Sunday, 8 April 2012

Mad as Hatters

Normanby Hall
Good morning blogging friends one and all to this Easter Sunday. In 725, the Venerable Bede (a famous English monk) apparently wrote, "The Sunday following the full Moon which falls on or after the equinox will give the lawful Easter." Also known as Resurrection Day, this day celebrates the rising of Christ after the third day following his execution. This should be a joyous day for without the resurrection, there is no Christianity as we know it today. There are Christian religions and cults that treat this as a solemn memorial day without celebration. This is a real shame, for not to celebrate it if you are a Christian seems to ignore what sacrifice was done for us.

Anyway, moving away from this religious theme, I am a prisoner in my own home today. That's not as dramatic as it sounds, I simply can't get my car out because the local roads are closed for the Hull Marathon. 'Good on them' I say, mad as hatters*, but I secretly admire them for their fitness and courage to run the length of a Marathon. I've sponsored a couple of people at work who are running it so I am delighted that charities benefit from their perspiration and efforts (or in the ladies case - glow and effort.)

Yesterday I went to Normanby Hall which is a few miles north of Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, a short journey across the Humber Bridge and along pleasant meandering roads through the pretty countryside, occasionally with magnificent views along the Humber basin. Normanby Hall was once the home of the Sheffield family, Dukes of Buckingham. The hall is a square Regency style building surrounded by lovely grounds, a deer park, a Victorian walled garden (with hot houses), small museums of life in the hall at various times, camping grounds and good facilities with good toilets and a nice cafe.

The hall and grounds are now in the hands of the local authority since the family moved out in 1963. Briefly, there has been some sort of family home there since 1530s and the current hall, built in the 1820s replaced a 17th century building. Now here's something I didn't know until yesterday, Samantha Cameron (wife of the current Prime Minister) grew up in the grounds of the Normanby Hall Estate.   

Just a fraction of the extensive park surrounding the hall
The grounds are beautifully kept and cost £5.50 to go in with which includes parking and access to everything including the hall. The hall itself is warm and homely (you may remember this is one of my tests - does it feel like a home.) There are many rooms on two floors which we roamed around although there was a wedding there so one wing was cut off from us. The rooms are roped off but contain wonderful furniture, musical instruments, paintings and there are silk wall hangings in the music room. The bathroom was opulent to say the least and there was a nursery and a four poster bed in one of the many bedrooms remain in situ. 

One of two male peacocks I saw, this one meandering in the walled garden
This isn't necessarily a full days visit, unless you have children and you could picnic and play (as many do) in the extensive grounds, but I was there for four and a half hours and it was just about right. There is easy access to motorways and there are some disabled facilities although you should check with the local authority' website, for more details.   

Normanby Hall Country Park is a pleasant distraction on a nice day and worth while visiting.

Finally, apparently someone attempted to use my debit card to spend 19,000 rupees in India yesterday (worth around £235). Needless to say I now have a cancelled bank card which won't be replaced for seven days but at least there are two silver linings to this cloud, a) I can't spend anything for the time being and b) the bank's anti-fraud processes actually work.

I hope you are enjoying your Easter break and if you don't celebrate it, enjoy the time off courtesy of Christianity!

Chat soon
*"Mad as a hatter" is a colloquial phrase used in conversation to refer to a crazy person. In 18th and 19th century England mercury was used in the production of felt, which was used in the manufacturing of hats common of the time. People who worked in these hat factories were exposed daily to trace amounts of the metal, which accumulated within their bodies over time, causing some workers to develop dementia caused by mercury poisoning. Thus the phrase "Mad as a Hatter" became popular as a way to refer to someone who was perceived as insane. Courtesy Wikipedia


  1. First, thanks again for the tour. Second, shame on those folks using your debit card. Caught and punished I hope soon. Third, never knew the story behind the mad hatter,now I can show off my new knowledge the next time my kids call me such

  2. Hello Donna
    I don't think there is a chance of catching them - just anonymous cowards who steal the money of hard working folk like us because they are too lazy to work.

  3. Years since I went to Normanby Hall, nice to be reminded of it.

  4. Hi Weaver - a very pleasant place