Let’s face it, I’m first and foremost a nature lover; wildlife and natural grandeur, that’s me. I am not a great one for fancy piles of the conspicuously rich whose gardens occupy the space of provincial town. Mind you, if I were able to ensure that much distance between myself and the rest of humanity, I probably would. Be that as it may, appealing weather (i.e. any thing approaching a dry day with a vestige of blue in the sky) has been in such short supply this year that, about two weeks ago, I found myself tagging along to the National Trust property at Cliveden where Carol fancied a spot of autumnal landscape photography. Here, given my favoured fake Fuji GX617 treatment, is what we were making for and where, by some non-GPS miracle, we ended up.
You see, I trust, what I mean by unfeasibly rich. In 1666, the unfeasibly rich owner in question was the 2nd Duke of Buckingham. I suppose if he was aristocracy, I might cut him a little slack. His humble pad overlooks the river Thames near Marlow.
Carol’s mental eye was on a Japanese pagoda-style summer house thingy which stands beside an ornamental lake in the Water Garden. Having parked, we threaded our way through the rest of humanity, all of whom seemed to have awoken to the same bright idea for a visit to Cliveden, and made our way to said Water Garden where, rather than an ornamental Japanese pagoda-style summer house thingy, we found a bunch of scaffolding partially hidden by a unfeasibly large white(ish) sheet. Marvelous! With our primary target thus obscured, I was all for returning to base but Carol insisted on staying. As a consolation prize and since the sun persisted, we did manage to snap a rainbow effect in the unobscured ornamental fountain fronting the obscured ornamental Japanese pagoda-style summer house thingy. By leaning out at a rakish angle, it was just about possible
- to avoid falling in the ornamental lake, whilst
- also snapping a little of the autumn colour on offer.
To the left of the conspicuously large pile shown above, is a conspicuously ornate, gilded clock tower. Well, just a moment; I suppose given the obvious wealth of the 2nd Dude of Buckingham, it may be real gold – I don’t know. Anyway, here’s a snap of it shining in the very rare 2012 sunshine. What I didn’t spot as I took the photograph, was the contrail of a jet aircraft. Notice how, completely by chance, the contrail is perfectly positioned flying in from the top right-hand corner of the frame, heading straight for the Spirit of Liberty, the gilt/gold dude mounted naked and cold atop the clock tower. [Yikes, I just looked it up – it’s covered in 23.5 carat gold leaf! the statue doesn’t seem to have been anything to do with the 2nd Dude of Buckingham.] Though I think that plane in the photo was an over-flight, much lower jets were flying over the property all the while we were there at the rate of about one a minute. As near to Marlow as it is, the Dude’s pad is now also near London’s Heathrow airport and suffers from much lower planes on flight paths in and/or out. At least the Dude didn’t have that to contend with in 1666, all he’d have strained to hear would have been the splash of the occasional set of oars in the Thames beneath.
While I was wandering about the grounds grabbing the above documentary shot of the pile, Carol further consoled herself from the disappointment of the Japanese pagoda-style summer house thingy shrouded in scaffolding and sheeting by taking people-free shots down a line of autumnal trees.
We made the disastrous mistake of choosing to ride home through the centre of High Wycombe. Lesson learned!