Saturday, August 27, 2011

Planet of the Ape(thorpe)

Nicki joined us today and after the girls popped to the bra shop (it’s not really my thing), we headed off to Apethorpe Hall, a newly opened (and currently being restored) property about half an hour away located at the ‘back-of-beyond’ in the village of (spookily) Apethorpe!

On arrival, there were already about half a dozen people waiting. Not long after us, a few more arrived and joined the group, making about a dozen of us in total. On the stroke of 1, the tour began. It’s a massive building, with most of it falling apart. Dating back as far as the late 1400s,  it has had many roles - a borstal-type school (that closed in 1982) and a Libyan owner who bought it soon after, just at the time when Libyans were very unpopular (think ‘WPC Yvonne Fletcher’), so he left the UK....and the Hall just fell into ruin. Fast forward to 2004, when English Heritage took up the challenge.

It’s a wonderful place, and English Heritage have done a great job trying to rescue it. It just simply needs someone with buckets of cash to pay for it being renovated – this is no small task, with hundreds of bedrooms and every surface of every room needing some major loving care and attention. The only exception being the ceilings that now look wonderful!

Apethorpe Hall  
Apethorpe Hall  
Apethorpe Hall  
Apethorpe Hall  

It was a great tour and afterwards, we drove the short distance into the village to the Pub - The Kings Head – who seem to get caught out by the rush of people from the tour. By now it was 2.45 and they were planning to close at 3!

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The girls had tea, whilst I sampled a London Pride – we followed that with some scones with fresh strawberries.

Suitably fed and watered, we headed back to ours to give Lee a slide-show of our visit.