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On Books...And Houses...

Monday, 2 June 2014

What do I love? Country houses!
When do I love them? All the time!

Wouldn't make a very catchy protest chant, would it? They genuinely are one of my favourite things in all the world though.

Top to bottom: the library at Batemans, Benthall Hall, Stokesay Castle, Bodiam Castle, Sissinghurst, Calke Abbey, Hever Castle, Montacute.

I am an unashamed history geek. I would (and do) quite happily spend a lot of my free time and most of my holidays poking around country houses and castles, large and small. I even work in one! Dream job, I tell you, absolute dream job.

There are endless stories woven into these buildings. Famous lives, insignificant ones, wars, treasure, royalty, scandals, stunning craftmanship, beauty, love, loss and everything in between. You don't have to look hard for them. Visit, read and listen, let your imagination wander. It's all there.

The way I feel about people who don't like looking around them is the same way I feel about people who don't liking reading. I just don't get it. How can you possibly think they're boring when they're the best thing ever?

Nicola tweeted me a link to a course on FutureLearn (I'd never heard of them before but their course list is most interesting), enticingly titled Literature of the English Country House and I nearly exploded with glee. Books and houses! Houses and books! Could anything be better than that?  Yes: it's a free course. Books and houses and bargains - three of my favourite things!

I shall report back once I've finished it (the course only starts today) but I am looking forward to it an enormous amount.  Pleasingly, so are quite a few of my Twitter chums.  Consider this a small public service announcement for any of you that might also be interested in it, cos you can still sign up for it now and I would love to have more people to talk to about it.


  1. You can't beat a wonder around an old house, taking in all the history. I love it.

    X x

  2. I LOVE history and things old as well! I can't wait to visit europe and see all those treasures! You are so lucky and I envy it!

  3. These houses! Love the first picture with all the books - I am such a geek and love to collect old books! :)

  4. LOVE old houses (also a massive history geek). I dream of having a library. Loads of Edinburgh flats have "box rooms" - internal rooms without windows. Sadly mine is the kitchen, but I have fantasies about turning a box room in a future flat into a reading room...
    Debated doing the course too, maybe I should impulsively sign up!

  5. I love old country houses too, like you I don't get those who find visiting them (or reading books for that matter) boring! It's just not is it? Linda xx

  6. Hey, I've just signed up. I have just finished a six year long part time degree in politics with the same university (although not future learn a standard course) and I was at a loose end. I love books and history and houses too! Hope we both enjoy the course.

  7. That first photo is amazing!
    I've tried a future learn course before - they are quite good! Hope you enou yours xo

  8. This sounds awesome, I will have to look at it. I love my job, luckily I get quite a good fix of history through that, my current fixes are the First World War and Waterloo!

    Maria xxx


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