Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Blenheim Palace

The gathering didn't officially begin until Friday evening, so I'd invited anyone already in town to head out to Blenheim for the afternoon. After taking advantage of the breakfast that is served at the YHA, which of course included a full English breakfast, but also fruit and cereal and cold cuts even. Enough to appeal to about any appetite.

There's a convenient double decker bus right from Oxford to Blenheim:

We ended up purchasing only tickets for the gardens - upon Kate's advice - and it was good advice as we barely had time to even dent the gardens and we were really more into the socializing anyways. The grounds are covered with these Ancient Oaks - wonderfully gnarled and with tons of character. Happened upon this one...

You can't really see me - but I'm inside the oak, holding Sonja's hand

Due to some spectacular timing, Uli from Germany, who was driving down from York (where she said she had been staying with 'normal' friends for a few days - her words I swear!) managed to arrive at Blenheim just as we ourselves were walking through the gates - ableit it took us a bit to figure out there were multiple gates to get into the grounds, LOL! We told her we were heading to the pleasure garden where she caught up with us.

The pleasure garden had several attractions:

Lavender gardens

Rose Trellises

Butterfly house

A miniature of the nearby village of Woodstock

And one of the largest hedge mazes in England? Or Europe..? I need to look that stat up.

OMG! I'm cracking up because I was going to name Uli here in this picture, but I was trying to figure out who the other two people behind her were. They weren't with us! LOL -- what an experience they must have had in the maze, the 9 of us running around like crazy people yelling to each other. I really don't recall seeing anyone but our own group in the maze.

Then we rode the train over to the palace, to tour the formal gardens

And down to the private lake shore and boat house.

Finally, we toured the exhibition on the history of the Churchills. Winston Churchills g-g-grandfather, the Duke of Marlborough, won a significant battle in Bavaria in the Spanish War of succession - turn of the 18th century.

From Wikipedia: In February 1705, Queen Anne, who had made Marlborough a Duke in 1702, granted him the Park of Woodstock and promised a sum of £240,000 to build a suitable house as a gift from a grateful crown in recognition of his victory – a victory which British historian Sir Edward Creasy considered one of the pivotal battles in history, writing – "Had it not been for Blenheim, all Europe might at this day suffer under the effect of French conquests resembling those of Alexander in extent and those of the Romans in durability." Really, I had totally forgotten Winston Churchill had such a history.

A suitable house, indeed:

But the highlight of the exhibit had to be the dress-ups!

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Blogger Dean said...

I LOVE the pics. Especially you by the lake and you and Dave in that funny costumes. I love Dave, he's always game for anything.
heh, I read once one of the Vanderbilt married into the family, and her dower helps a lot. lol! Very beautiful palace, did they let you see the room where Winston C were born?



7/2/08, 1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the pic of you and Dave in the roses - frame it!

And Ted and butterfly, very nice!


7/2/08, 11:03 PM  

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