A big sky weekend

A big sky weekend

It seemed just fine when putting the date in my diary sometime last Autumn, but returning home from South America last Tuesday with the prospect of an immediate weekend away I wasn’t quite so sure.  Still, we’re always up for adventure and so we headed in a north easterly direction on Friday night, down memory lane in some respects.


I had two workshops in my diary and my hero and I decided to make a bit of a weekend of it, taking the opportunity to revisit old haunts and explore some new ones.


In what seems like another life now, we lived in Leicestershire.  In fact, it was our home for two years, in between East Yorkshire and Gloucestershire but as we realised on Saturday, we didn’t really remember that much about it!  Still, whilst I enjoyed a day working with the ladies of the WI, my hero paid his respects to King Richard III before reminding himself of the second house of our married life.

February 2016

Then and now: a garage conversion and new windows, plus the addition of the porch.  Well, it is over 30 years ago since we lived there!


At the end of the afternoon, we drove out of Leicester and headed for our weekend destination: Stamford, our attention caught by the sparkling white temple at the Gipsy Lane road junction.


Our base for the weekend was the George Hotel in Stamford, comfortable but extraordinarily busy.  We pottered about in the late afternoon sunshine, enjoying discovering a new place for us.


Our plans to visit Burghley House on Sunday were thwarted by winter opening hours, so instead, we hopped into the car and headed further east, through the flat fenland landscape, so similar to that of Holderness where my Grandad’s family farmed.


In a place where the sky is so large, the minute by minute changes are rather noticeable, too.


As we approached Boston we could see the church tower – the Stump – on the horizon.


We spotted a few references to the original pilgrimages to the Netherlands and subsequently to the USA – it being Sunday there were a few people mooching about but not much more going on.

We carried on a bit further north, in search of…


the sea!


A walk along the pier, maybe?


Even if it does stop short of the water when the tide’s out.


On such a beautiful day, where better place can there be


to eat fish and chips


than Skegness?!


Well, in reality, the fish and chips weren’t up to much and were pretty tasteless, the seafront looked more like this


and all the amusement arcades made finding the wide, deserted beach pretty difficult.  But the sea air felt good and we enjoyed being here.  We thought we’d find a quiet bit of coastline and sit and read the Sunday papers, but it wasn’t to be…somehow we left the coast behind and seemed to be heading right back to Stamford.  Was that a bad thing?  Well, no…we could settle in for the afternoon with a pot of tea and our feet up.


Except that we came across somewhere interesting just around the next corner.  Tattershall Castle was there, with a National Trust sign and appeared to be open for business.  Out came the NT cards and in we went!


Lord Ralph Cromwell had built the castle and sure enough, just as the NT website claims, this is what wealth and power looked like in the middle ages.  Whilst my hero fitted in all the new information with the wealth of historical knowledge he has already, I pottered about enjoying the personal touches here and there:in particular Lord Cromwell’s personal symbol of a treasurer’s purse


I first spotted it here on a mantelpiece and needed the guidebook’s explanation of the motto: Nay je droit (Have I not the right).  A bit presumptuous, perhaps, but there we are…wealth and power, eh?


One floor higher and it was there again, this time in colour.


Looking more like a purse and less like an insect, too, I think?


Upstairs again and there it was…all over.  Well, anyone who feels the need to stamp his logo in quite so many places might be seen as a little insecure, perhaps?  But then wealth and power in Medieval times could well have been quite transient, maybe, and how else might one demonstrate one’s importance to others – I suppose this was the medieval equivalent of wearing a Rolex watch or carrying an Hermes bag?!


I smiled at this small sign in the corner, assuming it was part of the children’s activity and finding a clear picture of Sir Lancelot popping into my mind.


Sir William sounds like fun, too.


But then seeing Sir Tim described as dim…well, that was just too much of a cliche even if he is very strong.


Being up there on the battlements blew away any fish and chippy remnants and the views were spectacular


What a great day!


Whilst I enjoyed the company of WI members from the Isle of Ely on Monday, my hero went off exploring more of this big sky country.  His Nan grew up not so far from here, out there on the fens in much the same kind of landscape as my Grandad.    I smiled as the ladies introduced themselves yesterday morning, not by naming the village they’d come from but by which agricultural vehicle they’d been behind for much of their journey!  It’s that kind of place – wide open countryside with warm, friendly people.  I was so pleased we’d had cause to come here.

I was pleased to sleep in my own bed again, though!



The Gaucho

The Gaucho