Getting ready for the new season.

Yesterday my new 2011 National Trust handbook arrived, complete with the 'What's On' papers for the South East and East Anglia. I don't think the National Trust can quite decide where we northern Home Counties people live or go out to visit, so they hedge their bets and send us a couple just to be on the safe side. The fact is that as a family, we tend to head north or east rather than south most of the time, but of course no one at the Trust is going to know that, still it seems a pity they don't have a way to ask us which area details we'd prefer.

Nevertheless, this is a lovely exciting time of year when we can really get down to planning some trips out and about.

It's good to see that more properties are opening for longer now. It has always been a bug bear that there are some months when you can't see your favourite places, but of course it isn't just a case of conservation, it's also a question of staffing the property. It's hard enough to find sufficient volunteers in the peak season for some places, so it must be even harder to persuade people to volunteer their time when the weather can be so temperamental.

This afternoon I'm going to make a strong coffee and sit down with my diary and make a few dates. I'm determined to visit some entirely new to me venues this Spring as well as getting along to old favourites. One other resolution I've made this year is to visit more of the Trust's gardens. I rarely go out specifically to see the gardens, but when I'm at a property, I always find they give me a special pleasure, so this year I've decided it's time for more nature!

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