We're members of a number of various organisations two of which - the National Trust and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust have two great places not too far away from home and virtually next door to each other.
Rufford Old Hall isn't the biggest of properties, in fact apart from the Beatles' homes in Liverpool I would think this may be the most compact of NT properties but what it may lack in size it makes up for in having some spectacular gardens and at this time of year some outstanding Bluebell woods.
Situated right at the side of the Leeds Liverpool canal it is a unique mix of over 3 centuries worth of building from the great hall dating back to 1530 through to more "modern" rooms - if the 1820's could be called modern.
We spent a good few hours meandering through the grounds and the hall itself - as ever welcomed by the friendly and knowledgable staff and volunteers. As NT members and this being about 20 minutes down the road we will obviously be back and this time we'll try the tea room too!
So after finishing here we nipped 4 miles down the road to go to another of our favourite haunts - the WWT centre at Martin Mere.
We are regular visitors here and enjoy our visits especially like they were on this day with a glorious clear blue sky and a good mix of wildlife - though the "outbreak" of rats around the bird feeders was a little disconcerting especially when one took a flying leap at a Moorhen!
Theres no doubt though that Spring has sprung with trees budding, birds getting noisy and territorial and more warmer days than cold days now. So we'll be looking forward to more of the same over the rest of the year and making the most of our various memberships.
Don't expect globe-trotting reports from the Himalayas. We do like a good holiday and break every now and then and also some simple days out not too far away from home. No bucket lists just some common places done differently.....