Is there any greater pleasure than a cream tea in the sunshine? No, I didn’t think so…
A couple of Sundays ago, I was mad enough to run my first 10k race. Mad because I hadn’t done any training which, having spent three days after the race hobbling around in pain, is not to be recommended. After the race, I was buzzing on a high of adrenaline so the dude suggested that we stop off at Basildon Park a National Trust property near Reading for a post-race amble.
It was a true English summer’s day, with Swallows darting overhead and cattle hazily lumbering around in the surrounding fields. And as my weary legs lumbered from the car and up the sweeping drive, we were met with this view of the house.
Certainly not a bad place to take a stroll to recover the legs! We sat outside and indulged in a sumptuous cream tea complete with Rodda’s clotted cream I am happy to say. If you haven’t tried Rodda’s, then your life is not yet complete, it’s heavenly.
The last owners of the house were Lord and Lady Iliffe who bought it in the 1950s and restored it, including the installation of a state-of-the-art 1950s kitchen which is still in the house and looking very chic and retro now. We were greeted by the smell of baking as a volunteer was making cookies in the kitchen, using equipment that the cooks would have used in the ’50s. It seems that the National Trust are introducing some more experiential elements to their houses which really bring them to life.
We also took a stroll around the extensive gardens, which were full of families picnicking and playing ball. Squeals of delight from happy, playing children were permeating the summer air as parents chattered together on rugs and blankets. It was an idyllic scene and a reminder that the National Trust is perfect for families. It’s also perfect for recovering first-time runners.