Monday, January 12, 2009

where all the nobs hang out

Here's a couple of sets of photos for you - firstly the epic pond clearance up at my parents' place on the first weekend of the new year. The pond was choked up with several years' worth of fallen leaves and silt, so what better way to spend a weekend of sub-zero temperatures than to crack the ice off a pond and stand around in it shovelling out evil-smelling filth into a wheelbarrow? On the upside I'm quite impressed with my hastily-purchased ten quid B&Q wellies.

Secondly, Hazel and I went over to Cardiff this weekend, including a trip to Cardiff Castle, which I hadn't visited since I was about two years old (and my recollections are, as you might imagine, a bit sketchy). It's sort of a slightly less quirky twin to Castell Coch, in that it's largely the work of maverick Victorian neo-Gothic nutter William Burges. It's also more interesting historically, in that the central (and still largely intact) keep is much older; it's from an earlier 11th-century Norman castle. Not only that, but the outer walls are built on top of the walls of a first-century Roman fort. Photos can be found here.

Finally, an odd coincidence that struck me as we were getting the tour of the spectacular interior of the Burges-constructed bit of the castle: both Cardiff Castle and Castell Coch were built for the Marquesses of Bute. Now, not only is the current Marquess of Bute better known as racing driver Johnny Dumfries, but I knew the family surname, Crichton-Stuart, rang a bell somewhere. It was only later that the penny dropped that it's my fellow stag do attendee Edward's surname. It is genuinely amazing what you can find out in less than ten minutes on the internet: unless I'm much mistaken Edward is the great-grandson of the 4th Marquess of Bute. Edward and his lady friend Henrietta (proprietor of the Rare Tea Company) are pictured on the left (Edward on the left). I'd just like to say that they were both delightful company throughout, and at no time attempted to shoot me, use me as a footstool or otherwise incur my coarse proletarian wrath. Though of course they will be first against the wall come the revolution. Sorry about that.

2 comments:

nicola said...

they is my very good friends. Doug, Anna, Pip, Mike and my frog and I went to a surprise birthday party for Edward on 27th December in London and it was lots of fun. Yes Edward is almost royalty, non? Although you wouldn't know it, because he just talks nonsense all the time.

electrichalibut said...

I had no idea I was hobnobbing with, as you say, minor royalty. Although crazy golf and a skinful of ale is a great social leveller.