Lord of the Manor

Short history of Waddesdon manner. Built in the late 1800s to house Rothchild’s collection of art treasures and wall to ceiling paintings. Typically ostentatious Victorian architecture with turrets, sweeping staircases and buttresses flying all over the place. Huge gardens including an Avery that seems to contain one of every species and a driveway that says “see that HUGE house up ahead, that’s mine that is so I win“. Rothchild’s famous for banking (I think that’s the word) but eventually ran of out proper cash and bequeathed house and grounds to National Trust.

Who now make about as much money as the Rothchild’s charging people for entry, food, drinks and – possibly – breathing. It’s staffed by a set of crusty volunteers seemingly each missing a limb or a portion of their cerebral marbles. On the plus side, from its lofty position atop a small Chiltern Hillock, you get a fantastic view of the vale without any of Aylesbury in it. But the gardeners must arrive at work in the morning thinking “bloody hell, where do I start“.

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There are some purple and yellow flowers in there – I’m really getting the hang of this horticultural stuff.

Here’s some other grumpy perennials; the Verbalus Sulkiness known for lurking behind other plants in a “life isn’t fair” kind of manner. And Randomus Notheethus, a somewhat sprightlier flower although you’re never quite sure where to find it.

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The freeride frisbee of the four winds was given a good outing. Occasionally it came to hand, but mostly, it could be seen veering off at a potentially painful angle to innocent picknickers at any tangential point off the perpendicular. The safest place was to stand right in front of the thrower.

And since Marie Antionette is represented in the house with some furniture that the kids thought “looked rubbish and all worn and stuff“, we had to have a “let them eat cake” moment.

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All this is only five miles from our house. About half that if I drive down the bridleway at the end of the road and cheat my way through a couple of electronic gates. And since we’ve now stumped up for some middle-aged, middle-england NT membership, we’ll be back.

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