Tuesday, 17 December 2013

All things Festive & Lovely!

Markenfield has always been a little "out of bounds" in winter, due to the copious amounts of mud that begin to form towards the end of October and then increase in size and volume until it's wellies-all-round by December! 

This year however all is calm, all is bright (and shiny!) with the arrival of the new car park. It's very nearly there, and the mud is certainly diminishing daily!

And so to celebrate, we decided that this was the year Markenfield was going to join in with Christmas (think "John Lewis advert"!).

Firstly we decided to resurrect A Tour & A Tea - the success story of summer. Exactly what it says - a tour of the Hall followed by an afternoon tea.

The idea began in summer when we suddenly realised that each Friday in August was curiously free. The Mop-Up Mondays had been a great success and so we decided to do a Mop-Up... with scones!

We were amazed!!!! Each Friday in August we had a happy band of incredibly interested people who came and listened to a talk on the Hall and then sat out in the Orchard and enjoyed a beautiful Afternoon Tea Moat-side. It was so popular that on one afternoon we had over 30 people and were having to turn down bookings! 

So... "A Tour & A Tea - the Right House for Christmas" was born.

The idea actually came about back in August when one of our Guides was talking about the various houses owned by the Grantley family over the year and this passage from THE SILVER SPOON: Memoirs of the 6th Lord Grantley, sprung to mind:

“… Perhaps my father’s most outstanding characteristic, was his capacity for absent-minded lapses of memory. My memories of school holidays are somewhat jumbled, owing to the fact that my father developed a habit of taking a new country house every year.
The only place he never parted with was Markenfield Hall.
My Aunt Carlotta, who only visited us at Christmas or family occasions, was always much puzzled and once violently embarrassed, by my father’s peripatetic land ownership. The unfortunate old lady went to the wrong country house to stay with us one Christmas: no one, least of all my father having remembered to tell her that he had changed his abode."

Hence - the right house for Christmas! The story does continue...

“My Father… inherited five houses when my Grandfather died, of which Grantley was the largest. On one occasion, going up there by train, he was looking out of the window when he saw an uncommonly attractive house standing on a little hillside. He was so taken by it that he got out at the next station, and went to the largest Estate Agent in the town. He described the house in detail and said “I want to buy it”.

“But” protested the Agent “we have no house of that description on our books. Why should you think the owners wants to sell?”

“Find out the name of the house, the owner, and what he wants for it. And be quick about it”. Without another word, and without even bothering to say who he was, my father sat down and waited till the information was available.So great was his power of command that the whole office immediately went in to action. After a while the agent came up deferentially: “We are making some progress Sir, he said. “The house is called Elton Manor*. The owner is a  Lord Grantley…” 

*Elton Manor was subsequently sold and later demolished in 1933.

And it would seem that the love of Afternoon Tea has struck again - we are once again having to turn down bookings as this coming Friday's Tour & Toast as one Guide calls it, is now fully booked. Turkey sandwiches, Stollen, fruit cake & cheese (among other lovely nibbly bits) what's not to love?!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds lovely to have tea and scones in the hall. Next time I must enroll... I did not know about this. How do you know when something of that kind is coming up? Maybe I need to keep up with my weekly spring visits... Have a great Christmas Markenfield. I need to come and check out the new parking soon.