I really don’t deal with heat well. It’s obviously a family thing because our mum hated the hot weather (despite or maybe because of living in various hot countries as a child) and my brother despite tanning really easily, isn’t a fan either. It just makes me want to sit in a cold room somewhere and not do anything. But for the second year, Waddesdon Manor’s Feast has fallen on a super hot weekend. When I buy tickets in advance it’s usually concern that it might rain, but really I should be worrying more about the sun in future.
Last year N didn’t want to come with me, but moaned afterwards when he saw the photos. So this year I bought a ticket (yes, for this, even National Trust members had to buy tickets) for both of us and hoped he would come along with me. He did (although I’d have seen a lot more without him being there).
This year they’d changed the parking to a field, with the buses still picking up, while disabled parking was in the usual car park. There was no way I was going to walk in the heat up the hill so we caught the bus with no problems after going through the temporary ticket booths. Even though we had paid in advance, the queue for National Trust members and pre-paid was longer than the other queue as usual.
When we arrived it wasn’t too busy. Apart from the food stalls and craft tent, not much was happening until past 10.30. I’d marked in the programme the shows I’d wanted to see and those that I thought N might be interested in – it was a shame the ones I really wanted to see weren’t til after lunch. What was also a little annoying was that we spotted performances happening at different times to advertised, but until you went round to each ‘stand’ and spotted a timetable at each , you’d have not known. It would have been handy to have a latest show times board up at either end of the drive so you could look when you arrived.
Being there early meant we had time to go to the playground before our house slot and before it got too busy. The playground turned out to be the coolest place on site. N enjoyed hogging the net swing although I was surprised he decided not to go on the big slide, given it always used to say over 6s only and this was the first time he was past that age.
We didn’t stay for long before we headed back along the food stalls to see what was on offer. As usual the cakes looked amazing and N tried a few samples of cheeses and things. We had a bit of time to kill so decided an ice cream in the shade was in order.
One vanilla bean and one chocolate ice cream cone later and we were sufficiently chilled out to walk back in the heat again.
We’ve only ever been in Waddesdon Manor itself at Christmas when it’s all highly and beautifully decorated. Some of the rooms downstairs were open to anyone, but our timed wristband let us in around all the other opened rooms too. It’s a pretty spectacular house, with plenty of treasures to look at, although I think seeing it at Christmas has spoiled it a bit for me. N wanted to speed round – unlike other times of year, there wasn’t a children’s trail or anything to keep him entertained. He did find a very nice green ‘wallpaper’ that when he touched it it was bouncy. Interesting what children discover!
With Feast, there’s a whole variety of stalls selling food. It’s so hard to choice and there was plenty I’d have liked to try. For ease of eating outside, and the fact N would definitely eat it, we decided on Pizza. He was amazed at how quickly it was cooked, and hasn’t stopped going on about thin bases since. We sat up in the shade of the trees along with lots of other families trying to escape the heat.
We only managed to watch a couple of shows. One was contemporary acrobatic dance from Lance Moi en l’Air. They were so controlled although the music was a little quiet from one side.
The other we checked out was Mr Lucky’s Party. I presumed it would be more aimed at children, but most of the humour was lost on N, maybe because we missed the start. I had a few chuckles, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one wishing I was stood under the ‘rain’.
We also saw the piano bike musician that I’d mentioned to N. He couldn’t believe the bike and couldn’t understand how it worked. And the vintage tea ladies were working the crowd – N thought it was really funny they had tea cups on their heads.
Before heading home we stopped off in the craft tent so N could make a Green Man mask. He was happy enough sticking and colouring away, and even added ears. I think he was going for a mouse mask rather than a green man.
While many people love the sun, it was such a shame it was just too hot for us. What we saw at Feast was as good as last year, but there was so much more I wanted to see in terms of shows, but couldn’t hack hanging around for.
We did have an easy journey back to the car and were soon back in air conditioned heaven heading home…for another ice lolly and standing in the paddling pool!
How do you cope with the hot weather?
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