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Archive for December, 2012|Monthly archive page

And the bells are ringing out for Christmas day

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2012 at 7:34 pm
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Bole the Butler in front of the tree

(All the photographs in this post are my own. Check out http://eddiehydephotography.zenfolio.com/p337055011 for some of the NT’s photographer’s pics.)

So it’s finally Christmas here at Polesden and the festive spirit is high throughout the house and estate. Every weekend up until the 25th we hold Polesden’s Christmas event, which includes fully costumed staff and room guides, authentically decorated interiors, a special quiz and letters to Father Christmas for children, choirs in the restaurant, a horse and carriage at the front of the house….the list goes on and on! Despite cringing at myself for writing this, it really is magical in the house. The atmosphere is buzzing with excited children (and adults!), festive cheer and an authentic spirit. 

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Rebecca and I in our costumes 

Each room in the house has been set up to reflect a scene from the past; for example, the hall is set as it would have been for the servants ball in 1912, with a 10ft tree surrounded by presents wrapped in brown paper and string, fiddle music playing (bane of my life…), and dance cards (which contain the children’s quiz and other activities). The gold room has been set for after dinner drinks, with festive tunes played on the piano, authentic cocktail recipes to take away laid out on a desk,  crackers and nibbles on surrounding tables, and more Christmas trees in the corners. The dining room is set for a Christmas feast for 10, with presents at alternating place settings for the female dinner guests (Mrs Kepple was said to have indicated that everybody gave Faberge to their dinner guests), a hogs head – it’s real! – on a platter and the jibb door open to the servery for the public to come in and try Mrs Greville’s favourite plum pudding and mulled wine.
 
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Behind he scenes, everything is a little less magical and a lot more manic getting everything prepped for each opening. From organising dressers to help us and our volunteers get in and out of costume (many, many buttons…), to spooning out portions of plum pudding ( i actually have a blister from doing this all weekend!!!) and pouring mulled wine for the visitors to taste in the servery: there is always a job to be done. The running of the house has reverted similarly to how we work during open season, with session leaders taking charge of the room guides, cleaning in the mornings, and light level checks throughout the day. At the moment i simply haven’t had the time to get on with my stores project, so that’s been put on the back burner until Christmas is out the way.
 
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One of the trees in the library

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The ‘sleigh’

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Rebecca and Hugh (volunteer)

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Father Christmas outside Polesden

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Instead of a star, the top of the tree in the hall is ringed with Union Jacks to represent the Empire

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