Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Scotney Castle

How bad am I? More photos from bygone days out last year just waiting to be found in my folders. And this day out was such a nice one too. Gah. I really must try harder not to forget what I have snapped.

Today I take you (via, errrr, Summer 2012) to Scotney Castle, which is part of the 

And honestly, I think it is in my top five places I have visited to date.

The whole place had me entranced. Being mid-week it was relatively quiet which gave us lots of time to explore the rooms and the grounds. But my, oh my, it was muggy. You know the type of humidity that makes your forearms damp. Ack. To be inside main house was a blessing.

Originally a 14th century moated castle, it is just the ruins of this original structure that remain today. During the mid 1830's the Victorian country mansion that stands was started and was only opened to the public in 2007. I have to say, it does feel very much like someone still lives there. Although it is a large property, it felt like a home and is stuffed full of personal effects and memories of a life lived.

The mansion was built using sandstone found within the grounds and once it was completed in 1843, the hollow left behind was made into the Quarry Garden. Now. I must have not strayed too far from the path, as I have since found out that it contains some fossilised dinosaur prints. Ah well, it means I shall have to return and seek them out. Shame.

I love, love, LOVE going upstairs in National Trust properties. Why am I so excited about stairs? Well, because they are not behind ropes and I always feel like, just for that small amount of time, you really get up close and personal with the property. Am I a crazy person? Perhaps. But, for me, it is always a bonus if I can go all the way up or down a flight of old wooden, only-carpeted-in-the-middle stairs. 

Imagine all the folk who have done it before me.

I could say that I was so engrossed in my walk up (someone elses) memory lane that I nearly missed the fabulous painting above. But I would be a fibbing. You cannot miss the hooooge black-&-white-striped-dressed painted lady. I just stared at her and she stared back. To then walk a little further up the stairs, into a bedroom and be greeted with the actual dress left me a little agog.

From memory, the dress was found in the attic many years after the portrait was complete having been carefully stored away. What a boon to find it in all it's stripy glory.

The whole property is heaving with little trinkets and signs of the past lives. I spent a far few moments imaging myself living in a place such as this. Especially sitting with all my friends around this table.

I have yet to shake my need for taking my own photo in other people's old mirrors. Fellow visitors in the room must think me kooky. I'm not (well, only a healthy amount)  -  I just love the idea of capturing myself in another's looking glass.

I like it so much -  I did it not once, but twice. What a poser. Ha! Something I liked a lot more than taking random reflection shots of myself, were these, frankly, amazing illustrated letters. I am a keen letter writer (although I am sure my penpal's would agree at the moment -  I have been woefully lazy when it comes to hand writing anything of late) and  I would love to be able to draw and send something like the above. Ain't they special!

And don't even get me started on how beautiful this dressing table set is. They are right to put things out of my grasp. I love how lived in, yet vacant and tidy the rooms are. Something for me to take some direction from me thinks when it comes to my own home. I have lots of old, thrifted stuff -  but it seems to be everywhere.

If the inside of Scotney Castle was not enough for me -  then there were also the gardens to be explored.

And mighty fines ones they were too. I would love to have a garden. One with a creeping-ivy-covered ruin in it, all the more so.

We spent a long time exploring with me trying to take photos of bee's and butterflies. This is the only one that made the cut. The others were a buzzing, fluttery mess. So you shall have to make do with some shots of my mug. In a blue polyester frock I found at a jumble sale in the Autumn.

Now. Take a closer look at the photo in the top right. See that hand? A blurred hand just by my head? Who's is it? I have no idea. It's not mine. It's not The Beards. And there was nothing behind me. Apart from that wooden door. And a wall.

Aside from that rather spooky note (who's hand is that?!) -  I can heartily recommend a visit to Scotney Castle if you are ever in the around that way. And if not, it is most certainly worth a special trip.


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