Sunday 31 December 2023

A Twixtmas Mosey Around Moseley



On Friday morning, after days of relentless rain, the endless precipitation had dwindled to a mere drizzle so we hastily knocked up some cheese sandwiches, filled a flask and headed off to Moseley Old Hall which, at just 25 minutes drive away, is the closest National Trust property to home.


Built in around 1600, 
Moseley Old Hall was originally half-timbered but after falling into disrepair, in 1870 the building received a typically brutal Victorian makeover with the Elizabethan windows replaced and the outer walls cladded in brick although, mercifully, the Tudor chimneys remained intact. 

King Charles II by Gerard Von Hondhorst (c.1650)

 Known as The House That Saved A King, this compact Elizabethan farmhouse on the outskirts of Wolverhampton famously offered shelter to King Charles II after he fled Cromwell's troops following defeat at The Battle of Worcester in 1651. The hall was owned by the Roman Catholic Whitgreave family who were wealthy wool merchants and remained occupied by the same family until 1925. In subsequent years the hall was used as a farmhouse which again fell into disrepair with the owners eventually handing Moseley Old Hall over to the care of the National Trust in 1962. 

Charles II by John Michael Wright (1617 - 1694)

As I've mentioned before, I was mad about Charles II as a child, even keeping a scrapbook with pictures of the glamorous raven-locked 6' 2" monarch and stories I'd copied out of library books. 

Hieronymus Janssens, Charles II Dancing at a Ball at Court, c. 1660

After the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II decided that he would need to impress the public and therefore his appearance was his first priority. Realising that the French fashion which he'd worn when he lived with Louis XIV during his exile in France would not be popular in Britain he banned French fashion from his court. Instead, the king adopted the "Parisian vest" and wore a suit jacket over the top thus inventing the three-piece suit. He also insisted that all the fabric and other material that made up his clothes must be English, making Charles II the first person in British history to start a fashion revolution (another reason to love him!)


Hear, hear! 


Wandering the grounds of Moseley Old Hall we were sad not to see the peacock who'd befriended us on previous visits but were rather enamoured by the ginger ducks.


Mercifully there weren't many visitors around, always a bonus, nothing spoils a photo more than someone dressed in a day-glo fleece & a Santa hat emerging through a 17th Century topiary arch.




 
Despite some rather ominous looking skies, the rain stayed away for the duration of our visit but it was tremendously soggy underfoot and we congratulated ourselves on having the foresight to wear our Docs.

















Are those blue skies I see?




Although the Trust were running guided tours, we'd followed both the 17th Century Christmas and Charles II's flight from Cromwell's New Model Army fairly recently so opted to look around the house under our own steam. 


Upon entering the hall a volunteer told me how much he'd enjoyed the blog post I'd published after our last visit a year ago (that's me, once seen, never forgotten!) and suggested we start upstairs to avoid getting caught up in the tour groups. 


Charles II slept here!


Two of the volunteers were dressed in the 17th Century fashion of the day. The chap in the bedroom told us about the evolution of flatware, why spoons were laid with the bowl facing the table (to avoid the devil leaping inside and being swallowed by an unsuspecting diner) and that it was Cardinal Richelieu who introduced the dinner knife in 1637. He just about managed to tell us that it was Louis XIV who was responsible for the Roman numerals on a clock changing from IIII to IV before the tour group caught up the bedroom and we had to move on.


We peeped at the priest-hole where Charles II had hidden.


After a wonderful couple of hours of wandering around and not getting soaked to the skin we retreated back to the warmth of Patrice (our elderly Citroen) and enjoyed a car park picnic accompanied by Craig Charles on 6Music and, unusually for us, failing to guess the Time Machine (2002). 


Moseley Old Hall
Fordhouses
Wolverhampton WV10 7HY

Open daily from 10am  (house from 11am)


Thanks to you all for following my rants, ramblings, roamings and misadventures over the last 14 years and wishing my fellow bloggers, followers, friends (and the shy ones who read but never comment) a very happy & healthy 2024. Needless to say, we'll be celebrating the New Year in our typical, not normal, fashion. 

See you on the other side!

