Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Spring is sprung

After a long wait, Spring has arrived with a great rush in Hampshire. Since I forgot my camera on our previous visit, here are a few photographs taken last week to give you a taste of Exbury.

The house at Exbury is a little unsettling; it replaces a smaller Georgian house, and dates from the 1930s. Perhaps its odd triangular shape is designed to get the best possible views of the park and the distant Isle of Wight - but I wonder if it contains triangular funiture to fit those very odd spaces. As you can see it is undergoing some refurbishment.

It is not the House though that people come to see, but the gardens. And if you are very grand you get to plant a tree. The late Queen Mother seems to have popped down frequently with her spade to visit her Rothschild chums. Charles and Diana were both here as were Her Majesty the Queen (two trees on separate occasions) and a Maharajah or two.

Jane and I have not yet been invited to plant a tree, though I did manage to preach to one of the family on the occasion of the centenary of the neighbouring estate, Beaulieu. Between them these two great properties cover much of this part of southern England.

Pink for a girl and blue for a boy, you understand.

With the resources of the Rothschilds, I guess you can indulge yourself occasionally. The last owner of Exbury was a great enthusiast for railways, so there is a narrow gauge track running round part of the gardens. Here is Naomi, one of the engines, sitting like patience on her turntable..

Which of course brings us seamlessly to the question of the Church of England, where she is going, and who is going with her. Even with the thrills of a General Election impending, the papers are getting very wound up about the Papal visit in September. It would be a pity, though, to spend time parrying the ludicrous article in today's Sunday Telegraph. They think that leaving the Church of England is 'defecting'. More properly, it is the C of E which has become defective, leaving many of us out in the cold. And if the Holy Father is ready to offer us what we asked of the C of E, and were refused, who is to blame us when we accept that offer? Well of course it will be the Sunday Telegraph and the rest of the hacks who blame us. I've said something about all this on 'The Anglo Catholic' site and will leave you here with another picture of Magnolias at Exbury; altogether more wholesome for your contemplation.

I think if you click on the smaller images you may get a full-size version.


  1. Padre, having read of your occasional trips into Wales (the land of no episcopal oversight and the dominion of +Bazzer-the-Terrible) you may be interested in this new blog "Landaffchester Chronicles" which appears to be having a little fun at the expense of the Church in Wales leadership

  2. Thank you, Colonel; I'll add it to my list. +E