Several weeks ago--yes, we're way behind on blog posts--we enjoyed a fun evening out at Audley End, a former abbey that Thomas Audley converted to his impressive personal mansion after King Henry VIII bestowed upon him the building and beautiful grounds. We had visited last year for a Christmas market but the attraction this summer was one of Audley End's picnic concerts, with the Gypsy Kings. We had hoped to come early in the day and bike or walk around the grounds but it was sprinkling and threatening heavier rain so we waited til the last second to hop in the car and head south--it's about 30 minutes away, halfway to London.
The outdoor stage was set up so the mansion was in the background--very photogenic. We're always impressed at the elaborateness of British picnickers. We thought we had brought a nice spread, but people had full-size tables with white tablecloths and real silverware, selections of wines, and an amazing variety of food. KT was particularly amused at how many brought lanterns/candles. We were just happy to get our wine open as our corkscrew broke off with the screw still in the cork!
There was a nice solo opening act and the Gypsy Kings came on around at 8:30pm to get people, including KT, up and dancing. The band was excellent although their set was a bit too brief as they ended promptly at 10pm. I suspect they had a hard deadline as almost the minute they finished their encore, gorgeous fireworks started to light up the night sky and illuminate the mansion. All in all, thanks to the rain holding off, a fine evening.--jt
Click here for a web album of the picnic concert.