Framlingham Castle

This year, we decided that we wanted to  explore as much of England as we possibly could  (especially if the weather was sunny and bright, or even if just drizzling!) and since hubby and I are both amateur history buffs, we decided to go for an annual  membership of English Heritage…. and if you`d like more information, access their site here.

We found this an excellent way to delve into bygone times and learn about this fantastic land and very often, there are family activities, so if you have little ones and furry friends, you could take them along and they will not get bored…and as a bonus you can take a picnic and feast in the same place as royalty did in the past!

Framlingham Castle is situated in Suffolk, once a grand symbol of the imposing power of the Dukes of Norfolk. Originally built by Roger Bigod, a Norman and Earl of Norfolk in the 12th century and remained in the hands of the earls and dukes of Norfolk for around 400 years.

Queen Mary Tudor, the Catholic Queen, first female to ascend the English throne and also first daughter of Henry VIII, and sister of Queen Elizabeth I, also owned the castle for a short period and resided at Framlingham Castle; indeed, it was here that she discovered she had become England`s first female queen.

Framlingham Castle: Across the Mere

Framlingham Castle: Across the Mere

This castle, though mostly a ruin, still retains it`s majestic appearance.

The gatehouse is situated on the side of the ticket office  and this leads to essentially a large open space which nowadays, only houses the poorhouse.

Gateshouse

The Gatehouse

The castle was sold in 1635, by Theophilus Howard, descendant of the Howard family who was heavily indebted, to Sir Robert Hitcham. Sir Robert was a rich and successful lawyer and politician, who although visibly very prosperous and purchased the castle for the hefty sum of  £14, 000, a considerable sum at the time, was known to have had humble origins.

He left  this property to Pembroke College in Cambridge with express orders to build a poorhouse. This poorhouse still stands within the castle walls, surrounded by the imposing 13 towers.

 

The Poorhouse

Castle Walls- View from one of the towers in the castle

The castle is surrounded by a park, used as fertile  deer hunting grounds during it`s years of glory. Often, in these grounds, one would find poachers (including priests!) who could face hefty fines and even imprisonment.

Close-up of the imposing Framlingham Castle facade

Close-up of the imposing Framlingham Castle facade

Finally, if you liked this post, watch out for more….we`ve visited several other places recently and I will be bringing you news and photos of these incredible places, in the next few posts! Have a great week everyone!

Closed for Refurbishment…et voila`..a black swan!

Last week we set our for an eagerly awaited day-trip to Audley End..the day was bright though nippy..but off we sped to the grand house and gardens.

Walking through the gardens...

Walking through the gardens…

At the entrance we were greeted by an apologetic guard who said that the house was closed until the spring due to major refurbishment work (I did say to hubby..trust our luck!!), so we could only gain access to the servants` quarters and the gardens. However all was not lost, since we strolled round the servants` quarters..saw the gigantic kitchen, the dairy and prowled around the gardens in the fresh English countryside air..

We managed to see a few sights..and here are some of our snap-shots…

Off you go to the kitchen!

Off you go to the kitchen and bake pies for The Family!

A massive oven to bake many a pie and cakes!

Oven

What an Oven mate!

We also saw a magnificent black swan and a very friendly Shire horse!

The Friendly Shire horse

The Friendly Shire horse!

The Black Swan

The Black Swan!

Another Year Has Faded Away…

Christmas and New Year festivities are now over and only a pleasant, recent memory…and a new very busy year has already just started…

For us, 2013 was a different kind of year.. we traveled quite a lot .. key destinations included: Venice, Berlin, Malta (3 times) and Gran Canaria.. and for me it was decidedly  a ‘work-oriented’ year too as I changed jobs earlier in 2013 and now doing a medley of very interesting  jobs, as well as all domestic duties a good wife needs to do! 🙂 …. and this is why I could not write very often as most of the time, even in the weekends,  I was trying to balance everything out and the scales often tipped towards the duty and domestic measure!

Christmas Tree in Faded Light...

Christmas Tree in Faded Light…

I would like to thank all those of you who persisted in remaining my followers and also who sent me emails/comments..I truly appreciate your support and promise that this Year i.e. 2014, I will make an extra effort to write at least once a month!!

Let`s see whether I can keep up this New Year Resolution!!

Red Ribbon on  Xmas tree

Red Ribbon on Xmas tree

All The Very Best to You  All and Your Families!

