I Miss Bannock Manor
I spent so many hours thinking about Bannock Manor, wandering through the rooms and visualizing myself there that it became real to me. I have the floor plan firmly planted in my brain. I know that when you walk through the front door you are immediately in the grand foyer, the staircase is in front of you, the kitchen off to the right, the main public rooms to the left.
In my mind, I can still smell the wood paneling, tread softly on the Persian carpets, and caress sofa pillows that were embroidered by long gone ancestors. Oh, the books, how I love the books. More than I could read in a lifetime.
In bed at night, when sleep eludes me, I picture ten inch crown moldings and crystal chandeliers, hot tea in antique Spode, and beautiful views out ancient windows. Meandering along those corridors is a great antidote to insomnia; there is so much to see and think about. Eventually, after a rather pleasant jaunt, I drift into a room that leads to dreamland.
Over the course of two decades I have made many trips to Great Britain and on every occasion I have explored old manor houses. I am passionate about them, and have lost count of how many I have seen. Certainly more than one hundred. Some, like Chatsworth House or Hadden Hall, I’ve been to several times.
I am ever so grateful to the National Trust for preserving these magnificent homes for dreamers like me.
Last week Lisa and I were guests at two different San Diego book clubs who had read The Chamber and The Cross. One was in University Heights and the other in Scripps Ranch. At both events they started with wine and appetizers, chatted and caught up with each other’s lives. Then there was a full dinner. One group served English cheeses for the appetizer, Bangers and mash for dinner, and Trifle for dessert. A good old English menu added to the atmosphere.
These are both long term groups who have been meeting monthly to talk about books for many, many years. They had lots of questions about our joint writing process, who wrote which scenes (we both worked on all scenes), and character development. It was fun to hear people talk so enthusiastically about our characters. Bannock Manor, a medieval manor house, is the main setting, and the ladies wanted to know whether it was a real house. No, Bannock Manor is a composite of numerous English manor homes.
Over the last twenty years I’ve visited over a hundred such homes in England. I love studying the leaded glass windows, giant door hinges, crown molding, attic rooms, cellars, massive private libraries, and walled gardens. Of course, that’s just a small sampling of the features I find fascinating about Europe’s historic homes. And because I admire early craftsmanship, it was easy to describe the house in detail.
It was certainly rewarding getting to share our writing journey with our readers. If you know anyone who is in a book club in the southern California area, Lisa and I would love to meet with them too. You can contact me through FaceBook or our Email.