30 August 2019

A Good Read

Missing Presumed by Susie Steiner
Mid-December, and Cambridgeshire is blanketed in snow. Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw is spending another sleepless night wondering if internet dating is ever going to work for her, and finding solace listening to the low murmuring of the police radio, when she hears a report of a missing woman.
Twenty four year old Cambridge student Edith Hind is missing. She is the daughter of Sir Ian Hind, a distinguished doctor to the royal family. Her boyfriend arrived home to find the front door wide open and signs of a struggle; a broken glass, blood, and coats in disarray. She was last seen by her best friend Helena when she helped Edith get home after a drunken night at the pub. Is Edith alive or dead? Was her ‘complex love life’ at the heart of her disappearance?
A Cambridge post-graduate from a well-connected family, this case will be big. Manon knows the first 72 hours are critical: you find her, or you look for a body.

With plenty of red herrings, secrets, lies, and twists I did enjoy it. It’s not so much a full blown crime novel, but a character study as well - police, parents, friends, boyfriends, people’s lives steadily unfolding.
~Happy Reading ~
Polly x

22 August 2019

Audley End

Audley End is renowned as one of the finest Jacobean houses in England. The house started life in 1139 when Geoffrey de Mandeville the 1st Earl of Essex founded a Benedictine priory at Walden, which, in 1190, became Walden Abbey. Since then it has changed hands a number of times and each owner has extended, reduced, remodelled and modernised it.

In 1538 the abbey was suppressed by Henry VIII and granted to Sir Thomas Audley, Lord Chancellor. He transformed the abbey buildings into a mansion. In 1667 King Charles ll bought it because of its proximity to Newmarket races. 

During 1941 - 4, after the death of the 7th Lord Braybrooke Polish soldiers of the Special Operations Executive secretly trained there, preparing to be parachuted into German-occupied Poland.

In 1948 the 9th Lord of Braybrooke sold Audley End to the nation for £30,000, leaving the pictures and furnishings on loan. And in 1984 English Heritage took over guardianship. Recent restoration has focused on the kitchen wing, stables and Braybrooke nursery suite.

As usual photography wasn't allowed inside but I sneaked a few! please don't tell them :-)

We didn't time our visit very well. We had been out to lunch and called in on the way back in the afternoon. We visited the house first, ground and first floor and then wanted to go outside to see a re-enactment of the King's soldiers preparing for war, planning to visit the nursery floor later. Unfortunately we lost track of time and the house was closed by the time we got back. I was disappointed because I think there is a dolls house in the nursery. We can visit again though, it makes for a lovely day out.

All the King's men

King Charles telling us (the audience) how his men were going to race off against each other and we could have a wager on who would win. They were divided into four colour groups, everyone chose their colour and the winning ones got a bag of sweets. We chose red but blue won. 

The drummer controlled the reins with his feet

The winning colour doing a lap of honour.

The lovely gardens and park were designed and built by Robert Adam and Capability Brown. 

Be well ~
Polly x

18 August 2019

A Good Read

Cockroaches by Jo Nesbo
Norwegian Inspector Harry Hole has recently gained some notoriety for solving a difficult case involving the death of a Norwegian citizen in Australia, so when his country’s ambassador is found dead in a Bangkok brothel Hole seems the ideal choice to investigate the murder. At the moment, however, Harry can most often be found battling his demons in an alcoholic fog. The expectation is that he will go to Thailand for a few days, drink himself into a stupor, and allow the locals to sweep the whole embarrassing incident under the rug.
But Harry soon discovers that the case is about much more than one random murder, the ambassador’s death turns out to be a murky and complex case. There is something else, something more pervasive, scrabbling around behind the scenes, or, to put it another way, for every cockroach you see in your hotel room, there are hundreds more behind the walls.
Surrounded by round-the-clock traffic noise, Harry wanders the streets of Bangkok lined with go-go bars, temples, opium dens, and tourist traps, trying to piece together the story of the ambassador’s death even though no one asked him to, and no one wants him to—not even Harry himself. His investigations take him into the dark world of pederasty, pedophilia and the sex industry.

This is a brilliant story with a cast of intriguing and well-crafted characters. Hole is a great protagonist, and there are a lot of unexpected twists and turns. There are also a lot of interesting insights into the people, culture and geography of Thailand.

