Monday, May 4, 2015

HATFIELD HOUSE

Mostly images today...  Woke early, in time to get a blog entry completed--hope you found and read it.  Looked out from the bedroom window to see rainy day in England, a blessing to Californian eyes but typical enough here.  A good part of the morning was spent at home, with family dashing around doing various chores; and a trip into Harpenden for groceries, with a stop for a sandwich at lunchtime at the little restaurant where Alice, our oldest granddaughter, has her first part-time job.

Then off in the car--all six of us--to visit Hatfield House, the ancestral home of one of the two branches of the Cecil family, where Queen Elizabeth I spent some of her childhood days.


Here's the courtyard/stables area, now the main tourist entrance to the mansion:


and Ellie and her granddaughter, posing for the camera ...


We took the tour of the interior, with too many pictures to share on this one blog entry.  Here's a handful: the entry hall--a "vestibule"?...


... with an image of the illustrious former occupant:


... a grand stairway...


... and a modest drawing room, with a small fraction of the art collection...


... the armory...


... and the kitchen, with a fine display of copper ware...



... where they could, perhaps, have been preparing for our dinner in the modest dining room...


We enjoyed a glimpse of the current occupant, the Marquess of Salisbury, through an upstairs window.  He was taking his pooch out, probably for its morning poop...


We wandered next through the formal gardens outside the house, taking pictures at every opportunity of course:






Here's Ellie, with a relief sculpture of QEI with her courtiers...


And on, into perhaps the greatest treat of the day, the informal gardens beyond, with their magnificent old beech and elm trees, and their flowering exotic trees and shrubs--azaleas and my personal favorite, rhododendrons.  Here's a sample...











Sorry it could not be more.  It's not that I lack the pictures--we took hundreds of them!--but that I lack the time.  A glorious day.  We were lucky that the rain held off for our entire visit... but the clouds were simply wonderful...




I found myself thinking of Baudelaire's marvelous, melancholy lines: "Eh, qu'aimes tu donc, étranger énigmatique?  J'aime les nuages, les nuages qui passent, là-bas, là-bas, j'aime les nuages..."  ("So what do you love, enigmatic stranger?  I love the clouds, the clouds that drift by, yonder, yonder, I love the clouds." I think I have that right...)

We ended up the day with a take-out dinner at home: shepherd's pie (no, "cottage pie," beef instead of lamb) and quiche--an odd combination, perhaps, but quite delicious, especially when accompanied by a wonderful fresh salad that Ellie put together for us.



3 comments:

kfsartist said...

Wonderful to wake in the morning to following your voyage. Photos are just lovely. Hit the spot.

stuart said...

Stressful life for the Marquess of Salisbury, his dogs seems happy. Does the Marguess have a profession or a job, Maybe the guests and tourists fees maintain the grounds..

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, Karen, so good to hear from you! And Stuart, the good Marquess, I'm sure, does okay with his properties and lands, but needs to tourist income to keep the place in order. Job? Not exactly. But I'm sure he has a seat in the House of Lords...