Thursday, April 11, 2013

Vicarious Tourism: Sandham Memorial Chapel and Newbury

It's always a good day that involves going out to visit a National Trust property. And Friday was a good day. My mother-in-law and I had made plans to get together. Anyone reading my sister-in-law Rachel's blog will know that she and Tim were away in Paris for a long weekend, which meant that my nephew Henry was with his grandparents. This gave us the perfect opportunity to get the boys together and do a bit of exploring for ourselves.

Sandham Memorial Chapel is just around the village of Burghclere in Berkshire and sits just off a little country road across the street from what looks to be a pretty cute pub.

As National Trust places go, it's quite small: just the chapel, the front garden, and a little anteroom off to the right that houses the ticket counter and gift shop. This makes for a short visit, but a fun one if you're a WWI buff or a fan of early 20th Century art. See, all of the artwork in the chapel was done by Sir  Stanley Spencer. (Nerd alert: I very nearly typed 'ser' not 'sir'...someone's been re-reading too much Game of Thrones.)

The day wasn't warm enough for a picnic, but with the boys bundled up, E was able to run around outside with his Mimi while I took a look in the chapel. Henry slept in the corner, wrapped up in a blanket in his pushchair. In slightly warmer weather, this place would be a divine stop for a short picnic and lounge out amongst the trees. You could even dip into the gift shop and snag some jam and biscuits to round of your meal.

After our brief cultural excursion, we headed into Newbury town centre to do a bit of shopping. I love shopping. I also love cute town centres. Both together just makes me heave a contented sigh.

We came away with a few finds, all of which I will share in good time...especially the one thing we got for Ethan! I'm ridiculously pleased with his one acquisition of the day.

The shopping trip was another thing we kept brief (free parking only lasts for so long) before heading back to the house. Of course, heading back to the house meant good things for all of us:
1) Space for the boys to run around
2) Scones!
3) Helping my mother-in-law sort through her wardrobe.

We had a fun time waiting for the scones to bake mixing and matching all sorts of items in her wardrobe trying to come up with fun and inventive combinations of the clothes she already owns to make the most of what she has. I love this sort of thing. It makes me miss the times I used to just try on all the clothes I had in different configurations to see and enjoy what I already owned.  I think I know what I'll be doing now during E's next nap...

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