This is a bitty, rather random blog post - a bit like my brain at the moment!
First of all I had a really lovely 'staycation' this summer. I had hoped to get to Ireland to see friends but unfortunately by the time I was able to book flights they'd gone up to silly prices. So I stayed at home.
I spent one day at Castle Acre Priory. I'd called in there a few months ago and walked around the edge but this time I was able to go in and took the audio tour which was fascinating.
On another day I walked with a friend from Dedham to Flatford Mill along the Suffolk/Essex border to visit the RSPB Wildlife Garden which is almost next to the National Trust tearooms at Flatford.
It's a really lovely garden, free entry and had lots of information and activities for children.
After we'd left there we did the obligatory walk up to Willy Lott's House as made famous by John Constable's The Haywain.
I also spent a day in London with Celia, when we visited Dulwich Art Gallery and the Ravilious Exhibition. It was wonderful. Such detail and such light in his pictures. It's finished now but there are still some images of his work on the gallery website here.
The next week I drove down to Bexleyheath to visit The Red House - a house commissioned by William Morris and designed by his friend Philip Webb.
We took the tour, which was really interesting and then wandered around a bit more after lunch.
Isn't this ceiling stunning!
If you're interested, like I am, in the Arts and Crafts movement it's a wonderful day out. (Celia went a few months ago and has more photos and information about it on her blog which I can recommend reading)
And finally (for now) my new chair covers came this week, 2 weeks earlier than they'd originally said, so the 2nd hand very traditional chair now looks rather different and has already been given the feline seal of approval!
Today has been a day of almost constant rain and storms. Then suddenly it cleared and left a beautiful evening so I went for a walk along the river Stour to the Sudbury. No more words are required, just enjoy the pictures of my stunningly beautiful Suffolk. (click on any image to enlarge it)
After what seemed like months but was just over 7 weeks, my dining room, stairs and landing are almost finished and I love it.
This is what it was like before I started, with dark red paint
and dark pine furniture,
That's all been replaced now.
The dark red paint has been replaced with a pale taupe,
and the dark pine furniture has had a coat of white eggshell paint to brighten it up,
and the carpet in the dining room has been replaced by a beautiful oak wooden floor the same as in my lounge.
On the stairs and landing the red paint has gone too and the floor has been painted white, the same as I did in the bathroom.
I bought myself a new lampshade,
and a 'new' chair for under the stairs (the chair was actually from eBay so is only new to me).
This is the only bit that isn't finished yet as I've ordered snazzy new covers for it in this fabric and they won't be ready until the end of September.
The only 'slight' snag is that a certain cat has decided that she really likes the chair and is probably not going to be impressed with me replacing the covers. But I will be able to see her better as she's quite well camouflaged at the moment and I've nearly sat on her on several occasions!
I love Marks Hall, I've blogged about it before. It's a wonderful arboretum with gardens and lakes not far from me, I'm a member and I go there often. Today's visit was a little bit different though as throughout all of August they have the most fantastic sculptures throughout the grounds - over 230 of them.
There are sculptures that are big and in their own space,
some stand by water,
and some float on the water.
What I really loved was the sensitive placing of the sculptures, especially those in the walled gardens where they clearly enhanced their surroundings.
I really loved these fish swimming through the grasses.
Willow angels hang from trees,
metal sycamore wings spin round in the breeze,
and birds rise from swathes of white agapanthus.
These are just some of the photos I took, there are more on my flickr stream.
If you're in the area it's well worth a visit - I shall definitely be going back before the sculptures go at the end of the month, as looking at the catalogue and the website I missed quite a few!