This week I am on one of my long working weeks, we alternate between working three days with two days off and then even days with two off. My week started on Saturday with an event months in planning taking place at Powis, a grand Indian wedding!! There were lots of high hopes for this event, and not just the bridal couples!! It has been a while since Powis hosted a wedding,and never a wedding of this size and spectacle, everyone was eager for it to g really well. Things were looking worrying when I woke up Saturday morning and could not see from one end of the garden to the other thanks to a thick fog that has descended. Luckily it was not long until this lifted, and gave way to glorious sunshine just in time to glint off the bride gorgeous (first) wedding dress.
After the ceremony held in the Ballroom the couple had a traditional Punjabi ceremony in a marquee placed on the croquet lawn, in front of my house. The interior was decorated beautifully with a stage with pillars set on it, and flowers and golden goddess statues placed around the stage and rest of the tent. For this part of the ceremony the bride changes into her second dress, a red one as red provokes good luck. The groom rode into the castle gardens on a white horse, as is tradition, and was accompanied by music and dancing. It was a great spectacle and we had so many positive comments from visitors, they seemed to really enjoy it.
After this was the reception in the evening, hosted in an even larger marquee on the great lawn. They had a sit down meal of traditional Indian food, and I can tell you the curry was amazing, as we interns were lucky enough to get some leftovers. They also has fantastic entertainment, I was privileged to be able to go and watch two sisters, called Sonash, dance at the reception. They were great, really energetic I have no idea how they managed to dance the way they did for so long! The party carried on into the night, and it sounded like they had a fantastic time, everyone seemed very happy with the way the day went, huge Kudos to the organisers of the day here at the castle.
Sunday was much quieter, and we managed to have time to start our Winter Clean. Winter Clean already when summer is only just over, well yes, we have so much to do, and so little time in which to do it we have started early. The builders have been in cleaning out the chimneys for us. They do this every few years and it will hopefully mean avoiding any more falls like the one in the Library. After the lads had finished cleaning the chimney in the Duke’s Room we started the Winter Clean in there. When they cleaned the chimney the constructed a wooed ‘Wendy House’ around the chimney to keep the worst of the dirt in, but the room still had a layer of soot on it after they had finished. This is why we are following the chimney cleaning around the building, to clean up the soot after the work has been done.
The Winter Clean involves a deep clean of every part of the castle open to the public. Every item is looked at individually, cleaned, catalogued and condition checked. As we are open longer this year it gives less time for the winter clean, and adds more daily cleaning on on-top, meaning we really have our work cut out. I really enjoy in-depth cleaning of this sort, the morning clean is the same routine everyday but this gives us chance to really work on the items, and using all the different tools and techniques only used annually. It will be a great opportunity to learn how to handle all different types of objects including taxidermy. Even though it is a mammoth task I am really looking forward to getting stuck into it.
Monday saw the end of another mammoth task, the annual store check. Me and Kate spent the entire day in the textile store, heaven, finishing the last of the inventory check. I love this job, seeing all the hidden treasures in the stores, and Kate and Emma are so knowledgeable telling me the stories behind the different objects, its fantastic! It took us the whole day but we got to the end of our list, found all the missing objects and have now condition checked every item in all four store rooms and noted down their location. All that is left to do is type it up. This was looking to be another huge job, and falls under Kate’s remit, but I offered to held her out so we are going to type up two stores each. I have finished typing up the Picture Store Inventory List, and will start on the Clive Store (the more complex of the two) next week. I felt so accomplished after we had finished in the textile store, it’s amazing to think such a time-consuming job is done annually! It makes me again think about the properties already stretched for time and staff and wondering how they fit all that needs to be done in, and maintain their daily routine. I d worry sometimes that I have been spoilt here at Powis, and wherever I end up next will likely not have such a large house team, and the luxury of time to do other projects that we do.
Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons were devoted to working on our Winter offer in the Old Kitchens. Me and Kate cleared out and cleaned up the Kitchens and will start putting our objects in soon. It is so exciting to see our plans coming to fruition! We have a lot of research still to do however, I have already started looking in to Edwardian Recipes a leap for me as I am queen of the microwave and not much else in the kitchen, and doing research into the staff that used to work in Powis kitchens. The kitchens are now a blank canvas for us to start bringing our ideas to life, which is so exciting, but also nerve-wracking. The budget is tight so it is making us be creative, but that is good. Were fortunate that there are a lot of kitchen items in the stores, and it feels nice that we are putting them back where they belong. If we get this right it will be like this for years to come, and I hope it looks as good as it does in my mind’s eye! Not long now until it is unveiled.
The whole house team is working really hard on the winter offer, this is what will be open to the public after 5th November, when the state rooms close. It will be a different experience from visiting in the summer, as the cellars and kitchens will be open instead of the top floor. There will also be the Christmas decorations! We have been thinking about Christmas for about a month now, I’m a bit worried I’ll be sick of it by December, but our plans for the castle are very magical. I won’t spoil the theme for you now, but I will leave a few clues in coming posts as to what our Christmas theme is going to be! I am already making ornaments and decorations, and it will all go up in November!
This week I have also agreed to help out with the social media sites for the castle, so if you have a Facebook profile or Twitter please do follow us, for information about up coming events and stunning photos of the castle!