Once Upon a Time Part 4


© 2011julesfoto
I’m still overwhelmed when I visit Christchurch Mansion in England and enter the Great Hall with its black and white tiled floor. I came here several times a week as a child, and I still have the guidebook I purchased with my allowance. Back then the sole curator let me wander wherever I wanted when he was busy giving a tour. Visitors awaiting the next tour often assumed I was his daughter.
   I would glance at this witch’s chair or dunking chair used to prevent wicked women from telling lies and blasphemy. I decided to keep my mouth closed. I never corrected visitors’ misconceptions about who I was and never explained to the curator why so many visitors commented on how lovely his daughter was. He thought they knew her from contact with his wife or the local schoolchildren.
I desperately wanted to enter this formal library. I loved the period furnishings from the desk to the clock to the globes. Insert your favorite 18th century heroine and/or hero here. I did.
  The 17th century flocked wallpaper darkened this room, but the effect transported me to the period of candles and firelight. I must confess I knocked the museum ropes over once, because I was leaning too close.
  These detailed 16th century panels once lined the devotional closet of a lady and were moved to the mansion in 1924. The panels on the bottom were my favorite, because I loved flowers. I would sit on the floor, so I could see the details. Since I wasn’t sure what devotional meant, I fantasized about having a fancy closet like this one and not sharing it with my sister.
  Victorian era toys were secured behind glass doors. Why didn’t the curator leave the key on a nearby hook rather than in his pocket?
  The china was displayed on a table in the servant’s hall. Perhaps that’s why I’m fond of blue and white china.
Below stairs servants worked 18 hours a day or more washing, drying, and pressing clothing and linens in this room. I didn’t worry about chores like that. My mother was home doing the laundry.
The kitchen was lined with cabinets and shelves for china, silver, and cookware. Where were the cook and food when I was hungry? Or at least a Cadbury chocolate bar?Join me for a virtual picnic and a tour of the mansion outbuildings and grounds next week. Be sure to BYOF, Bring Your Own Food.

Comments

  1. Cool pictures, thanks. I’m sorry, the checkered floor reminds me of Fudruckers.

    • Gary, thanks for taking the tour! I haven’t been to Fudruckers in years, because I don’t eat red meat anymore. I equate this kind of floor with England and chessboards. That’s why I used a black and white checkered entrance hall in one scene of my current manuscript. I like floors my way, without the burger.

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