Working off line again. Eileen and I had a nice restful morning in our rooms this morning. Yesterday was a long day of traveling and sight seeing. Sarah drove us first to a Weaving site where she sat in the car and breast fed Lucy while Eileen and I looked around.
Although there was some interesting stuff, Eileen was largely unimpressed with this place. The looms were not working. They had stopped making fabric several years ago due to safety considerations. Despite the fact that they were machine looms (operated entirely without people as far as I could see), Eileen would have liked to have seen them in operation.
Most of the rest of the place was predictably a shop. You could buy everything from retro toys to woolen suits. There was a small museum area. But there were few labels and lots of stuff. There was a sign purporting that they had opted for a “gentleman’s curio” type display where the viewers could use their own powers of imagination and observation to figure stuff out.
The William Morris house and village was much better. We took back roads via Sarah’s GPS. Sarah has long been fond of driving through out of the way routes, so this was no surprise. But at one point, an unanticipated toll of 5 pence took her and us by surprise. We had no British coins with us. Sarah explained to the toll person. He allowed us through. But addressing her comment that she had not expected a toll at this point, he said, “Now you know.”
We parked and walked about ten minutes to the Kelmscott Manor complex. When we purchased our tickets we had to specify what block of time during the day we planned to enter the house itself. We gave ourselves enough time to grab some lunch at the tea room there.
This was pleasant enough. Sarah was using the entire trip as a trial run on what it would be like to travel with Lucy. Eileen seemed to be helpful for her in this way. Lucy was very well behaved. At
just over four months weeks, she is a happy baby and seems to relish (in a baby way) her Mom and Dad’s attention.
We hit the inevitable tourist shop before it was our time to go into the main building. There were some books on William Morris. I was disappointed that there was nothing about his font designs. Nor was there a copy of A.S. Byatt’s Peacock and Vine the inspiration, really, for me to check to see how far away Sarah is living from Kelmscott Manor.
Morris was intent on simplicity and integrity in all that he did in his life. This includes the buildings he lived and worked in. The Kelmscott Manor was begun by the original family of Turners around 1600. Through several generations of Turners, the original U shape of the house was added onto and lived in. It was not called a Manor until 1854 when James Turner purchased the lordship. Morris loved the house so much that he kept much of it as he found it when he began living there in the late 19th century.
There were many artifacts and pieces of art that were satisfying to see. I was especially taken with several variations inspired by Chaucer’s The Legend of Good Wimmen. I did not know this work previously, but found it in my ebook copy of his works. It inspired some of Morris’s colleagues to make portraits of the women described in the book. Copies of their works hung on the walls. I found them intriguing along with everything else.
Happy coincidence of having just read it before coming to England. Eileen and Sarah seemed as taken with the place as I was.
Recent pic of me singing. Note sleeping Lucy.