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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Calke Abbey and Home


In many ways, the holiday passed all too quickly and in others it seemed like we had been away far longer.

We broke the journey home at Calke Abbey, a National Trust that I have longed to visit.

Calke Abbey was owned by the Harpur Crewes and when the National Trust took over, they found a time capsule from the late Victorian Age. Much of the house has been left as they found it and so it is a fascinating insight into what happens when people have to close rooms and the rooms are left undecorated. It feels very much like a cross between Wallington and Belsay. Wallington, of course, is completely restored and Belsay has been emptied of all furniture and allowed to rot. The only annoying thing I found at Calke was the piles made it difficult to see everything. My youngest who is entranced with ornithology at the moment spent ages looking at the glass cases. There are more taxidermy animals here than in many natural history museums.

One of the great features is the brew house tunnel that leads from the house to the stables. Dark and a bit dank, it exudes possibilities.

Oh yes, the vegetable garden is to die for. Really well managed with all sorts of interesting heritage vegetables.
It is easy to see why this National trust house is still on timed ticket and why so many people are fascinated by it.
The one problem with going away is that I did not get as much writing as I would have liked and so will be writing furiously for the next few weeks.

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