such a magical place.

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    1. It really is an incredible house, I don't think there's another house in the Uk like it. Thank goodness for people like Charles who valued handmade items decades before their time before they were lost to the nation forever.
      He does have a look of Oscar Wild about him in this photo. In others there's a strong resemble to David Bowie.
      Greece is magical, I get the feeling from seeing your photos of your part of the worl you'd feel very much at home there. xxx

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  2. I am sure your Autumn flights to Greece will be a go, the world seems to be opening up as soon as their populations are appropriately. Canadas border is still shut mostly but word is by end of summer things will be open

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    1. I do hope so. Greece remains on the amber list for now and several countries (Italy, France & Germany) are demanding Brits isolate for 14 days if they want to visit. Let's hope things change in the next three months! xxx

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  3. I loved it there. My friend's Granny used to clean there and she always spoke about their being a witch's room at the top of the house. I couldn't find any mention of it and it was only when I saw photos of it in the Museum of Witchcraft that it reminded me. It was known as the Witches Garrett. Arilx

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    1. What a fantastic place to work! I had heard rumours of the place being haunted, maybe that's why Charles opted to live in a cottage away from the actual manor house! xxx

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  4. Fingers crossed for your trip to Greece. Everything seems to change day by day now around the world.
    I do feel like I'm getting a series of National Trust tours through your blog, so thanks for that. Obviously not the same as being there, but I'll take whatever I can get.

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    1. Tell me about it! Nobody knows what's going on from one week to the next. At least I can postpone the flights if needs be! xxx

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  5. I'm sure your trip to Greece will go ahead, but fingers crossed for you - I can tell you're jonesing for travel, Vix! The National Trust properties are amazing - such a great idea to have "subscribers" to help pay for them, and give you access. I just swoon over all the beauty. What an interesting and handsome man - he looks right at you.

    Love your new dress - it's awesome on you - and good job, Jon, that's a great casual outfit (Jon and Logan dress very similarly). Here's to good news in our future!

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    1. I'm hoping things will have sorted themselves out by September, I live in hope! While there's lovely places in England nothing beats immersing oneself in a different culture.
      The National Trust is such a brilliant organisation, I love being a member! xxx

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  6. love that orange cross front top. Did you happen to run into Agatha Raisin? (I love that show)

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    1. Thank you! I miss shopping in India.
      I had to Google Agatha Raisin, I'd never heard of it. xxx

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  7. I bet your trip will be a go. This was a fascinating visit this week. Sorry about your water plumbing woes. We had a massive issue last fall under the crawl space and our house is only 33 years old so old or new, no fun.

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    1. I hope so, Greece is still on the amber list at present but there's a few months for it to change!
      What a pain about your leakages, too. As if our incessant rain wasn't bad enough. xxx

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  8. Thanks for taking us on another lovely adventure. Tonight I can relate to staggering to bed emotionally drained so I'm cutting my comment short. Have a great upcoming weekend! xxx

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip. Hope you get a good night's sleep and feel refreshed and ready to face the day tomorrow. xxx

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  9. What a wonderful two days you had. What a gorgeous romantic Charles Wade was. I could just wander in that house for days.on a minor scale in 1950 when I was eight we would go to visit the sweetest little - under 5 ft. - 93 year old later and two daughters. They were from Scotland but had lived in India for many years . A whole wall in the sun room was covered with daggers and their china cabinet was a dolls house version of that stately home. Jam packed with so much. Carved ivory balls etc.i would spend the entire afternoon looking in that cabinet. How I wanted to open it and hold some of those magic items. Your garden is exceptional. Such colour.. you looked sooo sweet in the selfie with your hat and I do like Jon’s shirt. đŸ„°

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    1. Snowshill is wonderful, it fascinated me as a child and my Mum & Grandparents adored as well, we were all collectors of lovely things!
      The house you visited as an 8 year old sounded incredible. Some of the most equisite items in the world are made in India (and still are) and I bet those treasures were a sight to behold!
      Jon got lots of compliments about his shirt! xxx

