Located near Oundle, Lyveden New Bield is unlike any other National Trust property I’ve ever visited. The vision of Sir Thomas Tresham, Lyveden was supposed to be a beautiful addition to his manor house for guests to enjoy, with the intention being they’d begin at his home and walk through orchards and gardens overflowing with colours, smells and textures until they eventually reached the garden lodge.
Unfortunately, Sir Thomas’ dream was never fully realised and to this day Lyveden has remained unfinished, and perhaps more amazingly unchanged from when the workers downed tools upon hearing of Sir Thomas’ death in 1605.
Beth takes her eight-year-old daughter Carmel to a storytelling fair, and when Carmel gets frustrated with her mother’s overprotective nature she convinces Beth to let her roam a book tent without holding her hand. In the flurry of people mother and daughter are separated, and when Carmel goes looking for her mother a man claiming to be her estranged grandfather tells Carmel that her mother has been knocked down by a car while looking for her.
After taking Carmel to live with him and his partner Dorothy, he delivers the grave news that her mother is dead and her father wants nothing to do with her. Soon Carmel is in America with her grandfather, Dorothy and Dorothy’s two daughters, and she’s been told her hands have special healing powers.
Meanwhile at home, Beth and Paul are growing frantic wondering if they will ever see their little girl again.
It’s receiving rave reviews, with Charlie Stemp’s portrayal of Arthur Kipps being praised by critics everywhere.
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel Kipps by HG Wells, Half a Sixpence tells the tale of apprentice draper Arthur. As a young man he leaves his childhood home to work, giving his childhood sweetheart, Ann, half a sixpence to remember him by. Fast forward to the present day, Arthur hasn’t been home to visit much and has become quite taken with Miss Helen Walsingham, a customer at the shop.
When Arthur is knocked over by Mr Chitterlow, an eccentric playwright and former actor who reveals to him that he’s the heir to a fortune, Arthur is soon rubbing shoulders with the richer folks in town, and while it allows him to get closer to Helen it also puts him on a different path, and it isn’t one he’s sure he likes.
Now, I know what you’re going to say. ‘We’re five days into 2017. Number 1 isn’t she a bit late with the motivational new year’s thing? And number 2 old me? Why old me?’
Well, number 1 today is the 12th day of Christmas, so y’know, New Year can start tomorrow, and number 2, my rather lovely other half gifted me with a trip away and tickets to a show as part of my Christmas present. That happens to be taking place this weekend, so really New Year is starting on Monday for me.
And with that in mind, from Monday I am striving not for a new me but for the old me.