Exciting Day! Flying!
Very fun flight! thanks to Paul Reid who left a note for Francesca Weller I was upgraded to Club World and a seat that turned into a bed! V. cool, indeed. Slept like a baby.
Picked up the car at Heathrow and drove straight to Woburn Abbey - a grand Palladian house with an enviable collection of paintings, furniture, history - and in the Crypt absolute loads of Sevres! The 4th Duke was Ambassader to Louis XV and bought his porcelain while there - and Louis gave him some too - see the first pretty picture. A Fabulous Display of beautiful things!
Then back in the car to Woodstock and a v. leisurely stroll around Blenheim Palace - a Very Grand Baroque House Indeed! On Sundays there are no tours, you're free to roam so I did - back and forth through the state rooms chatting up the guides - it's such an amazingly layered collection: 17th-20th century everything! I do have to say that the Long Library is one of the best rooms on earth - peaceful, beautiful and intimate in its immensity.
Then a gorgeous drive thru the Cotswolds sunshine with a quick stop in Broadway - so beautiful - Steve Huffines: is this wisteria? at this time of year? golly.
and on to Worcester. I'd forgotten the absolute staggering beauty of the Cotswolds hills - last time I saw them Steve was driving and I remember being breathless most of the time while staring out the window - this time I was keeping one eye on the road and one eye on the gorgeousness.
Arrived at Worcester and went round to see the Cathedral - all sandstone and huge. It's another of those magnificent buildings that began as Norman and ended 15th C. decorated Gothic. Why, you can see the entire history of the building in one column - a transition point in the nave building: west side is Norman, middle is 13th C., east side 15th century!
It's going to be a glorious week - music, a beautiful cathedral to make it in, and a fun group of singers to sing with!