Camilla Rose x

Destination Warwickshire- Part 1

The castlemania continues…so last month I planned a surprise birthday treat for dear Mr M. I was very discreet of course, so he never had the slightest clue…..until I presented him with the following plan:

——————————————————————————

WEEKEND BIRTHDAY ACTIVITIES

TO MY DEAREST HUSBAND

WELCOME PACK!

In order to be part of the activities you must pack an overnight bag and once you have done as instructed, relax, abandon your woes and take up your knight`s armour and helmet and think about where you`d like to be…

CLUE 1: Let`s travel together to the Reign of  Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII…this is where the journey will take you on your first activity!

Kenilworth Castle

Kenilworth Castle

Then, once your explore the land, you will relax fully in a quaint place and have a nourishing meal and the day will end as you wish it to!

Once you are fully rested, refreshed and ready to affront a new day, we shall journey together once more to another place, (CLUE 2 ) further in time than Elizabeth I`s Reign, and considered the seat of a family who changed British history and played a major part in the War of the Roses…somewhere where only the very strongest and wealthiest in England lived..…have you guessed?

 

…………………………THE END or just the beginning?

 

ENJOY!

——–

So, can you guess where the first clue took us to?

The answer to the first clue is Kenilworth Castle and the Elizabethan Gardens in Warwickshire.

Elizabethan Gardens

Elizabethan Gardens

Unfortunately most of the castle has been destroyed, but there is still plenty to see and Leicester`s Gatehouse is still intact and there are several rooms and exhibitions which you can explore as well as the garden.

Leicester Gatehouse

Leicester Gatehouse

Further information can be found via this link:  http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/kenilworth-castle/

As we were walking to the castle, I couldn`t help taking a quick photo of the facade of this cute little cottage!!

Tudor cottage

Tudor Cottage

Woburn Abbey

We recently decided to set out to explore England`s castles…perhaps watching regular historical movies or reading historical novels by Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory, may have something to do with it! 🙂

This is why, a few weeks ago we decided to set out on a Sunday outing to Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire.

Beautiful Scenery at Woburn Abbey

Beautiful Scenery at Woburn Abbey

The history of this great palace starts in 1145, when Hugh de Bolebec founded a religious house for a group of Cistercian monks and this remained a monastic building until King Henry VIII took over the building after executing Abbot Robert Hobbes for treason.

In 1547 Woburn Abbey was given to Sir John Russell, by Henry VIII`s son Edward VI for services rendered to his late father, Henry VIII and Sir John  then became the first Earl of Bedford.  The earldom became a dukedom from 1700.

The family tree can be traced to the present day to the Fifteenth Duke of Bedford, Andrew.  Although the family`s accomplishments are many, one cannot help but mention the Flying Duchess who was the wife of the 11th Duke of Bedford, Herbrand. He was an aide-de-camp for the Viceroy of India and there he met and married Ms Mary Tribe (who became Duchess Mary), returning to Woburn soon after, due to the death of his father the 10th Duke, Sackville.  When the 1st World War broke out in 1914, the Duke and Duchess converted the Cottage Hospital in Woburn Village and the riding school and tennis court in the Abbey grounds into military hospitals.

Duchess Mary became a qualified surgical nurse and a radiographer and dedicated here entire life to the patients who came to Woburn to be treated. She was a phenomenal woman who also had a passion for ornithology and  for flying planes, thereby gaining the nickname: The Flying Duchess and it was through this passion that she unfortunately lost her life.

When you visit Woburn Abbey you cannot help being awed by the vast meadows and land surrounding the palatial building…and as you drive in, you will  spot several deer species, originally imported by the 11th Duke.

The Grand Woburn Abbey

The Grand Woburn Abbey

The building itself is exquisitely well-maintained and as you walk around the estate, you will undoubtedly pass through the Book Room, the Fourth Duke`s Bedroom, corridors such as Paternoster Row full of paintings, one of them a painting of Malta`s grand harbour, and the Grand Staircase. Rooms exuding particular charm include Queen Victoria`s Bedroom and Dressing rooms, the State Saloon and the Dining Room, the latter adorned with typical sights of Venice, by Canaletto and finally the gold and silver vaults which will not fail to enthrall!

The Chinese Diary

The Chinese Dairy

References:

Venice Break!

