I love looking up at its twisting knarled branches covered in such a rich green moss. It's quite a wonder to contemplate.
These are the types of short public footpaths that dot so much of England. It's just so nice not to always have to walk alongside noisy traffic.
We walked through a golf course and on more footpaths. A certain part of our journey inevitably involved a stretch of urban pavement but I'll spare you any photos of the ugly shopping mall we passed (useful though, for a quick latte however) and the boring roundabouts and roads that passed by the industrial side of John Lennon airport. Past all that we entered this lovely wood.
And a short circular path took us to the Mersey.
And then we headed into the estate proper and here we are: Speke Hall, a Tudor mansion restored in the 19th century, now owned by the National Trust. Apart from the bones, there's not much left that's original Tudor but the Victorian touches are just as interesting; there's original William Morris wallpaper in the library for example.
Come on in (just duck your head as you pass through the door) and marvel at all the interior decoration. I loved all the detailed woodwork and the beautiful ceiling plaster reliefs.
I especially liked the bedrooms. That white counterpane was handknitted probably in the late 19th century, and was donated to the house.
Gorgeous isn't it?
I also loved the crewel work on this crib coverlet.
Like most National Trust properties, there was a lovely cafe where we had a very good bowl of hearty winter vegetable soup for a late lunch, and I picked up a recipe for a local fruit cake called a "Wet Nelly" (I may try it with blueberries) that is made with bread. I really enjoyed wandering around Speke Hall and its gardens, and inspired by the textiles, I picked up a cross-stitch kit depicting the house which I might turn into a throw cushion (even though . . . ahem. . . I haven't done any needlework in years). I became a National Trust member last year but this is the first historic house I've had time to visit. I'm sure it won't be the last - I'll be ticking them off, one by one.