Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vicarious Tourism: Highclere Castle

So last week I was staying with my in-laws up in West Berkshire whilst the Husband was away in California on business. One of the many perks of this? Being able to take a day with my sisters-in-law, mother-in-law, nephew, and son to go and see Highclere Castle; otherwise known to PBS costume drama nerds as Downton Abbey.

I've grown out of my rebellious youth (a bit) and decided to abide by the "NO PHOTOS IN THE HOUSE!" signs that cropped up everywhere. I seem to recall that in historic houses that sort of pedantry tends to have something to do with image copyrights and the like. So, alas, there are no photos of the stately rooms inhabited on-screen by the Earls of Grantham and off-screen by the Earls of Carnavon. As in the guy who helped discover Tutankamun's tomb.

The E-Monster and his cousin Henricus spent their time outside with Mimi and Auntie Felicity. After a brief picnic they weren't exactly in the mood to queue for minutes on end to peek into the rooms of someone else's house. Especially since they wouldn't be allowed to run amok and wreak a bit of mayhem all in the name of discovery and exploration. So it was off into pushchairs and around the grounds for the boys while Rachel and I breezed through the house enjoying its charms. Well...I say breezed, though really our pace through that house was to walking what blowing hair out of your face is to hurricane. It was chock-a-block in there with people packed into corners and down staircases to take their turn leaning precariously over a cordon to look into a swanky bedroom.

Let me pinch those cheeks!
 After our tour of the house, we decided to be reunited with our boys out in the gardens. Of course, we were quickly chivvied along to go get some more alone time touring the gardens before taking our rambunctious little guys back. So off we went.

This was part of the monks' garden. Apparently part of the site used to be a church and a monastery centuries before it became a stately home.

shhh! It's a secret.

As you can see, this is what the macro setting on your camera was made for.
At the end of the trip we came back having enjoyed a lovely day out. Don't get me wrong, I love a break, but sometimes when you have nothing else to do, you need to start making things to do: you know what I mean? Even if those things are strolling through someone else's house and gardens, perusing a gift shop, and watching your son scamper across the lawns of a manor you usually only see on TV.

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