We didn’t request a wake up call

What on earth is the point of coffee bags? Rather than anything good, I can only work out that they serve to produce unnecessary litter. Coffee granules dissolve, they leave only the container they came in. Coffee bags are in some sort of container then in a bag which, having been sufficiently soaked, needs to be thrown away. And they’re shit as well.

The coffee bags were an unpleasant discovery this morning in our hotel room. Along with the stupidest chair ever designed.

If you ever have the misfortune of sitting in one of these, don’t use the arm to lever yourself up. I did and I regret it.

Other than the chair and the coffee bags, the hotel was nice and comfortable. Mind you, I could have done without the phone going off in the wee small hours, and my wife telling whoever was on the other end to fuck off. She then yanked the phone out of the wall.

We were a bit late for breakfast but the lovely staff made an exception for us so we were lucky enough to have eggs royale and a decent cup of coffee before checking out and heading for Farleigh Hungerford Castle.

It’s an English Heritage site and is splendid. Of course, the day had a lot to do with the enjoyment given it was bright, sunny, blue and breezy.

The Hungerford family lived at the castle for over three centuries. It was built by two of them. First came Sir Thomas, steward to John of Gaunt, who started building in 1377. Then came his son, Sir Walter who became rich by plundering the French during the Hundred Years War, who built a bit more, enclosing the parish church.

Incidentally, Sir Thomas wanted a deer park attached to the castle but there was a village in the way. He just had it destroyed. Of course, that was in the days when if you objected to the council, you died. At least, these days, you only get ignored. Also, I guess that’s why Sir Walter enclosed the parish church given it was probably the only thing left of the parish.

Sir Thomas also became the first Speaker of the House of Commons. Or, rather, the first one mentioned in any written record. There had been ones before him but none worth mentioning it seems.

Anyway, before Sir Thomas, there were a few other Hungerfords. The first one noted on the family tree in the Priest’s House on the property, is Everard de Hungerford who was born around 1100. I traced a line from Everard, through various marriages and children until I came to QEII meaning that the current monarch is a direct descendent of the Hungerfords through the Queen Mum. Not really completely German then.

One of the amazing things about Farleigh Castle is the crypt. And, the reason it’s amazing is because it contains a set of lead coffins with death masks on them.

The coffins were damaged in the 18th and 19th centuries when visitors poked at them with sticks to get at the embalming fluid. Then, apparently, a few of them tasted what came out on the end of the sticks. Obviously they had no idea what embalming fluid was supposed to do otherwise they may not have drunk any. I can only assume they were well preserved afterwards.

I’m ignoring the cannibalism aspect.

Leaving aside the creepy crypt, the rest of the site was a delight. I particularly loved the little church with the memorials and wall paintings.

Farleigh Hungerford Castle is marvellous and highly recommended for a way to spend a few hours basking in history, ruins and some creepy lead coffins. I also suggest a bit of a lie down on the grass as it is very comfortable.

Retrieving Max from the car park – which you access via the main gate of the castle – we headed off for Sophie’s for lunch.

We enjoyed another three course meal before sitting down with coffee at the end of her garden, enjoying the sun and the occasional visit from Boris. Apparently he doesn’t really like the end of the garden and only comes down sometimes. Tom was revising.

But, like all good things, the weekend was rapidly coming to an end and we had to get home to relieve Sue of the girls. Emma had covered herself in cow poo but, otherwise, all was well.

While she no doubt enjoyed the poo, she wasn’t keen on the hosing down that Sue gave her when they got back home. Serves her right, I say.

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