Well, we went, Lesley and I, despite the rain, to Hyde Hall for our Autumn visit. It was just mizzling when we left Chelmsford, seemed to be clearing when we got there, reasonably dry while we had an early lunch, OK when we set off up the hill, and then it started. Down came the rain! For a short time it was quite heavy, but we were under the trees and didn't get the worst of it. The rest of the time it was steady but not too heavy. As we walked down the hill again to the shop it stopped raining! And you know what - it didn't make any difference. We still had a lovely time.
Lunch was scrummy. They make a good soup at Hyde Hall. Last time it was roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup. This time it was good old leek and potato, absolutely delicious. The sort of soup I would like to make myself. A proper, home-made texture, well seasoned and piping hot. With it we had a big chunk of walnut bread. I strongly recommend it to anyone who visits.
As we wandered through the shop to the entrance, we noted several things to look at more closely at the end of the visit.
It may have been raining pretty steadily as we explored the gardens, but it really didn't matter. After all, what are brollies for? It was very different to the last time we visited, at the start of the Summer holidays. Then the flowers dominated, demanded attention, totally swamped the more subtle beauty of the foliage. Today the autumnal colours dominated. Reds, yellows, purples and oranges all jostled for attention. It didn't seem in the least bit dull as we wandered down pathways, across lawns and over bridges. There were still a few, increasingly bedraggled, reminders of summer but the asters, dahlias, grasses and berries caught and held the eye. It was wonderful, and I took enough photos to keep this blog illustrated for several days to come.
Finally we wandered back to the shop and spent a lovely half hour or so perusing all that was on offer, buying here and there, putting back more than we put in our baskets, always with Christmas very much in mind. We both tried a perfume tester - mine was rose and Lesley's was peony. They turned out to be stronger than we expected and we ended up driving back to Chelmsford with open windows to avoid being gassed! I found a little Christmas tree cutter, so small that I had to hold it in my hand as it would have slipped through the gaps in the basket. At the checkout, both ladies looked, admired and asked where I got it from. As I put in my PIN number, one of them slipped off and returned with two, one for each of them and they were hurriedly ringing them up as we left the shop.
So - all in all a lovely day, despite the rain. I'm glad we went.