As my first week came to an end; I moved most of my stuff out of the English Countryside and into London. I received a Hot Desk at the National Trusts Grosvenor Gardens location for Monday and Tuesday to work from 9 to 5. While I did necessary paperwork and research sitting at a desk is not the most interesting part of the week.
On Wednesday, June 11, I met up with Catherine at the London office and went over my desk work from Monday and Tuesday. From there we went to an event called Fit for the Future, which was about making heritage buildings sustainable. The overall program was very technical and science based, but it was all based around how to make old buildings energy efficient because as some people say the most sustainable building is one that is already built. The National Trust from Wales gave a great presentation on their goal decrease energy use in their country houses by 2017. As it was a great networking event, I met some amazing people who work in the heritage field throughout Britain, and could see how while each organizations has its differences they all work together towards the same goal of protecting cultural heritage. Also the reception was great fun and I had my first scotch egg ever, which was amazing!
After Fit for The Future, Catherine and I hopped on the train back to the country because on Thursday we were going to Mottisfont, a National Trust country house. Mottisfont was incredibly beautiful and the weather was just perfect. They have a walled garden that is breathtaking; it was colorful and the aroma was lovely. At the walled garden we had the chance to talk with one of the gardeners who work there, and he said that it is possible to build your own garden in about six months. It basically inspired me to try and create a garden at home, but then I realized I have grey thumb so it would just lead to disappointment. Mottisfont is a little different from a classical country house because the house also functions as an art gallery.
The main parlor is painted in a trompe-l’oeil fashion that is absolutely mesmerizing to look at. Not only do they have 20th century turn of the art they also incorporate modern art into the property. One is a fairy circle (which I always thought was a nature circle, but really it is just something that can be fully explained) of trees that have been planted right side up then in the middle upside down. So afterwards, I was determined to find more “fairy circles”. This is the largest National Trust property I have been to and it was a blast. Everything was very beautiful. After the visit, Catherine and I continued our very English Countryside day with a trip to the Grange to see the opera.
The Grange is an English Heritage site that used to be a country house. Part of the house has been converted into a theatre that hosts the Grange Park Opera. So we packed our picnic and set off to see their production of Don Quichotte. While I was confused by the interpretation the music was very moving and beautiful. The overall day was perfect!
Back in London for next week and the PAI conference, but I did get a chance to stop by Platform 9 3/4, unfortunately it didn’t let me pass through to the Hogwarts Express.