All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And it doesn’t do a lot for Jill either.
So yesterday, I played.
Well, first of all I had to do sensible things like shopping and putting a load of washing in and feeding the cat. But then I played.
I took myself off to Harewood House. It’s only about 30 minutes’ drive from here, but I’d never been before. Timing is everything – it rained continuously on the drive over, was still raining when I went into the House, but by the time I was ready for a walk in the grounds it had stopped and the sun was out.
The State apartments were stunning. At the moment there’s an exhibition running (Useful/Beautiful Why Craft Matters ), with modern craft items displayed alongside the old treasures. Some of it jars, for me personally – maybe that’s part of the point.
But the music room took my breath away – all the art on the walls has a musical theme, and there’s a piano etc in the room. But also, for the exhibition, the chairs were pulled into a circle, and on the floor in the middle, but spilling out onto the piano and beyond, there were ballet shoes. Pairs of ballet shoes, balanced en pointe. You could imagine ghosts of dancers.
But always for me the best part was below stairs. As you know, I’ve just started a job as a kitchen designer for a major DIY store – but I’ve always been interested in them. I think it dates back to my Great Aunt, who was Housekeeper to Lord Sefton at Croxteth Hall in Liverpool. The whole ‘below stairs’ part of big houses fascinates me. In fact just in my last blog post I wrote about Mrs Beeton. So food, and food prep, and the history of kitchens has been something that I’ve always been interested in.
At Harewood House, they have the biggest range I’ve ever seen, the biggest dresser I’ve ever seen, and the biggest kitchen table I’ve ever seen! The range was put in to ‘modernise’ the kitchen when Princess Mary (sister of Edward VIII and George VI) married Henry Lascelles and moved in to Harewood in the 1920s.
Lunch out – a rare treat. I had a sandwich and a bottle of traditional lemonade in the Terrace café – not quite warm enough to sit out on the terrace itself, but I had a walk out on the terrace afterwards, then made my way to the Courtyard and on to the bird garden and the ferry over to the walled garden. All very pleasant, but such a shame that the glass house is minus all its glass and falling into disrepair. There are still plants growing in there, but how glorious it would have been back in the day!
Back to the Courtyard café for a cuppa before heading home. Gave in to temptation, and had a scone with jam and cream…
Headed home in time for the next excitement. As you know, I like a preview show. Always a good excuse to get out the smart jacket and put on some lippy.
I headed off to Keighley, where Jane Fielder (a friend and blog-follower) and fellow artists Helen Shearwood and Thomas Shane O’Hara were exhibiting at Keighley Creative Space.
I know Jane for her quirky views of Bingley, but last night it was her work on electricity pylons that was on show – a totally different side to her art that I’d known nothing about. Intriguing views of an object that, if we think about them at all, we tend to think of as an eyesore.
And last but not least, as keen followers of this blog will know, I have a takeaway once a month. And last night was the night. I ordered Chicken Dhahi, with peshawari naan, then walked up into town to collect it. It was about 9 o’clock by this point, and as I walked out of my front door and into the night I remembered all the warnings we’re given about not going out alone at night. Sod that.
The Chicken Dhahi was everything the menu promised – fragrant, tangy, delicious. And half of it is in the freezer for next month. I’m looking forward to it already.
So, a bit of a spendy day – which doesn’t happen very often at all. In fact, it’s the first time I’ve had this sort of day out since my husband left back in February. Getting paid last week has allowed me to just relax a tiny bit. I won’t be doing this sort of thing every week, or even every month, but it’s very nice to know that I can play out now and again.
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