So, to take my mind off warm fantasies I am currently reading Henry: Virtuous Prince by David Starkey (with a frightful cover design). So far, I cannot put it down. Starkey writes in an incredibly accessible way. I have, perhaps a misplaced notion that non-fiction is often dry and laborious but this is a real page turner.
It has also reminded me of one of my favourite places in London. Eltham Palace was Henry VIII's childhood home. Now owned by English Heritage, the ruined medieval palace was bought by the millionaires Stephen and Virginia Courtauld who built an extraordinarily stunning Art Deco mansion on the site. The original Great Hall exists and medieval and Art Deco architecture sit side by side and work together to present an outstanding and unique palace.
The Courtaulds turned the ruined moat into a lawn.
The medieval Great Hall, built by Edward IV in the 1470s
I Capture the Castle
The ornate Art Deco interior is beautiful but my favourite room was Stephen's bathroom. I love the pattern on these curtains and the colours of the leaves against the blue tiles. The simplicity of his choice of decor is both striking and comforting. In contrast, Virginia's bathroom was covered in gold mosaic tiles, containted a Grecian statue and boasted a rather large mirror framed with lightbulbs.
Before I return to my longing for the warmth of spring I have to announce the winner of the copy of Iris Murdoch's The Book and the Brotherhood that Random House kindly gave me to offer for my book giveaway. I am pleased to let Hannah Stoneham know that she is the winner! Just email me with your address and I will pop it in the post. Thank you to everyone who entered - I hope that some of you will go out and read an Iris Murdoch - perhaps in the warmth of the sun in your local park?