Lyveden New Bield – Visiting “An Interrupted Dream”

Lyveden 1Nicola here, with another of my summer historic house travelogues. I finished my latest manuscript a week ago and in traditional fashion celebrated by cleaning the house and doing some ironing. As regular readers of the Wench blog will know, this is the time we all catch up on the thousand and one things that get neglected whilst we are in our writing caves desperately trying to get to The End. Much as a city break in Europe or even a trip to the seaside might sound nice, it’s usually the mundane things that claim our attention, partly because we don’t have energy left for much else but also because we urgently need some clean clothes.  However, when my husband tempted me with a visit to one of my favourite historical sites, I felt a lot more enthused for that than for ironing! So it was that on a baking hot day we set off very early in the morning for Northamptonshire and the intriguing Lyveden New Bield.

Lyveden, like so many country houses, occupies an isolated position. It’s set Lyveden deckchairs the middle of the glorious Northamptonshire countryside and as you approach, you see what looks like a ruin standing alone in a field. It’s an extraordinary sight. The house was the dream of Sir Thomas Tresham, a Tudor knight who was a staunch Catholic. He was a wealthy landowner who moved in the highest social circles in the county but although he was ruthlessly efficient in managing his estates to produce profit, he was also very extravagant and pursued a lavish lifestyle. It was, however, the heavy fines levied on him for following the Catholic faith that were eventually to lead to his financial downfall.

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Pillow Talk

Turkish_pillowNicola here, and today I am musing on pillows. Repetitive strain injury is an occupational hazard of a writer’s life, or indeed anyone who uses a keyboard. It can affect people in all sorts of jobs who, as the words suggest, use the same movements frequently. In an attempt to deal with my RSI, which gives me neck, shoulder and back pain, I’ve taken all sorts of measures, trying to get my desk at the exact correct height and my chair as well, foot rests, wrist rests, and special pillows in bed at night to support my head.

When I first set off down the special pillow route I tried one that was filled with spelt, a grain more commonly found in bread! It was supposed to adjust perfectly to the shape of the head and neck to maintain the spine in a correct line. However I found it just went flat! So then I tried one with foam but didn’t get on with that either. In the end I’ve gone back to a nice feather pillow.

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