Stourhead garden was created by Henry Hoare II in the 1740s. The River Stour was dammed to form a great lake. Around the lake Hoare laid out a landscape garden to entrance his guests with stunning views and pacify them with serene walking pleasure.
As the garden developed, he added classical features, such as the Temple of Flora, the Pantheon, the Temple of Apollo and Gothic ruins to enhance the series of splendid and unexpected vistas.
Such was the accomplishment of this wondrous garden that Henry Hoare II became known as 'Henry the Magnificent'.
Hoare’s successors cherished his brilliant original conception, while enriching it with new planting. Today, Stourhead is essentially the same as Henry II’s vision – a self-contained and timeless masterpiece.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Our first week in England
Life continues on without internet access on the home front, but other steps are being made to return to normalcy. Our hot water situation was finally sorted out- Huzzah!!!- hot water and happy, clean people all around! The heating system for this house is incredibly complicated, as it is a brand new (only two years old) very eco-conscious heat pump system... the house should be toasty warm all winter with the radiant floor heat throughout, but the heat pump (like a geothermal system in the US) is currently not working. Fortunately, a serviceperson finally arrived and figured out that there is a secondary heating option that controls the hot water tanks separately. So, we are not enjoying hot water with incredible water pressure. :) Hooray!
The trampoline company that I placed our order with apparently doesn't want my money, so we are still trampoline-less. A state that is not advisable with three active boys who have not had an opportunity to meet any local children..... it is constantly MOM-this and MOM-that to the point of lunacy. I am working on ordering from a different company this morning, but can't get my bank account figured out to transfer money into it. Yet another hurdle that will, no doubt, take hours, days, eternity to figure out.
I've given up, as of yesterday, thinking that I will be able to run any errand "quickly" and need to just figure that everything will take several hours when I presume it to take two.
Our broadband situation went from bad to worse yesterday. I have no idea when we will have it and may just have to resign myself to only being able to get online when we are driving around or at the library in town. The non-existent customer service at this phone company Tiscali is truly astounding. I cant imagine that they would be in business at all in the US! We have been given the runaround and told something different every time we call in and finally had to recruit the owner of the house, who is in the States, to call them to try and figure out the mess. He has thrown his hands up in despair, as well, and has advised us to just switch the line to BT. We are hoping to do this without losing the number or having to pay a "reconnection fee" of £150 (roughly $250)! Argh. The whole thing is incredibly frustrating and living without the internet is like living without my right hand.
We went to Stourhead Gardens on Saturday and had a lovely, if not completely fulfilling time. It is a lovely place (in my personal travels, I count it as one of the most beautiful places on Earth) and I was excited to show it to Daddy-007, Gigi (our babysitter, who is here helping us until the 5th of September - have I talked about this at all? She is our 17 y.o. sitter from Wisconsin, who came over with me and the boys and is really saving our asses by watching the kids while we deal with all the move stuff. In addition: she is a complete doll, this is her first time abroad, the kids love her, we love her, and I am going to take her senior portrait for her while she is still with us.) (Yes, I realize I am totally spoiled to have her here with us helping out! I know what you're thinking!), and the boys....
But the Treefrog Climbing Co. had other plans for us. They had set up shop in this giant tree not 400 yards down the garden path and that is where the boys stopped and insisted on waiting their turn to climb the tree. They waited about an hour and then each took about an hour to climb up and down. So three hours later everyone was hungry, tired and ready to leave. CC and Destructo were both so proud of themselves, it was well worth the wait, but we didn't end up getting to see much of anything except the general beauty of the place.
Stourhead is an estate that was designed in the 1700's as a revolutionary "Landscape Garden." Everywhere you turn, the view is staggering in its beauty and perfection of form and balance. Here is a bit from the National Trust site on its history:
Here is a collection of random photos from our first days here. I will try and get more organized about writing at home and then uploading my posts when I come to town, but holy moly, is everything still topsy-turvy! I miss the online community and all my friends at home. Especially all my Fox-y ladyfriends from the old 'hood. The kids are still excited about all the new-ness of it all, but they are starting to talk about their old buddies from the street and wishing that they were here to play with. xoxo
Destructo, almost to the top!
Man down!! The Animal, trying to enter the stroller on a hill. Note: He did this THREE times before he finally figured out what would always happen!
Stourhead, one of the buildings on the way to the garden.
View of Hoare Lake in the garden.
CC is all the way to the left in green. He had plenty of company/competition going up with a beautiful little girl with the longest hair I'd ever seen on a 9 year old.
Chopping wood in the back yard after dinner, to be ready for the fire in the morning.
CC taking pictures of the geese at the lake in Stourhead Garden.
The Grass Bridge is behind him.
Making some breakfast magic in the kitchen. Look how hopeful my Macbook looks there in the corner! Fortunately, I printed out about every recipe I could ever imagine cooking before coming, so I should be covered on that front, at least. That hideous, duct tape-bound folder to the right on the island, is where I keep all my recipes. (Shhh.... it only looks terrible to throw off potential recipe thieves!)
One more thing..... I GOT AN iPHONE!!!! Finally, after waiting God knows how long, I have one. And I don't get reception for it at home. :( I have to drive 10 minutes into town to get full service!