Monday, February 09, 2004

Another weekend come and gone

Today we had another chance to walk through history. Lady Sele of Broughton Castle graciously welcomed us into her home this afternoon, even though their open season for visiting is from May - September. (In AngloSaxon, Broughton simply means, by the brook.) This place was quite a bit more entertaining to travel through than Warwick, perhaps because we had a tour guide whose family has owned the castle for the past 600 years, and perhaps because parts of Shakespeare In Love and Three Men and a Little Lady were filmed there. Last night in preparation for our trip to the castle, we all got together and watched Shakespeare in Love. It’s quite an impressive building (I hope that I’ll have Joel’s pictures to post by the time I post this), built in 1300 and 1550, with a three acre moat. As we toured through the place, we saw the Great Hall in which they filmed the dance in “Shakespeare...” and the hallway in which Colin Firth threatened whats-his-face who played Will, and the stairs that Gwyneth Paltro ran up after reading the sonnet... All sorts of fun.
The castle is a very cold place, I’m not so sure that I would want to live in one of those huge rooms, I think that I would just section off a part of the building to heat and leave the rest to freeze. Upstairs, we went through Queen Anne’s room, where Anne of Denmark slept whenever she came to visit the castle, and it was quite interesting, in her room there is a quaint little window on one wall, if you open the shutters, you’re looking into the chapel downstairs- if you sleep in, you don’t have to worry about getting ready for church, you could just sit by the window and look down on it! I think they should do that at Redeemer. If you walk out of that room, you’re in the gallery- apparently before 1836, this gallery had all sorts of wonderful and valuable paintings in it, by Vandyke and I can’t remember who else. However, the gent who owned the place at the time was quite a bit more fond of cock fighting and cards and gambling than he was of his valuables, so in 1836 there was a huge auction and everything was sold off. Pity. Just off the gallery, there is a room for King James I, which he stayed in when he visited in 1601. (Does that make sense? I can’t remember if she said 1501 or 1601. At any rate. He stayed there.) The walls in his room are handpainted with Oriental flowers and birds, it’s magnificent, I would think that it would have taken a long time to paint!
Just before the civil war in Britain, Broughton Castle became a parliamentary meeting place. It was most likely one of the locations in which the decision to go to war was made, but the meetings were “officially” about different trading companies. This castle was one of the first to be attacked in the war, and there’s still several cannon balls lying about the place.
In the height of the castle’s prosperity, the garden was kept up by 15 gardeners- for the past hundred years, it has been maintained by one.... I would have liked to see the garden when it had 15 employees!
We spent a bit of time on the grounds outside, but it was fairly chilly, although the sun was out. (the sun in England in Feb is a lot warmer than the sun in Ontario in Feb!) And I even lost my mittens today.... we had church at Banbury Baptist, (for you redeemerites, it was an awful lot like Meadowvale CRC) and it was an excellent service, fun to have a little more contemporary praise and worship than usual, and so much fun to watch the little kids dancing around at the front of the church with their flags! However, I did manage to leave behind my mittens under my pew, so that was quite traumatic for me. I was intending on having a back up pair of the stretchy gloves here incase that happened, but I think I left them in Dorm 25 before I came. Oh well. Hopefully it won’t be cold that much longer....

Thou shalt not tempt Tina Koopmans thy housemate....
Hmm. Yeah, so Tina told me at one point that if someone tells her that she can’t do something, she has to do it to prove them wrong.... I was feeling mischievous last night when we started to walk out to the farm for the movie, so I said to her, “Tina, I bet that you can’t skip the whole way to the farm.” Her reaction: “Why do you say that? I think I can do it, I seriously think that I can!” And she proceeded to skip and jump down the road.... The poor girl had it in her head to do it the whole way.... A mile and a half later, uphill most of the way, and on a very rocky footpath for a section, Tina skipped up to the front door of the cottage, red faced and panting, but victorious. I couldn’t stop laughing the whole way there. I’ve never had a younger sister, but I think that I would have liked to have Tina as a younger sister...see what you could get her to do by daring.... I guess she could be somewhat of a younger sister, even though she’s older than me-- we figured it out tonight that because she’s my third cousin once removed, I’m one generation ahead of her.... I think that should give me seniority.

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