Or, I Went to England and All I Got Was 500 Photos (ok, and a spoon and some books)
Home from the trip of a lifetime! The plan: rent a fabulous period house in England, get a bunch of friends together so as make an instant party and cut down the cost, and have as many costume events as we could pack in. After a ton of work, we found a 16th c. manor in Suffolk with tons of period details and gardens waaaay out in the country. Sadly, there was only room for a limited number, plus we wanted to make sure everyone would get along, so we had to keep the invite list short. But what a fabulous trip we had, and maybe it will inspire other groups to do the same!
We rented the house for 4 nights/3 days and packed in a ton of costumed events (altho if we did it again, I’d rent a place for a longer period and space out the costume-y-ness — it’s hard to have the energy for multiple events in one day, what with all the food prep and cleanup!).
The first day, we had a 16th c. lunch followed by some period music and then a walk to the local church. The countryside was gorgeous, and the church was really quite close by, which was good because it was WAY colder than I’d pictured. I thought we’d be eating out on the lawn everyday, but it was only day #2 that was warm enough to spend any decent amount of time outside! The area around the manor was gorgeous — we’d just missed the daffodils, but there was a lime avenue (any fan of Marie Antoinette knows how exciting that is!), lush green fields and trees, bluebells and other tiny flowers, and fields of yellow rapeseed flowers that just glowed.
That evening, we had our big event: a 16th c. dinner in a 16th c. house! In a period room! With paneling and a huge fireplace and portraits of the house’s various owners! We had tons and tons of delicious food made from period recipes.
Day #2, I went for a long walk in country lanes (and kept thinking of Persuasion: “Why does everyone assume I am not a good walker?”), then we had our 18th c. lunch (macaroons! tea sandwiches! yummy desserts!) followed by lots of wandering in the gardens and some lawn bowling. Luckily, this day it was warm enough to be outside!
That evening, we’d planned an informal dinner followed by a Pre-Raphaelite Cocktail Party. Fortunately and unfortunately, the dinner turned out to be a 7 course French meal (which was amazing), which ran late and left me and some others feeling not up to putting on yet another costume! Braver ones than I still got dressed up, and we lounged in the (supposedly haunted) attic sitting room.
Day 3 was the Victorian or wear-any-era tea. Since I hadn’t worn my medieval/Pre-Raphaelite dress the night before, and had been planning to re-wear 18th c., I went medieval. We had yet more yummy tea sandwiches and desserts, then more garden strolling and general silliness.
That evening, we adapted the Lumieres Salacious Salon to be the Salacious/Spooky/Seditious Salon. Everyone dressed down, Edmund performed a magic show, and we had silly and spooky readings.
And then, sadly, it was time to go! It was all too short and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Wearing historical costumes in what is, to me, the motherland (okay, France is the other motherland, with Italy running a close second… but still!) was really pretty amazing. It was fun that my husband came along too and bravely wore his hampants (and took some great photos!). It was great spending time with friends and eating great food and indulging in this crazy hobby we all share!
I took waaaaaaaay too many photos, which if you’d like see, are all on Flickr.
Coming soon – posts on the costumes I made, plus the various costume museums I went to.