My Dearest & Treasured Reader,
In jubilant celebration of what has been one of the most memorably exciting summer holidays for me I am keen to present to You the spectacularly amusing but no less touching photo-diary of my fantabulous girly getaway with one of my closest and dearest friends, Samka! Nestled in picturesque rolling green acres of English countryside, where lime trees, oaks, elms and beeches lushly abound, a stately 17th Century manor house – the sort Austen, Bronte and even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would gladly make accommodation for a weekend of quality writing, away from those prying eyes of the madcap city – two girls in their middle age decidedly made it their bespoke sanctuary!
A breath-taking labyrinthine castle steeped in aristocratic aesthetics, the luxurious gardens and high classical columns grandly erected on the outside of the building were enough to impress on us that we were about to be thoroughly pampered and quite justifiably so, it was about high time that our feet indulged in a restful break from the countless adventures the both of us had accrued over the summer!
Each room felt that it had been authenticated by the distinguishable air of a royal presence. Paintings and wall murals gilded in aged gold, armchairs made of the finest upholstery, and walls plastered in the most attractive of decorative designs inspired from the botanica of the natural world besieged our breaths. Oh and do not get me started on the business of the etiquette of serving tea!! Dapper waiters in pristine white shirts and black waistcoats, glided across the room with the most adorable of smiley faces, bending down to take our orders and, my goodness me, I cannot tell You precisely the number of times we sent the chaps to fetch us tea! It would be madness to declare a number for I fear You may never want to read my works again! And when the high tea arrived, in a decorous arrangement of a silver teapot and a merry-go-round of fine bone china cups, saucers and milk jugs, I was literally over the moon to discover that my tea had come to me in loose leaf form – a far more superior incarnation when the matter of taste is concerned! As the seductive fumes of Lapsang Souchang tea languidly rose from our cups, gunpowder and smoky and golden, Samka and I sat back in our comfortable armchairs in the the palatial lounge room and let out deep long sighs in unison! Ah, what joy it is when after the turbulence of activity, rest finally comes, in soothing, lulling waves…
ENOUGH OF THE LADYSHIP ACT! We did not rest, how could we do so when I had my electronic steed at my heels!? GIGGLE, GIGGLE! After guzzling down several doses of the jolly brew, we jumped up and nearly scared the circle of businessmen out of their wits who were stationed at the back of the room! My research had equipped me with the privileged knowledge that the building had oodles of rooms to explore and since the day outside was as grim as the grim reaper’s cloak, the bucketing of downpours never wanting to stop, I suggested to Samka that we venture into all the rooms and hidden corners and harness the different qualities and textures of ambient light and that she be my model! Samka never shies away from my lens, she is well-resourced with a natural flair for wanting to strut her beautiful face whenever the orders are despatched from me! How immensely convenient that I should have such a pliable friend in my circle! Giggle, giggle!
In my instance, Photography and the art of Visual Storytelling are not chores or the exacting of a business deal, it is a passion that has made acquaintance with my life pulse and for which there is no rest. I sincerely pray that as You scroll through the Lainston House photo-diary You, too, will be satisfactorily appeased when I say that, despite what appearances may suggest as one sees me rushing about with my equipment at a time when leisure and rest is prescribed and expected of, to click away like a Mad Hatter is a most pleasurable habit that serves to renew my spirits time and time again.
As is my modus operandi, I request that You have as Your accomplice the finest brew of tea at Your side before proceeding to view my gallery of visual treats! A caption as short as me is provided under each image and should Your eyes be of a lazy constitution then may I suggest that You click on the picture of interest for a size tantamount to a blue whale’s bottom! Giggle, giggle!
I raise my teacup in salutary style to You, my most beloved Reader, for though You remain hidden to my mortal eyes the sustenance of Your Faith and Love in my Vision is the reason why I am blessed to wake up to not one but two sets of dawns every morning… :)) :)) :))
You know I am eternally Yours,
“I dare say, have You ever laid eyes on a more beautiful librarian in Your life?! I was tempted to pull the spines of each book forward because I fancied that by doing so one of them would activate a hidden mechanism and a secret door would slide open…”
“Samka stylishly walked across the lounge towards the warmly lit bar and effortlessly perched herself on the high stool, casually letting her eyes glide around the room as if she owned the entire place! I would have required an abseiling crew to reach the summit of those stools so I made peace with my fate and continued to click away from afar…!”
“Samka has just spotted her knight in shining armour galloping towards the window, a Mr Gerard Butler I am told! What remarkable similarity in her frame to that of the sentinel watchers of the meerkat community…!”
“Why is a raven like a writing desk? A trademark addiction, I cannot help but to deploy this wriggling riddle onto my loved ones and, as You can gather quite clearly, Samka’s loss of an answer caused her to resign to chewing on her spectacles…!”
“We were stomping up and down the stairs with the tread pressure of an angry rhino! In a bid to hide from the Manager we lay low for a bit which also proffered us valuable time to have out breaths return to normal…!”
“Samka considers a potential upgrade! You can never go wrong with a sturdy pair of British Wellingtons…!”
“Unlike my unconventional abstinence from the noisy world of the Smartphone, Samka relishes hers like it was her own baby! Her we can see her checking us in on Facebook which I always find to be the most strangest thing one can ever do! I asked her with cheeky retort whether Facebook requires us to check out as well and does it overcharge if we were to stay a little longer…?!”
“I was obviously too preoccupied with fiddling with the settings on my camera because the next time I looked up, to my astonishment, my friend was bathed in the most exquisite afternoon light that had at last poured itself free out of the entanglements of rain and leaden clouds…”
“Samka was fierce in her insistence that she ought to revise my understanding of how that game of games, Chess, is truly played! I gulped hard and long, suddenly her shoes had become as imposing and domineering as the gaze of the blackest raven…”
“The Pillars of Friendship, my claims may not be of modest proportions and apologies if they taste of flamboyant grandiosity but, as she reached her arm round to hug the pillar, its warm and supportive effect was felt in my own heart…”
“Oh my dearest Samka, abandon thy efforts to solve the riddle on ravens and writing desks and take stock of that Gerard Butler coming at you from across the lawn…!”
“Samka, I can explain a great many things but on the pressing issue of why your anorak was born of short collars, I must step down in defeat and beg that you seek an alternative counsel to help rid you of your burning puzzlement…!”
“It was a feast for my senses to know that irrespective of the mundane or dull or uninspiring corners of the estate, in concerted effort my friend and the ambient light preyed upon such atmospheres and in their place could instil a renewed focal point of interest such as to give rise to the impression that in an old place a new tale was about to be told…!”
“You are well acclimatized to the fact that I fancy the smoking dragon of the tracks – steam trains to be precise – but my Samka is bred with the more popular passion for ‘boxes with circles’! I simply adore the pride she wears on her face and body for her moving polygonal baby, it would be a gross injustice if I had foregone this opportunity to document this relationship on camera. Do not ask me where my head came up to when I sat in the front passenger seat, I do believe Samka at one point grab held my head thinking it was the gear stick…!”
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Sparsholt | Hampshire | UK 2015