My favourite tourist attraction – I love Hampton Court and feel such an affinity with the place that I’m convinced that, if I undergo past life regression therapy, it will in fact be confirmed that I was this good lady in a previous life. David had let me borrow Marisa for the journey and spent time before he left for work instructing me how to drive his beloved car. I pointed out that I had in fact been driving since 1991 but he merely shot me a look and muttered darkly “Not my car you haven’t.” To show Marisa who was in charge I sped Mac to nursery and then round to Dad’s, not quite executing handbrake turns but near enough. Don and Lorna were standing outside the front gate – he wearing chinos and a deep purple checked shirt and she wearing lots of jewellery.
My sat nav system got us there with little or no problem – there was almost a blip when I started to put unleaded petrol in David’s diesel car but I don’t think anyone noticed. Marisa, however, bunnyhopped out of the garage as if she somehow knew she’d had a narrow escape.
We started off with a visit to the Tiltyard Café – Lorna has become addicted to what she calls “English tea” – and then went for a wander in the Privy Garden, up to the Great Hall, Anne Boleyn’s Courtyard and the chapel which is still used for services today. There is a “prayer box” there – you can fill out a form with your prayer and have it read at a forthcoming service. You could almost imagine Henry VIII sitting in the Royal Pew, or the very religious Katherine of Aragon kneeling on the parquet at the altar for hours on end. I certainly felt very content in there!
Lorna went off into raptures at the ornate wood carvings created by Grinling Gibbons and fell in love with the huge copper cooking pots in the kitchens “Gee honey, imagine how great the bouillabaisse would taste cooked in that!”. We spent time in the Haunted Gallery where Catherine Howard had run to the king to protest her innocence after being accused of adultery – she was dragged back, kicking and screaming by the guards and she is reputed to haunt the Gallery now. I must admit I didn’t feel anything untoward on the tingle front but Lorna went a bit pale and asked if we could move on. We stood outside in Clock Court for some fresh air and the chance to see some people dressed in Tudor costumes. “Please tell me that there’s a lady standing over there under the arch” Lorna hissed as she clutched my arm. I assured her there was but had to have another look – just to make sure.
My tingles did put in an appearance on the stairway back up to the Great Hall while we waited for Don to get the right camera angle to take a picture of the Courtyard. I was perched on the edge of one of the steps and felt the distinct impression that that was frowned upon. I wonder by whom?
We laid siege to the shops – Barrack Block for books and a present for Mac, the Base Court where Lorna bought enough a beautiful china cup and saucer and then onto the Tudor Kitchens shop where she bought a replica copper cooking pot which caused Don to worry about how “the hell we’re going to transport all this home honey”. As it’s not my worry, I encouraged her to buy some tea towels.
Guilt presents: a multitude of pens for David, a book and crown for Mac, Mead for Charlie and nothing for the dogs.