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Monday, 17 February 2014

A Special Valentines for a special couple


Friday as we all know was Valentines day and what better way to start the day by planting a Celebration tree that would be around for a very long time and a permanent reminder of your first date.



I watched the weather forecast for Friday closely, it really did not look good. Another storm coming in with high winds but amazingly the weather stayed on our side until just after the tree planting. With parts of trees already on the ground from the storms the nights before, it felt so right to be planting a new tree that day.
Being a volunteer photographer at Charlecote Park, I get to see a few of the special events that happen within the park and this one was a lovely one to see.


The lovely couple who planted a tree on Valentines day, were Lee and Rachel  from  Air Experience http://www.airexperiences.co.uk/  I had not met Rachel or Lee before but I have seen many of their Ariel photographs of the area. I would love to be able to take photographs of Charlecote from the sky but I am not sure if that would be a little too high of the ground for me. I am thinking about it :)


A combined effort while constantly smiling :)


 Lee had taken Rachel flying above Charlecote Park on their first date followed by a walk around the park itself. Charlecote Park has become a very special place for them and it was lovely to see them celebrating Valentines day in this way. They now have a special tree in a special place for them to watch grow over the years as their love for each other does too. Rachel and Lee are a lovely couple and were constantly smiling, it was so nice to see them so happy.
Wishing them both best wishes for the future together. May their relationship grow stronger and stronger through the years as the tree does too.


 If you would like to know more about Celebration Tree planting at Charlecote , read my blog 'Boxing Day walk, reflections and tree planting'. Here is the link:
 http://janaruzena.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/boxing-day-walk-floods-reflections-and.html

For more about Lee and Rachel's beautiful story here is a link to the National Trust's article
                           http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1355822789882/

Here is a blog from Lisa who is the Park and Garden manager at Charlecote Park. Well worth a read. It tells you more about the storm damage in the park. I have just read it myself and I will be in later this week to take some more photos. Some of these trees have been around for 100's of years. Such a shame.
http://charlecoteparknt.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/a-varied-week-in-the-park-and-garden/


                                                             Photos Copyright Jana Eastwood

Friday, 7 February 2014

Behind the scenes at Charlecote Park


We all have places we love to go to, to escape to from time to time. Imagine if there was more to the place's you love than what you had seen. A key to a secret garden yet to explore, a secret room, a part of an estate set as private which you had not been allowed to see.
As you know I love history so I like to learn as much as I can about places I visit. National Trust membership has helped me keep my sanity as the children have been growing up. It has given us all much needed escapes from day to day living over the years. Far away from the Towns and Cities my children hate so much. Autism and busy places really don't go together. The countryside is the only place my children have ever really been happy outside our own home. You see a more relaxed expression on their faces and lots of smiles. There is no pretending to fit in, they can just be themselves.


 I find that my National Trust family membership has paid for itself before Spring has even arrived which gives me the rest of the year free :) Well that's how I look at it anyway.


 I have added just a few of many photos taken over the years of my children growing up. It's such a shame that the last couple of years have been so different. With our daughters bad health, going out as a family just doesn't happen much at all. 

My children growing up in the countryside with the help of the National Trust. My Mum will like these photos. She will be guessing where each one was taken. :) Note to My Mother..click on them to make them bigger :)


                                       

One of my favourite places to escape to, as those who follow my blog will know, is Charlecote Park in the heart of the Warwickshire Countryside. I have been going there ever since I was a little girl and then when I had children myself, I introduced them to Charlecote Park too! I have many fond memories of the park.


I thought over the years I had seen all there was to see at Charlecote Park but I couldn't have been more wrong. Just before Christmas I started as a volunteer photographer for the Park itself and I am loving every moment of it. It's impossible for me to work with my children being as they are. I am a full-time carer. Having my daughter at home full-time also, limits any free time I get and to be honest, drove me a little mad being stuck inside all the time. I am a Country girl at heart and love nothing better than being outside walking.


                               Look who was guarding the flowers :)
     

When I first started at Charlecote I was a little nervous but the staff and other volunteers couldn't have been more welcoming. It didn't take me long to settle in and I was doing two of the things I loved most... walking in my favourite place and taking photos :) I really do love it there. It's like having that key to the secret garden. I am learning all over again about the estate and discovering some of it's secrets . So much goes on behind the scenes that you never see and I am so enjoying learning all about it. It has also given me something else to think about outside my own house and family. For the last 18 years, that is all it has been, my children and looking after them. Now I am doing something for me and for the National Trust who have helped so much while my children were growing up and still do.


