an out in the rain

It was perlmonger‘s twelvtieth birthday yesterday – i asked him if there was anything he wanted to do, and he said “not really”. So we skived the day off to go National Trusting.

We started off going over Burrington Coombe (behind a horse box) to Cheddar, and thence down the gorge (behind a coach) to Glastonbury, where we had a mooch around all the fey shops, and a nice breakfast brunch at the bottom of the town. It was just starting to rain as we headed back to the car, to set off for Stourhead Manor, an NT property I’ve been meaning to visit for years. By the time we got there, it was *bucketing* down, but there is a lovely Palladian house there to view.

Except not on a Wednesday, or Thursday; it’s shut then. The gardens were reputed to be lovely, and as we are enthusiastic, if sporadic, walkers, we were equipped with waterproof jackets and hats, and I also had stout walking shoes and a trusty stick. So we ventured forth – we walked for a couple of hours, I guess, all the way down to, round and back up from the lake, after viewing the rather minimal exhibition in the basement of the house. It was actually quite enjoyable despite the moistness, although I did wonder if my thin leather gloves would ever be the same – they were so wet that the silk lining came out of the right one attached to my hand, but I managed to get it all back together properly this morning.

We dripped our way into the tearoom and had a cream tea, then popped into the Farm Shop on the estate for some cream and parsley. They had a tub of beautiful Guernsey cream for half price – £0.92 – and gave me the bunch of flat leaf parsley for free, which I thought rather kind.

We bore them home through the rain and mist, and added them to 2/3 of the sirloin I’d got out of the freezer that morning, concocting a beef stroganoff – it was extraordinarily nice, the best I’ve ever made, I think. That was followed by some mince pies made on Tuesday with some puff pastry that was lurking in the freezer, and the rest of the cream. A jolly nice birthday tea, we thought, and a jolly nice day out, despite the rain – which doesn’t impinge that much if you are properly clad. Which we were.

p.s. We’re going to fit in Clevedon Court, Tyntesfield and (on Saturday, when we go to Taunton to see Show of Hands) Montacute House. Got to get the value from this membership before we move! And got to visit them before the end of October, when all the houses shut.