my second or third castle

May 13, 2017

 

Thursday was a day for adventure with my gorgeous babies. One of my twins needed to find a toilet quickly, and when you are a new four year old, this is a situation to be taken seriously. We were in the café and gift shop at Sudeley Castle. The women's toilet was occupied, I spotted the disabled toilet and we dashed in there. Everyone relieved themselves, we were washing our hands, when I heard an alarm. I turned around to find Mr. L's eyes were big and afraid, his hand on the red emergency cord. We rushed out to find all three employees working in the shop standing outside the door. We apologized profusely (they were all SO NICE and understanding), I forced Mr. L to apologize, because this is the kind of mother that I am (bossy), and we walked swiftly to our car whilst having a conversation about how we don't pull that cord as it is for emergencies only. As we were leaving the carpark, an emergency vehicle zoomed past. We might not be able to go back to Sudeley Castle.

 

Sudeley Castle is my second castle and Mr. G and Mr. L's first castle. Unless you count Casa Loma in Ontario, Canada. Then this would be my third castle. Does Casa Loma count? It is a house built in the gothic revival style. It was not built until 1911. It probably doesn't count... but it is still cool. Sudeley was first built in the 12th century, but has obviously changed over time. It has been home to Kings and Queens, most notably, Henry VIII, who vacationed at Sudeley with Anne Boleyn before the head chopping incident. Dowager Queen Catharine Parr spent her pregnancy at Sudeley, accompanied by Lady Jane Grey (so many beheaded ladies). Unfortunately, Queen Catharine didn't survive long past the birth of Lady Mary Seymor. Her tomb can be found in the chapel on the grounds. While exploring the chapel, Mr. L asked, in his loudest voice (because this is the voice he uses when I ask him to whisper), "Mom, are her bones in there?" Yes, yes they are. 

 

The views and gardens surrounding this castle are phenomenal. Sigh, the Cotswolds make my eyes happy. There are nine individual gardens. The Queen's Garden, admired by Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey and Elizabeth I. There is also the White Garden, the Ruins Garden, the Secret Garden, the Mulberry Garden, the Herb Garden Walk. One of my favourites was the Knot Garden, which is based on the motif from one of Elisabeth I's dresses. The Knot Garden is comprised of more than 1200 box hedges in an intricate design. 

Inside the castle there are beautiful recreated rooms. In the children's area, Mr. G enjoyed dressing as a King and orating to himself in the mirror. Mr. L was helpful in holding the map, which we would check every so often to see if we were on the correct path. Mr. L was also quite enjoyable in his comments as we toured the rooms. In the Queen's quarters, there is a replica of the commode that she would have used. It is velvet. A VELVET CUSHIONED TOILET. Perhaps the most disgusting thing I have ever seen. Mr. L asked if he could use it. It was also Mr. L's first time seeing a clawfoot tub, "Mom, does that bathtub like to dance?" Then, while descending "the haunted staircase,"- "Mom, by bum wants to go on these stairs." He then bumped down them on his behind. 

 

As always, our accents attract attention. It's so strange to be the people with the different accents. Husband and I are always astounded when making phone calls, an unfortunate part of adult life, everyone instantly recognizes us. Once, Husband commented on the excellent service, "I know who you are because of your thick Canadian accent." Right. Of course they remember who we are! Ha ha! One of the room guides asked me where I was from, I said Canada. He told me that he loved Canada (most common response). He had been to Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Brampton. Brampton? Really? Although I have never been to Brampton. It might be the most amazing place. Adding it to my list. He said that he visited in the summer and could not believe how hot it was. YES. Ontario is the hottest place I have lived by far. In Ottawa the temperature would dip as low as -40 Celsius in the winter and as high as +40 Celsius in the summer. It's insane. I told the guide that I enjoy it here as I can basically wear the same wardrobe year round. It's all about light layers, although I am more used to extremes in temperature and often get it wrong. In the castle café, where we ordered a scone to share with coffee for me and strawberry milk for the kiddos, the woman working there was really friendly. She has 12 year old twin boys, so that gave us an understanding of each other- twin club. She said, "You sound American," second most common response to my accent. It's usually assumed that I am American. We basically all sound the same so it can't be helped. She had lived in California for quite a few years and recently moved back to the Cotswolds. She complimented Mr. G and Mr. L on how well behaved they were. Hurrah! Mom victory! Almost makes up for the disabled toilet debacle. Once again, scones with clotted cream and jam are the best thing of life. I did jam first and cream first to try to appease both sides of the scone debate. Just to be controversial, I prefer cream first. Although I DEFINITELY enjoy both.

A few weeks ago we visited the Cotswold Wildlife Park, it was impressive. It was there that Mr. L learned a lesson about not poking your fingers too close to wild birds. A turkey took a little nip at his finger that day, and although it didn't really hurt him, it did really scare him. I had forgotten all about the incident, but was reminded as we explored the Rare Birds Pheasantry at Sudeley. As always, turkeys and peacocks get to do whatever they like and wander about, cageless. I pointed out the turkeys, as a turkey was walking near to Mr. G. Mr. L came running from the side and shoved Mr. G (hard shove) out of the path of the turkey. The force knocked them both to the ground, Mr. G was crying. After comforting and sorting out the children, it became clear that Mr. L was trying to protect his brother from the terrifying turkey. Scared of turkeys for life. 

We ended the outing with a lovely lunch at the café, followed by wild playing at the park, followed by our elegant exit. Pom-Bears and Hula Hoops were had. As we were discussing our outing, I asked the boys what their favourite thing in the castle was. Mr. L said, "My favourite thing was you, Mom, because I love you." Well, my mommy heart just about exploded. What a fantastic reminder that our children don't really care where we go, they just want to have fun with their parents. 

 Adventure Playground!

Isn't this the most British sign ever? I love it. It's always important to be polite and then to tell everyone that you are being polite. 

A sheep Mama and her two beautiful babies. I couldn't help but feel that this was an appropriate sight as I was out with my two babies, on the eve's eve's eve of Mother's Day in Canada. Happy Mother's Day to all my North American friends and my actual North American Mother. I am so grateful for the strong females in my life, both those with and without babies. Thank you also to the powerful intelligent women of the past, whom I am learning more about, and all that they overcame, sacrificed, and lost (their heads specifically). 

 

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