Monday, 25 April 2011

The One About Speke Hall....

Yesterday Mum and I took a trip out to Speke Hall, near Liverpool.  We're both members of the National Trust, and this one wasn't too far away, and we hadn't been before.  We got there for just after 11am to be told the house wasn't open to the public until 1pm, but we could always sign up, for free, to a tour of the house by one of the National Trust volunteers.  Well of course that's what we did!  So our tour started at 11:15, with just enough time before for a quick trip to the ladies, or o we thought.  On starting to make our way to the house (it was some way from the reception area) I read the back of the visitors pass, which said make sure you get to the front of the house 5mins before the tour is due to start, and that the house is a ten minute walk away!  Well given that we had 5 minutes to get there we got a wriggle on (a new phrase I've picked up from M and that my Mum had never heard before which made her laugh!) and very quickly hotfooted it to the house - only to find we were there in under 5 minutes, and that the National Trust were obviously erring on the side of caution with their 'it takes 10minutes!!!!!'.

The gentleman showing us around was dressed in full victorian attire, and was very knowledgable about the  house and the family (as he should be really if he's giving a tour but anyway), and told us lots of little anecdotes and stories as we went around.  Apparently one of the upstairs bedrooms was haunted (I'll tell the story later if anyone wants to hear it), and there were lots of little hidey holes around the house.  The man of the house, one William Morris, had two wives, and get this, 19 children!!! 7 by the first wife (I believe she dies, but not sure why) and 12 by the second!  I can't really comprehend having that many children, but as Mum said they didn't have contraception in those days!!!

After our tour round the house we meandered round the formal gardens, and found our way into the bluebell woods.  It was lovely because it was still so quiet that I could stop and take photos without anyone else accidentally getting into the shot.  I've been after some pretty shots of bluebells for a while so I tried.  You'll have to be the judge of how good they are :)  I also wanted to try out my new remote for the camera that M's father got me for my birthday last year (I know its taken me a while to get round to using it, but the weathers nice now).  The night before M helped me work out how to use it, and I was all set.  I lined the camera up on the tripod (a pressie from M the Christmas before last - one of those ones with wiggly legs, only about a foot tall) and stood next to Mum and pressed the button and, nothing happened!  I went back to the camera checked all the settings and tried again, still nothing happened!  So for the time being I gave up, because I didn't want to hold Mum up much longer.  (Don't worry I did come back to it later, but more of that in a mo).

By this time we decided it was time for lunch, and with it being such a warm sunny day we had a picnic in the grounds of the house.  Whilst we were having a break I thought it would be a good time to have another go with my camera, so I again set it all up, and tested the camera and got this shot of my Mum's feet.

I thought that would be it and I again set the camera up for a shot of us together (as we only go out with the two of us its rare that the two of us are in a photo together), and guess what???  It still didn't work!  I have no idea what I'm doing wrong, but I'm going to play with it at home with M.  As a last resort I did the usual thing and held the camera at arms length, but of course at such a funny angle it made our necks look huge and gave me a double chin!  So that picture will not get shown!!!

As we still had the afternoon free and to make the most of the weather, we thought we would attempt the  external walk round the grounds, which was just over a mile long.  (I say attempt, the leaflet said it had rough terrain and that it was fairly steep in places).  We needn't have worried, the ground was fairly flat and there were no steep hills!  We stopped for a while on a bench along the way to watch the aeroplanes taking off, yes the house it right next to Liverpool airport.  It was quite strange to be in this lovely setting with this old house and beautiful grounds, to hear the thundering of an aeroplane every ten minutes or so!

Whilst on our little walk I again tried for some interesting photos.

I look large from the waist down in this photo - its only because I've got my jacket tied round my waist!

Mum has this habit of taking pictures and standing too far away.  So I set the shot up let her take the first one and then told her to take a step in for the next shot, and then another step and so on, and the final shot is really quite good.  Although my hair looks very windblown and untidy, but Mum said it demonstrated the surroundings more!

We finished up our walk and headed home for a much earned cup of tea :)


Alison said...

Sounds like a good day out( except for the camera) that William Morris the artist's home-or another William Morris?
Alison xx

CoventryAnn said...

Lovely series of photos, sounds like you ahd a good day out.

Connie said...

loved loooking at your photos!!

Denise said...

lovely photos, I'm sure Speke Hall was a subject of the 'Most Haunted ' programme a while back :-)popping over from Shimelle's class

Wanda said...

Nice post, and I like your photo at the're outdoors after all, so your hair should look windblown. Sounds like you both had a great time!

Lisa-Jane said...

Oddly I like the shot of the feet best - very clear, well lit, good rule of thirds and all that! I like the layout you did about the day too. See you in BBFS.

JO SOWERBY said...

we used to go to speke and little moreton hall when i lived as a child in nantwich. it still looks beautiful,
Jo xxx