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10th August 2015
James Turrell in Norfolk
I’ve made a little pact with myself to explore more of the UK.
Find more of what there is to do and see on our little island.
James Turrell happens to be one of my favourite artists, so when I heard he had an instillation up in Norfolk, it felt like the perfect excuse for a weekend adventure.
We hopped into the car after breakfast and made it up there around lunchtime.
We decided to “check in” to our new home before moseying on over to the show.
Sennowe Park is a private house, but the owners love a good shindig!
They host weddings, parties and stately weekends for groups of people who want the full Downton experience.
Occasionally they also allow one off guests to come and stay too. Making it the grandest B’n’B I’ve ever come across!
My chap and I arrived and were greeted like old friends. We all chatted away excitedly and Virginia, our hostess, showed us inside.
We climbed up through the house and into our bedroom.
^ Sorry Dad, we don’t sleep in twin beds, this was our dressing room, leading into the bedroom.
A printed dreamscape!
We abandoned our bags and sat with a cup of tea in the kitchen, as our hosts piled us up with local tips, the history of the house, our families, etc.
I could happily have chattered all day, but we had places to be!
It was time to climb back into our rocket ship of a car.
A BMW i8 very kindly sent over for us to play with and put through its paces.
It’s the first sports car with the same emissions as a little compact hybrid (so no roadtax, no congestion charge, free parking) with no compromise on the driving experience.
It’s nippy, smooth, utterly silent when in electric mode, with a spine tingling roar when it’s not!
To switch between the two you just nudge the gear stick, or give the accelerator a bit of welly and it fires into action.
No delay whatsoever, it really does feel like a private spaceship.
Far more comfortable than any sports car I’ve ever been in.
And handy if you get into a tight spot!
We zipped along the country lanes, over to Houghton Hall.
Sinking into The Walled Garden to stretch our legs and unwind.
Created by Lord Cholmondeley in tribute to his grandmother, Lady Sybil Cholmondeley, the award winning garden is about 5 acres and bursts with scented roses, herbs and blossom.
The ultimate English country garden.
Blue dress // Blue bag
Gold sandals // Black sunnies
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We had expected the place to be absolutely packed.
Visiting an attraction on an August weekend, during school holidays didn’t seem the best idea. But we couldn’t get away on Friday, so we’d just have to brave the crowds.
…or so we thought.
In fact, the estate was so quiet it almost felt as though it was all ours!
We danced, skipped and played hide & seek throughout the grounds, completely undisturbed.
Deep into the woods, you’ll find Skyspace.
Something I’ve wanted to visit since I wrote this post.
An imposing wooden box, hidden amongst the trees, and sealed with a heavy door.
As you walk in, the sounds of the British countryside fade away and your eyes are drawn up to the heavens.
A white room, with nothing but a hole in the roof.
A place for contemplation.
Turrell designs these Skyspaces as somewhere for groups to come together and experience an almost religious experience.
You lie on your back and gaze up at the sky, all focussed into one, neat square.
It feels at though the sky has become a piece of ever-changing art. One that you see constantly but have never fully appreciated before.
Every alteration in the light, every cloud that sails by, every bird that flutters over head becomes part of the artwork.
A tremendous place to gain clarity and perspective.
You find more of his work littered across the estate.
Forget the map and enjoy discovering them all!
Get lost by yourselves and enjoy the art not conceived by Turrell.
Like the way the light streams through the tree canopy above, and changes with the breeze.
Turrell’s work is all about gaining an appreciation for light and space. He wants you to see the world differently once you’ve left him.
Inside the house you’ll find his work with artificial lights and holograms.
By the time we emerged, night had pulled in around us.
We took up our places on the lawn (with generously piled plates of hog-roast and some cold white wine) to watch the final installation.
The entire façade of Houghton bathed in changing, coloured lights.
Starting very subtly and really intensifying as the sky turns to an inky blue.
I sat in my man’s arms, both wrapped in picnic blankets and full of a picnic supper.
A crowd had emerged from the trees by this time. Families, couples and groups all littered the lawn, snuggled up with one another.
Children played and raced around together in the cool summer evening.
Eventually, we packed up our hamper and headed home to Sennowe.
Where there was a hand penned note waiting for us, suggesting a drink in the library.
We lit a crackling fire, sank into two pillowy armchairs and talked late into the night, as Custard snoozed on the floor.
Before climbing the stairs and sinking into our four poster bed.
An unbelievably romantic adventure, and no passports required!
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