brittadotcom (brittadotcom) wrote,

A Byronic Journey

We had a delicious cooked breakfast this morning even with black pudding, then headed in the car for Newstead Abbey, the ancestral home of the poet Lord Byron. He only lived there a few years, and the previous lord had close to bankrupt the estate, so he couldn't improve it, so it was his bachelor pad for "wild parties," with practice shooting in the great hall, and using the dining room as a gym. He finally had to sell to his friend who was able to improve it, then it was taken care of through different families since then, now as a tourist center, so most rooms are more recent than the poet's time, but they have a few rooms furnished as he did, including the pistol at his bedside.

Byron loved animals, dogs especially, and there is a large monument in the gardens for his Newfoundland called Boatswain ("bosun"). Quite the inscription, and the poor dog only lived 5 years. I had never seen these fairytale mushrooms in real life before, so both Chris & I got artsy in the wet grass trying to get this photo. ;) Speaking of Chris, he found a goose wing feather & did his best brooding Byron pose on a garden bench...haha! We strolled around the entire large gardens, finding this waterfall in the Japanese section, then started the tour inside the house.

Having heard so much about Byron's many sordid love affairs with both persuasions, it was funny to see this sign! Also this gilded bed was his bed at school in Cambridge...did your college dorm beds ever look like this? haha...I took a billion photos of the books in the library for Halloween research, and the cases were very interesting telling about his life and showing original copies of his works. There was even an interactive area to dress up! Hilarious since on the drive Janet had been asking why didn't we bring our puffy poet shirts to wear today. Here I am doing my best brooding Byron pose in a puffy shirt & hooded cloak! ;)

We left the abbey and drove a little ways to Southwell, where Byron grew up before living at Newstead Abbey. We had tea & snacks at a little deli, went to Southwell Minster where we could hear the organ & choir since evening services were going on, but I didn't pay the permit fee for inside photos, so I took some video with my camera in my bag just for the sound. ;) We stopped in the one shop still open on a Sunday afternoon, quite a challenge in these smaller towns, and I splurged on honeycomb and toffee ice cream at the sweet shop. Very tasty!

We drove back to Janet & Chris' house, turned on the oven, then strolled down to their local pub for a pint. By the time we finished & walked back, the oven timer was just going off, and dinner was delicious stuffed pork loins with roasted potatoes. We watched The School of Rock since not even Cyd had seen that before, and it was more entertaining than I expected, quite cute really, reminding me a bit like Sister Act. Worth a rental but not full theatre price. :)

Tomorrow is our last day before going home, and we're still deciding where to go...either a local brewery tour (no they don't make ciders) or a medieval park & funky pub. Then it's repacking since we have to leave 7am to catch our train to London to get to Heathrow for our afternoon flight home. Sure glad I have a whole day to recuperate before going back to work!
Tags: byron, england, england2010, travels

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