Thursday, 21 September 2017

A day out ...

A lazy start yesterday (20 Sept), brunch at 11:30 of bacon and egg sandwiches!  It’s set to be a dry warm day so we're
… off for another visit to Basildon Park which is about 30 minutes walk from our mooring at Beale Park

Having coffee in the courtyard when we arrived and then to the house.  We last visited here in March this year (lots more pictures and information if you click the link)

The Reception area where you’re greeted by volunteer guides who inform you of any special events happenings and will take your bags, coats etc into safe custody if you want them to.

They have told us that the house theme is changing from Downton Abbey in early October and will then be Dinner at 8 …
The china, glassware and decorations on the dining  table have already been changed 
… from the ‘Sykes Service’ which dates back to about 1770 and is enamelled with the coat of arms of Francis Sykes before he was created a baronet in 1781, to Lord and Lady Iliffe’s everyday china depicting ivy leaves, probably manufactured by Grainger Worcester in 1833.
‘The curtains have been drawn, the crystal chandeliers are sparkling and the table is set ready for guests to arrive…' 
The two cupboards set either side of the fireplace would have been screened and hold an amusing secret.  In those days it was tradition that the ladies ‘retired’ or ‘withdrew’ after dining and the men would remain for cigars and brandy. It would not have been allowed for the men to leave the room to ‘relieve’ themselves and so inside the bottom cupboard was ...

this, for their convenience!  

Apparently, or so the room guide told us, the wine, port or brandy would have been stored on the shelf above.

The Octagonal Room
The Chinese Screen is on show for the first time in the dressing room of the Bamboo guest bedroom

Since it was our second visit to this lovely house we didn’t spend quite so much time looking at the exhibits but as it was not so busy, did spend quite a lot of the time chatting to the volunteer guides in the various rooms which was most enjoyable.
Lady Illife’s thoughts on Basildon House after WWII

A walk through the still colourful gardens
The David Austin rose beds still held their perfume
… especially this one called ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ 

Far reaching views across the Goring Gap with one of the pair of Alcibaides dogs on the left
Cyclamen shooting up from under the falling leaves as we leave the park and head home

Snug as a bug in a rug!

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