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Thursday, 22 December 2011

A year at Wallington in pictures, December 2011 - part 13

As we approach the end of 2011, this series of blogs is nearly at their end. Over the year, I have taken hundreds of photographs around the grounds, woods and Walled Garden here at Wallington. My weekly visits to this popular National Trust property has allowed me to document the changes through the seasons.

View towards West Lawn in December - 08/12/2011.

My first visit to Wallington in December was on a wet and windy day. During my journey there was a great deal of standing water on the roads and fallen branches. The Metrological Office had issued a red warning for gale force winds in Scotland and an amber warning for the North East. The way the wind was when I arrived, it was certain that the property would not be opened.

Due to the poor weather, there was very little that could get completed outside, so I returned home after taking the above photograph of the House looking towards West Lawn, in black and white.

December came with the annual festive events in the House. The House could be seen illuminated  by "candlelight" on a Friday evening. For three weekends, the House was opened to see the Christmas decorations and for children, a visit to see Santa or listen to stories told by Mrs Santa. The final event of the year was a concert by The Belford Singers performing in the magnificent Central Hall.

In total over 2011, there have been 96 separate events staged here at Wallington. The events provided over this year, catered for the interests of all ages, I am sure that the National Trust staff will plan an equally fun packed and interesting year for 2012.

Courtyard and Clock Tower - 14/11/2011.

The year at Wallington is going to end in a similar way to its start here at Wallington. On my second visit following a night of severe gales, I was to see some of the damage. The car park exit road was blocked due to a fallen tree and other trees had been damaged in East Wood. It was to remind me of the 200 year old oak tree that fell in January and blocked the path to the Walled Garden by Garden Pond - a victim of the winter weather.

Victim of the overnight gales - 14/11/2011.
Armed with bowsaws, our job for today was to cut up fallen branches to make the job easier for the foresters when they come in with their chainsaws. Our final job of the day was to cover a bench beside China Pond and get three other benches under cover in the Potting Shed.

Returning visitors to Garden Pond - 14/11/2011.
My third visit to Wallington was not as a volunteer gardener! It was to take my grandson to see Santa. There was still some snow and ice at home, so we prepared for the same at Wallington. I took my camera with the thought that I would get some wintery pictures to finish off this series of blogs.

Christmas sunshine - 18/12/2011.
It was not to be. Although it had been a hard frost there was no evidence of any snow around the Courtyard and House. We were the first into the House and went straight for the appointment with Santa. The Central Hall had been decorated and was set out for the carol singers who were performing later the morning and afternoon. We even had time to listen to a story read by Mrs Santa in the kitchen and make a Santa mobile.

View from the House entrance - 18/12/2011.
On leaving the House, there was a steady stream of visitors coming into the Courtyard and the restaurant and shops were starting to get busy. The sun was shining and in front of  the Clock Tower, you could get close to and have your photograph taken with a bird of prey. 

As 2011 draws to an end, this would be the end of the events programme for the year. It was well organised, well planned and certainly for my grandson, an enjoyable and exciting morning. All of the staff and volunteers have put in a great deal of time and effort to make this and all other events a great success. It was also a great Sunday morning out for me!

My last visit of the year was on the Tuesday of the week before Christmas. The ground was white and icy when I reached Wallington.  Walking around the House I took a few pictures before setting off through East Wood to the Walled Garden.

West Lawn Avenue - 20/12/2011.

Roses on the south side of the House - 20/12/2011.
Garden Pond was starting to ice over and the Walled Garden paths were roped off due to the ice, 2011 was finishing as it started.

Ice forming on Garden Pond - 20/12/2011.
Mary Pool in Winter - 20/12/2011.
 My last job here at this National Trust property was to tidy up the borders beside the restaurant and Courtyard cottages. By the time we finished the ice had melted and it was to be slightly warmer. It has been an enjoyable year volunteering here. I have worked in many different areas around the grounds and Walled Garden. The seasons have dictated the work and the extremes of weather have provided other jobs to do.

Conservatory in Winter - 20/12/2011.
 Part 14, the last in this series of blogs will look at some of my favourite photographs from the hundreds I have taken during my weekly visits.

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