Today I spent a day out with my three elder children exploring the park and gardens of Attingham, a National Trust property near Atcham, Shropshire. Attingham is a Georgian mansion with 4,000 acres of land. It was a dreadful rainy day, but we had a great time.
We explored the wonderful stable block together with its mock horse displaying how the stable operated. We then went on a walk around the grounds, taking in the walled garden. Here there were three Tamworth pigs and a beehive with a beekeeper hard at work. There was also a hive that you could view, which was very popular indeed.
Then we went to the fabulous adventure play area, got sausage and chips from the ‘Greedy Pig’ eatery, then around the Mile Walk, walked around the house and found the ice-house down by the river. All told, a very pleasant day and some very friendly staff and volunteers, all in spite of the horrid weather. There were two particular features of archaeological/mortuary interest on the day of note. I will explain these in future posts dear reader. First, I must explain the curse of the red trousers.
The Curse of the Red Trousers
Yesterday, in a rare moment of fashion insight, I purchased for myself, for the first time in my life, some red trousers. Subsequently I learned via Facebook friends that red trousers were widely derided, as reflected in a recent news story on the BBC. I presumed that this wouldn’t affect me. After all, I have no fashion taste, so how can I have bad fashion taste? Furthermore, I am an academic, which requires me to cultivate interesting idiosyncracies and dubious clothes taste, and so it is actually hidden somewhere in the small print of my professorial job description. Little did I know, the trousers proved to be cursed. Not only did my wife detest them, but that evening, within 12 hours of purchase, I stubbed my toe, shedding blood – yes, red blood – on the kitchen floor. Coincidence? Well, I thought so at the time, but now I am not so sure. Attingham was to be more than a day out, it was to look the curse straight in the eye and see if I could take the red trousers safely into the British countryside.
Lifting the Curse
Attingham proved to do the trick. It lifted the curse and the red trousers proved to be largely benign. I wouldn’t say they were without effects. I found myself striding with extra pomposity. I found myself talking in a slightly posher southern accent. I also found that the trousers affected the weather, chasing away the clouds and producing mildly good breaks in the showers when required. Also, and most importantly, the trousers provided me with two remarkable insights into Attingham as a place of archaeological/mortuary interest that I will outline in future posts. Rest assured that I now consider the red trousers utterly benign, utterly friendly, utterly supportive of my pursuit of family days out and items of archaeological and historical interest. Nothing went wrong. The curse is lifted.
Or… is it?