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  10. How lovely it is at Snowshill - I love the idea of a house full of curios and living in a minimalist cottage nearby! how eccentric the owner was. My grandmothers house had the same stone/leaded windows - they don't make them like that any more (more's the pity) Fashion adoration has to go to Jon this week - although you loo fabulous as always - I like his suede boots with red socks and trendy shirt - he looks great! The pics of you two together are lovely too. Boris hasn't put much on the green list but I remain optimistic :)

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    1. I loved Charles' idea of having all his collections out on display and living elsewhere, the best of both worlds and it must have been a fantastic party venue, too! Mum and Dad's house had the same leaded windows as well, I was so pleased that the couple who bought the house kept them rather than ripping them out and having modern copies!
      Jon's shirt is fantastic, isn't it? He keeps reaching for teeshirts since lockdown and I'm glad he finally wore that birded beauty! xxx

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  11. I think we would love a trip to Snowshill, it’s history and quirkiness is fab. That’s a super picture the couple took of you and Jon. Your dress colours are so vibrant. We should all donate to your national trust membership Vix as you’ve given us some brilliant days out.
    I’m glad you got to have a little soirĂ©e with friends, it’s nice meeting up with folk isn’t it and your weather is far better than ours. Send a bit of sunshine up here please
    Lynn xxx

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    1. You would absolutely adore Snowshill, Lynn and Philip would go wild in the shed! It's a gorgeous place and very doable for you when you're visiting your sister! xxx

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  12. beautiful garden and a very interesting house!
    i would have lived in a cottage outside too - some of this - fabulous - stuff my come to life in the middle of the night.....
    you both looked very chic in your colour coordinated outfits - the dress is lovely!
    all the rain works well in our gardens - its very lush at yours and here.
    xxxx

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    1. I loved that he lived in a tiny cottage with his cat away from all the wonderful things he collected, the best of both worlds!
      Our garden is looking very lush from all the overnight rain, the ferns are bigger than I am! xxx

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  13. Another wonderful visit, and I'm soaking up the sunshine in your photographs - it's pouring with rain here today!
    It's lovely to see how the gardens change throughout the seasons. X

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    1. We've got your rain today!
      Snowshill is wonderful. I remember being captivated by all of Charles' wonderful things as a child, I blame him for my collecting habit! xxx

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  14. A lovely day out for you, I have been there myself. xx

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  15. I liked the look of Charles Paget Wade - very Heathcliffish! Snowshill looks wonderful and inside looks a dream - all those artefacts to look at. Our NT visits have been curtailed as OH has decided to work full time until the end of the year. I am not a happy bunny. I think I'll have to get out on the NT visits on my own soon if I want to see anything - they'll all be closing for the winter around October I assume.

    The new to you dress is gorgeous and looks wonderful on you. The perfect dress for the weather on Wednesday. Loved the Indian skirt and sari top, too. I do hope you'll be able to get away this year. The on/off lockdown/not lockdown scenarios are beginning to piss me off.
    xxx

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    1. Wasn't Charles a striking chap? Snowshill is just wonderful, I could have spent hours in the house if there hadn't been restrictions!
      I can't believe OH is sstaying a wrk. How frustrating. Don't despair, a large number of NT houses are open all year round and just close for the Xmas/New Year period.
      It was fabulous to get a day warm enough for a strappy dress, they seem few and far between at the moment.
      This travel business is just daft at the moment but I'm staying optimistic for the rules for the double-jabbed to be relaxed by the Autumn. xxx

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  16. Snowshill looks absolutely delightful, and its Oscar Wilde lookalike owner is a man after my own heart. I guess they would have had to turn me out at closing time looking at all those treasures. I'm loving that photo of you two, even the selfie isn't too bad, unlike our attempts. That maxi is gorgeous and I'm loving the look of Jon's "bostin' bird shirt". You definitely picked the right day for your visit, too.
    Your India bought outfit is stunning too, and I do remember that photo, totally understanding Jon nearly fainting with fright. I'm feeling faint-hearted just looking at the photo. I often get lost reading back my travelling posts, even if they're a bit bittersweet right now. I hope BoJo had some good news. Seems that we - the Flemish part of Belgium - is a green area now! Who would have thought! xxx