Vix & Jon


68 comments:

  1. What a amazing and elegant atmosphere, i love all the details and the story around Moseley. You look adorable with the red maxi dress and the white hat. Have a great day and evening. Yes, see you on the other side, much love, joy luck 2024 Vix

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    1. Thanks so much, dear LoveT! Wishing you a lots of joy and happiness in 2024! Keep on blogging! xxx

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  2. I think I’ve followed your blog for the full 14 years, I started my original (princess Prudence) blog around the same time, and I’m not sure how I found you, but I’m glad I did. I may not get to read every post you publish, but I love all of the ones that I do. Hope you and Jon have a fabulous New Year, however you choose to celebrate, and I’ll look forward to following your adventures again in 2024. Lots of Love from Ooop North. Xxx

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    1. Happy New Year, Louise, Little Miss, thelma, The Chap and your lovely Mum! I think you were one of the first bloggers I ever mat - at that car show in Coventry where we turned up at the wrong place first and were late arriving. It's always lovely when you pop in, no matter how frequently! xxx

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  3. I don't think of myself as shy, just nothing worthy to contribute to your eclectic, fabulous life that keeps me mightily entertained. Keep on keeping on gal! Marguerite (the real one)

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    1. Happy New Year, Marguerite! Thank you so much for commenting. No comment is ever unworthy, even if you pop in to tell me what the weather's like where you are! xxx

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  4. That looks like a splendid outing, you’re like me - want to avoid the big groups at all costs.

    Car park picnics are grossly under-rated - I did wonder if you used Gilbert for trips like this?

    Thank you for all you have shared, not just this year, but all of your blog. I’ve been following you for years, thinking I was far too plainly dressed to possibly leave a comment that you would be interested in, how bluddy stupid of me . . . your lockdown posts helped keep so many of us (relatively) sane and your holidays actually make me seriously consider overseas travel, (one day, Sully). Much love to you, Lord Jon and William. x

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    1. Happy New Year, Jayne! Oh yeah, I love the energy of a festival crowd but a wonderful historical house needs to be explored at our own pace, not whisked along with a group.
      We did used to take Gilbert on a few NT outings and have toasted sandwiches just for the hell of it. A few readers would often comment that they'd seen Gilbert parked up but had been too shy to say hello. Anyone who has ever met us will tell you that we're really normal and not at all scary to approach!
      I'm so glad you unlurked and left a comment that first time, I so value our virtual friendship and love reading your blog. xxx

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  5. OK, I will de-lurk to say how much I enjoy your blog: cats, clothes, travel, gardening, houses, National Trust visits, what's not to like? Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year, Dame Eleanor Hull! Thank you so much for unlurking and leaving a comment. xxx

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  6. Thank goodness for the NT during the winter months. It's made a huge difference to me to have an option to visit one of their places when the weather's a bit ugh. Fascinating detail about the spoon bowls! Have a great New Year Vix and Jon. Arilx

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    1. Happy New Year, Aril & family! Yes, the National Trust are an absolute godsend. I'm hoping to take another trip this week, Friday's looking like the least soggy option.
      I knew you'd appreciate the spoon fact! xxx

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  7. happy new year. been reading a very long time! xo, kelly from usa

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    1. Happy New Year, Kelly in the USA! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. Don't be a stranger! xxx

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  8. Happy New Year and lang may yer lum reek.

    28 days and we are off to Andalucia for our winter break. So far, the first two months of our six month winter have been mild. The easiest I remember since 1997 (that year we had our first blizzard on New Years Eve).

    Regards to Jon and the furry one.

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    1. Happy New Year to you, too! I bet you're counting the days until Andalucia. Our friend who is lucky enough to live there keeps posting photos of her sandaled feet and early morning dog walks along the beach, not jealous at all she says furiously trawling the Ryanair website.
      I'm happy to hear that the weather's being kind to you, it's filthy here but I was sweltering in my sheepskin hat this morning. xxx

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  9. Thanks to you and Jon for allowing us to follow along in your highly fashionable adventures!! Happy New Year from the US! Looking forward to 2024!

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    1. Happy New Year to you, Kristin! Thanks for joining us on our adventures. Here's to many more in 2024! xxx

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  10. Happy New Year to you and Jon from Florida.

