Happy New Year / by Neil Alexander

I do hope that you all had a fantastic Christmas and New year, and that 2013 has got off to a flying start for you. I was fortunate enough to spend a fair chunk of time in Anglesey trying to make some photographs and then a weekend at the delightful Cliveden House Hotel in Berkshire with my lovely wife for our wedding anniversary. Unfortunately the weather was grey and drab, and I only had my iPhone with me (conscious decision - it was our anniversary after all) but the snaps above ought to give you an idea just how wonderful the place is. It's absolutely steeped in history, dating as far back as 1666 when the 2nd Duke of Buckingham built his hunting lodge here so that he could entertain his friends and mistresses. The house was bought by William Astor in 1893, then the richest citizen in America, which did not particularly amuse Queen Victoria who had been a frequent guest. However after passing the house on to his son and daughter-in-law in the early 1900s, Cliveden became the hub of a hectic social whirl where guests included everyone from Winston Churchill to Charlie Chaplin, President Roosevelt to George Bernard Shaw and Christine Keeler and Stephen Ward triggering the now infamous Profumo scandal. The entire estate was given to the National Trust in 1942 and as a result the property and grounds are maintained to the very high standards set by the Astors. Sitting in the library, one can just imagine Churchill slunk into one of the armchairs by the fire quaffing on a vintage port whilst puffing away on a cigar deeply engaged in political dialogue with the other guests. All in all, a lovely hotel with excellent service to boot. A great location for a top-end wedding should you be looking for one!

Cliveden House Hotel

I'm in the process of working on my marketing campaign for the year ahead, and scheduling in plenty of blog posts too - I've been far too quiet on here lately so I shall definitely be addressing that particular failing over the coming weeks and months.

And finally to the luck winners of the December Image of the Month print competition. If you're not sure what I'm referring to, then check out the January 2013 wallpaper post, and then sign up to my monthly newsletter here. The two lucky winners; Richard and Falah will each receive an A4 archival quality print of this image: 

Patterdale from Lake Ullswater
Boathouse at Pooley Bridge, Ullswater
Congratulations guys. And if you were wondering to what image I was referring with my question, the answer is this image at Pooley Bridge.

Tara for now.

Neil