Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Under big skies

summer•shorts no:08

Yesterday we drove diagonally across Suffolk from our most south-westerly corner to this rather aristocratic garden in the far north-east of the county, tucked between the wide Waveney water marshes and the North Sea on the Somerleyton Estate. As you can see, the sun was shining and the sky was full of very artistic clouds which East Anglia does so well. I particularly liked the tipsily swaying yew topiary.

Back home, we quickly refueled with a ham salad, grabbed a box of goodies for 'afters' and a couple of bottles of Beck's and headed off to Saffron Walden – we had a cunning plan . . .

. . . we headed up the hill to the big iron gate leading into the back of the Audley End Estate, along the footpath and across a grassy field; as we did so, an orchestra in the distance played the Dambusters March and a Spitfire soared across the sky above, arched and tumbled back towards us! We didn't get to see Katherine Jenkins in her gorgeous frocks or see the orchestra, but we could hear them loud and clear as we sat and watched the sun set, drank our beer and ate marsh-mallows. Our evening's entertainment ended with a splendid firework display – I didn't take any photos but Gina was down there in the official audience and has posted some here. Now that's how to have the 'Last Night of the Proms' experience without the 'getting out of the car-park' finale ;-)


  1. I think you had the best idea!

  2. You cheeky monkeys. It sounds fabulous x

  3. Lucky you. A great freebie evening! I'm sure that most of the paying audience wouldn't mind,

  4. what a cunning plan and infinitely more pleasurable methinks. I'm getting quite envious of these lovely summer musings, though news that we might be heading toward our very worst bushfire season yet is making me gratefully put on another scarf and coat and not complain about cold hands filling the girls water every morning...

  5. Ingenious idea - were many others doing the same?
    Somerleyton House is lovely isn't it - I remember strolling through a lovely little village nearby where all the houses had red painted gables - estate cottages to the big house most likely...

  6. Ahh yes! I used to go regularly to the proms at Kenwood. 1812 overture with artillery guns and fireworks! I think Audley End was part of the same English Heritage series. Sadly, Kenwood started to put on modern artists rather than classical concerts. The neighbours complained about the noise and the whole thing stopped!

  7. any evening which deletes fighting the crazies out of the car park is an excellant evening! i *adore* fireworks!

  8. We used to go to Castle Howard for evening classical concerts. They did a fantastic 'Music for the Royal Fireworks' with a 10 minute synchronised display. The dash for a one-car-wide exit was always the big drag. It could take over an hour to get out.

  9. OOoh, I know that back gate and we use it frequently - though it hadn't occurred to me to listen to the prims there! Were you alone?

  10. What a fantastic idea! I always find dealing with the crowds almost outweighs the enjoyment of the evening so your own private spot sounds wonderful. And fireworks too, heaven! We used to be able to watch the Red Arrows do their stuff over Coltishall from our back garden!

  11. Hi Gina - I'm sure we missed out on a lot of the atmosphere and the generators muffled the music in the second half - but we did get home in half an hour.

    Hi Silverpebble - a bit cheeky, I admit!

    Hi Cottage Smallholder - we've been to quite a number of the concerts as paying punters. This is a fun spur of the moment evenings entertainment.

    Hi Jacqui - we were promised a 'barbecue summer' but the weather forecasters have now admitted they were a bit optimistic!

    Hi Cottage Garden - no we weren't alone, there were at least fifty people in the field, which is large enough for us to spread out and have lots of space between groups. Somerleyton is quite a gem.

    Hi Matron - we've been to Kenwood, saw Sir Edward Heath conduct the orchestra while the fireworks went off all around. Audley End is introducing more modern concerts - the 80s Night on Saturday ended with police spraying CS gas to quell a riot - I'm not kidding! And Russell Brand turned up to see Katherine Jenkins - the police had to escort him off the estate for his own safety!!! Good grief!

    Hi Petoskystone - the concert has to be very very good (i.e. Jools Holland) to warrant the exiting of the car-park finale.

    Hi Veg Heaven - for some reason at Audley End they wait for the music to stop before setting off the fireworks, health and safety I suspect.

    Hi Dottycookie - yes that's the one ;-) it seems to accepted that you can sit in the field behind he car park, there were about fifty people there.

    Hi Pennygj - you miss out on seeing the musicians and the generators powering the car park lighting mar the second half, but it's a jolly thing to do if the weather is good. We live near Duxford, so sometimes get free flypasts too ;-)



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