When there's bright daylight streaming through my blinds, I can't face the thought of staying in all day! So Saturday morning, spying weather that was ideal photo-taking conditions, I packed up my camera, grabbed my National Trust card and jumped on a train to Richmond.
National Trust gardens have become one of my happy-places, somewhere I can wander for ages snapping away. I've been trying to make an effort to visit new places - recently I've also been to Osterley Park and Basildon Park, so Ham House was next on my list.
Ham House is about a mile and a half away from Richmond Station, but it's a beautiful riverside walk beside the Thames. Just before arriving at the house I got a little bit distracted by the polo club next door and ended wandering down a few more footpaths trying to get a glimpse of the polo ponies from afar.
While I wasn't all that interested in the interiors (it was all dark wood panelling, rather too gloomy for my liking), the exteriors and the gardens were right up my street. In fact, I skipped the house completely when I arrived and headed straight out into the gardens.
The gardens are extensive and absolutely beautiful. Everywhere I turned seemed to hold more and more photo opportunities, and the house itself makes for a pretty stunning backdrop to the greenery. What was especially pleasing (in terms of photography anyway) was the near lack of other visitors, despite being a Saturday afternoon - although it was just gone midday.
Having covered the gardens, crisscrossing back and forth in search of all the best angles, I wandered through to the Orangery for something to eat. I settled myself at the tables outside, a fruit scone with jam and cream in front of me and plenty of beautiful wisteria to set the scene around me.
Gardens and house explored, I made my way back along the river to the station, mindful of the hundreds of photos I would have to sort through that evening!
Where are your favourite places to spend a weekend afternoon?