Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stir-crazy

At last, we got to take Kantara out the other day. We went not knowing how long we'd be out for, though we'd have to be back by September 9th to pick up Christine, Mike and Dorothy, to give them a two-week holiday. And that, we've decided, will be a trip down to Oxford and back. Though we might wind at Thrupp, Oxford itself being such an unpleasant stretch of canal. So anyway, off we went into the wild blue yonder. It was warm, dry, still, very encouraging. But...

...the engine started to misfire, or at least run unevenly. And quickly, not the slower hunting that we'd experienced when our alternator failed last year. All the gauges were reading fine. I checked all that I could, and couldn't find the cause. So we sighed, winded as soon as we could, and drove back to the marina.

Where we found that the domestic water had not been properly heated by the engine, so there must be an air-lock in the system, or a faulty thermostat. A call-back for Roy, methinks.

We're still waiting to hear when he can come to us.

So Grace gets back to door-painting, and I get back to being stir-crazy. We've done so little faring this year, it's ridiculous! There are a dozen things I could be getting on with, but I just can't raise the necessary enthusiasm. Sad, huh?

But yesterday, we took advantage of the continuing decent weather, and we drove out to Calke Abbey in Leicestershire.



 This is not a stately home. This is what the National Trust delight to call an "un-stately home".
"Hidden away in a hollow within ancient park land, Calke Abbey appears to have turned its back on the modern world. The telephone first rang in 1928 at Calke and electricity wasn't introduced until 1962. The often eccentric Harpur-Crewe family preferred a solitary life which excluded mod cons."
The park around the house is huge, with herds of deer and flocks of sheep. The gardens are large, and beautiful at this time of the year.










The house itself has suffered from generations of very eccentric folk adapting the place in very strange ways to accommodate their own particular circumstances and desires. Hence it has a very random, disorganised, interior, with most of the upstairs rooms and several of the others being stuffed full of  paintings, trophy animal-heads, and dead animals and birds in glass cases. And junk. Lots of it. They collected "stuff".






Some of the rooms are in a fairly good state, but much of the pace is very run-down; cracks in walls and ceilings, wall-paper peeling off or long-gone, paintwork badly deteriorated. The NT has done a lot of work to preserve the building, largely by fixing leaky roofs, walls, windows and doors, but the sheer size of the job of complete restoration is so huge that it would be beyond their resources. They've done the wise, clever thing of making its condition its attraction. Where their other houses paint a picture of the rise of noble families, this one tells the story of a fall. And if yesterday was anything to go by, it's a very popular attraction indeed.

The one thing in the house that's in good condition is a magnificent bed, a wedding gift three hundred years old, but never having seen sunlight! It's absolutely pristine.


It's a fascinating, haunting place, and we had a great day out there.

Now back to those jobs...

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Please note that another update to "Hints and tips..." has been added to the Addendum Blog.

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