I`ve been missing from the blogwaves for a while now…the reason is purely that I recently changed my job…and from one, I am now trying to juggle 3 part-times (which generally tend to eat up the weekend) and of course on top of that, actually strive to be a model wife too! : )

However, as you may imagine, this is not  very simple  to achieve, so in order to manage, I  sometimes have to give up my ‘me time‘ which this blog is part of…but I`ve now returned, and hope to be able to post a bit more often…

Ah, a big thanks to those of you who are still following me and also I see there are some newcomers too! Welcome On Board!

So, last month, in an attempt to ensure that I don`t lose my sanity with this continual working mode, and also, as a very belated Christmas pressie to my other half…..we decided to take a very brief vacation in Venice! I`ve never been before, though hubby had visited with his parents as a child…so I was really looking forward to the very brief four days.

On arrival, we sped off from the airport in a water bus which takes you directly to the city of canals, majestic buildings, gondolas (technically, in Italian, this should be gondole) and fantastic masks…

Here are some of the best shots we took..enjoy and let me know what you think!!

ge of Sighs..as the prisoners entered the dungeons.

Bridge of Sighs..as the prisoners entered the dungeons…you can still hear them faintly!

Magnificent Venice

Magnificent Venice!

Take me on a gondola ride please!

Take me on a gondola ride please!

Doge`s Palace

Doge`s Palace

Lovely Array of Venitian Masks

Lovely Array of Venetian Masks and Murano Glass…

Womens` Day and Equality

So, last week for those of you who noticed…the world celebrated International Womens Day and in some countries, such as the UK, also Mothers Day, though on the continent, Mothers Day is celebrated in May actually.

International Womens Day

International Womens Day- Image from google pics

Well, a few days before the event, I heard a radio presenter remark that they should have International Mens Day and one of his female guests said that it would not be possible, since Mens Day is every day!

This statement evoked some thoughts which I will share with you:

In this era of equality for everyone`s rights..wether you`re black or white, female or male, gay or straight..everyone seems to be quibbling about rights. I think that we have got it all wrong– we can never be equal because everyone is an  individual, so what politicians need to do is to ensure that people embrace differences between each other and let`s say it…unless they stop attacking immigrants for what goes wrong in their country, we`ll never get anywhere.

So, let`s focus on males and females. We are told that women have come a long way since the days when they first had the vote (thanks to the suffragettes) and were married off to have kids and tend to the husband and children and never had a say in who ruled their countries. I don`t agree! Nowadays women have taken on roles which were traditionally male ones- in the caring professions (except nursing), law, engineering, business.They have been able to get a decent education which had been denied to their female ancestors for ages and that is a great thing but women are intrinsically different to men- anatomically, physiologically and psychologically, yet we still compete against men for jobs, recognition and salary (and here we still are not equal). These days,  female humans are still getting married or hooking up with men, having their babies and managing children, home, housework and real work.

The Suffragettes

The Suffragettes

Ironically, it`s quite obvious that women (or should we say super-women) have taken more on board than their male counterparts ever will do and what have we achieved with all this? More stress which results in mental illness such as depression which then may result in separation from the children’s father which impacts on the children themselves (and no divorce lawyer can convince me of otherwise) which then grow up and take on adult roles haunted by what happened in their childhood. Politicians claim that they want more women in the workforce, more of them at senior management  and in governments and in academia but realistically, what are governments actually doing in practice to enable women to be ‘ad par’ with their male counterparts? Are they subsidising nursery care and giving women extra leave to deal with the childrens` illnesses because, unless a man is a single parent, female colleagues are the ones who have to take time off work to tend for the child if unwell. And what do we say about housework? How many men actually put in their utmost to help with the chores and if this doesn`t get done, then it`s surely the woman who appears as a careless housewife!

Case Scenario: A woman, Mary strives to get a good education, goes to Uni, gets a degree and then a post-grad.  She starts to work and likes her job. Then she finds the love of her life, John and hooks up with him and has a couple of babies. They decide to buy a house and they both know they need to work to be able to pay the mortgage, bills and give a decent education and upbringing to their kids. Mary realises that she can`t work fulltime as she needs to take care of the kids and let`s face it, her salary practically all goes to the nursery, so why is she going to work when she can stay at home and care for her kids? Mary knows that  if she does remain in work and the next promotion comes up, her boss Larry will give it to Joe, as of course he won`t get pregnant and claim maternity leave or has to work part-time and take leave every time his child gets sick and business is business no hard feelings!!

