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Today, we have been a little bit educational, a bit arty, and bought two milk churns. As you do.

Le Pomme wanted no part in the milk churn buying. To be fair, we’d gone out to buy two blue pots for the bottom of the garden. But the garden centre didn’t have any that weren’t pillar box red or under five feet tall. Neither of which would suit our cottage garden. And then I saw the churns, which are like churns, only in grey pottery. Trust me, they’re lovely. Although, I suspect, a little bit chavtastic. I care not.

After trailing around for a while, Le Pomme admitted that he didn’t actually mind about what pots we bought. Just so long as we got some. (This was a stalling tactic, brought on by the year long hunt for a new living room lamp). I confounded him by taking his word for it, and purchasing the two churns. Victory, me thinks.

I then whisked him away to Lotherton Hall. Despite it being within three score yard and ten, I haven’t been for many a year. And it was wonderful. For a fiver ahead you had access to the Hall and grounds, the Bird Garden, converted stables with coaches and what like, and a Victoriana exhib.

It was really rather lovely. There was just one minor problem. We were awandering in the grounds, as a newly-wed couple does, minding our own beeswax and being rather lovey dovey when we thought no one was watching. Mid-canoodle, and being unaware of the Bird Garden, I was not unnaturally rather freaked out when a rather large rustle in the bushes revealed itself to be a giant ostrich type Thing.

Said Thing then shadowed me along the hedge line. There followed an entertaining (for everyone else bar me) caper into the bird garden, and rather quickly, out of said bird garden. Have you seen a Condor before? No? Imagine a kitchen table, in full flight, with a ruff round it’s neck. If kitchen tables had necks, but you know what I mean. Fortunately they were in a rather large enclosure, but were awe-inspiringly scary all the same. The less said about the Stalking Stork, the better.

I’m sticking to ducks. Preferably a la Peking.

Which would have suited the Gascoigne family, the owners of Lotherton Hall who left it to the city of Leeds at some point in the not too distant past (see how I absorbed the key facts and figures? S’marvellous, I tell yez).

It was awfully well done, as these things go. There was a DVD of men with fabulously curly moustashes, women in bustles and servants a-servanting. Chinese porcelain abounded, there were ghost dogs and tragedy and benevolent sisters aplenty. Throw in a dash of politics, a bit of Civil War scoundrelry, and a scandalous Grand Tour, and a smidgen of art collection, and there you have it. Turns out the last In the line, the rather grandly named Sir Alvary Douglas Frederick Trench-Gascoigne, was a bit of a globetrotter, ending up as Ambassador to Russia at the end of the Stalin era. Imagine having to take that job. It came after appointments in Peking and other exotic places. There’s an actual tiger skin rug draped over a sofa to prove it.

And then we pottered round the Victoriana design exhib before departing in search of tea and cake at a nearby art gallery slash interior slash objects of desire shop. Where we nearly bought a painting, but came to our senses and decided to sleep on it. Not literally, just in case you were panicking there.

A wonderful way to spend a few hours.

Oh, and the milk churns? We came home and did a couple of hours gardening. They’re planted up, at the bottom of the garden. And now I don’t think they’re chavtastic at all.

And Le Pomme has admitted he quite likes them.

Victory.

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