Courtesy of my new Nikon Coolpix P900 superzoom...
I first visited Chirk Castle (near the Welsh border, not too far from home) during primary school, although I don't remember much about this particular trip other than my Dad telling me a story about the red hand symbol that appears on the front gates and how that symbol came to be used (a story I've not been able to corroborate from other sources, so could well be complete hogwash - but never mind, eh?)
I went back there in around 2008 on a whim and found it to be a truly fascinating place with wonderful gardens and great opportunities for an amateur photographer bod like myself, and I now make a point to go back there at least once a year - mainly just to chill out in the grounds, but sometimes to take some new photos.
I went today with Jem, and somewhat ironically of the photos that I took (and present to you above) there aren't any of the Castle itself. I did take quite a few, but they all look a bit "meh" so I've not bothered selecting them for display here.
I was also quite surprised to find that a couple of new areas had been opened up in the Castle state rooms, places I'd not been in before. In some of these rooms were seats that did not have holly placed on them - meaning that they can be sat on if desired. Despite this, most of the seats in question looked rather old and it irrationally bothered me that people were sitting on them, rather than just leaving them be.
Anyway, enjoy the photos! I'll no doubt go back next year (or perhaps even again this year if the weather allows)
With the very un-British weather we've been having, we've recently started letting the cats outside. Nutmeg is happier with the choice, but doesn't seem too bothered about the outside world - she'll spend a little while out in the garden (10-15 minutes at most) and then come back in and go to sleep on her favourite chair.
Fenton, on the other hand, can't get enough - he stays out for hours upon hours, and then comes back completely knackered - which gives us a welcome break from his nasty side.
A nice local wedding this time around - a day spent at the Lion Quays hotel and spa near Oswestry for the wedding of one of Alex's university-pals - Vic - and her partner, Phil.
With some surprisingly good weather considering it was a Bank Holiday weekend, the day went pretty much as well as anyone could have hoped - no mishaps or problems along the way! Typically when I go to a wedding at least someone gets a broken arm or a fire alarm goes off or something similar, so it's a nice change to not require a call to 999 at any point throughout the day.
I took my camera with me, as ever, and snapped a few shots. Well, I say a few - it actually turned out to be 210 photos, not including any of the evening reception (as my camera battery had run out - schoolboy error!)
I've whittled this down to 86 photos, but I have to admit I'm not overly happy with some of them - I used my 18-55mm kit lens for most of the day, I should have stuck to my 50mm prime for better quality.
Ah well, it was a super day anyway - delightful company in wonderful surroundings. Can't ask for more really, can you?
This weekend saw the marriage between Jenny - one of Alex's friends from Aberystwyth University - and her partner Arni. The wedding took place at Steventon Church (which, funnily enough, is in Steventon in Oxfordshire) with the reception afterwards being held at the Village Hall in nearby Eynsham. The following day, a get-together and barbecue was had in Ducklington, another nearby village.
So, quite the tour of Oxfordshire, then!
A good time was had (hopefully) by all, especially at the reception where the ceilidh band succeeded in getting me on the dance-floor - no mean feat!
Congratulations to the happy couple, and thanks for inviting Alex and I to enjoy your weekend with you all!
Since we moved house in November, Nutmeg has been a little unhappy. Being left on her own for long periods of time (while I was at work) was never ideal, and now with a bigger (and more empty) house I think she's just not as comfortable.
So, we've been out and bought Nutmeg a companion. Say hello to the newest member of the household, Fenton:
And yes, he is named after the YouTube viral sensation.
He's a British Blue Shorthair (although not a pedigree, he has got a bit of moggy in him somewhere.)
He's also bloody tiny! We're keeping the two separated for now until they can get used to each other's scents and presence.
With a day to kill in London, you're doing yourself a disservice by not going to Harrods and indulging in a far-too-big-to-be-good-for-you glass of Morelli's gelato.
Chirk Castle (which - unsurprisingly - is in Chirk, in Wales) is one of my favourite places to visit. The castle is great, it's steeped in history and it has the most awesome Castle Gardens I've ever seen.
It also has a very nice set of State Rooms that are open to the public for certain periods of the day. This is one of my favourite photos:
Spotted this spooky decrepit-looking cabin at Lake Vyrnwy in Wales, and just had to take a photo.