Thursday, 6 October 2016

Mount Stuart: A Sensory Experience

Yesterday's post rather cryptically suggested that something interesting was happening at home in the Click household.

In order to do that, let me give you a little sensory tour of the place where I live.

I live in the grounds of an estate which belongs to the Marquess of Bute. The house itself, Mount Stuart, dates back to 1879 and was built to replace an earlier house from the 1700s which burned down.

Spring is pale greens with a haze of blue above the grass; summer is vibrant greens with explosions of pink and red and yellow; autumn is a spectacular burst of oranges and browns, purples and yellows; winter is greys and browns. I love each season in its own way but this season is my favourite for walks and photographs.

I love my home. I love the estate where we live. Especially at this time of year when all the leaves are changing colour. You can take the same walk three or four times and each time there's something slightly different about it.

Like yesterday, for example. Mr Click and I walked Tara at 7am and the road was thick with leaves. We repeated the walk at 6pm and someone had gone out and tidied up the road. I suspect it was a man with a leaf blower, but who knows.

One of the reasons that I love autumn is the crunch of the leaves. There's something so satisfying about throwing on your welly boots and going for a good stomp around. Tara likes to 'snowplough' through them; she puts her head on the ground, tucks in her forepaws and propels herself through them.

I like to jump in them, kick them around and generally behave like I'm about twenty-five years younger than I actually am. There's something about autumn that calls for long leafy walks, followed by a hot chocolate at home and a Disney movie. Last Saturday we watched Disney's Robin Hood; it needs to be something of about that vintage to truly work.

And then, if it's especially cold, you hop into the bath to chill. Or rather, warm up.

Our water on the estate used to be piped in from a private loch, which made it rather more special than the regular water that people in town drink. Nowadays, I'm not so sure where it's coming from (well, my drinking water is coming from a bottle, for reasons which will soon become apparent), last I heard we had a bore hole, but who knows now.

One of the things I used to love most about having a bath when we moved in, was that if there had been strong winds or heavy rain, our bath water would take on a greenish hue and develop a wonderful peaty smell. I'm fairly certain that spas charge a lot of money for people to bathe in water like that and we get it for a nominal monthly fee.

It also tasted amazing. The water from town always has a slightly sharp taste, almost chemically. The water at Mount Stuart is soft and it has a really fresh sort of flavour.

Until Tuesday night that is.

A couple of weeks ago we got a letter warning us not to drink the water. Bottled water was provided, with instructions to go and pick up more if we needed it. There's a quality issue. There's been a quality issue on and off for the last few months, so we're used to the routine now. Cleaning your teeth with bottled water is easy once you get the hang of it. Keeping a bottle of water beside the kettle for refills is second nature.

What we weren't prepared for was a strange seaside sort of smell when we took our showers on Tuesday night. I commented on the sea smell to Mr Click at which point he mentioned that he could taste salt on his lips (he was in the shower at the time). Sure enough, our shower seemed to be pumping out salt water.

The following morning, we still had sea water (or something very similar coming out of our taps). I called the office and by tea time, normal, non-consumable, water service seemed to have returned. I'm still a little at a loss as to where it could have come from as although we're only a short walk from the beach, we're some height above sea level.

It's really just another day on the estate.

We rarely get much in the way of excitement out here. The fact that one of my favourite parts of the day is walking along the road for a conversation with Big Pig who lives in a field almost half a mile from my house probably says a lot.

But occasionally we do get the odd celebrity wedding or big event on the estate. We get the letter warning us of impending fireworks, we stay up late to watch them with a labrador who is convinced that the world is coming to an end, and we enjoy seeing the slightly hungover people stumbling out of the holiday cottage behind us the following morning.

Last Saturday though, we had the party to end all parties.

You have to understand that we are country dwellers. The most noise we get is the randy pheasants during the summer and the occasional startled donkey or cow.

We are definitely not used to all night parties.

And we are definitely not used to parties which go on until 5:30 in the morning!

Which is what happened on Saturday night or should I say, Sunday morning.

In hindsight I can see the funny side of it now. At the time, when I had given up sleeping so I could move into the living room so I could figure out what songs the DJ was playing at (approximately) 473,394,497 decibels, I was about ready to murder someone, a fact that was made more than readily obvious by my social media commentary on the night.

From what I can work out from the social media of the people who attended the party, a good time was had by all, apart from the estate residents who didn't get much sleep.

But hey, it's the first time I've been kept up all night by my neighbours playing music in five years. If it's five years til it happens again, I'm good.


  1. There's a book in all of this. Unique place to live.

    1. It'd be a fascinating story about all the various residents on an estate like this. Though I bet if it got written people would say it was unrealistic for fiction. ;-)

  2. Wow, yes it's a real pain in the butt when neighbor make a lot of noise. Boy would you hate where I live. I live in an apartment building and in my courtyard there are 16 apartments. My building of 8 apartments is on one side and the other building is on the other side. There is just a courtyard of about 50 feet separating the two buildings. So if I have my door open I can see right into the apartment across from me and they can see inside mine. The noise all these people make is ridiculous. I've had to complain to the manager several times about the loud music that goes on all night because some of these people are drug addicts and they don't sleep. We have thin walls so if my neighbor next door is watching a movie loudly, I can hear it right through the wall separating our two apartments. It's pretty much non stop hell. lol

    1. Yeah, that does sound like a nightmare.

      Luckily last weekend was a once in five-year event for here, though the music was loud enough to be heard in town (five miles away) so I think it'll be quite a while before they do anything like that again. And we did get a letter of apology about the disturbance which was nice.

      I couldn't cope with that constantly. You have my sympathy. :-)

  3. I suppose once in five years isn't TOO bad. Sounds like a lovely place to live otherwise. I have been to Mount Stuart years ago but don't remember much about it.

    1. Yeah, the odd firework display here and there but not normally anything like that.

      You should definitely pay a visit to Mount Stuart House again. They've opened all the rooms up now (so you can wander around and look at things properly, and take photos now). They'll be closing up this month but they reopen again around Easter. ;-)

  4. Came in from Liz. There sure some pretty fall colors around my neck of the woods.
    If you have time stop in for a cup of coffee.

    1. Thanks for stopping by. This is the best season for colours. :-)


Let me know what you think. :-)