Above you see the view from the house of the Ladies of Llangollen near Llangollen in Wales, not far from Chester. (The double "l"s are pronounced a bit like a Scottish "ch", as in "loch", or the German "ch" as in "ach" or "Eichmann". So, "Chlangochlan". Sort of.) The Ladies were two "romantic friends" as they were called - who set up house here in 1780 in what was regarded as a cottage. They called it Plas Newydd (New Place - one could imagine more exciting names, but it was their house) and panelled the inside with lots of bits of mediaeval carved wood from churches, old houses and so on. The wooden fancy bits on the outside were added by a subsequent owner though the Ladies had the porches made. They were actually Anglo-Irish and their families didn't approve of their relationship, though later accepted the inevitable and gave them an allowance. The Ladies became quite famous, though not for actually doing anything as far as I can tell, and they were visited by various distinguised people of the day.
It was interesting in a mad sort of way and it shows what life can be like if you don't have anything much to do. They had maids and gardeners so just spent their days reading and so on. Very restful.
Llangollen itself has a steam train. Mr Life takes some photos.
It's a pretty little town, though a bit full of tourists.
We walked along the canal. Look! Sunshine again!
We also went to Chirk Castle, which has extensive views. Whenever I'm in the country, I wish I didn't live in a city. Just gazing out over distances empty of people feeds the soul. Though I like people too.
It's rather a fine place, satifyingly castle-ish, don't you think?
It was so wonderful to wander around in the sunshine. The winter has been so long and cold. I can't believe that Australians are still in shorts in what looks like baking sun - which they are - I've been reading blogs. Sunny clime people probably can't imagine what it's like to have warm sunshine on your face after months of cold, mostly dull weather (fantastic) - though as you see, Mr Life is still wearing his jumper. It wasn't that hot.
Ness Botanic Garden. Not quite up to the standard of Edinburgh's - but I would say that, wouldn't I? But most acceptable.
Great magnolias. I didn't know they grew that big, and according to a radio programme I heard yesterday, neither did anyone else, or at least no one knew they would grow this big here. The first ones brought over by plant hunters are only now getting to this sort of size. Just as well I never planted this variety in my front garden, though in fact I could sell the house and be thoroughly dead before it would have grown this large.
And here's Port Sunlight, a "model" village built by William Hesketh Lever for the workers in his nearby Sunlight soap factory. Very cute. Prince Charles would like it. We liked it too, though it must be a bit tedious for its inhabitants to have tourists wandering around looking in their windows.
Lots of open spaces. I wish our area had as many.