Desperately seeking autumn…
For anyone interested in the classic eighteenth century landscaped garden, Stowe is a must visit location. Or you might just be like me, desperate to find some proper autumn colours.
If you read my ramblings over at Mostly Motley, you’ll know that the autumn display has been a bit subdued around here, so a couple of weeks ago, we went off to Stowe, because let’s be honest, if they can’t put on a show there, nowhere can.
so it probably shouldn’t surprise me, that I often experience a type of time-slip when I’m there. Do you know the story about the two English ladies who visited Versailles in 1901 and thought they’d met the ghost of Marie-Antoinette, sketching outside the Petit Trianon just as the Revolution started. (It’s a fabulous tale, whether you believe it or not) – the ladies said they’d become lost in the grounds of Versailles, and thought they’d found themselves seeing the Petit Trianon as it was in 1789.
Well, when I wander around Stowe, I feel as if I’ve stepped back in time too. It really wouldn’t disturb me at all to see groups of aristocratic ladies and gentlemen strolling along in Georgian dress – enormous powdered wigs, fans and all. Actually I think the National Trust should have costumes available at the entrance, so those of us with unfulfilled dressing-up aspirations could indulge our fantasies.
Which is just as well, because, to be entirely honest, the colours were still a little bit disappointing this year – but at least at Stowe there’s so much else to occupy your thoughts and you don’t have to have a riot of colour to stimulate your more romantic tendencies.
Apparently there are around 40 follies in the 250 acres of Stowe gardens. I’m not sure that we’ve ever found them all, but then we’re not really into ‘ticking things off’ – and there’s always a little frisson when you round a bend and find yourself in front of a temple you haven’t noticed before. But then of course the romantic in me wants to believe the occasional time-slip is a real possibility…
Stowe – simply gorgeous – at any time.
PS: Stowe has new visitor facilities – what a relief, the old ones really were awful – so now if you go on a cold afternoon, you’ll be able to warm up with a hot chocolate (complete with marshmallows) in the lovely new cafe, and thank goodness, the new toilets are fine – phew!