Thursday, October 25, 2012

High tea and low life

From the CADW sign, "Dinefwr Castle is of great symbolic importance in Welsh history as the ancestral seat of the rulers of Deheubarth, the ancient kingdom of south-west Wales. From 1163 it was the principal stronghold of the powerful Rhys ap Gruffudd" - who happens to be my ancestor, so it was a bit like visiting family you haven't met for a long time. Except they're all dead.

Here I am laying my claim to my castle.
I was exceptionally proud of myself. It may not look that high but I'm not good with heights and especially not good with narrow, dark spiral staircases with the wind whipping through them. I did a lot of squeaking.
It must have been a very good site for a castle, with views all across the surrounding countryside; you'd have seen invaders coming from miles away.
Included in Dinefwr Park estate is Newton House, built originally in 1660 but later remodelled. In the late 18th century the park was landscaped with some help from Capability Brown who commented that there was little he could do to improve on nature.

During the war the house was used as a temporary hospital for wounded servicemen and one of the rooms is as it would have been then. On the bedside table we found this little book. 

Travellers today would do well to heed its advice, such as 'Don't criticise the French army's defeat,' and 'Don't drink yourself silly.'

The table laid for afternoon tea - not for us but for the lady of the house. How very civilised. As was the tea room, where we enjoyed home-made cawl for lunch (unusually made with ham but quite nice thought 'not as nice as yours, dear,' as Husband reassured me - after I'd kicked him in the shins) and cake and tea for, well, afternoon tea. that wasn't so enjoyable. The tea had a strange tang and the cake was disappointing.
 The park boasts a herd of fallow deer, which were too timid to let me get any nearer with the camera.
So we had a lovely outing! It was such a change as it's something we just don't do. We walk George in all sorts of lovely places but that takes time and with everything else in our lives we tend not to make the effort to do something out of the ordinary. So a lovely day.

And now I'm off for night shelter training so I can volunteer again when the night shelter runs through the winter. From high tea in a mansion to rough sleepers on the streets. Makes life interesting.


Leslie: said...

That looks like a wonderful outing. I'd have liked to go there, too. Maybe next time...


CherryPie said...

It sounds like you had a lot of fun :-) You need to do it more often :-)

jams o donnell said...

I like the in of you on the battlement. You would have made struck fear into the English!

Gledwood said...

I used to think of Capability Brown as an American woman...

You know Capability is responsible for getting rid of ancient walled gardens, formal Italian gardens, rose gardens, sunken gardens and any kind of gardens that weren't rolling parkland stretching as far as the eye could see... what a tasteless bastard.

Yes that second house would do me. You know until my third book comes out and I'm in the full-on Blenheim Palace style stately home bracket (bloody hell if I owned Blenheim the first thing I'd do is massively downgrade the lighting and ensure energy saving bulbs are installed in the lights that remain and I'd turn off all heating and tell staff and visitors just to wear more clothes!

Hey Liz I found a video of Madonna reading the Bible. What do you think of it? Is she sincere, or just trying to be provocative. (But she just reads verses from Revelation pretty much word for word: what's provocative about that?)

nick said...

"Don't mess things up even in an empty billet." But surely if it were empty, there'd be nothing to mess up? Perhaps the manual is also a disguised intelligence test.

NitWit1 said...

Thanks Liz forthe tour. I love castles because there are few or no structures that could be called castles. Our history is not that hold.

If George is like Luckie he would have helped himself to teacakes and whatever other eats were within reach...nevermind the manners.

Luckie recently snitched and ate a whole bag of miniature marshmallows plue a few slices of bread we left stored too low. She paid the next day as she deposited all on front porch.

Thank God I was gone and husband had cleanup job.

Liz said...

It was good fun, leslie.

WE must, cherrypie.

That's the intention, jams!

I didn't know that about Mr Brown, gledwood. His real name was Lancelot by the way.

I'd have failed then, nick.

Oh Luckie!!!