Tag Archives: inspiring places

Of Hargate Hall

-Rather than of the wedding D and I attended, which was full of light and bustle and food and good cheer, this post is about the venue itself. About the feeling it carried, subtle, overwhelmed by the good mood of our party (70 odd souls and three dogs).

 

Hargate Hall, Friday, early evening. That white tent is a marquee.

Hargate Hall, Friday, early evening. That white tent is a marquee.

 

You could say it was the perfect setting for hush, for suspense. For reading at the windows, looking out across the stumbling, black-tree garden. Hargate Hall was built (so a photograph in the entrance-way told us) in 1899, so not very old by the standards of English Country Houses. In little over 15 years after its construction, the facade of the aristocracy would begin to crack with the onset of World War One.

 

Nowadays it’s a collection of self-catering apartments adjoining a fantastic central hall replete with stained glass windows with pseudo-heraldry, and a spiked candelabra hanging from the ceiling. We stayed in a low mezzanine, located up a steep wooden ladder and overhanging a small central room. It was like staying in a cosier treehouse.

 

On that first evening, D and I walked the grounds through the soft wet mist as it grew darker.

 

the flash reflecting off the white mist, just outside our kitchen.

the flash reflecting off the white mist, just outside our kitchen.

 

The garden path curves both up and down. We followed the downward path first, by the marquee and into the thin woodland.

 

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we found this little...house? It is used for wedding ceremonies in warmer weather. Here it stared at us mournful, open mouthed

we found this little…house? It is used for wedding ceremonies in warmer weather. Here it stared at us mournful, open mouthed

 

 

This ghostly gate marked the edge of Hargate Hall's lands. Beyond was a farm reeking of the cows.

This ghostly gate marked the edge of Hargate Hall’s lands. Beyond was a farm reeking of the cows.

 

The light was beginning to go, and my poor wee camera struggled to keep up. It’s hard to capture the atmosphere under such conditions. It wasn’t eerie – I have been in eerie places – but was instead still. Stoic.

 

The farm, the drystane walls shelving the fields off into the close horizon

The farm, the drystane walls shelving the fields off into the close horizon

 

hargate hall 4

 

We wandered round along the main road and towards the gates of the hall. I’d like to say I had time then to read The Secret History (it would I think have been a perfect choice – second only to The Little Stranger) but there was far too much to do and far too many people to meet. The same of course was true of Saturday, the day of the wedding itself. But the evening of the second day brought snow, and our last morning saw Hargate Hall and the farmlands covered white.

 

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One last shot of the hall itself. We had to take a taxi and then a five hour train ride back north. It’s funny though, on the ride to Buxton train station, the driver referred to us coming ‘up’ to the Peak District, though he had already asked where we were from. Perhaps he misspoke, or perhaps it was something to do with where he felt situated – Northern, already. It always strikes me strangely, to hear of ‘the North’ on the BBC weather forecasts, when there’s so much more north. It reinforces the idea that Scotland is, to those who live below it, a different country, though they might in other respects (and irksomely to those who believe otherwise) refer to Scotland as a region. A region North of Thule, I suppose.

 

From the train we watched the snow storm follow us into the North, skittering the higher lands and leaving the valleys green and then, further, the tufty brown of semi-moorland, then green once again. I began The Secret History, but still have much to go. It seems so far like a slip of caramel over a big white plate – flavourful, but. More coherence (possibly) later. Thanks to all who wished us a good trip. It was.

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Share Your Spaces 4

More generously-shared snapshots into the lives of creative people! Be sure to click the links here as in the other share your spaces posts – you will be rewarded with fine words, insights, images. Sharing their spaces with us now, a blogger/writer and a (formerly anonymous) internet-lit-world bright light/author:

This space belongs to: Macdougalstreetbaby -

I sit at the dining room table, with 180 degrees of light pouring in. The only direction I don’t face is south, probably because there are no windows there. I like windows. They help me breathe.

This space belongs to: INTERN -

Here’s a photo of INTERN’s writing space.
 
Techie Boyfriend built this desk for INTERN out of a pile of bricks and a piece of wood we found in the back yard. The wood was frozen when we dragged it inside, and for the first few days it radiated cool air as it thawed. Then bugs started crawling out of it! But now it’s a pretty good desk. The Norfolk Pine makes things a little crowded, but it was the only place in our otherwise dark and chilly rooms that got enough sun. The stack of paper is a print-out of MIDNIGHT AT THE RADIO TEMPLE, which INTERN is in the final stages of revising. 

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