Cannon Hall’s got it all!

Cannon Hall is a lovely little farm near where I grew up that I have visited many, many times as a child. Me and my lovely little brother had a little ‘staycation’ at mum’s house recently and decided to revisit the farm on a day out, and there was much more to see than we remembered.

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As an added treat the house at Cannon Hall (which I didn’t know existed) had an exciting exhibition; the costumes of Downton Abbey!! Bless my little brother for indulging me šŸ˜€ He’s a very good egg.

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The house itself is largely empty today, leaving room for temporary exhibitions and the museum full of glass and pottery. The stately rooms provide a very fine backdrop for the Downton costumes.

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There was Sybil’s First World War nursing uniform and Mrs Patmore and Daisy’s kitchen-wear, which I took lots of photos of for our own Below Stairs project. Daisy’s apron had a pattern printed on the fabric which I had never noticed in the show.

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Lady Violet’s dress has the most amazing bead-work across the top. So much effort has gone into the detail of the costumes that you couldn’t notice unless you get close to them in real life, but it all adds to the fabulous glamour of the tv show.

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The Crawley ladies dresses were obviously amazing, although I was surprised by how tiny they were. No chance of me being able to squeeze into any of them! There were day dresses in the Drawing Room and the Dining Room was set out ready for a sumptuous looking dinner, completer with gorgeous evening-wear.

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Even Mrs Huges, the Housekeeper, has a lovely costume. I particularly like the accessory on her belt to keep her keys and scissors always handy. Pretty and practical.IMAG1789IMAG1792

Anna’s ‘posh’ maids outfit has some lovely lace on the apron and we even got to see Lord Grantham’s pajamas! If, by the way, for some strange reason you have never seen Downton Abbey I really recommend it, it is one of my favorite tv shows ever!

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On the day we decided to visit Cannon Hall was hosting a huge food fair! I love food so was very excited about this. We had a lovely lunch in the sunshine and a wander around looking at all the delicious things for sale before heading for the farm.

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The farm has changed quite a lot since my last visit. The biggest change, a very disappointing one for me, was that you can no longer let the animals eat from your open palm. I used to love feeding the animals so much and was looking forward to going back and doing this again. You can still buy bags of animals feed but you now have to pour the food down a metal chute into the animal’s pens. Damn health and safety spoiling our fun!

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The animals however are just as cute as they always have been. There were goats, sheep, chickens, pigs galore and even reindeer!

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The tiny piglets were adorable and there were even bunnies you could stroke! Cuteness overload!

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Can’t beat a day out that contains sunshine, pretty things, lovely dresses, history, adorable animals and good food! Brilliant.

A Stunning Spanish Sight

Apologies for the lack of posting recently; after my mad month in June I was lucky enough to go on holiday to Spain with my mother, for some well-earned R&R.

The street in Novelda  that houses the Casa-Museo Modernista

The street in Novelda that houses the Casa-Museo Modernista

The one active day of our holiday we went to visit a beautiful house in the town of Novelda, called Casa-Museo Modernistsica. Mum had visited before but I had never been and had heard how beautiful it was.

Casa-Museo Modernista

Casa-Museo Modernista

The house was built by Antonia Navarro Mira after she inherited a significant sum of money from her father when she was 40. She bought up six houses next to one another, knocked them down to build her mansion.

The central staircase

The Central Staircase

A close up of the Stair Case

A close up of the Stair Case

She employed the architect Pedro Cerdan Martinez Murcia to design her dream home in a modern style, with a stylish exterior and interior that had all the mod’ cons!

The Internal Balconies

The Internal Balconies

The house was finished in 1903 and held the wedding of Antonia’s youngest daughter Louise for its first big event.

The Outside Courtyard

The Outside Courtyard

The house was occupied up until the Spanish Civil War in 1936 when the family left for Madrid, taking with them their furniture which was of significant value.

The Beautiful Interior Decor

The Beautiful Interior Decor

After the war the house was used as a school for girls run by nuns, who painted the walls white. In doing this, they preserved the original decoration of the house. The house was opened as a museum in 1980.

The Ceiling in the Center of the House

The CeilingĀ above the Staircase

Whilst we were visiting the house and admiring its beauty a group of children came into the house and started singing in the Entrance Hall, which filled the central foyer with wonderful sounds. I think it was to do with a festival taking place and everyone stood round in a circle joining in by clapping along to the rhythm of the song.

One of the Bed Rooms

One of the Bed Rooms

This little impromptu act really brought the house to life, and it made me really want to bring more music to Hardwick. When we had a flash-mob singing the Eglantine Lamentation in the High Great Chamber it was beautiful and i would love to do some more similar thing, especially when we have our Living the History group in the Hall!

