The leaflet for Newby Hall and Gardens near Ripon, North Yorkshire declares “so much to see and do!” There is a lot of truth in that statement. Visiting a stately home with a tween and teenager I did expect to run out of entertainment quite quickly. However teens are like toddlers in at least one respect; if you keep moving, there’s a chance they won’t get bored. We had a leisurely arrival in time for lunch. Just outside the entrance is a large, fenced picnic area. This time we decided to treat ourselves to lunch in the conservatory self-service restaurant.…

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If you want to visit a French Chateau then you can’t go wrong with a visit to The Loire Valley, where there are plenty. Villandry is one famous Loire valley chateau. It is known for its extraordinary gardens which are laid out in the French Renaissance style. The gardens were recreated and restored by the current owners, mainly based on historical records. They are truly stunning, and extensive. It took us a long time to get around the grounds and view it from many interesting angles. Visiting Villandry Most visitors start with the chateau itself and its grand interiors and…

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Summer has barely started and we’ve already had both bees and wasps making nests on our property. It’s always a surprise when we find them, after all they didn’t call ahead before arriving! This is the first year we have had both bees and wasps at the same time. When this happens we have to decide if we’re going to do something about the nests. After all, my first thought is “oh no, they sting!” but this isn’t always true. Wasps’ nests About ten years ago we had a wasps nest in an airbrick outside the kitchen door. They were…

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