|A Georgian Heaven (standard:non fiction, 3531 words)|
|Author: Cyrano||Added: Dec 08 2008||Views/Reads: 1672/993||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|WARNING! There is abusive language in this story. My defense is simply that this is a factual account. The foul language was spoken by an impish young man, whom gave me joy. This story is for Grace Wellers, whose beauty has never left me.|
The secretary was correct; having passed the lightning struck oak tree I couldn't miss the entrance. I steer my Triumph Herald under the impressive stone arch, between the rustic iron gates secured back with chains, tyres crunching over the pebble driveway. I'm immediately struck by the vibrancy of the beautifully manicured gardens and beyond, the imposing grandeur of a Georgian country mansion. Mindful of the posted 5 mph speed limit under the word ‘children' I creep onward around the curve, passing a fountain on which a fat tabby is cleaning its face until the magnificence of the building is seen close up. Stained glass windows reflect the early morning sunshine, edged in what I can only describe as stone embroidery. I drive my car to a white sign ‘Visitors' and climb out. The forecast is bright sunshine; I'll leave the hood folded down. It leaks like a sieve anyway. I collect up my bulky kit bag from the rear seat, throwing it over my shoulder, and climb the mosaic stone steps to the porch and enter apprehensively between two large oak doors fastened back by a brass hook. The lobby's interior is exquisitely decorated, elegance as only money can do, with a plush deep wine-red carpet. Strong but elaborate furniture marks the feel, dominated as it is by a large round black mahogany table, topped with a white sculptured bust. I continue across the lobby, entering into the Main Hall. A large spit-roasting fireplace flickers with gas lit imitation logs. The high vault ceiling, carved in a frieze of the heavens, constellations and moons in all their artistic glory, offers a palatial feel, yet there's a feel of cosiness. The card-mounted notice sitting on a well-varnished fruitwood table instructs visitors to sign the guest book and ring the bell for attention. Both of which I do, and wait. Also on the table, pamphlets on mental health care, child abuse, and envelopes for those wishing to leave donations. From deep within the building, I hear the tip-tap sound of a woman approaching. Her entrance is strong and positive. “You must be Kelly, welcome to Red House. I'm Helen Roberts.” Ms. Roberts, dark hair tied back tightly, primly dressed in a two-piece tweed outfit, a ruffle of cream chiffon blossoming from a jacket on which a beautifully ornate Victorian style broach completes the perfection. She peers over dark rimmed spectacles precariously balanced on the end of her nose, holding out her hand toward me. I accept its lifelessness into mine. “Yes, thank you for allowing me to come, Ms. Roberts.” “Not at all, thank you for your offer. The children are looking forward to meeting you. Have you signed the guest book?” “I have ma'am.” “Very good. Okay - let me take up to meet Grace, she's our longest serving care worker. This way.” We ascend the ornate curved staircase side by side. Valuable pieces of artwork hang on the walls within easy reach. At the top, we turn left along a dimly lit corridor of closed doors, then right into another huge room. It's empty, but magnificent. “Two hundred years ago this was the ballroom. This is the only architecture of its kind in the country, though several exist in Germany. ” She halts briefly, allowing me a moment to take it the beauty of the plasterwork. “Whenever the weather is not suitable for our children to play outside we play games in here.” This surprises me because the ballroom has three gorgeous crystal chandeliers hanging low from the oval centre of the Rococo style ceiling showing the Four Elements. We continue across the room passing through Rosewood doors that lead to Click here to read the rest of this story (450 more lines)
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