Friday, September 28

Friday I had a lovely day planned to go to Trentham Gardens and Monkey Forest in Stoke. Trentham Gardens is a beautiful estate with grand gardens situated on a picturesque lake complete with white swans floating on the still water. Keele had organized the trip, and so there was a charter bus of us who were going!
I met the group at Darwin Car park (or parking lot for the Americans) around 12:30 and the sun came out and the rain clouds dissipated! It was a short 15-minute bus ride to Monkey Forest where we unloaded out of the bus and entered the forest. It was super quiet, as most kids are still in school at that time. We only had an hour to explore Monkey Forest before the bus would drive us the short 5-minute journey to Trentham Estate and Gardens. The Forest was absolutely magical! It was like a small tropical forest randomly in the middle of England. You had to walk through this doorway and suddenly there are monkeys everywhere! They were Barbary Macaques and looked like fluffy teddy bears :) They were walking on the path, on the railings, in the trees, on the ground- like literally everywhere! I met up with four other girls from the States and we kind of became friends and stuck together.
After about an hour of walking through Monkey Forest we went back to the entrance of Monkey Forest and took the bus over to Trentham Gardens and Estates. It was a cute little shopping town full of shops, small cafes and restaurants. Hannah, Malika, Bella and myself went into the gardens and it was absolutely stunning. The lake was huge and there were so many swans and ducks floating on the calm water. The sun had appeared and it felt so nice, and it even got warm! We walked all around the gardens and up to the old estate. The estate was in complete disarray, like a complete ruin, which I was surprised but it looked like they were in the process of restoring the place. Even in ruins, it was absolutely stunning and gorgeous (I wouldn’t have minded living there myself). The gardens were Italian style with many terraces complete with fountains, topiearies, and all sorts of different flowers. It was so warm and sunny, which I was so thankful for. I had been praying for days that it would be nice weather for us :)
Finally, after spending a few hours in the gardens the four of us walked into town and shopped around and then stopped at Pieminister, where we had tea and pies as a little afternoon snack. I had a cup of tea and a carmel shortbread which was quite yummy!
Bella and I ended up living right next door to each other, or right across the way, and didn’t even know and we totally hit it off!! That evening she came over to my block and I introduced her to everyone and then we went to her flat and watched the first three episodes of Pride & Prejudice from the 1993 BBC Miniseries with Colin Firth while we had tea and cookies :) It was such a lovely day!!