Help Save Hartlebury Castle

Can you help Hartlebury?

I’ve been meaning to talk about Hartlebury Castle, Worcestershire for a while.  Not heard of Hartlebury before?  Well, if you’re a fan of historic buildings that you should find out more about it now!

The Hartlebury Castle Preservation Trust was formed to save the house for the benefit of the nation, and the house is known currently for – of course – the house, the gardens and for its library.  At the moment money is being raised to purchase it from its current owners, the Church Commissioners in order to restore it, and allow it to be used for all manner of activities for people to enjoy.

But, as they often say in adverts, that’s not all – once the castle has been successfully purchased, volunteers will also be needed!

Why not pop over to their website, and see if you can help?  You can also follow their progress on Twitter.

Fourth Blogoversary Time

Good grief, it’s that time of year already!  Unfortunately, it being that time of year I may also implode from my studies.

Be that as it may, let’s celebrate Eleanor and I’s blog still being here four years later :mrgreen:

So what makes this blog?  Well, there’s Eleanor and I of course, then a dash of Mr Darcy (costume dramas and novels etc):

Lots and I mean LOTS of pets, some photography (when I have times these days), musical and video interludes, and don’t forget the humour – we like to laugh here:

Not to mention the art and the history (and study):

Stir briskly with some moans and observations – and you might have a better idea.  But anyway, the important thing?  That’s YOU.  Thanks for visiting.

Book Review: The Secret Diary of a Princess by Melanie Clegg

Marie Antoinette – think you know her?

You might think you know something about her, may even have had the pleasure of reading Antonia Fraser’s biography – but what about her as a young girl?  I am lucky enough to have read about Marie Antoinette the Queen, and to have visited the Hofburg, having some knowledge of the reign of her mother Maria Theresa.

I’ve just recently had the pleasure of reading The Secret Diary of a Princess, a fictional account of Maria Antonia’s life from about the age of nine until her marriage to the Dauphin of France.

As suggested by the title, the book is set in diary form, starting from when Antonia received the diary as a gift from her sister Maria Amalia in 1765, though apart from the shorter entries, the entries spread out into a more  traditional format, complete with dialogue between the characters – Antonia’s parents, siblings and other members of the court.

After the introductory passage, I was immediately sucked into the life of the young Archduchess.  Her diary is written with such charm, you cannot help but care what happens to her.  There were some laughs, tricks played on her governess, and a lot of sadness – losing her father so young for one instance.  The descriptions of the chracters, settings and dress etc. are wonderfully detailed and evocative.

When I finished the book I also felt very sad for Antonia and her husband the Dauphin, knowing what was to come, and the fact that they were just frightened children when they married.  It is the gift of the author that you care so much for the characters – not only that – it is a novel that makes you want to learn more about them.  That cannot ever be a bad thing in my opinion.  All in all, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to other readers as a well researched and engaging historical novel.

The Secret Diary of a Princess by Melanie Clegg is available to buy now on Kindle.

Readers please note: I received an electronic version of the book as a review copy only.

Noticing Clara

Well, Great Scot!

I have been watching over several weeks on TV the films Back to the Future 1, 2 and 3.  Great films, I’m sure you’ll agree – but the thing is Back to the Future 3 has always been my favourite.

I don’t know why – maybe it has a lot to do with it being mostly in a Western setting.  Goodness knows I have a soft spot for Westerns.

The reason I mention noticing Clara is that, though I’ve always thought she was quite a cute character as I love Doc Brown – it was only today that I noticed she wears – and gives to Doc part the way through – a Victorian/Edwardian Clara name brooch! I know it from its very distinctive shape.

I’m willing to bet it’s an original one that was picked up for the character too, they’re still very affordable to this day.  Check it out, she wears it on her collar here, and later at the dance with flowers threaded through.

Image copyright belongs to the owners of Back to the Future 3 – no infringement intended.

A Happy Event

After multiple pet adoptions over the Winter, I am pleased to report that we have yet more pets.  Though not quite in the same manner as usual.

Our two latest guinea pig girls came to us with a little secret – yes, they were both pregnant, and yes we have a total of 6 babies to look after now!

You’ll be pleased to know that we have built a guinea pig nursery in their honour…

Amy gave birth to Snowdrop, Cinnamon, Bandit and Badger and Beth gave birth to Midge and Mungo.  We’re still trying to catch them all on film!