Sunday, April 20, 2008

Boot Rooms and Footmen

Today I returned home from a hack that required an immediate hot shower. We did plenty of dripping trot in lashings and lashings of rain and wind. My waxed jacket did not disappoint, but even Merv’s tack needed a good clean once I made it back. I am not too enamoured with tack-cleaning, mostly because I tend to do it at the stables and it’s usually wet and miserable there, or because if I do it at home it makes me feel hopelessly inadequate. Faced with a bridle dripping with spit, a muddy girth and encrusted riding boots, my mind raced back to the mansion at Tatton Park which I visited last weekend. Not only does the mansion have a fabulous music room and a library whose walls are lined with books up to the very tall ceiling, but it has a boot room, where staff used to clean the riding and hunting boots of the Egertons of Tatton. Oh to live in that place and to have staff that expertly works through saddles, bridles, reins, bits, boots and spurs.

If I lived at the mansion, I would not even drive a car any more, enamoured as I am with Knutsford. I would be able to get my steed out in the morning (no, actually a member of staff would bring him up to me looking like he has just come out of Horse Guards’ Parade), and I’d be able to trot all the way down to Knutsford itself, where I would then stop for breakfast (at Starbucks I’m afraid) and for a spot of yarn shopping at Fibre and Clay. I’d be able to go to church and tie Merv outside it and then we would be able to walk downhill to bottom street, and then we would stop at La Boutique D’Or, which sells lots of frumpy stuff, but also stocks fabulous Flora Kung silk dresses. And then we would be off for a canter up the fields, back home, where my footman would get my boots and they would discreetly disappear into the bowels of the mansion. I think I’ll forfeit cleaning my boots today; I forgot them in the car and it’s too miserable to even step outside and get them. Welcome back to reality really.

Tatton Park Mansion
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