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    1. Sending New Year greetings to sunny Florida! Thanks so much for commenting! xxx

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  11. Thank you for all the work you put into sharing your blog , and for your thoughts and kindnesses during what has been the worst year of my life
    Siobhan x

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    1. Hello dear Siobhan. I know 2023 was a horrendous year for you, I hope that this year a tiny chink of light will enter the darkness and you find a little joy. Thinking of you. xxx

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    2. I appreciated your kind words to me as well, Vix. Chinks of light... that's what Siobhan and I surely need. You surely provide that. I am going to explore more, see more with fully open eyes. No NY resolutions for me but to try and just be present in every moment I have in 2024, feel the light when I can see it.

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  12. Charles II was a dashing looking fellow! I can easily understand why you appreciate his unique style. Those shoes alone make him a fashion icon. Thank you for sharing your adventures for so many years (your daily posts during the pandemic soothed some rough days) and may 2024 bring you many fun opportunities to rock the tomato dress. Cheers!

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    1. Happy New Year, StrictlyMystic! I do love a well dressed chap. Charles wore some wonderful shoes and his beribboned breeches are well worth a Goggle if you've not seen them before! I nearly wore my tomato dress this morning, I shall give it an outing very soon! xxx

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  13. what a gorgeous place. Makes me have the usual travel envy when you do these historical homes. Hope you had a greaqt xmas, and wishing you both the very best for 2024 xxx

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    1. Happy New Year, Ratnamurti! We are so lucky to have such interesting houses so close to home, sadly the weather's been that bad over the last couple of months our visits have been few and far between! xxx

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  14. What a fabulous place to visit! Simply perfect for a lover of history. I love how preserved it looks. I can imagine Charles II wondering the garden and the halls. I can also imagine him sleeping in that bed- or staying up worrying about his predicament. I always enjoy your National Trust visit. This estate that hid Charles II is no exception. It's absolutely gorgeous.

    Charles II looks like a dashing fellow. How gorgeous are those long locks. 6'2 was an impressive height for those times. It still is. He must have seemed a giant to them. Plus, I've always loved those aristocratic looking noses, you know those Roman/Greek profiles. They give a character to the face. If it was up to me, no men or women would ever get a nose job. :)

    Looking at this portrait, I've just realized how traditional paintings of those times resemble traditional Indian painting. You know those baby lips, scarlet red usually, that all Indian portrait paintings have. Europeans portraits have them too! I wonder if there is a connection. Was this a painting technique passed on for generation and generation? Anyhow, great trip into history.

    I love your outfit so much. Your maxi dress and coat are so gorgeous...and the wool hat is perfect. Jon seems to have enjoyed the visit too.

    I wish all the best in 2024!

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    1. Happy New Year, Ivana! I'm glad you enjoyed your visit to Moseley Old Hall, its only small but leaves a big impression.
      Yes, Charles II was a bit of a freak in his time, 6' 2" was pretty rare back then and odd considering how small his father was. Apparently he had to borrow clothes when he fled Cromwell's army after the Battle of Worcester and his feet were completely ruined from having to walk miles in a much smaller man's footwear, no wonder when he became king he wore such flamboyant shoes!
      I wonder if the artists of the day were influenced by the Moguls? You're spot on about the similarity. Funnily enough Charles was given Bombay aspart of his wife, Catherine of Braganza's dowry so there was a bit of an Indian connection. xxx

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  15. Bab Boy Cromwell tried it on in Edinburgh when he came north of the Border! He got short shrift and was soon sent packing!!You two really blend in to those surroundings! I love that architecture. Happy New Year.xxx

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    1. Happy New Year, Annie! That reinforces my view that the Scots are very sensible giving Old Ironsides the boot. xxx

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  16. My New Year's resolution is to read your blog - which I've been doing for a loooong time - AND comment. I nearly choked on my coffee at your comment on 'day-glo fleece and Santa hat emerging from 17C. topiary arch'. Priceless! I'm quite a fan of Charles II and how life got a bit more exciting after 18 or so years of the Puritans. I really enjoy your National Trust adventures, and of course, your stellar outfits. Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year, Erika! I love your New Year's resolution. Comments are what make blogs so much better than magazines, I love hearing what the weather's like or what my readers have been up to, it feels like we're having a chat in a pub.
      I can only imagine how fabulous it must have been in those heady days of the Restoration - back to glamorous clothes and having fun after the dour Cromwellian years. xxx

