We were a bit dusty this morning (something in the water?) but the train was all organised (thank you, group discount) and the Hampton Court tickets booked, so there was little choice – but we were all interested in this trip. All four of us associated Hampton Court with Wolsey and Henry VIII, but as chance would have it – add an F-word and you have a Billy Mack quotation – his appartments were closed for cleaning. It’s amazing how much mess a dead dude leaves.

  
  One of the reliable and very funny things about Sally and Paula is that they are always interested in dogs, and the well-bred and well-brought-up English dogs in particular. Paula will always compliment a dog’s owners if we walk past; Sally, however, will insist on walking over for a pat.

  

You can see by our garb that the temperatures have at last started to fall and the prediction for Graeme and Sally is for snow when they leave on Friday. Paula has staked her reputation on snow in Scotland when we get there Thursday week – it is still a Southern HIghlands kind of cool, so I’ll believe it when I feel it!

Henry VIII might have been indisposed, but there was a side to Hampton Court of which we were woefully ignorant – the Stuart and Georgian wings. The Palace had been the favourite of William and Mary and Wren reconstructed significant sections for  the,, although Mary sadly died before her apartments  were complete. We went on two guided tours led by two costumed apparitions: excellent!

  

It was bloody freezing in the gardens and more open areas, like the Tudor kitchens. These were a bit of a hit, because after the fridge-like Fish Alley, and the spaces of the pie kitchens, a big open fire in the roasting rooms was welcome.

  

Audio guides were amazing and the apartments themselves quite extraordinary. It’s hard without a bit of work to get the photos to tell the story of the Stuart and Georgian rooms – the light is never good in historic houses. 

   
   

We had a lot of fun wandering around. The gardens were a bit chilly to really enjoy (shades of Versailles six years ago!), but the days are so short, it wasn’t as if we had a lot of daylight to fill!