Cawdor Castle and the Antiques Roadshow

I had been wanting to go and see Cawdor Castle for a few years, but not had the excuse to just get on with it and go until I heard that The Antiques Roadshow were going to be there!  To my knowledge, they don’t visit that many locations in Scotland, at least during each year’s filming.  I do love watching other people’s treasures – especially family stories.

We decided we didn’t really have anything we wanted valued, so packed ourselves off to the station to get the train to Nairn, outside of Inverness – which is the closest to Cawdor and the castle.  For June it wasn’t really warm and the weather was pretty atrocious, as was the non-existent bus service available to Cawdor, but hey-ho we got there and immediately loved the castle and gardens.

The castle is beautiful, and reminded me a little of Fraser, the rooms are also really comfortable looking – which is much in keeping with the fact that it is still a family home.  Enjoyed some of the paintings too – especially the portraits which were over the front desk where you show your tickets.  Had a nice wander around the shop to get my obligatory guide book, and to read more about the tree preserved within the castle itself…

Time for a final wander around the gardens (loved the roses) and to take some pictures and generally people watch the visitors and spot AR experts!  This is when I spotted this before we left:


Right in the centre you’ll spot the presenter Fiona Bruce!  It was nice to see her, if only at a distance.  The programme I believe is scheduled for the end of 2012, early 2013.

And I didn’t even manage to mention THAT Scottish play in this post!

*UPDATE The programme has now been shown.  You can see a clip here.

Support the Military Wives for the Christmas Number One!

*Warning* slightly emotional Christmas message ahead…

I don’t normally like to post two songs or music videos in a row, but this is special – so here goes!

The Mum loves The Choir with Gareth Malone (if you haven’t seen it, go now and watch it!), which she’s been watching for a number of years.  The most recent one created was a choir of military wives and girlfriends.  Something to occupy and unite them while their loved ones were away.  It was a particularly emotional experience watching it, and lovely to see them at the Albert Hall in November.

Now it’s time to support them for the Christmas number one – they really deserve it, far more than the manufactured rubbish that is always in the charts.  This has depth and meaning. The song was created by Paul Mealor using letters home – the words are all real.

Please support them by buying the single by download or CD – I’m going to – it’s out today!  All proceeds go to charity.

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Thank you! #Message Ends.

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.

The Children of Green Knowe

One Christmas when I was a child, I remember watching a TV programme set in a beautiful country house (makes so much sense now, lol), with ghost children and a scary moving statue of St. Christopher.

I never managed to see the end, which made me sad for many years, especially as I never knew the name of the story.

I later found out it was called The Children of Green Knowe, one of a series of books by Lucy M. Boston.  You can find now, luckily for me a copy of the original programme posted here (in parts).  Interestingly, since I re-discovered it, a film has been made of the sequel The Chimneys of Green Knowe starring Maggie Smith, which is known as From Time to Time.  I watched this on TV over Christmas (coincidence, again).  It has some charm,  – and was filmed at Athelhampton House –  though I still love the 80s show best!

Here are the books in order:

  • The Children of Green Knowe (1954)
  • The Chimneys of Green Knowe (1958)
  • The River at Green Knowe (1959)
  • A Stranger at Green Knowe (1961)
  • An Enemy at Green Knowe (1964)
  • The Stones of Green Knowe (1976)

I am now collecting the stories for myself!  Also, Lucy Boston lived at The Manor, Hemingford Grey.  You can understand where she got the ideas for such wonderful stories.  One day I would love to see it.

Cool TV: Edwardian Farm

Remember Victorian Farm?  Yes, me too!

I loved this series, and we are now nearing the end of Edwardian Farm.  I have to say, I’ve found this series a bit more hit and miss for me.  Probably because it involved a lot more fishing etc., which I personally found a bit boring.

I’d still recommend you catch up if you haven’t seen it however, it’s still on the iPlayer for now.  I’m sure we’ll see it on DVD also.

For a refresher on the Victorian Farm, you can find my post here.

Now all I need is to get a copy of Victorian Farm on DVD…

The Castle Ghosts Series

As an addendum to my previous post, I remembered watching a series about castle hauntings on the Discovery channel some years ago.

I know that there are many ghost-type programmes out there, some better than others.  I did enjoy the mostly historical legends that were recounted here, however – plus the presenting by Robert Hardy.

I’ve discovered that you can also get it on DVD if you wish, but I’m sure it will be repeated on TV around the world.  You can also get a taster from YouTube:

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It’s Castle Ghosts of Scotland – and Fyvie is included here!

The series are:

  • Castle Ghosts of England (1995)
  • Castle Ghosts of Ireland (1996)
  • Castle Ghosts of Scotland (1996)

Possibly hokey, but very enjoyable all the same!

I’m Watching You…

If you readers are anything like me, your radar systems will be working to identify any potential programmes about historic houses – so here are a few of my favourites from the past and present…

Castle in the Country – a BBC series, originally shown throughout the week, and then cut into episodes and repeated.  There have been several series now at different properties.

  • Glamis Castle (Summer 2005)
  • Castle Howard (Winter 2005)
  • Burghley House (Summer 2006)
  • Mount Stuart (Winter 2006)
  • Waddesdon Manor (Winter 2006)
  • Floors Castle (Summer 2008)
  • Berkeley Castle (Summer 2008)

I loved Glamis best of all, and have seen them all now repeated apart from some of Mount Stuart and Floors Castle.  You can often catch the repeats on UKTV Gold.

Another series I haven’t seen all of, is about The National Trust (England).  This has also been repeated on UKTV Gold.

One I particularly like also is Great Country Houses, which you can often find on Horse and Country TV as well as Berkeley – An English Country Estate.

More recent series include a lovely one only shown over 2005/2006 called The Curious House Guest and was originally shown on BBC2, and then repeated on UKTV Gold.  Presented by Jeremy Musson, an architectural historian who has written for Country Life Magazine and has several books to his name, it documented visits to houses still in private family hands in a very warm and welcoming way.  I miss this programme very much.

My last addition to the list for now, and a rather more fraught one is Country House Rescue, shown on Channel 4.  This documents a businesswoman’s attempt to help people save their country house homes or business or both from failure.  This is still running as far as I know.

A slight change from these, but just as excellent was Lost Buildings of Britain, from 2004.  Introduced by Simon Thurley, the series focused on:

  • Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
  • Nottingham Castle
  • Whitehall Palace
  • Fonthill Abbey
  • Glastonbury Abbey
  • Millbank Penitentiary

As the title suggests, these buildings are partially, or totally lost to us now and the series recreated them using original records and accounts.  My favourite were Fonthill Abbey and Millbank Penientiary – I recommend you read more on these two particularly.

I’m sure I will have forgotten ones that I love from here, but I will update if I remember more!  Please let me know if I haven’t seen something brilliant!

Cool TV: The Vampire Diaries

Those of you in the USA were fortunate enough to be watching this show in the Autumn of last year.

We’ve had it in the UK since February, and though I slightly missed the beginning, it’s really beginning to grow on me.  I think it’s getting better as episodes go on.

It is of course, about vampires.  This time though, they are vampire brothers, one good, one evil who return to the small town of their birth.  Havoc ensues…

I must also give a mention to Francesco da Mosto’s Mediterranean Voyage, a programme I didn’t see the first time around, but I am loving on BBC HD.  Francesco is a Venetian, and I loved his series about Venice itself.

Go on, give them both a try…

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