…but please don’t assume that that is a big concern to all my fellow-country men and women. Other preferences for a decent drink include beer, wine, coffee and good, plain tap water. The occasion was a day-trip en route to visiting family that evening and so we had time to meander round the grounds, taking photos and generally taking our time. We had been here before, nearly a year previously but were disappointed that the little train service had not been running then. This time it was and so honour was satisfied – at least for those in our little group who wanted to ride. I realise that the train is as much gimmick as practical necessity to get from one part of the grounds to the other but we enjoyed our little trip nonetheless.

The weather was changeable – if we are honest, more like the summers we used to have although a bit wetter than usual. That was a bit of a nuisance in deciding whether to explore the gardens or visit the house or Churchill exhibition or whatever. It also meant a variety of lighting conditions when taking photographs. The sunny ones had more texture but the cloudy ones lost less in shadow. Not really a big deal with a modern camera if you are taking snapshots as a memento of the day, but a consideration for the little project I had set myself.

You see, when we saw the programme about the pop-up art gallery, one of the works was composed of a montage/mosaic of photos taken of Buckingham Palace. They were taken over a period of time so that the sky and building looked different according to the weather and light of the particular moment that the photograph was taken. The individual pictures did not quite “fit” but the overall effect seemed to work. So I thought I might try something similar and take the opportunity to do so during my few days leave. In the end I took nearly 200 photos of Blenheim Palace but come the piecing together found that I could use not more than half of them.

My trouble was not the variable light but the fact that I zoomed in and out according to what caught my fancy. The work that has inspired me took photos from the same distance with the same magnification – a fact we did not discover until we visited the exhibition a day later and had a closer look.

As for that cup of tea – strictly speaking a pot of tea for one – not only was the water good and hot enough for a decent cup but the person serving did not stint on the milk. Moreover, while the price was not cheap, I have known less pleasant places charge more for less. There was also some satisfaction in getting to the tea room before it started to rain and being among the first in place to enjoy a nice cup of tea while the rain smattered across the windows in the gusty breeze. The rain pausing and my being ready to move on was a pleasant moment of serendipity.