I like to think I would have enjoyed being an Edwardian lady of the landed classes. I love elegant clothes, sewing, reading, writing letters, the countryside and horse-riding. Knowing my luck though, and given that I come from a farming background I probably would have ended up working below stairs, having to get up early to fire up the house and scrub and darn till my fingers bled or something equally gruesome. Both my granny and great-granny were in domestic service and without disclosing too much of their personal details, they had a rough old time of it.
But nowadays a girl can dream and have ideas above her station! Last week I visited a former colleague who lives in the picturesque village, de Steeg in the province of Gelderland. I Googled B&Bs and found a link to Kasteel Middachten. Always having wanted to stay in a castle, I booked two nights in the newly renovated, former stables.
Before arriving we went for a walk in the Posbank, a wooded, hilly area in de Veluwe, a national park which I blogged about here. The autumn colours were truly stunning and we were fortunate enough to have dry and sunny weather. After a heidelunch in Paviljoen De Posbank, we set off for a walk stopping on the way to collect chestnuts and photograph mushrooms. It felt like we had entered a magical world, the golden sun filtering through the trees and the whispering sound as the leaves fell.
After arriving at the Castle, we were given a very hearty welcome and our friendly guide, Ria gave us a brief history of the building. It was built in the 12th Century and is still in private ownership, having passed down the male and female lines of just a few families right up to the present day! The Castle isn’t officially open to the public, only on special occasions, but as we were staying two nights we were given a guided tour on the morning of our departure. More details about the history of the Castle and estate can be found on this site, www.erfgoedlogies.nl
On the way to our room above the stables, we walked through the tack room where the leather collars and harnesses for the carriage horses are still kept. The smell of leather took me right back to my childhood and I felt instantly at home! You can take the girl out of the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the girl; Lady Mary Crawley, I ain’t!