Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A Very Brideshead Weekend: Part One

"Just the place to bury a crock of gold. I should like to bury something precious, in every place I've been happy. And then when I was old, and ugly and miserable, I could come back, and dig it up, and remember."
-Sebastien Flyte, Brideshead Revisted

There comes a time in any summer when everything must be put on hold, regardless of money, work or timings, and that time came for me, and the majority of my friendship group, this past weekend when our navigation systems were set to Ludlow, Shropshire. An oddly rural location for many who barely recognise a world outside of student life in Leeds, we set off in search and celebration of our dear friend Catherine who was throwing a countryside reunion for us all (masquerading as a 21st to keep the elders content with 26 strangers descending upon their family home).
London has its perks, theres no denying that many live for the metropolis and are eager to take advantage of every nook and cranny the city holds. However, there is something so distinct and elegant about the countryside. Coming from the middle of nowhere myself, I’m already familiar with the concept of a market town but Ludlow delivered like no other. The isolated, local-stone house acted as fashion inspiration from the word go, as we knew it would it seems as I am immediately embraced by my friend Chris who has dressed as man of the house in his gentlemanly checks and olive green chinos accompanied by a smile that screamed ‘Look at us! Look where we are!’.  Upon arrival a cup of tea was waiting for each of us in a beautiful country kitchen, Bella the Lurcher embracing us all individually in her own little way as she grew excited over the new smells and sheer number of us all.  As numbers steadily increased with stragglers making their way from the local station and weary travellers parking their cars in the field, the Hostess Catherine wasted no time before offering glasses all round and retiring us to the Drawing Room. Needless to say drawing was set aside in favour of prosecco, smokes and a childish game of ‘Ashtray or Heirloom?’.  The ochre walls and gold frame and faux-Hogarth surroundings were enough to make me wish I’d packed a fur stole and beaded headdress to accompany the smokey haze.   However, the bulmers bottles and piggy backs from socially starved literature students returned me from my Brideshead imagination – and why not, there’d be plenty of time for all that.

A walk through the local forest with a selection of friends as poorly dressed for the setting as I (‘woodland nymph’ I assume was to mock me? For shame, that is what I was aiming for!)  started Saturday’s proceedings following a night of drinks in the drawing room until 1am.  Inhaling the fresh air, we continued on in our little convoy to get to the town. Although Boris tries his best, an 85 pence park and ride return ticket is enough to make most locations blush.

The town was something of a postcard or painting, the castle and market stalls filled with brick a brack and hand sewn wraps. As we took it in, Northumbrian pipes filled our ears as the little old man on the corner played on. The place screamed country romance, the myths hung in the air as Catherine informed us that King Arthur’s heart lay buried in the Castle Grounds.

I was in love with the air, the very spirit of the place.

Images courtesy of my darlings, Milla (Instagram) and Maya.