Ben and I are up early – our body clocks don’t know the difference between weekdays and weekends, so we are wide awake by 7am. The neighbours are quiet, the town is still asleep. If there is early morning sun, we take our breakfast out to the patio with a book.
But this Sunday was different. It was Fathers Day, and we were due to meet up with Ben’s family at a National Trust in Northamptonshire. It was a small drive from where we lived, so we packed a picnic and headed out on nearly empty roads.
When we arrived, there was green countryside all around us, cows next to the car park, and as we walked towards the property, a lovely priory church peaked through the trees. We sat down in beautifully manicured gardens, with shaped hedges and flowers (and a croquet set!). A jazz band played for the other families who were also picnicking on the lawn. The sun broke through the clouds, and we had a wonderful family picnic.
Meats, coleslaw, scotch eggs, pasta salad, salad, fried onions, and crisps, washed down with lemonade and sparkling water. Ben’s mother brought her picnic china and wicker basket, and I brought my two blankets to sit on. Other families brought tables and folding chairs – coolers and drivers!
After we were fully satisfied, we had a meaner through the 13th century house. We learned about the family that lived there, walked on the original stones, saw some of the clothes of the last family who lived there. We wandered through the priory church, once a large monastery that was nearly all knocked down by King Henry VIII. We wandered through the second hand book shop (coming out with a purchase or two) and the National Trust shop.
The National Trust has always been an institution I adore. It takes these once stately homes of the old English aristocracy and ensures that its history is preserved. Always worth the money. We had a fantastic time.