My New Year was spent with friends in the servant's quarters of Hazell's Hall in Sandy, Bedfordshire. What were
the servants quarters of Hazells Hall, have now been converted into rather magnificent apartments, and it's definitely more upstairs than downstairs these days.
My good friend Jan lives there with her family, including adorable Max the white Alsatian, and Loki the Norwegian Forest cat - the largest cat incidentally, I have ever met.
|Lovely Loki |
The Norwegian Forest cat is known as the Skogkatt in its native Norway. Despite the hardy facade, this breed is very much a homebody that enjoys the company of other pets and particularly their human companions. This was the cat the Viking explorers took with them to keep their ships clear of rodents, the same job they had in the barns in the Norwegian countryside.
Loki is coal black, extraordinarily fluffy and substantial, and about four times the size of my little white cat, Sherbet Wilson. Forest cats are apparently also very intelligent and enjoy reading the Financial Times at weekends.
Back to New Year.
Shunning the bustle of even the country pub, we decided to spend the evening just chilling out, drinking bucks fizz and champagne. We played board games like Logo - where it's all questions about brands and Logos, as you might imagine, and Rapid Dough where you have to model a word in Play dough for your team mate to guess what it is. It is a long time since I have played games such as this and I greatly enjoyed it! If you've ever tried to model a shopping trolley out of Play dough you'll know exactly what I mean.
|Are we winning?|
Hazells Hall has a rather interesting history. A Grade II Listed Georgian property situated on the top of a hill above the Bedfordshire town of Sandy, it is a fine example of both the architecture of the period and the landscaped gardens which were so highly regarded in the late 18th Century.
Set in approximately 14 acres, the grounds were designed and landscaped in 1790 by Humphrey Repton, an eminent landscape gardener who followed in the footsteps of Capability Brown. As a result, they have been designated as an English Heritage Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
|Which way now?|
Hazells Hall was the seat of the Pym family from 1761 until 1940 when it was requisitioned by the army. The Hall became the base for the two 'special duties' squadrons of the RAF, whose work involved clandestine undercover operations flying from nearby Tempsford Airfield over enemy occupied territory; the role that these men and woman played during the war has been immortalised in a book and a feature film of the same name, 'We Landed by Moonlight'.
|The servants' quarters|
In December 1981 well known architect Kit Martin, bought Hazells Hall with the 14 acres of land and converted the main house and its outbuildings into twelve separate residences, ranging from two bedroom flats to five bedroom houses.
All of the Hazells Hall residents enjoy a share of the landscaped park land which extends to approximately 14 acres and includes a private tennis court, eccentric follies and a game larder. It's always good to have access to your own game larder, is it not?
The property is approached along a winding private driveway with parkland on either side with views over the Bedfordshire countryside.
Back in the servants quarters we enjoyed a New Year's day walk in the walled garden with Max the Alsatian, and I seriously over indulged in cheese straws. I read a number of self help books including 'Why men Love Bitches,' which is an eye opener I can tell you.
|Required reading for dogs and people|
It was a peaceful and happy transition into 2018, and with all the usual hopes for better things for ourselves, our loved ones and our world. Happy New Year to all my Eccentric England readers and I hope that you will stay with me and some new developments happening with my adventures and my writing in this next twelve months.😘
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Elaine Wilson has been writing blogs on travel, events and accommodation for over six years and is a digital content expert.