The Multitasking Woman. Image obtained from tuckertalkin.blogspot.co.uk

The Multitasking Woman. Image obtained from tuckertalkin.blogspot.co.uk

Is the above scenario familiar to you? Does it ring any bells? Know someone in a similar situation? And they say there`s equality!

In conclusion, if politicians really want to do something for modern women, as a working woman with a husband and house but no kids who regularly sees colleagues who have 1-4 children struggle desperately  and work as hard as their male colleagues (if not harder), a few tips:

1. Women living with husband or a partner should have an additional allowance for housework duties irrespective of whether she works or not.

2. Women with young children should have additional days of leave and if governments want people to have more children, then the leave should increase proportionally.

3. If politicians want more women to have top jobs, ensure that salaries are equivalent to their male counterparts first and add incentives to businesses and organizations to promote women.

4. Governments should subsidise nursery costs.

Have your say and let us know what you think…whether you`re a male or female!

Happy Commuting!

Recently, I changed my job and this means that I need to catch a train and a bus to get to work.

The train journey theoretically should take  around 20 minutes and then a bus ride of 10-15 minutes, so you may think that it`s not much of an ordeal. However the constant delays in public transport is a key factor here. I notice that every time I go to the station, there`s someone announcing, a delay for a particular train journey or two.

When you think that  you dutifully pay your fare upfront and then they get away with the constant delays and simply saying ‘We apologise for any inconvenience caused!‘, it feels like they`re taking the mickey really!! Maybe we should be reimbursed for every single delay, since of course when we are late, no one waits for us!

Just felt a bit strongly about this delay business and how it increases pressure on people and if you get to work late, then you have to work later and of course originally you set out to be on time!

However, I don`t want to focus on the cons bit , which I must add also includes people bungling along with their bikes, so basically there are more bikes than people in some carriages!- Apologies to all you guys who need your bikes to commute but maybe train companies should look at having a bike compartment to make life easier for us non-bikers, as exists elsewhere in Europe!

There are some pros with commuting:

1. I get to travel with hubby both to and from work generally (unless I catch the wrong bus!)

2. You get to see such a myriad of different people and fashion ideas!

3. You are not constantly wary of others` driving and need to pay full attention to the road.

4. There`s no fighting over a car park place!

5. You can sit back and read the Metro or your book or Kindle or for some, even have a quick snooze!

So what`s your experience with commuting?

Borgen- The Government

When days are cold and dreary and of course,  the snow makes it impossible to seek entertainment elsewhere, we amuse ourselves by watching a double bill of Borgen! So what’s that?  It is a Danish series which focusses on the daily toils of a very bright female prime minister who has to deal with a coalition government, is pursued by the media and unscrupulous politicians and has to battle through her private life and manages to come out smiling at the end of it.

Borgen Season 2From flipperdeflap.blogspot.com

Borgen Season 2
Downloaded image from flipperdeflap.blogspot.com

At a first instance, you  may wonder…How can this be interesting at all? Probably it`s about high-powered individuals who have loads of cups of coffee, fancy banquets and decide peoples` fates…it`s not like that at all. First of all, Mrs Nyborg is very much a strong-willed woman, with a young family. Due to the increasing pressures of the role,  she becomes a workaholic and her husband decides to leave her and asks for divorce. Then one of her children becomes very ill and gathers quite alot of media attention. So of course, her cup is quite full!

Borgen is not only about the prime minister, but also deals with people around her like her spin doctor and members of the press and  fellow politicians. We see very much the projected image of these people and then have an insight into their private life, where there is so much going on, that it`s a small wonder how they keep on at the game. This of course, makes you wonder and think that it could be very similar for real-life politicians!

Mrs NyborgImage downloaded from www.guardian.co.uk

Mrs Nyborg
Image downloaded from http://www.guardian.co.uk

We actually saw the first series last year, so this second series continues, but you`re never bored and the script is cleverly written and moreover, the storyline is realistic. The prime minister ‘s character is believable, human and empathetic and let`s hope some real-life politicians follow her model!

Have you watched it? If so, what are your thoughts?

Winter Blast!

This week the UK has been enveloped in a layer of white….the snow has hit us!

So these are a couple of pictures I took as I was walking in the snow:

It`s snowing!

It`s snowing!

I must say I was quite tempted to stop and take a photo of the trees whilst I was driving, but of course I didn`t give in to the yearning….although I had the feeling I was driving through a Christmas card!!

This was another picture I took as I was walking home from the train station and dropped my gloves in the process…Brrrr!!

Houses along the river

Houses along the river