Friday, 20 May 2011

Photo Friday: Post Boxes

Stopping to send a post at the Mail Box on the streets of  London, England

If you type 'England' into Flickr, you get a lot of nice photos of which this is the third most relevant, apparently. If you mistype 'Ebgland' into Flickr... you still get a surprisingly large number of pictures to view before you realise!

The red pillar box is definitely high on the 'Iconic Britain' list, alongside both phone boxes and double decker buses. The first pillar boxes were put up in Jersey on 1852, in response to slow mail collection caused by changing tides. Those early boxes are called 'Penfolds', after their designer. You'll see them a lot during your stay at Harlaxton and it has to be said, there's a great pleasure in putting a letter in the post this way. Although I was fascinated by American mail boxes, I hope the pillar box will remain a British Icon for the future!

(PS. When I was in Evansville I volunteered at the Zoo, and on the 'fact sheet' for the Zoo hedgehog was this interesting snippet: "in England (apparently) if you come across an injured hedgehog you put it in the post box and the post man will take it to the Hedgehog Hospital." I've never seen so many disappointed faces as when I told them that any injured hedgehog wouldn't be pleased to be crammed through an inch tall letter slot and have to drop three foot onto a small pile of letters in a big metal box!)

(PPS. Tomorrow is the Queen's official birthday: happy birthday Queenie!)

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cheese Rolling: a Great BritishTradition?


We do have some strange relics of entertainment in this country, it's true... none of them seem as weird and wonderful as the Annual Cheese Rolling competition though! I love the caption from the Flickr photo shown above: "The winner of the women's race holds aloft a Double Gloucester Cheese after being the first to chase it down the steep gradient of Cooper's Hill in pouring rain during the annual Bank Holiday tradition of cheese-rolling in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, England."


Perhaps if you're here in May you'd like to take part? Th eofficial one was cancelled because it was too popular, but there's usually an unofficial one on May Bank Holiday... Apparently the slope has a 1:1 gradient in parts!

Friday, 13 May 2011

Photo Friday: If you go down to the woods today...

The Dell

One little under appreciated patch of the grounds is the woodlands at the back of the Manor: it's a really nice walk or short run and this dell is only a short way up the path: make sure you visit this before you leave! There's a rabbit in this photo somewhere: can you spot it?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Photo Friday: spring time at Harlaxton

Glamour Day 507

My favourite season for England is definitely Spring: you get the best of everything! It's warm enough for you to shed a few of those winter layers (don't put your coat away just yet...) and on top of that you've had enough water in the past few months to make sure that the new growth is abundant, varied, and best of all: GREEN. I think these flowers are violets: can anyone let me know for sure?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Bluebell woods at Harlaxton

The Bluebell woods at Harlaxton were opened to the public last Sunday, 1 May, a lovely warm spring day and ideal for walking through the woodland. The pictures give a really good idea of what the carpet of blue flowers looked like, in the dappled shade of the trees with their gradually 0pening leaves, but what you miss is the beautiful bluebell scent. This really hit one as soon as you entered the woods - such a pity that we can't take this home, as you can the photos.

A good number of people came, some walking up from Harlaxton village where there was a flower festival taking place, and they seemed to really enjoy their visit. One person described it as our 'best kept secret. It is such a pity that they last for so short a time.

Harlaxton woods at bluebell time

Sunday, 1 May 2011

The Month of May

Here's some facts about the month ahead in the UK...

May Day

Weaving the maypole

Not just something you shout when in danger on a ship, May Day in the UK is celebrated to mark the end of the harsh winter and to look forward to a prosperous summer. Traditionally a Maypole dance takes place: the photograph shown above is of the oldest maypole in England.

On May 1st if you wash your face in the early morning dew it's supposed to have magical properties and to make you beautiful...

Oak Apple Day

Up until the 20th century it used to be a requirement that you pin an oak leaf to your clothes to mark the day that King Charles II returned to the throne in 1860. People who don't wear a leaf can be pinched, giving it it's colloquial name of 'Pinch Bum day'! It's not something I'd heard of before now so I don't think people do it still, but it's always worth wearing one so you can dole out pinches to unsuspecting friends!