Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Friday, October 06, 2006

Into the books: Day 12, Longleat Estate

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Well, our vacation is almost done - just two more days left! On Day 12 (July5) we visited Longleat, the estate of the Marquess of Bath. It's kind of like a British mini-Disney World. Seeking ways to pay taxes and avoid selling off land after WWII, the present Marquess of Bath's father opened the humongous estate house and gardens up for tours. Soon after, he added a Safari Park. Now there's also a train ride, safari boat rides, a butterfly house, amusement park rides, a kid's adventure castle, a motion simulator, Old Joe's Mine and Postman Pat's Village. There's also a huge Hedge Maze with 1.7 miles of pathways. We loved the maze - it took us about 45 minutes to solve it. I suppose we are smart, since the website claims the average person is lost in the maze for 90 minutes. Here are a couple pics of the maze:

The house is an Elizabethan mansion that has undergone a lot of renovating. The first Lord Bath was a lowly kitchen clerk for Henry VIII who managed a very quick and stunning rise to knighthood and then Marquess-hood, for services rendered to the crown. The guide said it's not exactly clear what it was that this kitchen clerk did for old Henry to be so honored, so you can use your imagination there. The house is completely magnificent. Here's a pic - not one of my own, since for some reason I didn't take a picture of the entire house:

After touring the public parts of the house, we were lucky enough to join a private tour of the present (seventh) Lord Bath's private apartments, in which the walls are literally covered from floor to ceiling with murals painted by Lord Bath, who is an seventy-something year old artist with, let's say, a very unique artistic style. Picture Salvador Dali's worst nightmares and wildest fantasies painted by Vincent Van Gogh and you'll have a faint idea what these rooms were like. The oil paint was so thick on the walls that even thirty-year-old murals still reeked of paint. Apparently, the murals have been featured often on the BBC. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed (especially in the Kama Sutra room), so I can't show you the murals here. But you can take a look on

Next up: Last Day! Stonehenge and Avebury


Joy Nash


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