The plan for 2012

Visiting lots of houses ‘in person’ has been better than reading a 1,000 books.

The details

Inevitably, I’ve learned a lot about ‘the country house’ and become eager for more in-depth detail.

I find myself trying to guess architectural periods/dates and possible architects when visiting somewhere.

While I’ve seen a 100 Victorian kitchens and sometimes skip them nowadays, increasingly I find myself fascinated by a detail that I encounter for the first time – be it the curved floorboards in the wing at Kedlestone Hall, which echo the curve of the room (the other wing – used only by the servants – has straight floorboards) or the preservation of squalor at Calke Abbey.

Curved floorboards at Kedleston Hall

My plan for 2012 is to start recording some of these details alongside my house notes.


The bad news: my camera broke at the end of 2011.

Good news: I have a new camera (and it requires its own suitcase).  Consequently I hope to share more photographs.  About this I am very excited.  Our Boxing Day trip to Dunham Massey involved me doing a lot of experimentation.

Photographs will take me back to visits long after the actual day and so I hope to record the whole journey visually as well as in words.

I also chose a camera that works well in low-levels of light without a flash, to take advantage of the new(ish) National Trust policy to allow photography inside their properties.

New pictures should start appearing later in the Spring (as there’s still a bit of 2011 tripping to catch up on).

The 2012 grand plans

Alongside usual house jaunts and a trip to Hampton Court Flower Show, we have two grand plans for 2012:

  • a week exploring Wales; and
  • a week exploring Norfolk.

Together D and I have only ever been to Bodnant Gardens in North Wales and separately I have been to Newport in South Wales and Lowestoft in Norfolk.  D keeps saying Wales and Norfolk are places that have long been on the ‘to visit’ list but have never quite been visited.

We’re going to put this right and, as you can imagine, we have a lot to see.

Right now I’m considering:

North Wales (April)

South Wales & nearby

Norfolk (June)

On the way there, Grimsthorpe Castle (HHA)

Northern Norfolk:

Southern Norfolk:

  • Sutton Hoo (NT)
  • Raveningham Hall (HHA)
  • Somerleyton Hall (HHA)
  • Helmingham Hall (HHA)
  • Hedingham Castle (HHA)

Anywhere obvious that I’ve missed?

4 thoughts on “The plan for 2012

  1. By the time you arrive Tredegar House will have re-opened under the National Trust. I am not certain of dates, but Dyffryn Gardens will also soon be National Trust too. While you are in Cardiff, the Castle and Castell Coch would be at the top of my recommendations. Just up the valley from Cardiff is Llancaiach Fawr which you might want to consider.

    And even if you do not have time to tour the whole site of the National History Museum at St Fagans, the castle is worth a visit.

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