A warm welcome greeted the Friends when visiting Ablington Manor, pictured above. This glorious Grade 1 listed Manor House, dating back to the 12th century is set in an idyllic Cotswold village. The house and gardens were a gem. Wormington Grange was indeed a landmark visit – introduced by John Evetts, furnishings maestro for the Landmark Trust. The house, workshops and stable block storage areas amounted to a fascinating visit.
Chavenage House (photo above) provided us with an erudite and entertaining tour through the house and its history. Carved paneling, 17th century tapestries, winding staircases were memorable. Afterwards we visited nearby Rodmarton Manor, an exercise in restraint and a reflection of Claud Biddulph’s personal commitment to a traditional Cotswold aesthetic.
Starting at The Laskett – above (photo courtesy Antonia Johnson) shows Minnie Tatham amongst just a few of the clipped shapes outlining the many garden spaces – we were very grateful for the beautifully illustrated plan of the gardens and Sir Roy’s recorded explanations of their construction. In the afternoon we went to history-packed Hellens Manor where we were given an illuminating tour of the house and pictures.
Richard Frewer, impeccably accompanied by David Price at the piano, provided a very special recital of Schubert’s final collection of songs, Schwanengesang.
Our tour of Portugal – based in Lisbon and then Porto – was a mix of guided visits to important historic and cultural sites with free time and the opportunity to enjoy local specialities. The feast of churches, palaces and museums gave us a much firmer grasp of Portuguese history, culture and style and we gained a familiarity with the local cuisine.