Elizabeth has ensnared Fergus and they start their married life together at the run-down family pile, Silkwoods in Gloucestershire.
Defining Moment 5 – Lady of the Manor
“I’m not a snob. I’m just better than everyone else.”
Season Vining, Perfect Betrayal
Silkwoods was not what Elizabeth was expecting, Fergus had often waxed lyrical about the home he loved so much and she had envisaged building along the lines of Sudley Castle. Somewhere she could throw herself into the role of the lady of the manor and open a wing or two to the public a few times a year if she felt like it.
Historically, Silkwoods was one of the finest Cotswold stone manor houses in Gloucestershire. Originally built in the 16thcentury as a farmhouse, it had been extended over the years. It nestled comfortably into a hillside in the Churn valley, surrounded by idyllic woodland with tributaries of the Churn darting and bubbling through the lush green pasture. Picture postcard idyllic in the summer but a bloody nightmare to get in and out of when it snowed like hell in the winter.
Its rambling, barn-like qualities with priest holes in both the roof and the fireplace in the morning room, served as a vacuum for the wind to whistle through the whole house, whichever way it blew. The wooden floorboards, some as old as the house, creaked and groaned when being walked on and the limestone slab flooring, which covered most of the ground floor, added to the chill.
She woke every morning to the musty smell of archaic bricks and mortar. There were spiders the size of her fist in the sink and the old plumbing groaned when she ran a bath, the taps spewed out brown coloured water with slivers of rust in it. If that wasn’t bad enough, it was miles away from anywhere and she couldn’t just step outside and hail a taxi.
‘It’s like living in the Dark Ages!’ she would mumble under her breath. ‘I half expect to come downstairs in the mornings to find Benedictine Monks helping themselves to the contents of the bloody drinks cupboard.’