LINKS are in red

Alnwick Gardens

All the other garden properties we visited are National Trust or English Heritage and in each case James was admitted as our guest at NO FEE. We are also yearly subscribers to the gardens at Alnwick which are part of the castle grounds and privately owned by the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. This was the only place to charge an entrance fee to an elderly disabled person! I don’t think I need to elaborate on what I think of that?

I was glad the cherry blossom was still in the orchard. It’s a difficult thing to time right! Lucky us, there were still daffodils and pink tulips too and petals falling like confetti around us.

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We visited the walled garden. Of course it’s tulip time.

and the oldest tree. I think it’s 200 yrs old?

Poet, Tina Cole and her husband Peter travelled all the way up from Herefordshire to meet up with us at Alnwick. (I have mentioned before how many poets James has nurtured on Writewords over the past decade and a half.) Tina is another of those and she and I have met a couple of times. This seemed the ideal way to say thank you, and Happy 80th Birthday, to James.

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We had lunch at the Tree House.

I was a little disappointed with the Tree House this time. The service was slow and the food, although good, was not of the standard we have come to expect of this venue. Whereas any two courses last July cost £25, this time we averaged £27. That is not much of an increase admittedly but we noticed there was less choice. We didn’t have a cocktail. There was no liqueur on offer with dessert and the cheeseboard was a smaller selection. Altogether the food lacked the presentation and finesse of previous visits, the attention to detail. The WOW Factor, just wasn’t there any more! I am prepared to pay a bit more for WOW!! I didn’t particularly like the thick, thick chips that came with the steak. Had there been more choice I would not have had steak at all. In fact I much preferred their burgers! We’ve eaten there three or four years in a row now because it was so special and the set menu choice was so good. 

I noted too that the service in the cafe at the entrance was very slow this time. Takes ages to get a coffee because there’s only one till!?

After Tina and Peter took their leave, we took James to one place I knew he would love.

Barter Books.

where he satisfied his thirst for world history by buying a book. It was a good final day.