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  17. Happy New Year!
    Love your festive outfit!
    It's been ages since we visited Moseley so it was nice to visit again - albeit virtually. I smiled at your comment about day-glo fleeces and Santa hats. :-D xxx

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    1. Happy New Year! That sheepskin hat makes everything a bit more festive - even a bikini!
      There should be a law against Santa hats and day-glo fleeces at National Trust properties, they could adopt a policy like they do in monasteries in Greece and hand out smock to incorrectly dressed folk at the door,! xxx

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  18. Happy New Year you fabulous girl. Thank you for another year of fabulous outfits and adventures. I look forward to all you share with us in 2024. Julie xxx

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    1. Thanks so much, Julie! Sending you lots of New Year love! xxx

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  19. Happy New Year - back with a proper comment later but just wanted to squeeee!!!
    about this
    https://www.birminghammuseums.org.uk/exhibitions/victorian-radicals

    "Three generations of British artists, designers and makers revolutionised the visual arts in the second half of the nineteenth century. The Pre-Raphaelites, William Morris and his circle and the men and women of the Arts and Crafts movement transformed art and design."

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    1. Le sigh - it's Elaine

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    2. Annndd ... she's back lol. What a fab day out and I'm not surprised the volunteer remembered you, Vix - and "Please wear your best clothes" is right up there with "Be excellent to each other".

      I found a brilliant (freee!) online course about a History of Royal Fashion, it explores how British royalty have influenced fashion over the last 500 years, from the Tudors to the Windsors. Can't recommend it enough - really interesting and very accessible. I've prolly recommended it before - not really fussed about the Windsors - but you can pick and choose the modules.
      https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/royal-fashion

      I have a soft spot for the Tudor module (1.18 Recycling and reusing Tudor textiles)
      as they actually displayed the Bacton altar cloth (believed to be a surviving textile worn by Elizabeth I) at the Walker Art Gallery - ravishing!
      https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/whatson/walker-art-gallery/exhibition/tudors-passion-power-and-politics

      Geek out lol.

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    3. Happy New Year, Elaine! I can't wait for the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition in Brum, I've already arranged to go with one of my friends but suspect I might be going more than once!
      Yes, be excellent to each other is a great thing to remember and I think making an effort and wearing our best clothes at every opportunity makes everyone happy - my block printed kaftan and feck-off massive Russian hat got loads of compliments from the Wetherspoons breakfast crew!
      I'm off to investigate those links, it's too wet for eBay photos this morning so i may endeavour to educate myself instead! xxx

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  20. Happy new year to you both, I love you blogs very interesting thank you (Sandy)

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    1. Thanks so much, Sandy! Happy New Year to you. xxx

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  21. i do enjoy your excursions, I must stop being so lazy and do some myself, there's loads of interesting places round here I have never visited! the knot garden is lovely, shame you can't walk through it - imagine in times gone by ladies in long skirts swishing through ...., I would like one. You look lovely as always. I have a wide neck Stanley food flask for picnics and put home made thick vegetable casserole and dumplings in it - do you have one? you must look out for a flask like this, they are so wonderful. I found a replica kaiser kaftan at All-about-audrey but it had a funny cut which made my arse look massive and arms look like protruding twigs! (I'm blaming the dress anyway!) sadly not for me. I have enjoyed your blog posts so much over the years. I always feel I am on your travel adventures with you when I read your posts - you are a very good writer - wishing you and Jon a happy, healthy and full of travel 2024!!! Betty

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    1. Thanks, Betty! We've struggled to get out and about recently, it's been so dreary and dismal, a mooch around the charity shops is far more tempting.
      I suppose that knot garden would get trampled by over-enthusiastic ankle biters if it opened to the public.
      We do have one of those Stanley flasks somewhere, we occasionally fille it and yook it to wet VW weekends so we had something tasty to eat when we got there. I ought to look it out.
      That All About Aud kaftan doesn't sound very flattering, one day the right one will come along that makes you look like the goddess you are - or go back to India and get one made from a couple of Anokhi block printed throws.
      Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2024 with lots of fun and adventure! xxx

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  22. Ducks, mosses & lichens, ancient trees and landscapes, and site docents that love their turf and want to share it with visitors who truly appreciate it (like you and Jon, once met, never forgotten)! So many of my favorite things in this blog post: I, too, am a fan of Charles II and the Restoration's fads and fancies. Looking forward to your excursions in 2024!

