...you can either stay home and curl up with a book in front of the fire place, or you can go shopping, visit a museum or a big house where you can spend hours indoors.
We did the latter, but still came home wet through and shivering with cold - after all, we still had to adjust to the change in climate from the heat wave in Germany to what passes for summer in Yorkshire.
Ripon has good bus services; they are not cheap, but take you places too far away to walk to. We do not have a car when we're in England, so we depend on public transport.
On Tuesday, August 18, we woke up to grey skies and rain that wouldn't stop all day except for a minute here and there. We decided to take the 36 bus to Harewood and visit Harewood House.
You can find a lot of information on the official website; here are just a few bits: Building began in 1759. The owner, Edwin Lascelles, had enough money to ensure the best people of that time would be working for him: Thomas Chippendale made the furniture, Capability Brown did the landscaping, and Robert Adams designed the interiors. The architect of the building itself was a man from York, John Carr.
I did not take many pictures from the outside, because I did not want my camera to get wet. Inside, I could not take many pictures in the state rooms because there were either too many people about or it was too dark. Still, here are a few.
Although the state rooms were very beautiful, we were most impressed with the world below stairs: The huge kitchen with its rows and rows of polished copper pots and pans, a (what was then) high tech kitchen range, the scullery, the larder, the dairy room and the still room; the (yet again high tech) system of bells for each room so that the small army of servants always knew where they were wanted, and the information given about what life was like back then when the house was still inhabited by a family. It was a largely self-contained world on its own, constantly busy with providing meals, fresh clothing and bedding as well as clean rooms not only for the family, but also for the numerous people employed here.
Garden, house and kitchen staff were housed in different parts of the building and grounds. They were not supposed to mix, something I found a bit strange; wouldn't it be productive to have all the employees feel like one team, working towards the same goal?
Two girls who came from the same nearby village and had been best friends already were, as an exception, allowed to share a room, in spite of one of them working in the kitchen and the other one in the house.
Gardeners pretty much did their own thing; they took turns in cooking for each other and were not under as close observation and strict rules as the staff living in the house.
Speaking of the garden - the grounds of Harewood House are very beautiful, and we would have loved to explore them more thoroughly. But because of the incessant rain and rather chilly wind, we limited ourselves to a short walk about half way around the lake.
The Himalayan garden was the most wonderful part: There was nobody about, and it was a place that felt like a secret garden you've stumbled upon quite by magic.
Waiting for the bus back to Ripon, I took this picture of the other side of the road. Not that many phone booths are left in England, are they. This one added some colour to a mostly grey day.
At the cottage, we felt so cold we huddled around our (electric) fire with mugs of steaming hot tea and blankets.
This was, however, the only day that was like this; the rest of our stay was much more like summer.