Friday, September 28, 2012

National Trusting With Grammy

"National Trusting" is our newly-dubbed term for the days out we've been having during Grammy's visit, making use of our collective National Trust memberships.  

Attingham, Stonehenge, Figsbury Ring, and Mompesson House were on our list of places to see last week; and this week we visited Calke Abbey and Coughton Court, which remain in our list of top five NT favourites.

Calke Abbey was as faded and atmospheric as ever.  I love the light and dark contrasts of its shabby hallways.

Children present...

...and children past.

We finished with time outdoors, enjoying light and fresh air.

Today, after an early Friday morning swim, an activity that appears to be turning habitual, we climbed into the car with a picnic for more time spent "National Trusting". 

Coughton Court remains one of the boys' particular favourites, and they really wanted to share it with Grammy. Their reason for this is, as Lefty so bluntly put it, "The house is small and doesn't take too long to visit, and the gardens are fun to run around in. And Sir Walter Raleigh's head is there in a bag."

I'll clarify: a dummy of Sir Walter's head is there in a bag, in an upstairs room detailing the sad tale of Bess Throckmorton's marriage to Walter Raleigh, his tragic execution after falling out of royal favour, and her subsequent grief, epitomised by her desire to carry his decapitated head around in a bag for the remainder of her days.  As much as I love history... well, some things I just cannot fathom.

Anyway, Coughton Court, in defiance of its violent history, is a bright and cheerful place to visit, and part of it is still occupied by the Throckmorton family.  It feels like a real home, and I love that about it. I think the rest of the family do too!

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