Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that I work in a castle, and as a lover of history it is a real privilege to have access to areas that are never usually seen, or noticed, by the public. But I’m going to share with you today my favourite hidden treasure from the whole castle.
Tucked on a side wall, just under the roof, and recessed into the wall is this –
‘DO WEIL AND DREID NOGHT’, which I assume means ‘do well and dread nought’ (in a Scottish accent!)
Carefully carved and beautifully framed you would think it would be displayed proudly at the front of the building rather then almost hidden on the side and too high to be deciphered from the ground. In fact it is only seen clearly from one window that overlooks it on the opposite side. This window doesn’t look out from any of the grand formal rooms, just a small, unassuming bathroom on the first floor nursery wing.
It took me a long time to realise that actually it was in the ideal place and was the perfect view for that bathroom. It was an instruction to each generation of children, future Lords & Ladies, to do their best and not to be afraid of anything. What an amazing motto to live by, and it was reinforced every morning when they brushed their teeth at the sink under the window overlooking it. I’m sure Braveheart’s parents said something very similar when waving him off to save Scotland!
This afternoon I stood in front of another window, open this time with a cool breeze drifting through, and tackled a mountain of ironing while listening to an audio book (aptly named Wool) and catching glimpses of the farmer outside as his tractor rhythmically went to and fro, not unlike my iron, as it turned over the soil followed by a huge flock of gulls hungrily following and greedily feasting on the worms it uncovered. The birds were singing, the sun was unexpectedly shining, and I realised again that I had found another perfect view that even made ironing a pleasurable, satisfying experience! Sometimes it’s the most unobtrusive, simple things that make you pause, take a deep breath and simply feel happy.