Pumpkins And Pizzas

Wollaton Hall

Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house of the 1580s standing on a small but prominent hill in Wollaton Park, Nottingham, England. The house is now Nottingham Natural History Museum, with Nottingham Industrial Museum in the out-buildings. Its additional interest for us is that Noel Gervis Pearson, a great great grandfather of Louisa’s two children donated a butterfly collection to the museum sometime in the early twentieth century.

Wollaton Deer Park 1Wollaton Deer Park 2

Louisa, Jessica, Imogen, and I spent a gloriously mild and sunny morning and early afternoon wandering the deer park and visiting the house.

Louisa, Jessica, and Imogen

StagDeer (1)

Noticing the stags basking in the sunshine, and the does caring for their offspring under the trees, Louisa observed, in a telling fashion, that they were carrying out traditional male and female roles.

Louisa, Jessica, and Imogen (2)

In our attempts to approach the young cervine family, we reached a very boggy stretch. The girls thought it would be quite fun to see Grandpa clambering along the logs. Grandpa didn’t think so. He wasn’t wearing sensible footwear. He took the long way round.

Water birds

There has to be a lake in a country house garden. This one attracted many water fowl.

Photographing stagStanding stag 1Standing stag 2Standing stag 3

On the approach to the house, a large, grazing, stag attracted numerous lenses.

In the building, the girls spent a pleasant time hunting out exhibits and completing a linked Halloween quiz. I thought expecting them to work out an anagram of CAULDRON was a bit tough. Easy peasy for Mordred, of course.

Jessica and Imogen carving pumpkinsImogen carving pumpkin 1Jessica carving pumpkinJessica carving pumpkin 2Imogen's hands

After lunch, it was time to carve the pumpkins. Using templates from a book, Jessica produced a more than creditable ghost, but Imogen’s went ‘a bit wrong’. She had a most impressive stab at an ancient mummy, the most complex design of all; then recognising that she had bitten off more than she could chew, she made her own drawing for the other side of the pumpkin. This time, Louisa cut out the necessary sections.


For dinner, we travelled by bus to Pizza Express in Nottingham. This outlet has come on apace since the first one was opened in Soho’s Wardour Street in 1965. There were a number of entertaining activities for the children to complete whist waiting for their food. One of these was the creation of their own Halloween masks.

Jessica and Imogen maskedDerrick and Louisa masked

After Jessica and Imogen were photographed wearing theirs, Louisa and I had to borrow them.


My choice of pizza was American Hottest Romana.

On leaving the restaurant, we discovered there was a 25 minute wait for the next bus, so we caught a cab back. This impressed Imogen who kept saying she had never been in a taxi before.


  1. How exciting for Imogen to experience something for the first time. That alone would be worth the taxi fare 🙂 The girls are brilliant at pumpkin carving and I thought the contrast between the size of the adults’ heads and the child size masks somewhat moving.

  2. That stag is a magnificent animal is it not? He obviously doesn’t mind being photographed either!
    Sounds like a really great prequel to Halloween – pumpkins and pizzas…….. I thought the girls did really well with their carving – and the masks too!

  3. Beautiful photos as always, Sir Derrick. Beautiful children, too. And it’s always nice to hear a man admit to the unfairness of male/female roles in society. But, Mamma Mia, that pizza looks divine! 🙂

  4. Are those Red Deer, Derrick? Is that what they are called? Magnificent. Imogen and I are cut from the same cloth, I spent my childhood imagining that I was a beautiful lady riding in a taxi cab, when, in reality, I was in the back seat of the Packard with my siblings and Dad driving.

  5. Oh, Derrick! I am so glad your cold went away and you had a lovely, warm day to traipse around, see animals and nature, then the lunch and pumpkins. They did a fine job on carving their designs. No one would guess one was “wrong.”
    The girls are beautiful as is their mother (Louisa), too. I liked that you went out to Pizza Express, which would make my “grandies” happy, too. The cab experience was quite a treat, Derrick. 🙂

  6. What a full, funny, fantastic day. I think the pumkins are amazing. That photo of the stag!

  7. I’m a little concerned about the deer still acting out traditional male and female roles. Don’t they know this is the twenty-first century, and one just doesn’t do that kind of thing any more?

  8. I couldn’t work out an anagram from CAULDRON and then it hit me DARN LOUD. A wonderful day’s outing! (The automatic corrector keeps changing “outing” to “pudding”). A wonderful day pudding it mildly! And you can say that DARN LOUD.

  9. A finest kind of day. Such beautiful children! And I was fascinated by the name of the pizza you ordered—American Hottest Romana. How did they arrive at that name, I wonder?

  10. Great family post my friend, I love those style of old English mansions, it actually reminds me of the building in the movie series we get here called Downton Abbey, beautiful estates and great English expanse of land.
    Pizzas never fail to attract children, I think I would have chosen a hot one like yours, it’s great to see your family enjoying each others company and outing together, a memory they will cherish I am sure.
    Kind regards.

    1. Many thanks, Ian. Downton Abbey is brilliant – captivating and addictive. I don’t know how soon you get it, but we are nearing the end of the final series. You are right. Pizza was the children’s choice. I certainly hope they will always remember that day

      1. Think our series is over Derrick, there was talk of a new series but doesn’t look hopeful, hoping to see a few more oldies, Last of the Summer Wine, The Darling Buds of May and others, I really appreciate the English drama and humour.

Leave a Reply