At Calke Abbey in Derbyshire I was surprised by how crowded the place was, well, I suppose it was a Saturday and a lovely day, far too hot for the end of September but I suppose we can blame global warming for that.
On entering the hall Jack spoke to the guide who asked him to repeat himself – which he did, speaking in his very best clear English with far less accent than the ‘locals’. She still said she couldn’t make out his accent. So I said in strident tones – he’s from Glasgow – which is a slight exagerration as I’m the Glaswegian and he comes from 15 miles north of there, but as I expected, it did the trick and amazingly she had no problem after that. Maybe she was worried about getting a ‘Glasgow kiss’.
As you can see it was nigh on impossible to get photos without people in them, except of the upper parts of the very high walls. Someone was obviously very fond of stags’ heads.
The rooms are so cluttered, just as they were left to the National Trust, that it’s sometimes difficult to see what the room was originally for. Below is probably a drawing room but it also has a lot of specimens of fossils and just things of interest to collectors of ‘stuff’.
I’m so glad that I don’t have to keep on top of the housework in here.
I’d love to have the library/study though.
The Jacobean coat below is a real work of art, but the Chinese silk bed is amazing. I’ll show you that tomorrow.
If you’re interested in the history of Calke Abbey have a look here.
Inside Gladstone’s Library at Hawarden in Wales is very similar in feel to Sir Walter Scott’s library at his home in Abbotsford. Although that one is quite a bit older than Gladstone’s they both have a Gothic atmosphere.
The lower part is the Reading Room and that is where most of the non-theology books are shelved.
As you can imagine, with so many old books there’s that lovely scent that comes with them. Apparently the glue and leather of old bindings gives off a smell similar to vanilla as it ages, whatever it is it’s a pity they can’t bottle it.
To get upstairs you have to go up a teeny weeny spiral staircase.
The roof bones or trees if you prefer must have got damp at some point as in parts they are white with water damage. Not surprising given the building is over 100 years old. It costs £2,500 a week to keep the place standing so it’s no wonder that the costs are fairly steep for the accommodation.
I’m well used to handling old books and being in amongst a lot of them, but it’s always a treat to be in their company.
And I was surprised to see a wee Mauchline (wood) covered book on the shelves, I think nowadays people usually put them in display cases, it was decorated with a fern design, very Victorian.
So there you have it – Gladstone’s Library, just over the Border into Wales, not far from Chester, and they seem to have a lot of events going on, although I suspect they’re mainly of the religious variety.