Monday, 27 August 2012

Great Expectations

Pip outside Satis House when Miss Havisham was in residence

When I was a child, my parents took me around a good many stately homes. Now, some children might find this a little on the tedious side - looking at a load of dusty old vases and portraits of the gentry in their best clothes. I on the other hand took each visit as an opportunity to disappear. Not out of sight of my parents (for that would have caused much angst and time spent on the naughty step).

No, with a suitably grandiose backdrop in place, I would lift the rope and climb into the realm of the imagination.

I would chase the ghosts up the back stairs and in and out of the bedrooms, explore the secret passageways and discover the treasure hidden by the family when the house was invaded by a secret Spanish force back in the days of good Queen Bess.

As I got older, there was a noticeable shift in fanciful daydream.... Then I would become the beauty of the house dressed in ballgown and elegantly sashaying down the grand staircase with my skirts sweeping behind me. Would the handsome hero waiting at the bottom notice me? You bet he would. Taking my hand, he would lead me into the dancing, gazing longingly into my eyes...

Another time, he may just happen to find me seated in the Elizabethan garden or once again visiting my childhood den beneath the weeping beeches... In the verdant seclusion he would fall under my spell....

Ah yes, I do love a good stately home. Yesterday I went to this one where the spirit of Miss Havisham lingers... although it looks a little more cared for these days!

Holdenby House, present day (no jilted brides to be seen - though you can get married here!)
Alas it was a little hard to immerse myself in fantasy land given that there were hundreds of people thronging the place visiting the Northamptonshire Food Festival. I had to swipe this photo from Google as the drive was chock-a-block with stalls selling chutneys and cheeses!

Seriously, how is a girl supposed to conjure up Mr Darcy with half the county there peddling sausages? Poor King Charles I was turning in his grave... (he spent five months in captivity here before Cromwell chopped his head off).

Who are these mysterious and shadowy figures in the Elizabethan garden?


  1. Though I don't care for crowds, I do love historical buildings....and cheese....haha!

    Beautiful place.....great imagination :)

  2. We also dragged our children around stately homes, and round the ones near us quite often. But like you I think they enjoyed the houses and the history for their own imaginations, and when we took a pic-nic there was always the fun of running wild in the gardens. Love all the post, particularly the ghostly pics of Pip and the romantic couple.

  3. I went to a semester in college in a Large Manor home in Grantham in Lincolnshire. It was full of secret passageways and all sorts of stories of ghosts and the like. Fun stuff.


Thank you for your comments - I always love to hear what you think :)

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