Sunday, 27 January 2013

Visiting the House of Horror

When we went to bed last night there was still two inches of snow covering everything. When we woke this morning it had all magically vanished and the sun had come out. The Madwoman decreed that we therefore ought to go for yet another of her interminable educational strolls, so we went to Hampden. Hiding under all that scaffolding is Hampden House, which is pretty ancient under all the 18th century stuff.  It was at one time the family seat of John Hampden, who took up arms against the King during the English Civil War. His pistol exploded in his hand while fighting the famous dog lover Prince Rupert at Chalgrave Field in 1643, and he died 3 weeks later. We have no idea whether Hampden was a dog lover too. Later on, the house became a girls boarding school - the Madwoman used to teach some of them riding. When it closed in 1978, Hammer took it over and made 22 films there - the Madwoman shudders as says she can remember Hammer House of Horror all too well, although whether she's referring to the boarding school or the films is unclear. 
Just across from Hampden House is the church, St Mary Magdalene. It dates back to Saxon times and John Hampden is buried there, although no one knows precisely where. Quite appropriately, the church also made a guest appearance in the film Cromwell, alongside Richard Harris.

And here's another view of the church, although a less attractive one as we aren't in it.

Oh, and if you want to find out more about Hampden House try clicking HERE


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

It's cold out here!

We really have had enough of snow. We've complained to the Madwoman about it, but as usual she has done nothing about sorting it. Don't see her frolicking barefoot in the snow, but she expects us to.
Let me in or I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Bum numbing

Have a poo?
Are you kidding?
How would you like to have to lower your bum into a snowdrift?
Why can't I have a litter tray indoors?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

There's always one ...

Back we went to Berkhampstead Castle yesterday - and this time we got in!
Although there's always one, isn't there? We had to take evasive measures to avoid the man who clearly
couldn't read the signs saying that dogs had to be kept on a lead.
It's people like that who end up getting dogs banned altogether from places. 
That hump just ahead is apparently called a keep.
Naturally we climbed it.
We got to the top but couldn't see what it was that was being kept.
But there was a good view from the top.
A good place to keep a watchful eye on the loose dog from.
There was a big moat too. With ducks and huge drowned tree trunks in and lifebelts everywhere.

It has an impressive history stretching back to the Norman Conquest. Pretty well all the kings and queens of England have owned or stayed here at some point - plus a French king who was kept prisoner for a while. Possibly payback for the time when they laid siege to the castle. Chaucer kept the books here once, and when it was granted to one chancellor, apparently he got so excited when he first spotted it that he fell off his horse and got trampled to death by the monk following behind him. Yeah, we think that sounds a bit suspicious too. That monk must have had enormous feet.
Anyway, enough of the exploring.
Our ears are cold, we've had enough and we want to go home now.
Which way is it?

Friday, 11 January 2013

The bar is now open

The salad bar that is.
Angel always helps herself to some parsley every morning.
It has to be flat leaf as she doesn't like the curly French sort.
We can be very discerning, you know.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Twelfth Night

It's Twelfth Night, so we helped to take down the Christmas decorations.

Although Archie was reluctant to hand over the Christmas stockings for packing away until he had first checked very thoroughly that they really were completely empty.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Years Day and no room at the castle ...

The Madwoman decided that as it was a nice day, we would go for a walk over to Berko Castle, which we've never yet visited despite the fact that its only a dozen or so miles away. She muttered a bit about having to pay £4 for the nearby car park, but you should have heard the language when we then arrived at the castle to find this sign hanging on the entrance gate. So that's her New Years resolution to be more tolerant broken already. Looking at the sign inside it says that it's closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day. It's a shame they didn't bother to include this information on their website.
We did consider storming the battlements in protest, but from what we could see through the gate, it looks like they've been pretty well trashed by someone else already.
Presumably by the person who rolled up on Christmas Day ...