August is like the Sunday of summerUnknown
As we reach the final third of this increasingly strange, challenging and very unique year, I’ve been looking back over the past month with the help of the numerous photos that I took. August for us was literally a month of hot and cold – several days in the mid 30’s when it seemed the entire population of the UK struggled to sleep, then a bank holiday weekend to end the month in which we reached for our central heating switch, as temperatures peaked around the mid teens! My photos reminded me however that there was much to enjoy during the month, with several trips out and about, to make up for the absence of a ‘proper holiday’ this year.
We are very lucky in that our home is located in the wonderful and peaceful West Sussex countryside, and throughout this summer I have enjoyed the opportunity to explore the local area on foot; often when Mrs E is stuck at her desk, working from home! These are shots taken during the past month.
We live on a private road, and at the far end of the road is a small vineyard and winery, Dillions, and whilst we are yet to sample their wares, the views are quite wonderful.
Also close by is an area known as Nymans Woods – which is adjacent to the National Trust property of Nymans Gardens. This is a great place to explore, with a range of well marked woodland trails to satisfy all types of walkers.
Our cat Truffle also enjoyed being outside throughout the month, and she even allowed me to take a few shots of her as she played on a nearby gate.
Trips further afield
After our July visit to the Tower of London, we took the opportunity of joining ‘Historic Royal Palaces’, the self funding charity that manages a number of unoccupied Royal Palaces, including the Tower of London. Following our visit to the Tower, we were able to ‘upgrade’ our tickets into HRP membership with just a small additional cost, and membership brings the ability to visit any of the 6 managed palaces for free, amongst other benefits.
During August we took full advantage of our membership, visiting both Kensington Palace and Hampton Court, both of which we enjoyed a great deal.
Whilst a number of Royals do currently reside in Kensington Place, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, HRP manages that part of the palace that is unoccupied, which is made up of State Apartments and The Orangery. The palace has a varied and colourful history, being a favoured residence of British royals since the 17th Century. Perhaps the most interesting aspect from my perspective were the rooms depicting the childhood of Queen Victoria; she was born and raised in the palace, living there until she became Queen, and there are several rooms and exhibits dedicated to her younger years and education.
As with our trip to the Tower of London, the number of fellow visitors at Kensington Palace was fairly small, as can be seen in this photo of Mrs E in one of the large state rooms – “where is everybody?”
Hampton Court Palace
Over the August bank holiday weekend Hampton Court Palace held their annual food festival within their expansive grounds, and whilst current restrictions necessitated that it be reduced in size, there were still many stalls to enjoy, in addition to exploring the grandeur of Henry VIII’s royal residence.
Located adjacent to the River Thames, even the walk from the nearby railway station inspires visitors, as you cross Hampton Court bridge, and stroll along the main pathway into the Palace grounds.
Whether it was due to the food festival, or just a general increase in people being out and about, it was very noticeable to us that there were a lot more visitors joining us than we had experienced on our 2 previous HRP visits; I’m sure this must be a good sign.
Many areas of the palace are open to visit, and amongst my favourites were ‘Henry VIII’s kitchens’, where we were able to see where and how meals were prepared back in his times, working in the kitchens was a very different experience back then!
Among other areas we visited were the private rooms of George II and his Queen consort, Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach; this next shot shows Caroline’s bedchamber – quite a bed, I’m sure you will agree!
After all that walking, we had worked up an appetite, so we entered the magnificent palace gardens to investigate the food festival. There were numerous stalls selling all sorts of food, drinks and other essentials (we of course had to buy a set of silicone ‘stretch food lids’!). For lunch we settled on a Pork Food Truck (appropriately called ‘Oink’), from which I had an excellent pork burger, whilst Mrs E had the halloumi burger; followed up with visits to the churros stall, and a craft beer tent. Once we were fed and watered, we spent our remaining time there exploring the expansive gardens, and though the day was mainly cool and overcast, with even the occasional shower, it was a very enjoyable visit. I can see this being an annual event for us.
Bank Holiday in Lewes
Our last trip out this month was a bank holiday afternoon visit that we made to the East Sussex county town of Lewes. It’s not a place that I’m familiar with, so it was fun to spend a couple of hours exploring. Our primary purpose was to find somewhere to enjoy lunch, as it was the last day to take advantage of ‘Eat out to help out’, a UK Government post lockdown initiative to encourage people to visit restaurants during the month of August.
After enjoying a delicious french lunch at the Cote Brassiere, we set off to discover a little of this historic town who’s history dates back to around 960 AD. As time was short, we focused on the area around Lewes Castle, which dates from the 11th century. Unfortunately, by the time we got there the castle was closed, but there are some interesting areas around its grounds to discover.
So as August and the summer come to a close, we’re waiting to see what the Autumn will bring us; hopefully it will be a golden one!