We've been Castle-ing today, a wonderful few hours spent up the road in our towns castle. I still find it incredible to think that we have this ancient and beautiful historic building so close by to our house, only ten minutes walk away in fact. And as this weekend was the annual Free Opening for local residents, we felt we could not miss the opportunity.
It's a truly magnificent and ancient building (more than 900 years old) and is apparently one of the most complete and best preserved medieval castles in England.
This isn't a castle full of stuff. There are no paintings, artefacts or furniture here. There are lots of rooms, stairs, doors, windows, fireplaces and towers though. Lots of ancient stone. A watchtower. A kitchen, a banqueting hall, a bed chamber and a privy. A dungeon (where they turned out the lights and made all the children scream for help, gosh the Little People loved that bit).
But best of all for me there were views. Views of the surrounding countryside...
....and that oh-so-familiar view of the very hill that I gaze at through my own window. Ahhh, deep sigh, my heart squeezed with happiness at the sight of my attic view as seen from the castle window.
And from the highest point in the old watchtower, a spectacular view of our town's main street. The castle really does quite literally sit at the top of the high street. Isn't that quite something??
We had a lovely time at the castle, the Little People really enjoyed following the trail in and out of the rooms, up and down the ancient stairs. Even Little B seemed to enjoy his outing, riding high on J's back in the baby carrier. Afterwards, I asked the LP if they would like to come with me just a few minutes walk up the road to look at the flowers. Lots of crocuses growing in the wide grass verges.....
....and just a little bit further on at the entrance to the woodland, a fantastic gathering of snowdrops.
Every year I try to make sure I walk up to this patch to be delighted and amazed by the sight. I always kind of hold my breath as I first walk near, afraid that perhaps they may not be there. But of course they were indeed there, and even the Littl'ns seemed impressed. Some "wow"s were uttered. In fact, it's felt like a really Wowsy kind of a day. Just unexpectedly lovely to appreciate for the umpteenth time that we live in a pretty special place.