Sunday, 3 February 2013

Wollaton Hall and various Odds and Sods

The weather has returned to normal (above freezing) temperatures so it was time to get back out in the world.  Today's trip took us to Wollaton Hall just outside of Nottingham.  You'll notice Alex is missing.  We left him at a friend's house for a pre-arranged play date with a good friend.

Before diving into the details, we also had a great night last night.  Unfortunately, bone-headed me didn't take any pictures for the blog.  We had friends and fellow ex-pats Doug and Tara Schetzel (blog link) over for a nice evening.  We tried to justify the cost of the transformer we bought and used our US fondue pots for a relaxing multi-course meal.   Good times.  Sorry about the pics.

Wollaton Hall was built in the 1580's for this guy, Sir Francis Willoughby.   It stayed in the family until 1925 when it was given over to the Nottingham City government (official link).  That's fairly unique in our experience as most are managed by a private trust (like Chatsworth) or run by the National Trust (like Hardwick Hall).  It's housed the Nottingham Natural History Museum since 1926.

Of recent note, Wollaton Hall was used in scenes from The Dark Knight Rises as the latest Wayne Manor.

The inside of the house was rather unspectacular.  I guess that points to some manor fatigue on our part.  It was actually more about the Natural History Museum than the period house.  It was odd to see all of these stuffed animals, but as was pointed out, they date back to the early 1900s when this was how folks learned about the animals at that time.

A special note was made about the trophy heads and how that was once an acceptable practice of the day (but is no longer).

They had some interesting skeletons as well like this orangutan. 

 and this massive hippopotamus skull

I believe this gorilla dates back to the 1800s

the only artifact of note that I photographed inside the house was this array of "Brown Bess" muskets that were used by Henry, 6th Lord Middleton, in 1804 in preparation for Napoleonic attacks

 the grounds contain a deer park which was kinda neat (but off in the distance on this occasion)

lots of folks out walking their dogs including these two huge Irish Wolfhounds (I think)

a look back at the Hall from our short walk around the grounds

 two swans in the lake -- quite a few water fowl overall (just not shown here)
herron nest (point and shoot zoom limitations I'm afraid)

You are probably wondering what this is.  Well, we stopped in the cafe for a quick bite for Nicole and tea for Kuk and me.  We found a table, but it needed to be cleaned.  One gal was walking around clearing (not cleaning) the tables and we eventually asked her if she could clean the table so we could use it.  So, she gets some spray and hoses it down and walks away.  I just had to chuckle.  Service here can really make you scratch your head.  Kuk, not exactly in a chuckling mood, got up to get some napkins to finish the job.  What can you do.

So, the Park/Hall are worth a stop if you are in the area (it was free after all) and the grounds are worth a nice stroll, particularly once the weather improves further.  The museum didn't do all that much for me, but no biggie. 

Laziness got the better of me last weekend.  We had perfect snow timing as it didn't start until after we got home on Friday night.  I knew it would be gone by Sunday so I didn't feel like dealing with it on Saturday.  Once it did leave, we ended up running errands on Sunday instead of venturing out.

 last Saturday morning -- probably 4-5"

this is in the nearby area of Allestree -- I decided to walk about 20 minutes to Park Farm for a haircut and a few food items.  Very typical neighborhood with close houses, no front yards and parked cars to dodge on the street (though not many out at this time)

 last Sunday morning -- how quickly the snow left this time
 Nicole took the opportunity last weekend to make her first batch of Cake Pops (thanks Aunt Sheri!) -- yummy

On to the latest installment of my Jamie Oliver 15-minute experiences

 grilled tuna w/ pasta verde

 spring greens, pork marsala and porcini mushroom rice (surprisingly the greens were the best part)

Asian black bean flavored burgers, crunchy veg w/ noodles and a water chestnut salad  (the veggies were also the hit of this one too)

 mushroom pasta with a blue cheese spinach salad (probably skip this one, though the salad was a keeper)

 Turkish Flats -- nice but not one to have too often

That's all.  Have a good week everyone.


  1. Neat Batman link in the Natural History House, what part of the Hall was used in the film? I liked the food pics as well. You should have taken Kuk's "amused" facial expresssion as she cleaned the table, I'm sure that would have been blog worthy.

  2. Yes Wollaton Hall is more for those who want to be educated rather than those who just want something pretty to look at.