Sunday, August 28, 2005

Kids & water...

We took another trip up to the Alnwick Garden on saturday, 12 months since we visited and it was a bit of a building site then.

There is still a lot of construction ongoing for a new pavilion to replace the tented restaurants & portaloos, however the serpent garden is a particular delight, full of water features that amuse, entertain and intrigue. My particular favourite was the whirlpool, a variant on an exhibit at Magna where a bowl shaped structure is progressively filled then allowed to empty. This one is allowed to overspill, however, cascading down the sides of the stainless steel, but not before splashing onlookers with random waves. Had David brought a change of clothes, the Torricelli tower would have ensured he got soaked. (A description of the sculptures can be found in this press release)

We also saw a street theatre performance by Avanti, doing the same show they performed last year, Mr. Lucky's party. This appeared to be a fluke on our part, as they have a bigger repertoire and only appear occasionally, the Garden having a wide range of performances over time. This is a very wet performance, water is a recurring theme in the gardens, although it all pales into insignificance compared to the grand cascade.

One thing slightly disappointing was the Poison Garden, more non-latin names would have been useful as most of the plant we hadn't heard of. A few were contained in large cages, including a Cannabis plant which appeared to be growing very healthily. It seems they have guides but we went in there first thing in the day & they were busy.

The treehouse is a splendid structure, although it has to be said that it seems to be built in amongst trees with the occasional protrusion rather than requiring structural support for them. It has a couple of wobbly bridges delighting young and old alike and is also a rather novel setting for a restaurant. The Cherry & Chocolate toasted bread was very pleasant and also rather unusual! You could also walk upo spiral stairs to "the nest" right at the top of the building, as well as watch an informative (but somewhat PC) video on giant plasma screens in "the roost".

Even to people like us to whom cutting the grass is a chore, a visit to Alnwick is a joy and is highly recommended.

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