Sounds like a BBC period costume drama. Well it could be and we've just visited the set. My wife and I (makes her sound like royalty - HA) with our youngest visited Scawby Hall in North Lincolnshire (click on the image above to enlarge it).
This is a little jewel in the crown of this part of the country and makes this great land what it is today - our history, our heritage, the measure of where we were to where we have arrived today - something to compare with.
The name Scawby which is awkward sounding (like a posh crow's call), is from the Old Scandinavian Skalli+by, or "Village of Skalli". In the 1086 Domesday book, the village is given as Scallebi, so it's been around for a bit. The Nelthorpes built it, owned it and it's still in the family.
Let me put this into context. My house, pleasant and utility as it is, comfortable and reasonable to run was built in 1971, just 38 years ago, indeed I was a teenager when it was built. The build began at Scawby Hall in 1605 - four hundred and five years ago, which on average equals 20 generations (roughly five per century). It's a Jacobean house which has been added to over the years by successive generations of the same family who own it to this very day, but all in keeping with the original design, and we owe them a lot of thanks because wandering round this great Hall and grounds is like taking a snapshot of a long forgotten time.
The Hall has only been open to the public since May this year (although the gardens have been open a lot longer), it cost us £6 to get in although family tickets are cheaper, and we had a volunteer tour guide called Dave. Sadly, whilst photography isn't allowed in the house, there is a great guide book which is very detailed. If ever you are about this part of the world (just off the M180) I thoroughly recommend it, but don't take small kids, they'll be bored.
Tea is also available from the church next door (oldest part, the tower dates to 1400) for a modest fee and my domestic manager says it was a damn good cuppa.
The history is fascinating and there are excellent paintings, drawings, furniture and architecture and plenty of atmosphere, but it is in need of having the decorating refreshed, there are places where it simply looks very tired. The gardens are also a little tired although lovingly tended, but interesting nevertheless and the highlight was a plot, probably about thirty feet by thirty feet planted with different varieties of lavender in full bloom and I've never seen so many bees, butterflies and other insects, there must have been thousands of them.
All in all, if you have an afternoon to kill, check out the website because opening days are limited, I thoroughly recommend it.
Thanks to Ian for today's story:
An Aussie trucker walks into an outback cafe with a full-grown emu behind him. The waitress asks them for their orders. The trucker says, "A hamburger, chips and a coke," and turns to the emu, "What's yours?" "I'll have the same," says the emu.
A short time later the waitress returns with the order "That will be $9.40 please," and he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the exact change for payment.
The next day, the man and the emu come again and he says, "A hamburger, chips and a coke." The emu says, "I'll have the same." Again the trucker reaches into his pocket and pays with exact change.
This becomes routine until the two enter again. "The usual?" asks the waitress. "No, it's Friday night, so I'll have a steak, baked potato and a salad," says the man. "Same for me," says the emu. Shortly the waitress brings the order and says, "That will be $32.62." Once again the man pulls the exact change out of his pocket and places it on the table. The waitress cannot hold back her curiosity any longer. "Excuse me, mate, how do you manage to always come up with the exact change in your pocket every time?"
"Well, love" says the trucker, "A few years ago, I was cleaning out the back shed, and found an old lamp. When I rubbed it, a Genie appeared and offered me two wishes. My first wish was that if I ever had to pay for anything, I would just put my hand in my pocket and the right amount of money would always be there."
"That's brilliant!" says the waitress. "Most people would ask for a million dollars or something, but you'll always be as rich as you want for as long as you live!"
"That's right. Whether it's a pint of milk or a Rolls Royce, the exact money is always there," says the man. The waitress asks, "What's with the bloody emu?"
The trucker sighs, pauses, and answers, "My second wish was for a tall bird with a big arse and long legs, who agrees with everything I say."