IMGP1931IMGP1929 IMGP1914 IMGP1923 IMGP1838 IMGP1824 IMGP1743 05 04 03 02 01 IMGP1857 IMGP1856 IMGP1898 IMGP1887 IMGP1873 IMGP1872 IMGP1867 IMGP1865 IMGP1858IMGP1911 IMGP1927I first visited Blenheim Palace in my first year as undergraduate in Oxford. That was eight years ago, and I only went back few weeks ago now. It is an interesting place – the house is impossibly grand (think Downton Abbey, multiplied by six and then turbocharged), and by now it resembles an “English country house theme park” more than a private, lived-in house with its champagne bars and visitor centres. But leave the house to walk the park, and even in a bank holiday weekend, magic happens. Not many people venture into the far corners of the park, and we had a bench by the lake all for ourselves. We sat there for a long time watching the birds and listening to the slightly menacing noises of the woods. The whole park a marvel – it was redesigned by Capability Brown in the 1760s, who built the (by British standards) huge lake with its waterfalls and planted the enormous trees. There’s something uplifting about the idea that 250 years ago, he set out to create something he knew would not reach its peak until many generations after his death. I’m not sure if I’ll ever visit the house itself again, but I definitely want to go back and sit on that bench again.

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One thought on “Material comforts

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