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Numbers 285/84: Mirror mirror on the door?

Attention to detail. It all started because the side gate from The Manor House onto Rectory Lane that we installed in 1979 had rotted a great deal. Clearly a replacement was called for. For Julian this offered a unique opportunity for his artistic talents to flourish. The first key initiative was to replace the side gate with a sturdy wooden article upon which, after some encouragement, a grotesque knocker was added outside the wall at the road side - as fish eyed below. Inside however called for far greater design input. As can be seen the House side of the door is now mirrored and surrounded by the wrought iron arch we had previously installed at the centre of the Beech Hedge that divides Henry's Football Lawn from the Kitchen Gardens and Green House. The mirror itself is fronted by a wrought iron gate that one might expect to find in such circumstances and subtly angled to catch the central space of the beech hedge from which the arch has lately been removed. The next location for the sun dial Anne donated 40 years ago that stood beneath that arch at the beech hedge is yet to be observed - more later! One also awaits with great interest the plantings each side of the arch as now positioned.

March 2nd is National Old Stuff Day. Which seems apposite in the context of Julian's reported actions at the gates of The Manor House. Ditto Mathew and Kathryn's decision last week to remove their rusty trampoline and replace with a sunny beach area. Same old, same old is an expression that we hear a great deal at this time of year along with Spring cleaning …. certainly Avril swops boxes of jumpers in the loft from winter to summer attire and the light duvet replaces the heavy. The day suggests we try something new. Well, maybe not all the old stuff [83 year old husbands?] but it's a day to break out of the old routines and experience new ones. We're advised to approach the day with a new attitude. Some official suggestions include: use an old item for a new use; look at things from a new perspective; throw out all you know about something and relearn it all anew; take something old and freshen it up – clean it, paint it, fix it, give it a hair cut; order a small instead of a large. Well, I've set my sights on painting the patio chairs as this year's alternative to the palindromic fence, and the front gates desperately need cleaning. And Weymouth's wrought iron balconies need another coat of Hammerite. The sons say we need a new car since I'm now over 100,000 miles on the clock with mine. And this study at The Dovecote needs a comprehensive Spring clean and more besides …. much if not quite all is 'Old Stuff Must Go. Avril's talked about putting a mirror over the sitting room fireplace to replace the Aussie picture that's been there for 10 years. Then after a street search at 42 Gloucester Avenue here in town for Today's Store already open we found a CostCutter - another of their symbol retailers. Arriving home we found the De'Longhi Magnificas coffee machine in dire need of cleaning through which was accomplished with help from Quooker supplies …
Spare a thought for Harry & Meghan Sussex too? They seem intent on Out with Old in with The New from Hollywood/ Netflix and worse. Suggestion is the comparison should be with Wallis Simpson rather than Diana of Wales … we'll see after the Oprah Winnie 2 hours spectacular next week … I can't buy into Harry's suggestion we imagine being a raindrop ….
March 2nd 1882 saw an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria. The offender Roderick Maclean was the last of eight during here reign and fired a shot as she was leaving the railway station in Windsor. Eton schoolboys caught him and beat him with their umbrellas. She was wounded only once by Robert Pate in 1850 who had descended into lunacy. He was well-known by Londoners including the Queen for his manic behaviour such as goose-stepping around Hyde Park. On one of his walks the Queen's carriage came to a stop and Pate smacked her on the forehead with his lightweight cane. As the crowd manhandled the attacker the Queen stood up and proclaimed “I am not hurt” although the immense bruise on the right side of her head and the black eye that she would soon sport testified otherwise. Pate was sentenced to seven years in the penal colony of Tasmania. Another was sent to Gibraltar's penal colony and one condemned to death but pardoned by The Queen. In one attack in 1872 she was saved by the famous Mr Brown who wrestled the attacker Arthur O'Connor, descendant of Irish revolutionaries, to the ground. Brown received a medal for his heroism whilst O'Connor got a year in prison and 20 strokes with a birch rod plus eventual exile to Australia.

Published Date: March 2nd 2021


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