Monday, October 16, 2006

At The Grange

Picture, if you would, the scene at The Grange; a fire is crackling in the grate of the Drawing Room, the walls are hung with sombre, ornately framed oil portraits of the ancestors. Heavy green drapes cover the windows, shutting out the cold sea air. From one corner comes a Beethoven piano sonata. Our protagonists relax in large, well-stuffed arm chairs in front of the fire.

The American is leafing through a book of anatomy by the respected Professor Thomas of Finland. Across from him sits the Frenchman, likewise examining a series of large colour prints of the wonders of the natural world. To one side the diminutive Chinaman is at a small desk conducting his inscrutable, yet certainly nefarious, business. In the corner sits the Englishman quietly observing the scene, making occasional notes in his journal.

There is a loud crack! Perhaps a gunshot? No, just the fire.

Then cut to the dining room; four places are set at the long polished table. Candles flicker in the candelabra, casting shadows over the heavily patterned heraldic wallpaper. A minuet by Boccherini plays in the background as our protagonists enter. The Englishman directs them to their proper seats and the meal begins. At the head of the table, the Chinaman receives sidelong glances from his dining companions as he noisily consumes his spaghetti and mops his plate with a swab of his bread roll. Not even the American has such poor manners; clearly those of an animal! The Frenchman playfully explains the faux-pas to his host.

And now we return to the Drawing Room. The staff have cleared dinner and our protagonists are seated around the fire once again, sipping on the last of the wine (and the Guinness). Although there are board games and other diversions to distract them, they sit snuggled close on their parallel sofas reading and enjoying the sound of the fire.

Seriously though, this is a lovely place. It just smells old. The whole place is gloriously atmospheric and I am loving it like you wouldn’t believe! It is a Victorian gentleman’s home; all oak, brass and velvet, decorated in deep reds, greens and golds. Yet a lot of it is new; the carpets certainly are and I am almost certain about the woodblock wallpaper – only two patterns repeated in different colour schemes throughout the house. Yet a lot of the fabric of the building is old – even a lot of the furniture. I am in heaven.

Actually that’s a rather ironic statement given my reading material at the moment. On top of that, our bedroom has a large crucifix over the bed and a statue of the Virgin Mary on another wall. We took that room because David (Ping’s boyfriend) refused it. (He is catholic and presumably couldn’t face making love to another man under the watchful gaze of an image of an (allegedly) omniscient god… Go figure!)

Still, I like the room. And I love the house!

(EDIT: Check out some of the photos here!)

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