Well, I'm home alone. Joe is off to London again this week. Meetings and a day of golf. He is traveling with Andrew (the GM) so I stayed home. Joe still gets his own room of course but will be spending all his time out with Andrew so it really wouldn't be worth it for me to go. He will be back Friday and mentioned that we could do something this weekend if I wanted to figure something out. Maybe we'll head down to the Cotswolds again and try that walk that didn't pan out last time. We'll see what the weather calls for.
We had our hottest day here the other day. It got up to 86 degrees F (30c as they say here) last Sunday. There is no humidity so it doesn't even feel like 86 degrees. But you should have seen everyone! The papers were talking about a heat wave. People were getting heat stroke out in the sun at a concert in London. The hardest time I have is while inside. Outside is fine, but we are used to everything inside being air conditioned so it feels quite warm. We open the windows and there is usually a breeze but it doesn't compare to A/C. The stores don't really have much A/C either although the bigger ones do. But it's not very efficient. Joe tells me they don't have forced air systems because they don't have duct work. All the houses and buildings are built out of brick and stone and the walls are some kind hard as rock plaster, so there has never been any duct work and you really can't do it now, after the fact. They do have the option of a mini-split system that uses no duct work, Joe's company sells a lot of those systems. He tells me that his little company is only 50 or so units being sold behind the #1 company over here. So the manufacturer is really pleased with United. Theoretically, since the #1 company is about 10 times as large as United, they should be selling ten times more. For the most part it doesn't get up to 86 that often so people just wait it out. Plus, it cools off at night so that's nice. I am also having some hay fever which I had not had for several years back in the US. I had pretty much grown out of it. I was not happy when it reared its ugly head again!
We have a castle ruin in our village. It's called Kirby Muxloe castle. I walked down there after we first moved in but it is only open during the summer months. Joe and I went down there Sunday and went through it. It's only about a mile from our house.
In 1474 King Edward IV gave William Lord Hastings the land to build himself a castle and acres of land for hunting purposes in the village of Kirby Muxloe, county of Leicestershire. There were reasons for this generous gift. William Hastings was born in 1430. His father, Sir Leonard Hastings (d.1455) had served the duke of York in the dynastic struggle for the throne known as the War of the Roses. William followed his father's allegiance to the house of York and was knighted in 1461 by the duke of York's heir, Edward IV. Hastings was loyal to the King and in 1470-71 when the King was briefly deposed by the Earl of Warwick, Lord Hastings fled with Edward IV to plot his return to power. By March 1471 they had an army ready with Lord Hastings providing the first complement of men, 3,000. When Edward IV was back on the throne, Lord Hastings was given more power. Royalty were usually very generous with the nobles who proved their loyalty showering them with gifts of lands and riches.
Not only was Lord Hastings given land for the Kirby Muxloe castle, he was given three manor houses in the area to build great castles of. This was the heartland of the king's political power, the Midlands. (The area of England where we live). He became fairly famous then. The duke of Burgundy bought his favor with a gift of 1,000 ecus (French coins bearing the figure of a shield). The French king offered him a pension of 2,000 gold crowns. He was even respected by many of his rivals.
Lord Hastings started work on Kirby Muxloe castle in 1480. The castle was to be a splendid courtyard residence surrounded by a large moat. The moat was built with a medieval bridge that led to the gatehouse. A replica of the old bridge has been built as that is the only way to get across the moat to the castle. The gatehouse would have been the first thing you entered when you crossed the moat. It was just an entry hall with small stone rooms to either side. The castle was to be rectangular in plan with two towers, which only one remains. We walked up the circular tower steps to the top and looked through the little stone windows. It's just ruins so there aren't any floors between the levels anymore. We were able to get up to the top by the tower stairs only. Traced in the back lawn are stone foundations that are believed to belong to the old manor buildings. The accounts suggest that these were used while the new buildings were being built.
As is the way with history in these old countries, the ruling families last only as long as their lives (sometimes extremely short) or as long as they can keep their thrones from being taken. Unfortunately for Lord Hastings, King Edward IV was executed because he was an obstacle to the ambitions of the Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III in 1483. Shortly thereafter Richard III had Lord Hastings beheaded for treason, smoothing his way to the throne. The castle was never finished and fell to ruins over the years.
I am fascinated by the history and all the rulers of this country. Actually I have always enjoyed reading about the Kings and Queens of England for years. I can hardly believe I'm actually here! I need a good history of the whole country because I can never keep track of the years and names of all the dynasties. The Stewarts, the Tudors, the Yorkists, King Arthur in the dark ages, House of Windsor of course, just to name a thimbleful! I want to learn more about one of the fiercest battles for the crown, the War of the Roses, which lasted nearly a century. I just want to know MORE about all of it. And keeping with my personality, I am impatient to do so!
Kirby Muxloe Castle: FRONT: