Recently, it was my great pleasure to meet up with Sara from Sara's Crafts. We have been blogging friends for some time and then became e-mail friends and after 18 months of e-mailing, several phone calls and one abandoned plan to meet each other, we finally met up!
It was so lovely to actually meet Sara in person. I knew that she would be lovely because we had got to know each other pretty well, but it was still good to actually see her in "real life actual". Of course Sara was just as lovely as I knew she would be, and we talked a lot and it was just like our e-mails and telephone calls had been. Anyone seeing us would have assumed that we were old friends - which we were of course!
You can read Sara's account of our meeting here - she was far more organised than me and posted soon after we met! - her photos are wonderful!
I suggested to Sara that we meet at a National Trust property called Hatchlands Park. It is part way between the two of us. I didn't tell Sara, but I had an ulterior motive for meeting there. The house is let out to a tenant called Alec Cobbe, and he is married to a family member of the family that owned Basildon Park, so I was curious for many reasons to see the house.
After a drink and cake Sara and I went for a wander around and of course, being the very good bloggers that we are, we had our cameras at the ready and took lots of photos. Only of the outside, no pictures in the house, and in any case it was far to busy to get any shots.
The grounds are beautiful. The alliums were spectacular.
The room on the far left of this photo is the music room. Concerts are held here.
The lantern which stands over the music room and fills it with light.
Alec Cobbe is a musician and the house is filled with pianos and musical instruments. There are as many as seven or eight pianos in some rooms - yes, seven or eight in one room!!!!!
The house is furnished with pieces from Mr Cobbe's and his wife's family homes. He is married to one of the daughters of the 20th Viscount Dillon.
There are not extensive formal gardens at Hatchlands. The grounds are all very naturalistic in style.
I was very intrigued by this tree which is being held up with the branch or trunk of another tree. Isn't it amazing.
Some years ago Alec Cobbe painted three panels for the Dining Room ceiling at Basildon Park. He has been repainting the Dining Room at Hatchlands Park for about 25 years now by my estimate. It isn't finished! One of the staff asked me if I could get him to finish it. I said that I didn't have that kind of influence!!
I had a play around with some of the effects that my computer can apply to pictures and turned this one from colour - above - to black and white.
Another closer up view of that branch holding up the tree.
I was surprised what a difference making the pictures black and white had. You really see the texture and the form far more in the black and white pictures than in the colour ones.
Only the ground floor of the house is open. It is very full of interesting things, and had it not been so busy I am sure that we would have enjoyed more time looking around.
It really was a wonderful day. We had a great finishing touch too as these beautiful peonies were pointed out to us as we left to go to the car park. Aren't they wonderful!
The best part of the day was of course meeting Sara! We hope to do it again very soon and not in another 18 months time!
Thank you for a lovely day Sara and for your friendship too!