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    1. Happy New Year, Beth! I know you love ducks and I'm happy to hear that you're a fellow fan of the Restoration. Hopefully we'll squeeze in another trip before Twelfth Night! xxx

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  23. Seconding le sigh: that's me, Beth. And while I'm back -- you have an elderly Citroen that has a heater that works? Quel miracle!

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    1. We've had some terribly quirky elderly Citroens in our time!, Patrice has his faults but he's probably the only car we've ever had with a working heater (works van excepted)! xxx

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  24. What an amazingly atmospheric property, and it's going straight on my list for next June! Perhaps and idea for a meet-up?
    As always it was a joy to tag along with you and Jon, and obviously your outfit was suitably fabulous too!
    Happy New Year! xxx

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    1. Happy New Year, Ann & Jos! I've never seen Moseley Old Hall in the Summer and as it's only down the road from Wightwick we could even do both! xxx

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  25. I've been reading your blog for a long time but never really post anything. I love all your adventures, whether it be to historical manor houses or on vacations somewhere fabulous. Thank you for your beautiful photos of the items you find at charity shops and thrift stores also. Love your wardrobe of vintage items. Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year, Arlene! Thanks so much for leaving a message! xxx

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  26. Happy 2024 to you both. I always enjoy tagging along on your National Trust visits. This one was no exception. I can see why this monarch was a favourite of yours, quite the snappy dresser and good for him only wearing what is English made.

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    1. Happy New Year, Jill! The National Trust visits were somewhat lacking in 2023, hopefully we'll have more dry days in 2024 although, judging by yesterday, it doesn't look promising! Yes, Charles II was a revolutionary dresser, a breath of fresh air after plain old Cromwell! xxx

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  27. Happy New Year from our home to yours šŸ˜ŠLoooooove your dress xxx

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    1. Happy New Year to you and your family, Kate! Thank you! xxx

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  28. Happy New Year, Vix and Jon!

    Mosely Old Hall looks fascinating and weren't you lucky for the break in the incessant rain? It's been at it here non stop since 6 am this morning. I liked the relative simplicity of the Old Hall and grounds look wonderful. Both you and Jon looked fab in your outfits. I had to laugh when I read about the spoons and the devil! We're hoping to have a walk around Wimpole Hall tomorrow so praying it's dry...
    xxx

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    1. Happy New Year, Vronni! We were so lucky to get a break from the rain. It was dry when I left the house this morning but by the time we left the baths it was back to the usual deluge - here's to a break tomorrow, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you for Wimpole Hall!
      Moseley Old Hall is just south of the M54, a lot of people break up journeys and have lunch in a cafe, sure beats the motorway services! xxx

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  29. Lovely to join you for another visit to a National Trust property!, no wonder that some volunteers remembered and thanked you, you're a lovely propagandist!.
    Always interesting to read about old fashionistas, including kings. How impressive could be that man in his finery and high heels!.
    besos

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    1. Happy New Year, Monica! I'm delighted that you could join us on our trip to Moseley Old Hall! I've just started a course on Royal Fashion, check out Elaine's comment and follow the link, it's absolutely fascinating and free! xxx

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  30. Hola, me animo a comentar en tu maravilloso blog que sigo desde el norte de EspaƱa ( Paƭs Vasco) hace mucho. Es divinamente raro , como un oasis en el desierto de las redes. Gracias por compartir tu vida , viajes etc. Amo tu estilo de vestir y de vivir.
    La historia y la moda son 2 de mis aficiones. Saludos y feliz 2024
    Blanca

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    1. Feliz aƱo nuevo, Blanca en la hermosa RegiĆ³n Vasca. ¡Muchas gracias por tu amable y tan poĆ©tico comentario, es un placer saber de ti y saber que te gusta mi blog! Vix xxx

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  31. Another lovely visit to another gorgeous place! Thank you so much for all these tours, Vix! I so appreciate that you're still blogging! Thank you!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year, Sheila! I'll never stop blogging, it would be like cutting an arm off, it's part of my life now! xxx

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Thanks for reading and for leaving a message. Please don't be anonymous, I'd love it if you left a name (or a nom de plume).

Lots of love, Vix