Thursday, 23 March 2017


Upon leaving Ilam I followed the Sat-Nav to Sudbury Hall, hoping the car park would be ig enough for the van. Half an hour later I arrived, the carpark was truly massive and I parked up in a quiet corner.

Tink, is getting old and nowadays only has about twenty minutes walk in her at the best of times. So I decided to carry her from the carpark to the hall so she could have a nice walk around the grounds. Its about 5 minutes walk and shes getting heavier. Anyway I got her there, put her down and took this photo :

I looked back and Tink was full squat in-between all  the visitors taking a woopsey!
I know its natural but Tink has this thing about an audience, she loves one! So I whipped out a bag, cleaned up, trying not to look anyone in the eye and then attempted to walk on with Tink.

Nope.. Tinks brakes were fully engaged, she was going nowhere.. apart from back to the van... being carried again like royalty. SO back to the Hall.. this time being able to look folk in the eye!

The property has a toy museum and the hall itself which the owners handed over to the trust when they could not afford the death duty they incurred fifty years ago. They literally walked out and everything they left is still on display, just as it was.

Now your talking I was draw the the toys of my era.

The museum was full of very interesting toys from hundreds of years ago. Dusty dolls or a Spectrum +3.. The force was strong!

Croggy anyone?

The Long Gallery

A fancy stairwell

Lovely gardens

The hall.. although you can't tell,  the East side has only 2 floors ( the windows give it away ), but the West side has three floors in the same space. Some of the windows aren't windows some are at foot level on the inside and some are way up high! But from the outside all looks symmetrical.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

ILAM HALL - Real Ale

It has been a while since the van has had a run out. Apart from a couple of trips to 'Sherwood Truck & Van' to iron out a few FIAT gremlins like, random lights appearing on the dashboard and no hot air for cold feet! Needless to say, neither issue has been resolved :)

Anyway Mandy was going to London for a couple of days so I thought I would have a middle aged 'lads night out' with Berrny! I blew the dust off my National Trust map and popped a pin in a little village called Ilam in Staffordshires peak district. Apparently the National Trust has a little caravan site at the back of Ilam hall, I booked myself in for a night and started packing some fresh pants!


This is actually Ilam Hall, it is now a Youth Hostel!
The hall was built in 1821 by Jesse Watts-Russel, it replaced a smaller version. In 1927 a Mr Backhouse transformed the Hall into a luxury hotel. The project didn't work and by 1930 it was up for sale. A Sir Robert McDougal took on the estate and handed it to the National Trust in 1934.

Since it was raining I Just a little visit to the Youth Hostel.. Cheers!
(£3.25 for the Bombardier!)

After the refreshment, the rain didn't stop so I visited the NT shop and purchased a bottle of Elder Flower wine and a CD compilation of 1940s music.. The Bombardier had obviously taken affect!

I spent the next few hours  plotting my next NT visit with Vera Lynn in full chorus. Tea & biscuits followed by Elder flower wine & some chocolate Mandy had left in the van last year!  Bring on the pipe & Slippers!

The night passed quite nicely, the next morning was brighter so I ventured out again!

The Italian garden.. not a sniff of Oregano.

Ilam Church

One of the Swiss style houses in the village. Jesse Watts-Russel restyled the whole village in the 1820s after a visit to Switzerland.

Back for a well deserved brekky.

Views  from the Van

It was time to move on, after chatting to Tony & Margret at reception, I decided to head for Sodbury Hall for another NT installment!

On route to Sudbury, Thorpe Cloud will have to wait til next time!
Bon Voyage!!