Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Birthday treat and an unexpected surprise

Yesterday was my birthday and I had such a lovely day. John took the day off work and we headed up to Suffolk to a National Trust property - Ickworth House and Rotunda, a Georgian Italianate palace set in the idyllic English landscape of East Anglia.

The eccentric first Earl of Bristol was passionate about Italy and envisioned building a stupendous monument to folly which led to the creation of this remarkable Rotunda.

We've been before and seen the wonderful collection of paintings, portraits, fine sculptures and furniture. But it was the newly established "Ickworth Lives" project which took our fancy. The Rotunda basement has been restored as it would have been at the turn of the century and gave us a sense of what life was like for servants and estate workers up until the 1930s.

First, the kitchen which was the hub of the household and where the cook would have produced meals for the upstairs household and stream of many guests as well as those living downstairs.

where shoes were meticulously cleaned for their owners in the adjoining scullery.
I do believe that is a knife sharpener on the table too.

Possibly the Butler's bedroom

and the Housekeeper's parlour

I have to own up to the fact that I learnt to type on a typewriter not dissimilar to this, way back in the 1960s - to the tune of 'William Tell'. Now that really dates me!

I learnt to sew at school on a hand sewing machine like this too.

The grounds were stunning

and the formal gardens beautiful

But all too soon it was time to leave.

We went out to dinner in the evening with our children and grandchildren to a restaurant called The Boatyard in Leigh on Sea, where we sat overlooking the local fishing boats moored in the harbour and the River Thames beyond. I was thoroughly spoiled with some wonderful pressies, cards, flowers etc and enjoyed my day tremendously.

Just when I thought that things couldn't get better - I had a wonderful surprise this morning - I passed my exams!! Woohoo! Such a lovely feeling and now can't wait to start my final year in September - studying Renaissance Art.  (Remind me of that when I'm tied to my computer this winter and complaining that I've too much to do!!).

See you soon
Patricia x


  1. Happy birthday for yesterday, the day before mine today! I too learned how to sew on a machine like that although my typewriter at school was an Imperial 66. I loved the plonk plonk of manual typewriting, something distinctly lacking on the computer keyboard. Great news about passing your exams.

  2. Happy belated birthday Patricia! Glad you had a wonderful day.Well done on passing your exams too, you clever thing!!

  3. Belated birthday wishes! It sounds like you had a wonderful day. I remember an old typewriter like that around the house when I was a teenager, I think it was a Remmington, I learned to type on an Adler though with a private teacher after work on a Friday - it cost me 5/- for an hour's lesson. Congratulations on passing your exams:)

  4. Happy birthday and congratulations. It sounds like you really enjoyed your day out at a lovely place. My Dad had an Imperial typewriter that I learned to type on just like that and my grandma had a sewing machine that looked the same but it was a treadle - I loved playing with it as a kid.

  5. Happy birthday to you!!
    The estate is so beautiful! It is an amazing kitchen. But can you imagine being a servant and having to work for hours to prepare food for all the people in that big house? Yikes! A few years ago there was a reality tv show where people went and lived in a big manor house like this for a couple of months. Some people took on the roll of cooks and the servants and other people got to be the Lord and Lady. It was so interesting to hear their comments as the show progressed.

  6. Belated happy birthday and congratulations on the exams! What a great place to spend the day. I can see why you enjoyed it. Great photos.

    Hugs from Holland ~

  7. Dear Patricia, This tour was a lovely experience . . . I love seeing the world with you. Congratulations on your exams . . . but we all knew you would do wonderfully well. Also, Happy Birthday! I am pleased that your special day was so delightful.

    In regard to your comment left on my blog:
    Wow! I have never had anyone in awe of my talent. My head is getting bigger as I type, and I do not want to look like that Red Queen in the Alice in Wonderland movie. POP! There, I'm back down to earth, thank you . . . it does thrill me that you like my bedroom. I just wanted to show all my blogging sisters that you don't need a lot of money to make your home pretty and fun. This was a fun project and one that I (and hopefully my guests) will be enjoying for several years to come.
    Have a wonderful week, Connie :)

  8. It sounds like you had a great day Patricia (a belated Happy Birthday from me by the way) and congratulations on your exam results.


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