Wednesday, 22 July 2009
The Earl and Countess of Haddington
Mellerstain House is the only large country mansion built solely by Robert Adam. His father, William, built the east and west wings in the early 1700s but the main house is by his more famous son Robert.
Robert Adam built a large place in London called The Adelphi Terrace but this was largely demolished some 80 years ago. Robert Adam's main works were extensions and alterations to existing houses therefore Mellerstain House is unique. It is also most beautifully designed inside. Exquisite plaster-work, especially on the ceilings, needs to be seen to be believed.
I still can't believe that this place became our home for a few years. I think the word serendipity applies. Life just happens, does it not? No matter how clever we think we are we have no control over the way life treats us.
OK, we all end up in the same way, sooner or later, but what happens along life's highway is, more often than not, luck. Well, that's my story - and I'm sticking to it!
It was pure luck that my wife and I ended up here in the Scottish Borders, living in part of Mellerstain House, the family home of the Earl and Countess of Haddington. Two of the nicest people on God's earth. Two of the best people I've ever known.
Above is a recent snapshot of them, taken from part of their website. The Earl is holding one of his chickens. He is extremely fond of birds and has an aviary in his courtyard with various and colourful examples. Elsewhere there are the free-range chickens and cockerels and on the lake there are two resident swans.
The swans produce up to eight or so cygnets each year. Swans are said to be lifelong mates but this year it seems that there are two female swans now residing on the lake. Ménage à trois mayhap?
One of the great pleasures when living here is meeting people from all over the world who come to the UK and discover Mellerstain House. The vast majority fall in love with the place. Some of them have become friends of ours. None of this would have happened without Lady Luck holding my hand for all of my life.
I don't know if there are ghosts. Or if there is a God. Or if there are leprechauns, fairies and angels.
But I do know Lady Luck exists - for all of us.