Monday, 11 May 2009

Please Close the Gate

Apologies for the lack of blogging. I have had a variety of distractions and irritations keeping me otherwise occupied.

So, MrCat and I went for a walk last weekend. It was around the environs of Blenheim Palace, ending up with a splendid view over the Capability Brown landscaped gardens and lake. With lovely vistas. And cute wee newborn lambs. And electrified fences which were so low you could just walk over them and barely break your stride (not that we did this, I hasten to point out). And gates with no purpose. Gates which just sat there looking slightly embarassed. Embarassed gates, and shamefaced stiles.

Let me give you an example.

b1move along, nothing to see…

Is this some kind of joke?

The park keeper is behind that tree and he is going to laugh at you, yes YOU, if you climb over this thing. Do not fall prey to this outrageous piece of trickery. WALK AROUND THE STILE, people. AROUND. That’ll show ‘em.

And what in the name of holy haddock is going on here…

b2 I’m not embarassed. Not even a little bit.

Please close the gate? WHY?!!! Is there something I should know? Is there an invisible forcefield on either side of the wooden frame which will twang me backwards across the path and into the other field, where I and all other transgressors will be savaged by nursing ewes?

Best not risk it, then. I’ll go through the gate and close it behind me.

Blenheim Palace looked rather lovely. We didn’t have time to go in, but it looked splendid from the other side of the lake. All I know about Marlborough is that he fought at Blenheim, Oudenarde and Malplaquet but I neither know nor care what he was doing there. Or what particular year it was.

I know very little about the 18th Century. My interest in history stops dead at midnight, 31st December, 1699. However, having pondered it for a while, I managed to come up with ten things I do know about one of the least interesting periods of history on the syllabus. Oh, quit moaning at the back, you bewigged fop. You know it's true. Everyone wanted to do the Wars of the Roses and Henry VIII at school, and who can blame them.

Mind you, one or two of these items do redeem the period a tiny bit.

  1. The Aristocracy wore wigs with powder and looked ridiculous
  2. Mozart. For this, the century gets mega brownie points.
  3. The French cut Louis XVI’s head off.
  4. People drank a lot of gin
  5. Culloden. For this the century gets a MASSIVE deduction in points and a severe telling off.
  6. The South Sea Bubble. Don’t ask me, I have no idea.
  7. Nasty, nasty George I locking his wife up in a dungeon in Celle. Points deduction and two missed turns. Oh, and a slap.
  8. William Blake, Thomas Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft born.
  9. Nelson at Cape St Vincent and the Nile
  10. Poldark set in 18th Century. Casting of Robin Ellis in leading role – 1000 points.

I think that just about covers it.

This week I have been mainly feeling poorly and reading “view from the foothills” by Chris Mullin.


Lynn said...

I desperately wish I had an opportunity to call someone a bewigged fop. That would be awesome. And I dare you to go around those gates next time. Live on the edge, I say!

The Coffee Lady said...

Is it Art? Are the gates Art?

We used to have a corridor at college which consisted of a double door from the outside, a bench (no connecting doors), and a double door out the other side. My friend, who did tours for prospective students, used to take all of them through there, to see if they noticed.

18 year olds are not very observant, he found.

eurolush said...

Hope you're feeling better soon. Glad to hear you're out and about in the countryside, admiring the baby lambs, beautiful vistas and electrified fences.

I'd like to believe I wouldn't walk through those lonely gates. But I can't be sure. What if they were magic?

JuliaB said...

Great post. .. i;ve never seen those strange lone gates and stiles at Blenheim, but then I haven't been for years and now they are under new 'management', perhaps the 'riddles' are part of the increased entry fee...?
Hope you feel better soon! x

readersguide said...

I think it must be Art. Mystifying.