The Glass in the Center of the Ceiling

The Glass in the Center of the Ceiling

The Casa-Museo Modernista is such a stunning building, amazing interior decoration, and beautifully maintained still. Antonia’s story reminds me so much of Bess and Hardwick’s story too, I love imagining these visionary women taking their passion, going out into the world and leaving their mark on it! I would recommend it to anyone in the area! I hope I can visit it again, and that the atmosphere is just as alive the next time I go.

A Stunning Schloss – Neuchwanstein Castle

Whilst on my recent holiday to Germany with my family I got to visit the most beautiful fairy tale castle I have ever seen, straight out of a children’s book; Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who had a very sad life, and was never finished due to his suspicious death at only 41. He dedicated the castle to Wagner, the composer, and each of the rooms was themed around one of the stories from his operas.

The first glimpse of Neuschwanstein Castle

The first glimpse of Neuschwanstein Castle

King Ludwig

King Ludwig II of Bavaria

Ludwig became King when he was only 18 after his father, King Maximilian II, passed away. He had not been very close to his father but triedĀ to be a good king and despite his eccentricity and real dislike of Ā public gatherings he was popular with the people. Unfortunately the ministers wanted a puppet King that they could control and Ludwig’s independent mind stood in the way of their plans.

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King Maximilian's Castle

King Maximilian’s Castle

To retreat from the pressures of office Ludwig began building fairy tale retreats, he built several castles before starting Neuschwanstein Castle in 1869. He never completed it. In 1886 the ministers declared Ludwig insane in a bid to gain control once and for all. He was taken from Neuschwanstein to Berg Palace. The next day King Ludwig and the psychiatrist that had declared him insane were found drowned in Lake Starnberg and his younger brother Otto, who was considered insane, succeeded him.

The view on the walk up

The view on the walk up

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To get to the castle you have to make your way up the mountain to it. You can walk (about 15-20 minutes), get a coach or go by horse and cart. We walked up, a really beautiful walk, and down again, taking a detour to a bridge where you can get a really good shot of the castle perched on the mountain side.

Me on the bridge

Me on the bridge

Every room that had been finished on the top floor was decorated so highly, stunning embroidery and acres of gilding and brightly coloured walls. It took a team of carpenters 4 months to carve the wooden furniture in his bedroom but the end result was more that worth it. Every corner you turned just took your breath away. Completely over the top but completely amazing. A tremendous amount of imagination and work for what would have been the most stunning fairy tale home!

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The opportune photo point

Due to how much the building of the castle cost the government decided to open it to tourists only month’s after the King’s death, and you could see where many of the objects had been handled, and chairs sat on before conservation measures were put in place. Now the castle is only open by time guided tour, and each of the rooms has perspex walls inside the main walls, to protect the furnishings and decorations from sustaining any more damage.

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The oddest part of the day was visiting the gift shop. There are several souvenir shops on the walk up to the castle from the car park and more gift shops after you leave the guided tour, and they sell the usual sort of thing, including postcards, t-shirts, key rings, mugs ect with people relevant to the castle’s history on them. So there were souvenirs featuring King Ludwig, Charles Wagner and one particular woman in a very beautiful ball gown. However could we find any information on this woman during our visit? No. Her name was given on the merchandise she was featured on but that was all we could find. She was not mentioned on the tour, nor in either of the books we purchased in the shop.

http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/franz-xaver-winterhalter/elizabeth-empress-of-austria-1865

Elisabeth, Empress of Austria

After a bit of googling I found out that her name is Elisabeth, Empress of Austria, also know as Sisi. She was King Ludwig’s cousin and close friend, but it it is not clear if she ever visited it, I can’t find any information one way or the other. I can’t find a reason why she is so heavily featured in the gift shop but not mentioned during the tour. Maybe it’s just a case of every good castle needing its own pretty princess. But maybe there is more to it that than, I know if I was friends with someone who owned such a magnificent castle I would try and make sure I got to visit!

Inside the Castle Courtyard

Inside the Castle Courtyard

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This is the castle that Walt Disney took as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, which can be found in every Disney Land/World. And you can see why he did, it is the most stunning looking castle in such a mind-blowingly beautiful location! And the interiors match the exterior for beauty. You weren’t allowed to take photos inside, but you can find images on google if you want to have a look.

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Neuschwanstein Castle has to be the most beautiful castle I have ever visited, I would love to get to spend some more time there, just staring at the amazing decor and discovering the stories painted on the walls. As I was on the tour I couldn’t help but think how much I would enjoy working there and getting to clean that collection(weird I know), with all the intricately carved furniture and stunning embroidery. It’s honestly the sort of place that could tempt me out of the country. So that completes post number two about my European Adventures! Stay tuned for more šŸ˜›

Beautiful Bavaria & Interesting History

Sorry for the lack of recent posting, I went away on holiday a couple of weeks ago to Germany and feel like I have been playing catch up ever since. As I have some free time now I thought I … Continue reading