A Dark Horse: Hidcote, Not So Rosy:Berrington House (1): Foodie Festival.

With Royal Ascot next week, here is another well-known phrase for you:

A Dark Horse

Not the main favored candidate. Someone somewhat unknown who exceeds expectations of all others in an event. This saying is said to go back to the Victorian politician Benjamin Disraeli who, apart from finding time to regularly become Prime Minister, also found time to write a novel called "The Young Duke". In the book there is a description of a horse race in which the two favourites cannot make the running. In the meanwhile "a dark horse...rushed past the grandstand in a sweeping triumph".
Georgia Tech was a dark horse in the 2004 NCA basketball tournament.


The changing faces of Hidcote Manor Garden; which D. and I visited last Tuesday ( 10 / 6 ).
The  pictures clockwise from the top date 07; 05 ; 07 and present day.

The brightness and vibrancy of yesteryear  has  given way to a more muted approach. It is now wears a pastel palette. The borders are tightly planted with many shrubs and Hidcote '  gives of ' a less perfumed air.

But that's not to deny the beauty of the place; where sharp border lines demarcate the various passages through the garden sections.

Here is a selection of the treats in store for the would-be visitor at this time:

It was after all T. S Elliot's favourite garden

"Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take 
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.


On Friday June 6th, D. and I visited Berrington Hall  in Herefordshire. The house stays proudly surrounded by  Capability Brown's  final landscape.
Although it possesses  a slightly austere exterior, the house has delicate interiors and a homely welcoming feel.


In keeping with Mr. Brown's scheme of things the park slopes down to a large lake.

D. and I spied some geese activity nearby.

Amongst its other virtues  Berrington has an attractive walled-garden with plenty of colour on show.

The main reason for our visit was the display of costume inside the Hall; principally from the television series " The Duchess " . Here is a little taster. More next week.


Yesterday ( 13 / 6 ) D. and I visited the Cheltenham Food Festival. It was the first day and  we were there for the opening time of 12 noon.

Unfortunately on a perfect summers' day, the doors failed to open to nearly quarter past. Not a good start.

But, once inside,  there were gastronomic  treats to view and I felt called to the bar.

By the time I had a foaming pint of organic beer from the Stroud brewery, served at an acceptable temperature and keenly priced, I was in a considerably mellow mood.


Well the weather seems finally settled and we can enjoy the World Cup and Ascot.
Let's hope ' Uncle Roy ' delivers the goods tonight and puts the country in a cheerful frame of mind.

Cheerio for now,


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