Saturday, 18 June 2011

Moggerhanger Park

Some of you will know that my job involves training people in IT Service Management. Although I normally teach in one our own Company's dedicated Training Centres, I do also often deliver training either at a customer's own premises or at a 'neutral' venue, like a conference centre or hotel. This week I have been at Moggerhanger Park, near Sandy, in Bedfordshire.

This is a Georgian stately home which had fallen into disrepair, and is now being slowly resurrected as a venue for functions such as training, conferences, weddings etc. It is also open to the general public, with a tearoom, some exhibits such as a museum of Slavery (a former owner was heavily involved in the Abolition movement), and countryside walks in its 42 acres of grounds.

Just about every aspect of the main house is symmetrical. In the main Dining Room (referred to curiously as the Eating Room), there are two huge French windows, through which you can see the garden, but if you are sitting with your back to these windows you see two matching alcoves at the back of the room in which there used to be (and soon will be again, I understand) two huge mirrors, by means of which you would be able to see the same view of the garden as everyone else. Cunning!

Although the house still needs a lot of work done on it (much of which is already in progress), it is a pleasant change for me to be working in a place with such a lot of character. Totally different to our Training Centre in Holborn, for instance! At Lunch time and at the end of the day, you can wander around the grounds and chill out, admiring the scenery and wildlife. There is not yet much to see in the way of "proper" gardens, but there are some lovely old trees, including Copper Beech and one really spectacular conifer (a type of Larch, if I'm not mistaken).

The cones on this tree are absolutely stunning - a sort of purple-pink colour, making a subtle contrast to the silvery-grey foliage. In my next photo you can see the resin seeping out of one of the cones. Imagine the "piney" aroma exuding from it...

The cones obviously appeal to the local squirrel.population. Lots of them had been completely nibbled away. They reminded me of empty spindles in a cotton-mill.

And here's one for all the animal-lovers: the estate maintains a flock of "heritage" sheep. I'm not sure exactly what breed they are, but they are mostly black- and brown-coloured ones. Not Jacob's Sheep I  think, because they didn't have any horns.

Through the open windows of our training-room drifted the plaintive calls of this year's 23 young lambs. Baaa, Baaa, Black Sheep! (or more like "Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah")

Next week's jaunt is to Chessington World of Adventures - should be a complete contrast of styles! And I'm going for business reasons, not for pleasure, I must point out!)


P.S. Today is Lara's second Birthday. Happy Birthday, Lara!


  1. First Happy birthday Lara.
    Lovely place to work mark I think I would be distracted by the sheep.

  2. Nice to get out of the austere corporate environment!

  3. Interesting building (I hope they plan to do a bita landscaping). Big '2', hope the family had a good day!

  4. Hello Mark, I have a lot of catching up to do with blog visiting, and you're so prolific (like your garden!) that I'm going to have trouble!
    I'm reading Bill Bryson's latest book about the story of the home, and discovering all the different names that the rooms in our houses used to have. So 'eating room' doesn't surprise me.
    Love the sticky larch cones. Makes me homesick for the pine forests of Speyside where I grew up.

  5. After teaching I became an IT consultant for Wakefield LA which meant training teachers in how to use IT in the classroom. Our base was Woolley Hall also a beautiful large house in it's own grounds.

  6. Happy Birthday Lara! I was all ready to comment on the lovely building, but then I saw the grass... Th first picture with the sheep in it could have been taken here! Brown Grass??? In England???

    ps black and brown sheep? Seriously? Mark, I can say my potatoes are yellow and purple, but from you, I expect type, history, latin and alternate names.

  7. Happy Birthday Lara! What present did you received from grandpapa?

  8. Diana; our present to Lara was a thing called a Funpod - it is a tall thin box-like contraption with a raised floor (a bit like a miniature church pulpit!), in which a child can stand in order to safely participate in cooking activities with its parents.

  9. Happy Birthday Lara, Big 2! A nice change of venue indeed Mark. Thanks for taking some cool pics of the scenery!


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