Friday, July 14, 2017

Barnard Castle, the Bowes Museum, and a justification for shopping

On the train again! En route from Darlington to Kings Cross, and from there back home, where yet more laundry awaits, along with cleaning and prepping the house for a visitor, running errands across town (key cutting, photo-taking, samples-leaving), and ending the night packing the car for our road trip to France tomorrow. 

But first things first: French-inspired architecture in the heart of Barnard Castle, at the Bowes Museum. 
Can you believe this place? It's like Chatsworth's flashy little cousin. 

The Bowes Museum was the creation of Josephine Bowes, a real sass-pot, who did many exciting things in her short life, up to and including having a rich boyfriend (*scandalous gasp*), actressing, obsessing over fashion (we saw clothes!), painting, and supporting the arts. She worked* hard to build the collection for this museum.

My favourite part was the love story with her patron (for lack of a better word), who eventually became her husband. Here is an excerpt from one of her letters to him:

Moving, isn't it? Turns the stomach right over. I'm going to use ALL this in my next card to Alan. 

Barnard Castle itself was as precious a town as expected:

We don't know what this is, but it was in the middle of the only intersection so it must be important.

Ye olde towney town

Castle by morning

Castle by afternoon. We had a lot to do, obviously.

Other than the Bowes Museum, and looking at the old rock wall labelled Castle, it's a pretty quiet town, just made for relaxation.

As modelled by Katie, ruler of all she surveys

We also went antiquing, living our best old lady lives. We got lost in so many antique emporiums (theme of the holiday: EVERYTHING IS A MAZE) in Sheffield and Barnard Castle it started to create a growing paranoia: 'Have we passed this sideboard before?' 'Not sure, but OMG that stuffed fox again. Which means right around the corner - ACK! CLOWN HEAD!' We both found success - I like to think in a way that would make Josephine proud - myself in the bounty of two tiny tasselled lampshades for a set of wall sconces, and Katie with a delicate, hand-beaded bustier. (Would that I had a photo of THAT for the blog.) 

Landing soon, gonna start my train picnic (fancy sandwich from Le Tesco), ignoring a bag of apple slices that I bought out of guilt and will lose in the bottom of my bag until they liquify and I discover them when digging for a tissue. See you tomorrow from the road!

Big hugs,

*Shopped a lot. The girl shopped a lot. One term we saw described her purchasing habits as 'sustained collecting', which is a term I'm going to try on Alan next time he questions a purchase. I'm COLLECTING. SUSTAINABLY. FOR MY MUSEUM.

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