My love affair with Blickling by Anthea Iveson

A winter scene at Blickling © Paul Bailey

A winter scene at Blickling

Blickling Hall is an enigma – what stories over the centuries those terracotta bricks and the several houses which have stood within the moat could tell. Perhaps the house is now back to the dreams of the builders, sharing with visitors its beauty and heritage.

Echoes from the past
The Hall is welcoming and friendly, sometimes revealing the secrets of the lives of the people who lived there.

First and foremost it was a home, not a museum, and it touched the lives of so many people even though it may have had a darker side – what crime or misdemeanour did you have to commit to land yourself in the punishment room?

Standing on the bridge you can almost hear a coach-and-four rumbling up the drive whilst out of sight the pony and trap delivers the food through the orchard to the kitchens. Elsewhere, another pony wearing large felt shoes is pulling a mowing machine to keep the lawns in pristine condition.

The volunteer army
Being part of the volunteer army gives a special insight into the workings of a National Trust property, but also creates special friendships with colleagues who share the same interests and jokes!  Will there be some interesting visitors today? Maybe a school party who see it as a challenge to get around the house in under 10 minutes?

One of the most spectacular times at Blickling is the winter. Looking out of the windows from the Peter the Great Room and seeing the lake completely still, looking like a glass mirror, the only movement being the geese trying to graze on the frosted grass. Then again, following an evening temperature of minus 18C, the fountain looks like an ice sculpture suspended in time - but are the fish safe?

How to sum up the magic of Blickling? It is an ever-changing delight encompassing all the senses, keeping up with the times but cherishing the past and safe-guarding it for future generations to enjoy.