Perhaps not the best choice given that Izzy and May are more 'Ronnie and Reggie Kray' (their actual nicknames) than 'Jane Austen', but I thought 'hell, I'll give it a go'.
After shoehorning the girls into the car, they immediately began their obligatory 'who can scream the loudest' competition (of which they never tire). Ahhh, could there be a nicer way for me to while-away the 40 minute journey to Basildon Park?
Actually I have a theory ..... every time you do 'activities' with kids, a large glass of wine and two Nurofen are pretty much guaranteed to get you through it.
I digress ...... back to Basildon Park. By the time we pulled into the car-park, I had pretty much lost most of my hearing because of the screaming which was quite annoying.
But the good news was that Ronnie and Reggie were nearly puking with excitement because they wanted to see where rich people lived. After parking the car, we were directed towards the house by a member of staff who instructed us to follow a winding path through the woodland.
And because I am kinder than Ghandi and Mother Theresa combined (blimey they don't half wear some sheetage between them), I have taken some photographs for you ...........
Pic.No.1 Ronnie and Reggie climbing the trees that fringe the woodland path leading to the house
Pic.No.2 Basildon Park was a Georgian Stately Home, having been built in the 1700s. It was restored from ruin in the 1950s by Lord and Lady Iliffe. Imagine hoovering that
Pic.No.3 Ronnie and Reggie in the enormous canopied porch of Basildon Park. Before entering the house, I briefed them about acting with decorum and not shouting. They both listened and nodded intently ....
Pic.No.4 ....... that went well then
Pic.No.5 In the hallway, there were bellringers playing Christmas carols, which was rather lovely. But why do bellringers always wear white gloves? I half expected them to start moonwalking or something
Pic.No.6 The dining room. It had a gadget that I badly want - a train track running around the table so that the salt and pepper could be efficiently distributed. It even had mini train stations with control signals. And the ceiling was nice
Pic.No.7 The Music Room. I was dying to play chopsticks on that piano but something inside me said no
Pic.No.8 Apparently when Lady Iliffe was restoring the house, she had a penchant for lamps. Here is a lamp
Pic.No.9 She even put two lamps on some tables. It was crazy
Pic.No.10 Lord Iliffe's study. It had been kept exactly as it had been in the 1950s, with an old gramophone, typewriter and newspaper
Pic.No.11 It also had this old telephone in it. I was amazed to discover that Ronnie and Reggie recognised it as a telephone, given that they had grown up with phones that look completely different (how old does that make me feel?)
Pic.No.12 This was called the Shell Room for obvious reasons. That cabinet was totally veneered in shells as were the walls. Totally bloody amazing (if you are a shell lover). I prefer normal wood because it is easier to dust
Pic.No.13 The Crimson Room which was rather lovely. If you were a preferred guest of Lord and Lady Iliffe, you would stay in this room
Pic.No.14 How cool is this bedroom? I would love to spend Christmas in it, dressed as Miss Haversham and berating festivities and small children
Pic.No.15 Even wondered what a bathroom looks like in a Stately Home? Well wonder no further. Look at the toilet ..... it looked like a chair that you would pull up to a dining table which is a bit wrong
Pic.No.16 This is the bath. Even though it is surrounded with black marble and silver dragon taps, it still looks a little dated, but still fascinating to see how things have changed
Pic.No.17 Finally our tour of Basildon Park was over, so we stopped at the cafe and stuffed our faces with (a) chocolate cake (in the case of Ronnie and Reggie), and (b) coffee and walnut cake for me
So dahlinks, I can highly recommend a trip to Basildon Park. It is somewhere in Berkshire ... not sure where though, that's the responsibility of my sat nav.
P.S. When are you putting your Christmas decorations up? I am not sure when to do mine.