Research Holiday

It all started as a bit of a whim to be honest. But then these things often do.

You see, I have a very important scene in May Queen set at Wayland’s Smithy and there was some fact checking so in spite of the fact that I’d got tons of help from lots of lovely people which was very much appreciated indeed, the idea somehow got planted in my head that to be sure, to be really really sure, we’d have to take a trip there.
So we did.
And it was even more magical that I remembered or could imagine. We were blessed with perfect weather, we were there early enough to avoid the crowds who later descended, and we had a perfect morning walking, scrambling about White Horse hill, discussing the bronze age, burials, trees, and legends. Such as “this is where St. George killed the dragon” and “Wayland the Smith”. I read the kids the scene from May Queen the night before and so got lots of comments about things that could be included and things that might work better. Yes, there will be rewriting. Just a bit. Luckily my memory was not as poor as I had feared.
We went to Oxford for the afternoon but unluckily (or possibly luckily for you) my camera battery had somehow become completely exhausted during the whole walk from the carpark to the White Horse, down to Dragon Hill, up again and over to the Ridgeway and on to Wayland’s Smithy. Oh, and the sim card may have mysteriously filled up as well. But while at Oxford we got to the Bodleian and say the “wicked” Bible, the one where someone left out a “not” so one of the commandments reads “Thou shalt committ adultery”!
We stayed over night at the beautiful Yew Tree Farm in Newton Longville where the kids helped feed the chickens and collected eggs totally betraying their city origins when asked to put their hands under a chicken to check for eggs. But all in all it was probably the highlight of their holiday. That and playing with the dogs. We had a wonderful time and I highly recommend it as a place to stay.
We spent Sunday (all day Sunday) at the wonderful Bletchley Park, cracking codes, dressing up, looking at the rebuilds and geeking out. As you do.
Then we drove to the Welsh border where we stayed in a lovely hotel called Pen-y-Dyffryn with the most perfect gardens I’ve ever seen. It was a real treat for us at the end of the weekend. Dinner was sumptious and the game of junior Trivial Pursuit we played in the drawing room afterwards could possibly have got a little competitive, especially when the kids decided they weren’t playing on their own anymore and each formed a team with one of us. Who won? Go on, guess! 😀
So here are some pictures of the whole holiday in a slideshow. We had a magical time and it was just what we all needed. Of course now we need a holiday to recover from the holiday, but isn’t that always the way?