On the Easter Bank Holiday I took Mum and Dad down to Newark Park in Gloucestershire. It's a National Trust property at the top of a steep and secluded valley in the South Cotswolds. The weather forecast for Monday had been really grim, so we had the added bonus of surprise good weather. It was a perfect day to explore the house and grounds at a leisurely pace - which really suits my Mum.
The house was given to the National Trust in 1949, but it was let to a nursing home until 1969 and become increasingly run-down. In 1970 a Texan-born architect called Bob Parsons took over the tenancy (joined in 1980 by his friend Michael Claydon). The house and gardens that we visited were the result of 40 years of their hard work and vision. (Bob Parsons died in 2000 but Michael Claydon stayed on in the property until 2011.)
The house is now cleverly arranged so that it feels like you are part of a house party and the tenants are just somewhere else, waiting for you to join them. It's a technique that the National Trust have used in other houses where it feels a bit 'contrived'. Here it seems to work perfectly... even on a busy Bank Holiday when the grounds were over-run with small people doing an Easter Egg Hunt!
In-fact I am now officially suffering from an acute attack of house envy. This is my dream home and I'm sure that the National Trust could offer me a tenancy.....! To see why - click here.
Back to the chalk face tomorrow...... but there's a day of trips on Thursday AND a long weekend coming up so I don't feel too bad about things!