Two personal opinions:
I like Harry Hole
Scandinavians write darn good crime thrillers

~Happy Reading ~

Polly x

14 August 2019

Dolls House No. 2 The Library

I sort of lost my way with this room. It was going to be a library/music/study room. Going with the library theme I couldn't really afford to do authentic bookcases so I used library wallpaper. That was 4 years ago!  Then there was a recess during which time I was trying to decide what flooring to do, and I became absorbed with other hobbies. I wanted to do a parquet floor with a medallion but I just couldn't find anything in my price range, or kit form, so I ordered this flooring card sheet. You're never really sure what an item is going to be like when ordering online, but I was quite pleased with it.

Next I thought about what to put in the room. I definitely wanted a desk and chair but when I also put a piano in it looked very crowded, so music room was scrapped. Then nothing for a long, long time until...............taking on board my daughter's comment here I  made a concentrated effort to get on with it. 

Lighting finished, skirting boards and the window sill fitted, and the curtains, which I thought would be a lengthy, fiddly and frustrating job but the material sewed and pleated just right.

I've always liked the idea of a chaise longue so that the Mrs of the house can relax and read while the Mr is sitting at the desk surfing the web to find their next holiday :-)

Then came the grandfather clock and the globe. 

The desk started as basic unfinished wood which I stained and varnished and put different drawer handles on. I love the black swivel chair. I'm not sure if  still like that picture.
There are still lots of accessories to add but for the time being I need to get on with other rooms. I'm working on the lounge and dining room floors now. 

Be well ~
Polly x

8 August 2019

The Lord Leycester Hospital

A short walk from Warwick Castle is the Lord Leycester Hospital, a little medieval gem. It's a cluster of timber-framed buildings dating mainly from the late 14th century. 

A fine example of medieval courtyard architecture it was home to Warwick's Guilds for nearly 200 years.

The 12th century Chantry Chapel to the left.

is very pretty inside

The Lord Leycester is one of the best-preserved timber-framed buildings in England

The Guild of St George was created under a license issued by King Richard II on 20th April, 1383, and Thomas Beauchamp granted the benefice of the Chantry Chapel to the Guild on its formation.  To accommodate the resident priests and the guilds, reception, meeting and dining halls were built as well as living quarters. They became known as the United Guilds of Warwick.

Looking along the main table in the large hall.

Blue and gold porcupine emblem of the Sidney Family. The Bear and Ragged Staff. Medieval legends have it that the Earl of Warwick at the time of King Arthur was called Arthgal, which was thought to have come from the Welsh word 'artos' or bear. The ragged staff came from a legend about another Earl of Warwick Morvidus, who polished off a giant using the broken branch of a tree. In truth the bear was a heraldic symbol of courage, but the old stories are entertaining.

In 1571 Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester acquired the buildings and was granted a charter from Queen Elizabeth I to create a home for aged and infirm soldiers. These soldiers are known to this day as the Brethren and with the Master, still live within the walls of the building. Master and Brethren are a living legacy of almost 450 years of history. Every morning they meet in the Chapel and pray together the words written by their founder Robert Dudley. You can often see the Brethren in ceremonial uniform as they give tours through the buildings and gardens. ​

For those of you, who like me, are fans of the BBC's sleuthing duo Shakespeare & Hathaway 
this is the stairway used in the show leading up to their office.
Doctor Who's tardis once landed in this courtyard and the buildings have been used in many historical television productions including Pride and Prejudice, Tom Jones, Moll Flanders, 
A Christmas Carol and The Shakespeare Code.  

The gardens are very pretty

The Brethren’s Kitchen has served food to Kings, Tudor nobles, 
Guildsmen, monks and the Brethren for 500 years. 
In bygone days, vegetables, herbs and fruit were grown in the Masters Garden, cooked in the Brethren's Kitchen and served in the Great Hall at lavish banquets. Today the Brethren's Kitchen is open to visitors and the general public, for breakfast, light lunch and cream teas. Food is homemade, fresh and, when in season, uses produce from the Master's Garden. 

Time for a delicious cream tea before leaving.

Be well ~
Polly x
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