England Day 2: Blenheim Palace

Our second day in England, we woke up, gave peanut a bottle and got some snuggles in. Jasmin’s pull out couch was actually really comfortable, and we slept well.

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After breakfast, we headed out to Blenheim Palace. It is, I believe, the only non royal palace in England. The land was gifted to the Duke of Marlborough and both Princess Di and Churchill are of this family. Churchill was born here and lived here.

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For scale, here’s one with Jasmin and Doug, and the stroller.

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The china is hand-painted.

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This unhappy woman married into the family at Blenheim. She was in love with someone else but her mother had a breakdown and her hand was sort of forced to give up her relationship and marry someone she didn’t love. She was gifted the gilt cradle as a subtle hint from her mother too.

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Churchill was born here:

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This is one of the coolest features – check out the eyes under this portico!

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Why eyes? To quote Britain Explorer: “Three of these are blue and three are brown and all of them look vaguely masonic in their design. They were painted in 1928 by artist Colin Gill based on strict instructions from Gladys, the remarkably beautiful and eccentric 2nd wife of the Ninth Duke of Marlborough. Gladys was renowned for her outstanding good looks and everyone who met het admitted that they were easily captivated by her exceptional eyes. The blue eyes of the portico are believed to be hers and there is even a record that she climbed to the top of the scaffolding with a blue scarf that matched their colour so that the painter would get them exactly right. The brown eyes are said to be those of the Duke but could equally have been those of the Duke’s first wife Consuela who was, for a time, close friends with Gladys… To this day nobody is truly sure why she had the eyes painted or what they were meant to represent – or for that matter why there are three of each colour. Masonic connections, clairvoyance and spiritualism have all been suggested but there is no proof for any of these theories. Perhaps Gladys had them painted just because she could.”

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We ate lunch with this view:

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Jasmin bought her this hat, which she hasn’t quite grown into yet!

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These stayed on for 5 minutes before she wanted to take them off and eat them.

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The Rose Garden

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This tree was enormous! Check out the people for scale!

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You can see a bridge off the distance. We were down by it but didn’t go over it.

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We took a short stroll through the next-door town before heading back to the car.

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Also, this shirt is totally one of my favs:

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You might notice a little mark on Elena’s forehead. The day before, she took a spill and managed to bump her forehead on the coffee table… at the same time that Doug and Jasmin were putting cushions on the edge of the fireplace hearth. I had just lain down for a nap. :-/. She was ok. But she bruised herself pretty good.

After Blenheim Palace, we tried to eat at a local Indian place just across the street from Jasmin’s flat. It was extremely slow, which might be a regional cultural thing – you know, give you lots of time to enjoy your meal. But we were starving and we had a tired baby who was done. So I took her outside and Jasmin and Doug asked for the food to be packed up to go. I mean, it had been like an hour and a half with no food. And it took another 45 minutes at least after that for the food. :-/ I ended up taking Elena back to get her ready for bed, and when they got back, we put her down, and then ate the food while watching the new season of Bake-off. So defeat became victory. Also the food was excellent.