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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Time travel at Ashdown House!

Yesterday I was guiding tour parties around Ashdown House on a lovely, hot and sunny summer's day. For the first time we had other events happening at the house and it was fabulous! First there was an early music ensemble playing in the gardens. When we were on the roof balcony we could hear "Greensleeves"wafting up to us on the breeze which was wonderfully evocative. Then there were the living history re-enactors. A horse and carriage was taking visitors around the estate and it was extraordinary to see a historic vehicle using the old Ashdown carriage drive and the road down to the stables. But for me the absolute best bit was having the living history re-enactors wandering about the house and gardens and chatting to us all. On the guided tour we talk about the reasons that the staircase at Ashdown is so wide and one of them is to accommodate the breadth of ladies' skirts. I'd never seen a lady in period dress trying to ascend the stairs until yesterday and now I can see the problem! One of the other reasons that the stair is so wide is to permit a gentleman to draw and use his sword in defence of his house, fighting down the stair to give him the fighting advantage. Sadly health and safety regulations prevented us from trying to recreate this. Maybe one day!

I think I must be very susceptible to the lure of a gentleman in full cavalier garb (ok, I know I am!) but when a dashing cavalier who looks like Prince Rupert of the Rhine doffs his hat, bows and calls me "my lady" I'm afraid I melt into a puddle and am not fit to take a guided tour anywhere! And yes, I know I've illustrated this blog post with a picture of John Simm as Sexby in The Devil's Whore and that he was a roundhead not a cavalier but honestly, can you blame me?

I'm blogging today 5th July at Risky Regencies and tomorrow, 6th July with Sia McKye Over Coffee. Please come and join me!

7 comments:

Jan Jones said...

Dear Nicola, you can post him as many times as you like.

Sigh.

Nicola Cornick said...

Thanks, Jan. My sentiments precisely!

Alison said...

It really does make such a difference have re-enactors in the house. We had some last year, and they taught me some sword fighting moves!

Oh, and yes absolutely post John Simm whenever you like, hehe!

Nicola Cornick said...

How fabulous to learn some sword fighting moves, Alison. I would love that!

Cat Marsters/Kate Johnson said...

Didn't he fight on both sides? He changed sides during Kineton fight. At least in The Devil's Whore he did--I know they took liberties with history.

Er, not that I have it on DVD or anything...

Nicola Cornick said...

Lol, Kate! Good point, so that's okay then!

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