February seems a while ago now, but our four days at Astley Castle have recently been brought back to mind by the news that it is one of the half dozen buildings shortlisted for this year's Stirling Prize. Though it won't affect the result, there's a poll on the BBC website, which shows Astley with strong popular support - not quite the front runner, but almost: the judges' announcement will be made on Thursday.
You don't often see the Castle photographed from this angle. It makes three aspects clear. First, the building is beautifully set, with mature trees in its extensive surrounding parkland, a moat, and a large garden within that. Secondly, the heat exchangers (you can see them to the right centre of my photograph) are just one of the measures introduced to make the building very energy-efficient. And thirdly, there is something of the stage set about Astley, which, coupled with its history, much enhances the romance of your stay.