Sunday 4 April 2010

Egg heads? Maybe just eggs.

Whereas in other houses this morning, children were running merrily around shrieking with delight as they found Easter eggs under cushions and perched on picture frames, at our place it was silence punctuated by agonised groans as people* tried to decipher cryptic clues such as 'Perverse kind of jam', 'Regimental Sergeant-Major's stock-in-trade' and 'It's easy, Jack!'

(*Including one who was attempting to operate the machinery while handicapped by last night's being Saturday night, despite having been laughed out of the party when announcing an early departure because of needing to be up in time for the Easter Egg Hunt next morning.)

I see that England is under snow again, winter reluctant to let go despite the clocks having gone forward several weeks ago. Amazing. I remember an Easter when we went to Woodstock near Oxford and it was brilliantly hot weather, like high summer. We stayed with friends and had a picnic in the grounds of Blenheim Palace near the lake with the half-sunken bridge that was one of Capability Brown's rare hiccups.

We didn't go over the house then - Woodstock's twelve pubs were more a focus in those days - but we did last year when we stayed at Oxford. The Churchill family has lived there since the land was given by Queen Anne to John, first Duke of Marlborough ("there was a man" - brilliant, brave and handsome too) and I enjoyed the Winston exhibition which included his letters home from boarding school and military college: "Papa, I will take your advice about the cigars and don't think I shall often smoke more than one or two a day", plus the auburn ringlets that were cut off his head when he turned five, and his maroon velvet siren suit from the war. But there was a man, too.

It's a fabulous place, the house and the grounds: it's a World Heritage site, it's got American connections (Vanderbilt and Hallmark!) and Harry Potter too. It's a must-see.

And afterwards, revive yourself at The Trout, which we found by muscle memory alone - a perfect stone pub by a weir with a calendar view across the meadows towards Oxford's spires.


TravelSkite said...

Thank you! Shame about the heart, though...

theinfoindia said...

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TravelSkite said...

Welcome, Saurabh! You might like to check out my Indian posts - though, no doubt, you've been there, seen that yourself.


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