Despite feeling quite low in both enthusiasm and energy this morning (worse than on a weekday before work), I managed to get myself out of bed at 7.05am and headed off to do my food shopping, which I would usually do on a Thursday or Friday evening. But, I was busy last night and just wasn’t in the mood on Thursday. I got up and left this morning without any breakfast or anything. No cup of tea and I didn’t even brush my teeth. I was keen to get it out of the way and avoid the rush and crowds in the process, which I did. 🙂
A few hours later, I was getting myself ready (preparing lunch and packing my bag) for a few hours at the Ashton Court Estate, which marks the second weekend where I have made an effort in getting myself out of the house and spending some time enjoying the outdoors.
I had been to the estate before; twice in each of the previous two-years, in fact. In 2010, I was involved with and exhibiting in an exhibition being held upstairs in the Hayloft Gallery. Last year, I made an effort to visit the show, even though I couldn’t afford to participate (I will be going again when it opens again next month). But, I’d never explored the grounds surrounding the estate and, even after today, I still haven’t explored the whole interior of the mansion itself.
As I always do, I’d spent a bit of time researching the place on the internet, to get an idea of things I wanted to look for. There were one or two (thinking of the Ice House) that I managed to miss on this occasion but, that should only help to encourage me to return again. I knew where the mansion was and I knew where the car parks were. Looking at the sheer size of the place on a map, I knew that I wanted to start by getting as high and far away from there as possible before midday; meaning that I should be on a descent down the hills, once the temperature peaks in the afternoon. 😉
Nature’s great, I love trees and I do enjoy standing back and appreciating the view over the nearby city… But, even I can get bored of wandering around on my own, taking photos, after a while. Then, I found the deer…
These fallow deer were a lot closer to the boundary fence than I had imagined (I guess they don’t get disturbed too easily, unlike sheep). Around the other side of their sanctuary were conflicting signs for pedestrians… One stating that you could not enter, with signs on both gates (one of which was locked) saying that you were allowed, provided that you stick to the marked paths.
Not only do they have these on the estate but, they also had red deer…
This time, I took a chance (following a runner’s lead, actually) and entered their park. It looked so vacant at first, until I climbed up a hill and approached this beautiful animal, no more than ten-feet away! If it wasn’t for the reassurance of a middle-aged couple walking towards me on the same path, I’d have possibly turned and walked away in fear!
I still didn’t have the nerve to take a photo while it was staring at me, head on but, what I then began to realise was that, although I felt I was within his territory, he accepted me. He knew I wasn’t a threat to him (I think it’s ‘he’) and I’ve been thinking about how this relates to our interactions with people. We’re often welcomed in to the homes of friends and family but, even people we’ve never met can be as warm and welcoming, if we give them a chance.
I only managed to spend about two-and-a-half hours at this place, even though it felt much larger in size than Blaise Castle. That’s half an hour less but, although I wasn’t expecting much and, to be honest, I wasn’t as excited about coming here, I’ve still enjoyed the few hours being out of the house. As much as I do miss having to share it with… Seeing that single up close was unbelievable! 🙂
Apparently, I managed to take 114 photos before going through and making any necessary cuts – that’s around 30 more than last time, which does surprise me, I must say! If you’d like to see them all, please click here and you’ll be taken to my Flickr folder.
In both places now, I’ve passed by native speakers of a foreign language – I didn’t realise that Bristol was ‘on the map‘, so the speak! It’s quite warming. Although I did manage to share a comment with those two others near the red deer, I would like to be able to meet and greet new people more easily and maybe even make some friends from these adventures. There are so many young couples walking around though. They often seem to feel as awkward as I do, when we pass each other.
Next week, I’m looking at heading to Leigh Woods. I’m tempted to do it tomorrow even but, I’ll see how things go.