Clearly, I have an obsession with castles. It was barely a week ago that I went castle climbing near my house and now, I'm wandering around Leeds Castle! It was interesting to be able to actually go inside a castle and not just scale the remains of the outer walls. Leeds Castle is particularly interesting, because in the 1930s, it was purchased by 26-year old American heiress, Olive Baille (later, Lady Baille… rough life… needing to purchase a castle at the tender age of 26).
She gutted and redecorated the castle to the highest fashions of the times and spent her days entertaining the likes of Noel Coward and the Kennedy's. For real, I got to twirl in a room that Noel Coward likely performed in, and actually King Henry VIII likely danced around in the same room centuries earlier. Not bad, eh?
As in every castle I visit, I am on the continual hunt for ghosts. Call it an occupational hazard (I haven't mentioned my love of ghost hunting in a while, have I?). While, I got totally swept away by twirling and such, I completely forgot to ask the docents about ghost stories (!!!); however, I did find this quote that goes some lengths to explain my love of ghosts and castles. And it was written by one of my favourite British spooky book authors.
“They told of dripping stone walls in uninhabited castles and of ivy-clad monastery ruins by moonlight, of locked inner rooms and secret dungeons, dank charnel houses and overgrown graveyards, of footsteps creaking upon staircases and fingers tapping at casements, of howlings and shriekings, groanings and scuttlings and the clanking of chains, of hooded monks and headless horseman, swirling mists and sudden winds, insubstantial specters and sheeted creatures, vampires and bloodhounds, bats and rats and spiders, of men found at dawn and women turned white-haired and raving lunatic, and of vanished corpses and curses upon heirs.”
… and with that, I leave you to explore Leeds Castle. Don't even get me started on the library here… they had Oscar Wilde on the same shelf as Shakespeare… ahhhhh, love affair…
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