Monday, 17 November 2014

Castle Howard 31st October, Halloween 2014.

Half Imperial watercolour 22 x 15" incomplete, but almost there.
We decided that, as the forecast was good, to have a latish holiday break. We wanted to stay at Hovingham though accommodation proved impossible as a wedding party had fully booked the Worsley Arms. So we stayed at a dog friendly inn nearby, the Cresswell Arms, in a large room ideal for a BIG dog crate. After checking in we made the short trip to Castle Howard, took George for another walk over the cricket ground to the perimeter wood and then settled him in his crate. Walking down to the house we visited the Fitzroy cafe and had some lunch, outside men were busy setting up a fairground on the lawn facing the lake. Huge fairground wagons parked nose to tail sitting on steel plates limiting any damage to the grass. We walked towards the large fountain surrounded by evergreen hedging and found this view of the house. We stood, off the path, our backs against a tall hedge and quickly sketched this view. It was the warmest Halloween on record which was good for us standing there, as we talked about this and that, watching people exploring the grounds. Occasionally a robin would appear at the base of the dense hedging as it looked for food. The view shown here is almost finished, may add some more window detail to the right hand side. Back at the car we discovered we had forgotten Georges food!! So we hurried back to the courtyard shops to look for some cooked meat. At one counter I bought some ham and enquired about cooked salmon, he has good taste! Then I remembered he likes cheese. I asked if they had any Wensleydale, and if it was mild, " Yes, would you like to try some?". NO NO, I cannot eat cheese it is for the dog, I replied.

Visiting the house again as dusk fell, we had a little snack in The Fitzroy room. Whilst sitting inside the sun had set and though only early evening at 5pm outside was already dark. We walked round to the west facade, the main entrance being set back inside two protruding, protective advancing wings. Suddenly, we were aware that the house was being lit up with a kaleidoscope of projected light. A rainbow of pulsing light with undulating animations moving backwards and forwards across the facade. Wonderful. Inside the house, magically lit with atmospheric candlelight we toured the rooms, passing the open log fire in the central atrium. "Living Portraits" enhanced our visit with comments like" Candlelight is indeed wonderful, though one must not get too close to it as one's petticoat may catch fire, ha ha ha what?" And in the gallery library we were asked by a bewigged young master in period dress " are we having a good visit and had we seen his Mama" we hurried past leaving him enquiring of others. Back to the car along a path lit with ground level lights, another memorable visit.

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