For once I've been in the extremely unusual position of having three annual leave days left that I absolutely have to take before the end of the leave year (30th April). The original plan was that we would go somewhere sunny or off in Bonnie - with the atrocious weather I'm actually sort of glad we aren't camping - but somewhere sunny would have been nice...
With C having to work I've been left to my own devices. Again, rather unusual - and I'm not sure I've made the best use of the precious time off work, that's why I like to go away - I feel like it's been worth using leave for.
On Thursday I drove myself off to Hardwick Hall, a National Trust property I've been longing to visit for a long time, and the birthplace and eventual home of the formidable Bess of Hardwick , one of the most powerful women in Elizabethan England. She was married to George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury who was one of Mary Queen of Scots' captors, but very much a power in her own right. As a feminist and history buff it was very much my cup of tea. There are actually two Hardwick Halls - the original one where Bess was born, and later returned to and effectively rebuilt. This one is actually a ruin now - I love ruined buildings and wandering around. After the new Hall was built it gradually fell into disrepair, but is still rather striking 500 years later.
And just over the way is the new Hall. I didn't take many pictures as was very content just ambling. There are an awful lot of tapestries inside, which I think are now rather a national treasure. They must have been quite spectacular in their time, but obviously are rather faded now.
A very nice solitary day out. I also went for a run, to try and find some bluebells as it is the season after all. There were some in the wood that backs on to the University where I work, but they aren't quite in full strength yet - I'll have to pop over during the week to see if they've come a bit stronger.
And finally I've been making coasters, much to C's annoyance. We needed them in my defence! I love a bit of practical crochet...
I'm hoping it's going to get warmer this week - I'm very ready for Spring. One more day on my own tomorrow and I think I'm going to have to force myself to leave the house the weather looks so awful!