...in which we go on a 'mini-break' (!)

It's really most upsetting to have to face up to the fact that I won't be Queen, so to make things feel a bit better (and celebrate marriage to someone far far hunkier than Prince William will ever be) we jumped in the car for a weekend away - no Babeties allowed.

I had carefully planned the whole thing so that we could drop in to Easton Walled Gardens, and then...oh joy...it SNOWED!

Okay, now you can't do much plant-spotting when everything's covered in snow, but you can appreciate stuff like this:

It was the kind of stinging cold that makes your nose hurt, and then feel like it's fallen off....the kind of cold that needs hot chocolate and mince pies in the tea-room...(which, by the way, is warm and has spotty table-cloths and pretty mugs to drink from)...

There is gorgeous ironwork, old gates leading seemingly nowhere, an ancient yew tunnel and absolutely everywhere, there is stuff for children to enjoy.

There are bird-watching hides and secret dens, and there is a bridge that looks like it should have impossibly skinny Kiera Knightly sitting on it in a bathing suit - spine painfully bent....

There is a terraced lawn which needs me to toboggan down it.....

...and there are grand steps that make me want to curtsy

I shall come back and see the sweetpeas in the summer...(and so should you).

It's worth noting, by the way, that this entire restoration project has been undertaken by the deeply charming Ursula (Queen of Easton), slowly, thoughtfully, and on a shoestring...makes me realise anything is possible.

..and talking of inspiring women, we went home via the rather pretty town of Stamford and had a cosy drink with the one and only Miss Pickering and her Hound.  I discovered Miss P through her totally beauteous blog.  She loves dogs and despises gerberas...what's not to adore?  Her shop is a jewel-like treasure-trove and her chat is as fragrant as her flowers.  Enough said.