Although York is my home, I spend quite a bit of time in Wiltshire too. It is a lovely county with open chalky downland and spectacular prehistoric monuments like Silbury Hill, the West Kennet barrow and the stone circle at Avebury all within walking distance of the village.
Avebury is most famous for its great henge and avenue of standing stones but it’s also a very pretty village and a year or so ago the Tudor manor house was restored by the National Trust and the BBC. Now it features rooms furnished to show how they might have been at different periods: a Tudor parlour, a Victorian kitchen, a bedroom furnished in Queen Anne style and so on. I had been meaning to go ever since it was finished, but as so often when places of interest are close, we never seemed to make the time.
But at the end of August I finally made it to the manor on a lovely English summer’s day. The house itself was interesting, and because it has been furnished with carefully researched reproductions, you can sit on the chairs and pick up pots and finger the furnishings. You can even climb on the beds if you take your shoes off! You’re asked not to touch the hand painted wall paper, but otherwise it’s very relaxed.
Typically, I liked the Tudor rooms best. There was a bedroom as well as a parlour, and the ceiling was particularly striking.
But it was such a lovely day that the lure of the gardens was irresistible and it was enough to sit on the grass in the sun, to imagine what life must have been like in the manor at the end of the 16th century and to start weaving a new plot …