Thursday 17 August 2023

Hand stitching and a visit.

John and I decided to have a two day, one night mini trip. Back in May we had visited Portsmouth because we wanted to visit the historic dockyard. There is so much to see, that when I bought the tickets I opted for the Ultimate Explorer ticket which means we can visit as often as we want for a year. This trip was to explore the next bit of the dockyard. Since we were going to be away overnight I needed a hand stitching project to take along, but I decided cross stitch wasn't appropriate since you can never be sure if the hotel room lighting will be good enough to see the holes in the fabric! Because of that I picked this pretty countryside scene that John bought me as a kit, a couple of years ago. It's a small piece, about 10cm /4inches square.

The threads are colourful and of different types, with strand embroidery floss, and wools. It comes with full instructions which are very clearly written and it tells you the order to sew in.

The background trees and bushes are done first, using French knots and then the trees nearer the front. I still have to finish the bush on the right hand side but I was tired of French knots by this point so I started on the straight stitch on the field. I'll finish the bush later this evening.

Whilst I stitched on Tuesday evening John was reading his book. A peaceful evening after our day. We left London early- well early for us and drove to Hinton Ampner, an elegant country manor in Hampshire that is owned by the National Trust. The grounds of the house are very beautiful and tranquil.

We started our visit by looking round the house. This is a very elegant house, not overstuffed with 'things'. I only took a couple of photos inside the house and these were in the dinning room. This room felt very calm and welcoming. We were told by the guide that guests used to ask to sit on the right side of the table because they would be able to look out over the gardens. Ralph Dutton, the owner had a large mirror installed on the wall on the right of the photo so guests facing that way could see the garden reflected in the mirror. This would be a fabulous room for a family party.

The ceiling of the dining room was beautiful with various paintings . This ceiling was partially destroyed in a fire but was restored and where needed new painting made in the original style.


We spent quite a lot of time walking in the garden. The views across the countryside were fabulous.

There were a lot of Dahlias in different colours. The obviously like the soil here

We took a walk along the Long Walk.

The flower beds were alive with colour and bees.

This is the view of the back of the house from the garden

We also looked at the little church 

Inside we found these beautiful stained glass windows.

Here is the information about the windows.

There were a lot of artichoke plants in full flower.

and this espalier apple tree was old but heavily laden with apples.

The garden felt quite intimate because it was dived into zones or areas by plants or hedges. This meant you weren't aware of the large numbers of people who were there.

We had a very enjoyable visit, including a tasty lunch. We then travelled to a nature reserve on Hayling Island that John wanted to check out. He wasn't expected to see many birds but in the event he was pleased we stopped. It also gave us the chance to get some more walking into the day. I don't get a lot of exercise when I'm working so I try and compensate when I'm off. We finished the bird watching and continued to our hotel in Portsmouth and dinner. We enjoyed our day and had our trip to the dockyard to look forward to.

Today I have some work to do and my flowers have just been delivered so I need to get them in water. I am also planning on making bread and getting to my sewing machine. I'll let you know how that goes in my next post.

Take care



  1. Living where you do, I'm sure you will never run out o beautiful historic places to visit. I enjoyed tagging along with you.

  2. Looks like you picked a good day to enjoy those lovely gardens :)

  3. Sorry, didn't mean to post my previous comment as anonymous! The path of fire stained glass window is glorious :)