Parlington Hall, Aberford, West Riding, Yorkshire, England Gardens House  2006

Gardens House, Parlington, The Cricket Match & Picnic, Summer 1995
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The Gardens House, revisited!

Having reached this point, you may be depressed to see how the old Gardens House has deteriorated... I know Sir Thomas would be, along with his famous gardener John Kennedy... more of them in the next section. However all is not lost, many old places such as the Gardens House were lost forever during the twentieth century, Parlington Hall being one, obviously, as my web site would have no purpose otherwise. But the Gardens House survives, a little dishevelled but pretty much intact. If the place came on the open market many people would clamour to buy it, and being listed, in no time it would be back to its original style!

In the meantime we can revel in these 1995 photos when a Bucks Fizz or a long cool beer before a silly game of cricket were the highlight of the afternoon!

Of course... I was at the event, but can you spot me? I usually keep a low profile, comes from my training at MI6! [Joke] Thing is you get the feeling that it was a much loved home at this time, whereas the first set of pictures taken recently demonstrate how it has become a prison.

They say a picture speaks a thousand words, and who am I to dispute such a statement, but in honesty without at least a few words most photographs mean very little. So how about this, at the time of these photographs there were two dogs who featured at the house, they lived outside in kennels, and were like hunting dogs, never offered the opportunity to bask in front of an open hearth. For their part they would bark and generally deter any intruders, but secretly they were pussycats. But being dobbermans that was not allowed!

Christmas 1996, we, that is my daughters and I spent the festive season house sitting the Gardens House for the then leaseholder. The two doberman dogs looked enviously through the french doors each day as we languished in front of the crackling open fire. We eventually succumbed and offered them the fireside!! Afterwards they were always keen to enter the house, our absent hosts were never sure what had caused the change! They often said, Don't know why those dogs hang about outside the french doors, looking to come into the house?

An amusing, but also tragic tale can be safely related now, all these years later! The events occurred during that brief Christmas stay, apart from house sitting we were looking after the pets; the doberman dogs, family cat and a hamster! Naturally we did our best to look after the menagerie. We were asked to ensure that different species were kept apart, but sadly an ajar door left overnight permitted the cat to make a night raid on the dormitory, of the hamster, how it got through the small door in the cage I have no idea. The next morning on discovering several dismembered parts of a small rodent, I realised the magnitude of the problem. The cat of course was heavily asleep in an armchair, having dined on fresh hamster meat! What were we to do... panic set in, but we eventually recognised that if we could find a substitute, after burying the remains of the original, for a new one, then all would be well when the family returned. So we set about finding a replacement that was similar in size and colouring, all this between Christmas and New Year!

Thereafter I thought no more about the horrors of that morning discovery, but then during a discussion with the husband of the family, some months later, he surprised me by saying how the hamster, had given birth to a litter, which was most odd since it had never met another hampster all the time they had had it!! Yes, we had overlooked a crucial fact, the original hamster was a male and the replacement was female, which we would have got away with had she not have been pregnant! Of course I never let on... but the hamster is out of the bag now, so to speak.

Sadly during the course of 1996 burglars threw dosed meat over the enclosing walls, and the dogs ate it, one dying from the poison. The other recovered, but was never the same again. Of course the burglars were never reprimanded, just another crime statistic.