The plan for this weekend was to go classic car racing, but as it approached i have to admit, i wasn’t feeling in the mood. I don’t mind classic cars, i can enjoy it, but not for a whole weekend and not when i can think of better things i “should” be doing. Plus a ticket is £20 and that is a lot to pay for a slightly begrudged suntan. Then there was the fact that it was going to be hot and very noisy for Josie.
So we changed plans. Max took Maddy on Saturday, giving her a day of 1-2-1 attnetion, i took the other 3 on a day out of EH and NT properties. This got negotiated by agreeing on spending money for the shops if we went places that were free (:D) as Fran was dithering between a variety of places we could see on brown signs in the vicinity of Donnington Race Circuit.
After a conflab over cakes in Tesco, which was all very civilised, we headed off to Ashby Castle. Now, i grew up round there and i am horrified that i never went. Too busy doing homework or something i suppose. Anyway, it was excellent. Medieval house, turned into castle during War of the Roses (did you know you had to be granted a licence to crenellate then, the king had to decide you were loyal enough to be entitled to fortify your home); it had links to Henry, Richard III (whole new history fascination for Fran brewing there, she was most intrigued by the Princes in the Tower story), a Civil War siege and the plague (last weeks grim interest). After the Civil War, because it had been a Royalist stronghold, it was ‘slighted’ – they came along and blew bits of it up to render it useless.
Hence it looks a bit like this.
Its got a well preserved kitchen and buttery, a serving hatch, a variety of fairly obvious additions like mullioned windows, wells (very good in a siege, clever Lord Hastings) and all sorts of things that grabbed our attention. Even Mary Queen of Scots and James I (VI for Joyce and Hannah :), don’t want to get into trouble) stayed there. its amazing hoe much of this stuff just all links up once you start visiting.
Then we headed off to Calke Abbey, which bizarrely wasn’t an abbey at all.
It was actually a house which was allowed to get into an incredibly desperate state by its increasingly impoverished by death duties owners. it was named in the 1984 budget as a property needing repair and given to the NT, who decided to halt the decline and show it as an example of how stately homes “could” go.
An extraordinary place really, did remind me quite a lot of my parents house when we moved in! (Peeling paint, not this view below!)
Today i felt much the same about racing, Maddy didn’t really want to go either, so dropped the rest off and she and i headed off to Snibston Discovery Centre
Unfortunately after 3 photos, the camera died; i bought a disposable but i’ll have to get it developed. She particularly liked this though. She called him Henry.
We spent 6 hours in this place and i thought it was utterly fantastic. She was thrilled by all the hands on science, i loved being able to do it at her pace, with josie crawling along beside, i loved the fact it was staffed by men who proably lost jobs down the pit. I remember Coalville Mine being in the street, its great to see it redeveloped in such a positive way. I loved getting time re-affirming things with maddy, i loved the fact that we cured her “what will i buy at the end” obsession by going to the shop first, i loved watching her touch and explore.
She adored the parabolic sound dishes, the toys, the space, the freedom to touch and explore. It was brilliant. it was also the first time i asked about a “carer” entrance fee, given i was accompanying a child with a diagnosed condition, which was something of a result as i got in free 🙂 Gotta be some perks.
EDIT: i feel the need to point out here that Coalville, along with Shepshed, was LAUGHED at by people who lived in Loughborough. We LAUGHED. But look, it has more to do nearly it than Peterborough… i SO need to move.
Lastly… argh… HOW grown up does this girl look???????