Visiting lots of houses ‘in person’ has been better than reading a 1,000 books.
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.
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.
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)
- a stop over in Wrexham to visit the NT’s Erddig and Chrik Castle
- Bodnant Gardens – NT
- Penrhyn Castle – NT
- Plas Newydd – NT
Llanerchaeron – NT
South Wales & nearby
- Fonmon Castle – HHA – Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 12-5pm – will we have time?
- Dyffryn Garden – HHA
- Chillington Hall – 9 April-24 May 2012, 2-5pm
- Tissington Hall – 2012: 9-13 April
- Tredegar House
On the way there, Grimsthorpe Castle (HHA)
- Sandringham (Royal Palaces)
- Holkham Hall (HHA) (background reading)
- Houghton Hall (HHA)
- Stody Lodge Gardens (HHA)
- Wolterton Park (HHA) – we’ll be staying on this estate
- Sutton Hoo (NT)
- Raveningham Hall (HHA)
- Somerleyton Hall (HHA)
- Helmingham Hall (HHA)
- Hedingham Castle (HHA)
Anywhere obvious that I’ve missed?