May

11

2010

historical stately home coolness

Filed under: about me

Basildon ParkYesterday I had a very exciting phone call. It was from the house and visitor services manager at Basildon Park, which is a gorgeous 18th-century Palladian house, owned by the National Trust. Basildon Park was used in the 2005 movie of Pride and Prejudice, where it stood in for Netherfield Park, and therefore Matthew McFadyen has walked its halls, dressed as Mr Darcy.

I may have swooned about this before.

Anyway.

A good deal of the novel I’m writing takes place in a restored Regency country house, where the heroine serves as a tour guide, amongst other things. So as research, I’d asked if I could go in to Basildon Park and talk to the people working there, and shadow them for an afternoon, to find out what they do. Fortunately, the manager was amenable to this suggestion, and next Friday I’m going to spend the day there learning all about it.

What a cool job I have.

We also discussed another little bit of coolness, which is the story about the National Trust teaming up with Mills & Boon, to produce romance novels about important historical properties. I think this is such a fab idea and I really really want to read some of these.


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  1. All very cool. Now, I’m thinking about writing a book from the angle of being, say, Daniel Craig’s, clothes. Wonder if I can be them for an afternoon.

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  2. Lara, you must warn me before saying these things. I nearly spat my sandwich on my keyboard.

    That is a fantastic idea, see if you can do it!!!

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  3. Trying to recover from Lara’s comment here…

    Look forward to hearing about your day as a shadow 🙂

    M&B books sound cool

    lx

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  4. I know, I’m way more into the M&B/National Trust link-up than the M&B/Rugby Union one. Obviously I have more of an appreciation of tight breeches than huge thighs.

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  5. Wow! That is so great and I am green with envy! That is a Very Stately Home and I want every detail.

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  6. I’m so jealous! I’d be no use at all, just wandering around staring and probably creeping everyone out 😉

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  7. Y’know, when I think of Basildon, probably the last thing that pops into my head is Netherfield Hall. I should know better: I do live in Essex after all!

    As Matthew McFadyen is the inspiration behind the hero of my current Wip, which largely takes place in a country house hotel, I wonder if he’d come and stay with me in one? No? Oh well. I’ll have to content myself with looking up some MM pics. For, you know, research.

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  8. […] Friday I had my day at Basildon Park. It was a perfect day to be there—sunny and warm—and when I arrived the volunteers were having […]

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