All the people I have meet at Charlecote Park are so friendly and I get adult company and adult conversation at last! That might sound strange to some people but I am sure some of you will know exactly what I mean. Best of all I can work it around my husband being home :) I have also noticed a difference with visitors to the Park, they see my badge and smile and say hello. It's a nice feeling :)


There are other benefits too. I can share some of my experiences with my lovely followers :)

 The last couple of weeks I have been photographing the feeding of the animals which is done first thing in the morning with the park check. I was able to follow the Ranger around a little and I have even tried my hand at recording film on my camera a little. I still need a little more practise but I am hoping to share some of the filming with you over the next few weeks.
There is a chance for you to see what happens first thing in the morning with the Park check yourselves. If your interested. It's on Tuesday 11th of March. Here is a link to their Facebook event page which explains a little more about it. https://www.facebook.com/events/576323389108682/  If you can make it, it is worth it, you really do see a different side to Charlecote Park. I know a few of my regular readers who I think would enjoy it.


I have to tell you the animal feeding time is quite funny and amazing at the same time. Most people who have walked around the estate know how the animals tend to move away from you as you get close. This doesn't happen first thing in the morning when the feeding is done. They wait like cats on hot bricks for you to arrive and then chase you up and down the field, not me personally :) but the Ranger or which ever other member of staff is feeding them that day.


It is really funny to see the sheep's bums bouncing up and down as they run after the buggy. I could not catch this action well enough by photo which is why I want to video it. You will see soon :)


It's always like a game of chase when the Ranger loads up.


Reminds me of the Pied Piper



The sheep get given hay and sugar beat. That's another thing to see, they really push each other about when the sugar beat comes out. Guess they really like it :)
                               


Meet the boys. For those who don't know.... the colours on the sheep are so that they can tell which one mated with which female. If you look at the bouncing bottoms photo above, you can see they have been very busy. Can't wait for Spring :)




As for the deer. They wait amongst the trees in the avenue of West Park. I know the buggy is coming before I even hear or see it. The deer start moving and I know it's on it's way.
                                     




I thought this one was really cute :)


The buggy drives up and down the field dropping nuts from the back of it and the deer follow. It really is quite something to see.
After the rutting season the deer lose a little weight and are tired so to get them them back to how they were, nuts and extra hay are put out for them everyday. The first time I tried to photograph them, I spooked them a little so they kept their distance. After a couple more attempts, I now know where the best place to wait is and I am hoping to be able to catch them on film a little closer than I did last time.


      The deer are also given extra hay in the Winter months. Looks like they are enjoying this too!




This one doesn't look impressed that I am disturbing his breakfast!


There are also the deer and sheep to feed in the Main Park area. 



Now for the sheep. These sheep were in the Meadow before Christmas but since the floods they have been moved to the Main Park area.






 I really don't know why I didn't volunteer before. I now make free time for myself which yes ok I spend at Charlecote and at other places but at least it's 'me time'. To be honest it has made me re-think my life and what I would like to do. I thought I would like working at Charlecote but I didn't realise I would enjoy it this much. I guess it has been a little bit of life-line. A step to get me back into the real World. People volunteer for so many different reasons, a gentleman I had met at Packwood House told me that he had just retired and suddenly he found he had too much time on his hands and needed to do something. Other people have told me a similar story to myself where as they have spent so much time at a property and have grown to love it, that it just felt right to give something back. There are so many different reasons and everyone has their special place. 

I guess with volunteering at Charlecote Park a lot of my blogs will be based there but then to be honest, they were anyway :) It doesn't mean I won't be covering other escapes and visits. Nothing there will change and what I write are my thoughts only. It just means I can share a little more information about Charlecote Park than you would normally get if I was just a visitor. And of course there is my son's photo sessions which I will carry on sharing too. For those who read my last blog.... Stefan took a copy of the photos he had taken at Charlecote last weekend into college and his teacher was really pleased with the result. I think a few of the other students were interested in where he had been too :) In case you missed his photos, here is the link..
   janaruzena.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/my-sons-first-photography-session.html

For all those who walk around the gardens enjoying the beautiful flowers through the year like I do. It's thanks to the gardeners who work so hard to get it that way. I will try to cover a little more about the gardeners in a separate blog.


Here they are planting bulbs for later this year.





Another nice advantage of  being at Charlecote at this time of year, is that each working day starts with a Sunrise and ends with a Sunset and what a lovely place to be at that time of day.No being up at silly o'clock times, just the start of a normal day. I just wish I didn't have to wait until the weekends and better weather to see them.
 These next photos were all taken over the period of an hour from 3.30pm to 4.30pm a couple of weeks ago . They start before, during and after the Sunset when you get all the lovely colours.


I hope you have enjoyed this blog and I look forward to sharing more of my escapes and adventures with you very soon.