Monday morning I was so excited that I woke up early – 6:30 in fact. It’s the usual time I get up for school but my class didn’t begin until 10 and I didn’t have to be there until 9:30. It was a long time to wait! A little after 9 am I caught the bus to Hampton Court and got off just past the front gates.
It was a beautiful, sunny morning – one of the very few lately in England – and as I came through the gates the palace was back lit by the sun coming up. I walked down the long drive soaking up the atmosphere and dreaming of kings and queens and courtiers.
Seeing all the chimneys in silhouette was magical.
The first stop was reception. This building is before the restricted area and all new students must stop there first. Prior to arrival I had to fill out paperwork so I could be given security clearance. That’s only reasonable considering all the priceless historical treasures that are in the palace!
At reception I was issued with a pass which I was required to wear at all times. Then I was met and taken upstairs to the RSN.
First we walked through this very small doorway – I had to duck! Can you imagine how old this door is? The stone surround?
On the other side of the door I found myself next to the privy kitchens of Henry VIII. Just on the right side in the photo are the kitchens. Of course, I arrived before the palace was open to visitors so no one was there. Magic!
Down a few hallways, around a corner, past a rope barricade and through a door to the stairs going up to the RSN classroom. Look carefully at the center of the steps. Can you see how it’s been replaced with new stone? Worn away from hundreds of years of people walking up them. These stairs are older than my country!
At the top, a small, unprepossessing door with a little sign on it. An old lock and newer brass knob. An antique doorbell on the wall. The RSN.
Up a few stairs where we have tea every morning – more about that next time – and through the library. Lots and lots and lots of embroidery books. Old and new.
Turn the corner and into the classroom! Trestles for 12 students, a big table in the middle for drawing, mounting, making notes and those wonderful round windows. The lights have daylight bulbs so the lighting is superb. The view from the window is of Hampton Court Palace gardens with the ancient yew trees standing in rows.
Students began to come in and the room filled up. The tutors arrived, said good morning and we got to work. All I could think was “I feel so lucky!!!”
Is it what you expected? Can you imagine being there?