I haven’t posted for a while, I have been too busy on eBay. I am having most success acquiring path edging for the kitchen garden. When we first arrived (see ‘The Old Gate Pier’) we found two types of edging; classic Victorian clay rope twist and a black glazed type with crenellated top, tougher and slightly later in date, I think. Indulging in a bit of thematic decoration, the Castle required the latter and there was a fair amount of it available.
So Trevor, my old friend from Winchester, who is usually in his van in any part of the country you wish him to be, has been collecting this for me. Condition varies; some crenellations chipped, other batches are wider, thicker and cruder. He has been to the Stoke area quite a few times, leading me to believe they were made in the potteries there. I now have 120 linear meters, which the bricky concedes is about half what I need.
Stair rods have been more frustrating. The Castle main stairs are quite wide, as they rise up in the centre of the hall and sweep round to either side, trying to have the splendour of a Scottish baronial sweeping stair, but only managing sweet domesticity, thanks to their lack of scale. I think the Ridleys were aiming for Balmoral when they designed the house (Victoria and Albert pervading all Middle Class aspiration at that time) so I try to respect their vision and not to hum the ‘Fawlty Towers’ theme tune as I stroll around. I think it’s the 1970’s wallpaper.
Ebay yeilded some rods in nice dirty condition that had a fleur-de-lys finial at the end, a decorative feature that appears in the turret stairscase. I was thrilled with this nice bit of continuity (worryingly I have noticed I use this word a lot in relation to the house and must remember to relax and be more bohemian in my approach…) and paid quite a bit for 24 rods with clips. But this and subsequent lots have proved too short or too lightweight and bendy, so I have now resolved to bring the stair rods from Winchester. They aren’t castellated, in theme or with a fleur-de-lys, but it took time and money to source them and no new owner will love them as I do.