An important market town, Alcester was also the site of Alcester Abbey: a Benedictine monastery founded in 1138 by Ralph le Boteler.
Last weekend Michelle had arranged to spend a long weekend with what Aurora now refers to as her "knitting friends", so Aurora and I decided to use the opportunity to pop over and visit Mum and Dad.
First stop, however, was to drop Michelle off at the quite substantial house in which she'd be staying with her friends, who miraculously almost all seemed to turn up at the same time as us. There was a beautiful garden which Aurora took great delight in pelting around for a few minutes.
The Old Arboretum is a carefully designed landscape offering beautiful vistas, stately avenues, and a host of rare and exotic trees from across the globe dating back to the 1850s.
Both Aurora and I slept in a little late the next morning. The weather was a little wet, but set to improve, and we had a relaxed morning and lunch before setting off to Westonbirt Arboretum.
Aurora was excited, but she was getting a little fussy in the car—we were a little worried that she was getting tired already and it didn't bode well for the rest of the day, but thankfully she seemed to get a second wind once we arrived and was soon happily running around picking dandelions.
The trees and flowers were kept beautifully, of course, and it was clear that spring was well and truly underway. Everywhere you look there are flowers of every colour and shape.
As well as running around, there's one thing Aurora loves to do and that's collect little treasures. We were very careful to make sure she didn't actually pick anything, of course, but there were a wealth of interesting little things just lying around for the taking. Petals, pine cones and dandelions seemed the flavour of the day.
But there was always more running to be done! Aurora certainly got her share of exercise that day. I was wondering where the tiredness of the earlier car journey had gone to because there was certainly no evidence of it any more.
As we went around there were a few things to climb on, some manmade and some provided by nature. Aurora wasn't too fussy, she loved anything that got her off the ground.
The 15,000 labelled trees (around 2,500 different types of tree) come from Britain, China, North America, Japan, Chile and other temperate climates.
There's quite a network of paths through the Arboretum and I think Aurora explored most of them—at least for a few yards until she realised we went another way.
Mind you, Aurora didn't need much help to find games to play. Hide and seek was a particular favourite, but she still needs a little practice before she perfects the skill.
They've really done a lot of work on the playground since I was there last, admittedly many years ago. I felt quite happy letting Aurora run round on her own on the raised walkways and the like—she even had a go on their little toddler climbing wall, although her approach mainly involved letting me pull her up by her arms while she just walked up.
She did eventually start to flag, though, and so we popped back to Grandma and Grandpa for a quick snack.
But with that burst of energy it was back to the playground!
Perhaps encouraged by yesterday's adventure playground antics, Aurora was quite adventurous when tackling the assault course; or perhaps it was seeing a three year old girl confidently making her way around the course ahead of her.
When we got a call from Mum reminding us that lunch was nearly ready it was definitely time to head home. On the way back past the lake we ran into a pair of geese and their gaggle of goslings. Ahead of us a little dog had just been lead past and had, unsurprisingly, got the geese a little riled, so I didn't want Aurora getting too close. But we still took a few minutes to watch.
After lunch Aurora and I set off for Cambridge and had a fairly uneventful journey—Aurora spent most it asleep, in fact. That night, after a little bit of fun with lego, her earlier nap didn't stop her sleeping soundly all night too. She'd had a fun weekend!
The Radcliffe Camera (Camera, meaning "room" in Latin) is a building of Oxford University, England, designed by James Gibbs in neo-classical style and built in 1737–1749 to house the Radcliffe Science Library.