Saturday, 16 June 2012
An Outing to Fountains Abbey
Our Dutch friends have been staying and we made a list of places to go - actually we made two lists - a wet weather list and a dry weather list. Luckily Thursday was a dry day, although rather cold, so we went to Fountains Abbey.
It is such a splendid building, dating back to 1132 when the order was started by a group of break-away monks. It stands in extensive and beautiful grounds and our friends were thrilled with the whole visit, not least because they say that with the Netherlands being such a small country with a large population, there is little room for extensive 'parks' like this one.
We had a bowl of soup in the splendid restaurant at lunch time and then in the afternoon we walked in Studley Water Gardens next door. More of that tomorrow. In the meantime, please enjoy enlarging and looking at the photographs above.
On the farm, life has gone on as normal. Poor Tess suffers from pollen allergy and has to have regular anti-histamine injections to keep it at bay. I had to take her again for another one yesterday before she chewed her feet off.
In the fields there is little hope of silaging yet as everywhere is so very wet. The grass is long but it is dying off at the roots because of the damp conditions. This dampness and long grass is not helping a lot of the birds, who have young to feed. Curlew, oyster-catcher, pheasant and partridge should have brought chicks off the nest by now (they are ground-nesters and nest in our fields) but it is a struggle for them to survive in the long wet grass and many will perish. This morning when the farmer walked the fields with our farm dog and Tess, he saw a wonderful silent barn owl swooping low over the grass in broad daylight - a sure sign that feeding at night is difficult. I do hope the barn owls find enough food (mainly field mice, voles and the like) to rear their young. They are such magical birds and deserve a future.
Our friends have just gone off on their journey home. They have been in Wales for ten days (in very wet weather) and have been here since Wednesday with their touring caravan. I must say that this kind of visitor makes it very easy because they pulled their caravan up onto the lawn by the side of the house, used our downstairs loo and wet room, so there are no bedrooms to clean after they have left. I enjoy cooking and did all the meals until last evening when they took us out for a meal - and delicious it was too.
Now we are 'back to normal' and I shall spend this afternoon with my feet up, reading the papers. We shall miss our friends for a few days as they are such good company and we love them dearly. Have a nice weekend.