Sunday, 26 July 2015

June 2015 - even less to report

This month's post is a challenge - bit like school - write 500 words on what you did in the summer break......  uggghhh! nothing... apparently writing this 500 times is not acceptable.

So basically June came and went with nothing notable other than a trip to York and a visit from my daughter and her husband.  We try to see each other once a month and take turns-about, so last month we were in Edinburgh and this month they made a flying weekend visit to us.

Our York trip is certainly worth noting though as we had a lovely couple of days there.

I had got permission to take photographs in Fairfax House.   These photographic tours are all to do with the mini project I am working on.

I was surprised to realise I had never visited it as I am something of a 'Fairfax' fan.  I became fascinated with the family when reading Andrew Marvel's 'Upon Appleton House'.  I can only say I spent four years 'in love' with the metaphysical poets and it was always a tussle between Donne and Marvel for my affection.  If you are a child of the sixties I commend them to you, you will get the connection.

Circa 1650–52, Marvell served as tutor to the daughter of the Lord General Thomas Fairfax, who had recently relinquished command of the Parliamentary army to Cromwell. He lived during that time at Nun Appleton Hall, near York, where he continued to write poetry. One poem, "Upon Appleton House, To My Lord Fairfax", uses a description of the estate as a way of exploring Fairfax's and Marvell's own situation in a time of war and political change. wikepedia

Nun Appleton no longer exists but sitting snugly in York is the lovely Fairfax House.

It has an absolutely fascinating history and even spent its last inhabited years as a cinema!  The large yellow entrance to the left of the house is how you go in, but this was once the cinema entrance, so you need a moment to get the orientation right when you get to the proper main entrance hall.

It has the very best ceilings I have ever seen in a house - certainly a house of this size.  Fortunately through all its different uses, offices, dance school and the rest it has managed to keep much of the original house and has been restored sympathetically,

This is the (real life) size of the house I am working on so it gave me the very best feel for what I could and couldn't do with my project.  It was also a delight to be able to take photos of the tiny details as you can never find those on-line or in the guide books.  Who else would be interested in door knobs and hinges!

We had driven to York on a lovely sunny Saturday, parked in the car park about fifty feet from the house (!) and initially had the place to ourselves.  If you visit begin at the top of the house with the terrific video and then work your way down.

There was a concert being held there in the evening and we had considered going but reneged at the last moment and decided to visit Noel Terry's house for tea before retreating to our hotel on the edge of York.

the back of the house

I thought it lovely but a bit quirky.  Goddards is an Arts and Crafts style house which he had built in 1927, so rather towards the end of the period.  In a way it seems bordering on cliche but in the nicest possible way and you most definitely get the impression of it having been a glorious and truly loved family home.  

Lucky children to have been raised there.

Our tea had echoes of the same era, all white clothed and properly served.  Ken, of course, indulged in a chocolate orange cake.  I hope he made Mr Terry very proud.

The next day was one of my favourite Dolls House Shows.  I was booked to write it up for the magazine so expected to be there all day taking photos and nattering to folk as well as my own ferreting and shopping.  Instead of which when I crossed the threshold before the doors officially opened I was told someone was already there from DH&MS.  Clearly I wasn't thrilled I was double-booked, but as she had pipped me to it the gig was decidedly hers.  As it turned out this was a good thing.

I managed to finish my trawling the stand by lunchtime rather than the planned 4.30 pm so I gave Ken a ring to pick me up.

One thing he always does in York is go to a fabulous Sicilian ice Cream shop and he suggested we had lunch there - sly move on his part as he hadn't made it to an ice cream because I finished early.

So glad he did - here's another recommendation or you if you are in York.  Lovely food and lovely service.  Trinacria

So, with the sun still shining we trundled home - a happy me stuffed full of olives and sardine and a lap full of dolls house stuff - died and gone to heaven.

We did seem to get ourselves inveigled into local gardening stuff this month helping out with managing the Lotty and somehow being volunteered for some sweated labour in our local country park. The irony is, of course, I now pay a gardener because my own garden is beyond me and Ken would never do it as he hates it and there we both are fettling a large raised bed each in the park.

Also this month we began to auction of my 'ayjed' aunt's goods and chattels which we put in store almost two years ago when she moved into a care home. She has agreed that paying storage on twenty boxes of stuff that she will never have a home for is potty and they are best sold for her 'spends' and we save on storage costs. Win win.

Auctions are new to both of us. I suppose I have been to a couple in my life but for something specific - like a house! - so have never really taken an interest in them. I am now fascinated. Talk about hard work - I have no idea how they keep on top of thousands and thousands of items passing through their hands each week along with hundreds of buyer and sellers, but they do.

The company we are with uses the web in a massive way - publishing the catalogue so people can see the the stuff and then conducting the auctions live and visible for the selling. They have a general auction each week and a 'special' one every month or so. We stayed for a couple of hours at one of the general auctions and were astonished at the pittance they get for things which cost a lot originally and then at the complete opposite end of the spectrum they get silly money for stuff most of us wouldn't give house room to. Good job I am not in the business I wouldn't have a clue.

All rather exciting though.

As I said S & S came to close out our month with a lovely visit.

Two more months here and we are back in Naples. Someone is stealing my life.

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