Tuesday, April 10
CLARICE HOUSE, Suffolk, UK.
Pulling into the driveway that leads to Clarice House after our day sketching was a welcome view for Joan and I. Our tummies rumbling, we grabbed our room keys and bundled straight up to our room, 'The Summerhouse' to unload. We both had our clothes and cosmetics packed into tiny holdalls but it was our large art bags that encouraged us to take the lift rather than climb the stairs!
I have had the priviledge of staying at Clarice House a few times now and located just 22 minutes from Long Melford, I knew it would be just what Joan and I needed after a hard day sketching. We dressed for dinner and, this time, took the elegant staircase down to the restaurant, passing a manikin on the landing wearing a designer wedding dress.
The food, as always, was fantastic. Joan had king scallops followed by halibut and I indulged in wild mushroom soup followed by fillet of beef. We ate between conversation and laughter and toasted our friendship with something decidedly alcoholic. We chose the same desert, pavalova dressed with caramelised pears drizzled with raspberry coulis- Delicious!
Like two addicts, we didn't wait long before venturing back to our room to collect our sketchbooks. It isn't very often you have a designer wedding dress modelled by a tireless subject, so we both made good use of the manikin exhibiting the Terry Fox design on the staircase landing.
More chatting and tidying of our daytime sketches back in our room finished the day at approx. 1.30am and, surprisingly, I was ready to sleep for a change...Must have been the schnapps and lemonade!
On Sunday morning the sun shone brightly, kissing the trees in front of the house and creating some sensational shadows for the squirrels to dance among. After breakfast, we strolled around the grounds before changing to dip in the whirlpool. I am sure Clarice has a time magnet built within it's walls, we had just four hours before leaving on Sunday morning and it felt we had gained a whole other day lost in it's charms.
Before lunch we sketched some more and I managed to capture the entrance from one of the sofas in the reception lounge.
Our lunch was both delicious and relaxed, finishing just in time for us to meet the 1pm opening of Ickworth House just four minutes drive away.