"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Hampton Court Palace

Yes, I returned...my second visit in 18 months. I hadn't even considered going. My travel companion suggested it, and as we knew the weather would be pleasant, and there was someone I wanted to see again, the prospect was thrilling.

Here I am, delighted to be back.

I hadn't been there very long when I thought I spied the ghost of Queen Mary II wandering the loggia.

We did a guided tour of King William III's state apartments, led by a lively young woman in costume. For the remainder of his rooms, it was a self-tour. In one of them hangs my duchess, only she wasn't a duchess when she was painted.

I would swear that the uniformed gentleman watching over that room--whose role is to ward off photographers--left the room at exactly the right moment. I'm sure he could tell what I wanted. He was an enabler.

There was an exhibit on the history of the gardens--how perfect!--

in conjunction with the new design of the orangery garden, where Queen Mary placed her potted orange trees.

We brought a picnic lunch and ate it on a garden bench, in view of William's banqueting house by the river.

No sooner had I finished my prawn mayonnaise sandwich than a rat emerged from the hedge of tall shaved yews.

After wandering the gardens, we went back inside the palace, which appeared to be rodent-free. And virtually tourist-free!

We went all over the building. Yet again, we didn't stay for choral evensong.

Nonetheless, I was extremely pleased with our visit. I paused by this heraldic dog for a parting photo.

I took nearly 300 pictures, some of them very artsy. More to come....

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