The October visit to Sheffield Park in Sussex was a great success. The weather was dull but not too cold, and, most importantly, dry. The day before had been dreadful, pouring with rain all day. The roads were quite misty at first, but we arrived safely.
On route to Sheffield Park we called into Haskins garden centre for refreshments and shopping. The many displays reminded us that the year was drawing to a close, with Halloween and Christmas decorations and items for sale. There was also a Hobbycraft shop in the grounds and several of us spent some of our time in there.
I thought this sign was quite appropriate:
|I thought this was a very appropriate sign.|
There were plants galore to purchase, plus all the usual gardening sundries. The cafe was open for refreshments. Here is one of the Christmas displays:
|Father Christmas is making an early start!|
The gardens, but not the house, at Sheffield Park are owned by the National Trust. Capability Brown designed them, and later, Humphrey Repton was involved in the design, concentrating on trees that showed beautiful Autumn colours around the four lakes. There are 300 acres of parkland to explore. The colours of the trees are spectacular, here are some:
|A beautiful red tree.|
Around the lakes they were especially spectacular, being reflected in the water:
|A double collection of colourful trees.|
The view of the massive house across the lakes makes it even more imposing. This was a former Tudor Manor house, built on medieval foundations. It was privately owned until the late 1980's,when it was turned into private apartments. In addition, some new houses were built to form a courtyard. I wonder how much it costs to live there? I dread to think!
|The very imposing house from across a lake.|
There were some of the largest mushrooms (or were they toadstools?) anybody had ever see under the trees all around the garden. Some were bright red, but most were the normal colour. Here is the largest one:
|One of many very large mushrooms / toadstools.|
As usual, the day passed quickly and it was soon time to wend our way back to the coach. The journey was uneventful until we were on the M25, when traffic slowed to a crawl and one lane was blocked. When we were near to the cause of the problem, it looked as though a herd of cows were making a bid for freedom out of their field. Three huge lorries had pulled up near them, so slowing traffic to protect them, as the consequences would have been catastrophic, both for them and the vehicles on the motorway, had they managed to escape onto the motorway. Men were trying to repair the fence to stop any further escape bids. Here is the scene:
|A mass break-out attempt foiled.|
After that, the journey went smoothly and we arrived back at Dagenham without further incident. Just as I arrived indoors it started drizzling with rain, so we were really lucky.