It's my birthday today. It's becoming the custom that no-one remembers and that I sit down by myself somewhere with a piece of cake and wonder what exactly I have achieved over the past year.
In case that doesn't sound like fun, let me add that today, I bought aforementioned the piece of cake from the National Trust cafe at Stourhead - coffee fudge cake no less! I lived fairly near to this property for years and years, but of course, it's not until I've moved away that I've made the effort to visit. Unfortunately, the high winds and torrential rain meant that the gardens were not open but we were still able to look around the main house, driven there by minibus. Stourhead was owned by a banking family, one of whom disappeared to Italy for a few years, meaning that the house contains exciting hints of ornate Italian furniture alongside pieces crafted by Chippendale the younger.
As with most National Trust properties, the volunteers are friendly, passionate and well informed and they all seem to enjoy watching the McBaby stare open mouthed at the massive portraits and chandeliers. I do hope we will be able to come back to Stourhead when it's sunny. There's a picnic and fireworks event in July that looks absolutely stunning.