As I write this, I'm on a family holiday in the Dordogne region of France.
This basically means that I'm spending a very picturesque week in the company of absolute loons. Michele is here too, as is my sister's boyfriend Andrew, so we've at least got two non-Porters to dilute the usual madness (e.g my Mum's incredibly whiny French voice, manic driving on behalf of my Dad into the middle of nowhere, fights over who ate the last Lu chocolate biscuit or Crunch bar, desperate attempts to dodge hole-in-the-ground toilets...)
Right now, everyone else is playing Scrabble whilst Michele and I sit here on the internet, oops. I'm definitely ready to sleep after a day walking around caves and swimming in the pool (ok, ok and eating a hell of a lot of cheese - pavè d'affinois is the food of Gods) so I can't say I'm particularly jumping to get my holiday photos blog-ready.
But to keep in the spirit of family days out, here are a few shots from our trip to Hever Castle last summer!
As you can tell, it was a beautifully sunny day.
We'd chosen Hever as the gardens are so beautiful and we had our cheeky pup with us, back when he was actually, technically, a pup. Jess, Mum, Michele and I whizzed around the castle whilst Dad stayed outside with little Bertie on the grounds that he'd been around the castle a hundred times.
Which admittedly he probably had, as had we all. But it definitely didn't stop us playing princesses again.
We've been coming here since Jess and I were old enough to toddle across the drawbridge. When I was younger, I had a real fascination with the Tudors. The idea of those opulent costumes and romantic castles made me feel nostalgic for an age I'd never experienced. I imagined open countryside undisturbed by the concrete towns and cities of today, just endless fields and meadows and winding rivers accompanied by weary willows.
Of course, I didn't pay any attention to the fact that I would most likely have been a peasant and not destined for such romantic finery, nor did I consider the poor healthcare, low life expectancy and unstable political environment of the times. If you forget all of those things of course, Hever is a dream day out for a girl obsessed with all things medieval.
As I said, we had our little mutt with us so didn't spend too long inside the castle, instead spending the afternoon taking a walk together in the beautiful gardens. They've really used the castle grounds well, creating beautiful flowerbeds in the Italian gardens whilst also leaving space for open lawns to show the sheer scale of the gardens.
Michele and I decided to race to the water maze (always a bad idea, I was not built for sprinting yet am painfully competitive - I practically had a panic attack trying to get my legs to move in time and still lost horrendously) and back again whilst my family had a nice calm walk by the lake, my favourite part of the Hever gardens.
We finished the afternoon off having tea and scones in the pretty cafe next to the garden shop. As it was the end of the day, they were just closing up but that also meant that there was nobody else in sight; we had the whole place to ourselves.
I could finally pretend that I was that Tudor princess after all! Although perhaps not the princess of Hever Castle.. we all know how that one ended..
Keep your eyes peeled and you might just spot a handsome prince... ahem!
It was just one of those lazy days out with the family that I love so much during the summer holidays. I'm so sad to think that this year might just be my last proper summer holiday! Admittedly 23 is a pretty decent age to finally be weaned off the months-long summer break but I just don't feel ready to give it up!
Even Bertie's sad about it:
And how could you disagree with that face?