Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Horizons



As the passing of 2014 ebbs ever closer, I think back over a big year for me and The Beard. It seems odd that we are now closer to our 1st anniversary than we are to our actual wedding day. That this time last year it was all to come and I was fairly nonchalant about the whole thing. Meh, thought I, it is yonks away. Let me rest upon my laurels a little more. It soon slapped me in the face with it's all consuming presence. And then -  poof  -  it was gone. I still have so much to share with you about all the handmadenesses and corners that I swerved to make the day as thrifty -  but no less awesome -  as possible.

But, that is all on the new horizon of 2015. Eeeek. It smells all clean and fresh and new. 

A year of changes ahead of our own making. Of sticking to the path we have been trying to forge for ourselves over the last few months. Hopeful that the end is actually within touching distance and not some disappointing daydream.

I shall see you there, you lovely lot. Thank you for hanging about through the scattered postings upon this little bit of webular. There is plenty more to come from me next year. Scouts honor.

Right. Come on down, 2015!.


Friday, 19 December 2014

My Moost Happi Palace


There are few places that have captured my heart the way that Hampton Court Palace has. I have visited it countless times over the last 9 years or so. I have been there in the morning, the afternoon and, once, at night time with nothing but a candle for guidance. 

If you ever get the chance, their Ghost Tours are well worth your pennies.


Before anything remotely retro made it's way into my wardrobe, I was -  for a fair ol' while -  obsessed with The Tudors. A like that turned love from about the age of 8. An interest that morphed into obsession with men in tights and murdered Queens.


One Queen in particular has always been at the top of my "I must know more!" list and I doubt she will ever be toppled. The fact that Anne Boleyn walked the pathways , played cards and, in all probability, danced in the Great Hall never fails to make me smile


The Palace is Baroque -  and no less glorious - in part and it is only by the good graces of the William III's coffers running dry that there are any Tudor parts left at all. It could of all been brick dust and lost forever.

For shame.


Visiting on a weekday in Winter is always my most treasured time to go.  I was lucky enough to go this year as a day-early birthday treat from The Beard.

There was a waft of oranges and cinnamon coming from the chilly catacomb kitchen corridors that run under the Great Hall. They are still now -  empty -  but I love to imagine them in their prime. Bustling with staff balancing trays of roasted meats and pewter goblets of wine. Of the heat coming from the working fireplaces. Of the smell of pies and pottage.


I have never been to one of the Palaces Tudor cooking events where meats are roasted over the flames nestled in the deep recess. There is something in me that longs to try some traditional dishes created in a kitchen that fed such a notorious King. 

And if it came in one of those lovely glazed pottery bowls -  all the better.


I often ponder what Cardinal Wolsey really thought of falling out of  Henry VIII's favor, leading to this brick extravagance being handed over as a gift. Completed in 1515  -  and celebrating 500 years shortly - H-8 overtook it as a Royal Palace in 1529. I wonder how that went down, for real. Was it a fumbling "For you? Why, for sure, my lord!" or a "Yesssss, please do enjoy..." hissed out through a gritted teethed grin while a tear rolled silently down the Cardinal's cheek.


I always feel that I discover more facet's to the Palace each time I visit. It always feels familiar, but occasionally seems as though it has shifted in some way. Like the moving staircases in Harry Potter. I stride off, confident in knowing what lays behind a particular door, only to discover something that I have not seen before.

I like that it always has new snippet of history to show me.


But there are some parts that have remained the same for near on half a millennium. 

Half. A. Millennium. 

These paving slabs and walls. The working, all seeing part of the Palace. The bits that a gajillion feet have walked upon and a million shoulders have brushed. The mirrors used for reflecting candle light and the faces of visitors. 

Including my own.





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