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    1. It's such a shame we had a time limit as to how long were were able to spend inside Snowshill, there was so much to see - we'll definitely be going back when the restrictions are over!
      I was amazed we managed a selfie without chopping half a head off or getting an arm in the way! Jon's bostin' shirt got loads of love, I reckon "bird print shirt" was a popular internet search on Wednesday night!
      That's great news that you're in a green zone! I'm so glad I've got so many travel posts to re-visit and recall. I'm still optimistic about September! xxx

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  17. Oh gosh, that orange cross-top is lovely - but check the left side seam; it looks like there might be a couple of places that the seam is opened (at least that is what it looks like might be happening in the picture - I had enlarged the pic to see the pretty details in your outfit and then noticed there might be a loose seam on your left side. Anyways, The grounds looked lovely too.
    Dawn P. Albany, GA USA

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    1. Hello, Dawn! That's the reason I wear that top in the garden, it's falling to bits although I didn't notice how big that rip had got until I looked in the mirror and saw a bare boob! All visibly mended now...until the next time! xxx

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  18. The gardens are lively and it is nice to see your summer days as it is raining and cool here.

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    1. We've got the same weather here today, boo! x

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  19. Ah, lovely sunny shot of you and Jon together. I love the one of you eyeballing the greenhouse too. Charles Wade sounds like a reet funny character and Snowshill looks very interesting, with all its cabinets of curiosities. Now that amazing shot in Jodhpur... I'm sensing that kind of non-heath and safety compliant safety barrier would not be allowed in this country! I can hardly bare to look :0 Lulu xXx

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    1. Thanks, Lulu! There aren't many photos of us together, it's quite good to prove we were acrtually somewhere at the same time!
      Snowshill is gorgeous, I reckon we'd have got on like a house on fire with Charles!
      I love how lawless and crazy India is, can you imagine being able to even get on the steps at that well in the UK? xxx

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  20. Charles Wade looks to be a very handsome interesting man and I'm sure yourself,Jon and him would have a lot in common to talk about and become very good friends x

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  21. Thanks for such a lovely trip around Snowshill. I am afraid I prefer the garden to the house - whilst I could never be a bare-white-walls minimalist the interior has far too much 'stuff' for me!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip, Jayne. I better not invite you round to ours, your head might explode with all our stuff! xxx

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  22. You are beautiful, you and Jon in that fantastic home, surrounded by greenery! A nice walk .. the paths lined with flowering hedges .. A magnificent garden! I am sure that in the handmade creations, those beautiful collections you have seen, there remains a feeling of love of the artist. Serena Sunday!
    Hugs, Carmela

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    1. Thanks so much, Carmela! Lovely to hear from you! x

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  23. I agree with the commenter who mentioned Mr. Wade's Oscar Wilde vibe. He was a very handsome man, and had a collector's eye - what's not to love? The gardens are beautiful, but I would have been more interested in all the cool stuff inside the house.
    I got my second vaccine this weekend (and am feeling like crap for it) so I will start thinking about travelling in the fall. I miss my physically distant friends.

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    1. Good looks, a love of cats, costumes and hunting down rare treasures - what's not to love?
      I'm sorry you're feeling rough after the second vaccine. Here;'s to a speedy recovery and some kind of normality returning! xxx

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  24. woww, Snowshill Manor is a fabulous house, and a fantastic visit, thanks for sharing all these details about its magnificent maximalism and craftmanship!. And a lovely garden too, I've enjoyed all these photos. You look fabulous in your maxi dress and cute hat in this fabulous background too!.
    Also looking fabulous in your Indian clothes and putting a smile on my face when remembering your adventures back then. Hope all we can travel soon!
    besos

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    1. Snowshill is wonderful, I could have stayed there for hours! xxx

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Lots of love, Vix