Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Cusworth Hall - Doncaster's Brightest Jewel

We had a lovely magical mystery tour. First we ended up at a country house in Leeds which was the wrong one! It was wrong, because Mo intended to take us to another one that was free to get in. By a process of elimination we eventually found it. Cusworth Hall in Doncaster.
Even on a rainy day it looks impressive as you drive up to it. Built in the 1740's it is a typical imposing country house of that period. I forget the year, but the owner, Lord Battie-Wrightson died a premature death and having no eligible heir at that time it was left to his wife (his son and daughter were young at the time). This was the heyday of the house and 36 servants were employed. Mrs. Battie-Wrightson was well known for her lavish entertaining and was famous for her fancy dress balls. When her son Robert reached the age of 21 a huge party was given and all the servants were given the day off to attend. They got Harrods to cater for it. The house then passed onto the son Robert. Unfortunately his mother was dismayed by Robert's marriage to a publican's daughter. The ill fated marriage didn't last long and Robert started a long lasting affair with his house keeper. Over the years, Robert frittered away his fortune on wine and women and when he died in 1952 the crippling death duties meant his sister had to sell the entire contents of the Hall. It fell into disrepair until 1961 (I think) when it was sold to....er...let me look that bit up...Doncaster Rural District Council. Last year the hall underwent a £7.5 million restoration which means it is now lottery funded and free to get in. Tah-dah! I remembered most of that myself. :0)
When we arrived we went and had a lovely lunch in the cutest tea rooms you have ever seen. It looks like it was originally a stable and it has cobbled floors. The walls are all damp and there's a roaring fire in the corner. Absolutely gorgeous.
Then we went 'below stairs' in the old house to the kitchens. I tell you what, I wouldn't mind a kitchen like this, even now! It's certainly a very workable kitchen and somewhere where I'd want to cook all day. Look at that range!
Then there was the wash room which I wasn't so keen on! It looks like very hard work to me.

There are displays of all washing machines and implements through the years and guess what I spied mum? A Flatley Dryer! I immediately remembered it from my childhood. Do you remember the clicking noise it used to make as it sat on the landing?

There are lots of displays including babies things, toys, dresses, leisure and sports and the like which was all very interesting. We had the whole house to ourselves apart from two other couples. There was also a religious section which housed an amazing tiny chapel. I must say it smelled very peculiar, but then these places always do.

Mo almost fell over backwards trying to get a good look at the amazing ceilings!

Outside of the chapel we found this. It is made from an early form of plastic and looks to be hand carved. I was mesmerized by it. It is of the Lord's Prayer and I would LOVE to own it. Behind the 3D scroll work is different coloured silks.

This photo does not do it justice. I couldn't get a good picture as it was behind glass. I WANT IT!

So there you have it, our day out at Cusworth Hall in Doncaster. There are lots more pictures here: http://www.cusworth-hall.co.uk/

Monday, 14 January 2008

Trying a Video From My New Camera....

Testing, testing, one two three! This how Livvie looks these days. :0)

Just Rambling!

Now, what's happened since I last blogged? Er....I had treatment last Thursday and Auntie Mo took me because mum and dad were still ill with this nasty bug that's going round. Although the weather was absolutely atrocious, we still drove back through the lanes to take in the wonderful countryside after Mo treated me to a spot of lunch at a garden centre. Here's what we saw (even on a rainy day):

Oh, you know that cute little taggy quilt I made for baby Jake? Well, I received a phone call of thanks from Jake's mummy but she told me that her middle son Jo (aged just two) had been cuddling it all day as he was poorly. She said he was very taken with it. I had visions of the poor child being emotionally damaged for life if she ripped it from him, so I quickly made another one and put it in the post. They should receive it this morning (Monday):

It's not quite as grand as the first, but I don't suppose Jo will mind too much!

We went to Ikea on Saturday to try and buy something to fix the 'orrible mess in the corner of my dining room. I had a wire kitchen trolley filled with acrylic paints and then stacked high with painting rubbish in one corner. In front of this was my large metal paint box and a big cardboard box full of paper napkins. Then in another corner I had my huge studio easel and some canvases and about ten melamine shelves leaning against the wall. All in all it wasn't a pretty sight and such a shame to have all that in my beautiful kitchen/diner now that it's all so posh. We couldn't afford the high oak chest of drawers that I would have ideally liked, so we had to go with this instead:
Now it's not ideal, but it certainly is waaaay better in a house that doesn't even have room for an extra fag paper! All my painting stuff is now in there, the metal box is on top, the easel is hidden behind the lounge door, the TV tables that used to be behind the lounge door are now under the sofas, the canvases are secreted above kitchen cabinets out of view and the shelving has at last gone to the shed! All in all a more spacious dining room. By the way, I built that unit myself as I couldn't bare Gary being stubborn by not reading the instructions! Why is it that men see flat pack as a challenge? Gary thinks it shows a weakness to read instructions. 'Real men don't read instructions, GRRRRR' he told me. So I made him make the tea and, following the easy instructions it was made in a jiffy. It's alright I suppose, but I would still have preferred a tall oak chest of skinny drawers. :0(

On the way home from Ikea we stopped at Borders book shop. It's a massive two level superstore and I soon found the quilting section. This is usually how you'll find me in a book shop. :0) The books in there were SO expensive though. Most were around the £20 mark so I came home and ordered three from Amazon that I saw in the shop for £20.44!!! That's better!

And lastly, here's a picture of Lovely Livvie for Auntie Gill if she's reading this. She's not the chubby little minx you met last year is she? :0) I shall put a video on of her when someone reminds me how!

Tomorrow Auntie Mo is taking me out for the day on a magical mystery tour. It is as much a mystery to her as she has the route plumbed into her sat nav but she can't remember where it goes!