Thursday, 15 November 2012

Dying a Thousand Deaths



I have always been a sucker for castles. Living in Canada my options to view castles are very limited. I am sure there are more than a few modern castles out there, but they are in private hands and wandering the halls is not only frowned upon, but it’s also called trespassing which carries a fine of $2000 for the first offence and up to $5000 for subsequent offences. I’ve checked.
 
The first real castle I saw was Casa Loma in Toronto. It was built over a period of three years for Sir Henry Pellat between 1911 and 1914. There is all sorts of information available about it on the web, and it is pretty interesting, but for me the best part was that I got to go with a school group. I can’t remember how old I was or what grade, but I do remember being very impressed with the building. I must have been fairly old, because I wandered off and found my way to a tunnel that went under the road to the stables. I didn’t get to the stables because that end of the tunnel was locked. Still, I did get to see a part of the casa that most people aren’t allowed to see. I think that I will look into a tour the next time I find myself in good old Toronto.
 
The castle that I am most familiar with is the Banff Springs Hotel. Louise and I just love the place. Not enough to want to stay there, but we do go a couple of times a year. I especially like to go just before Christmas. The setting is perfect for Christmas and the staff decorates the hell out of the old girl. 
There is always a ginger bread Banff Springs hotel and there are hundreds of trees throughout the halls and common areas. The photo opportunities are just amazing. There are circular staircases which are designed for defence against sword wielding attackers. They probably wouldn’t be much good against someone with an Uzi or a Kalashnakov, but thankfully Banff has yet to be invaded by any hostile forces. The next time you find yourself in Banff, make a point of stopping at the Banff Springs. I have heard that the rooms aren’t anything special, but a few years ago there were upgrades made so who knows?
 
The only other castle I have been to was at Lewes in England. It was a really and truly castle. It had it all and more. We spent an afternoon wandering through the rooms, grounds and turrets. It was built in 1069 by Willian De Warenne. I’m assuming that he had some serious enemies that he wanted to keep away from. I took hundreds of pictures and every now and then I look at them and think back to that afternoon.

The reason that I am talking about castles is that I made a promise to Hurricane and I spent part of today keeping my word. I mentioned a while ago that it would be neat to have a (secret) passage from the room I made for the boys under the stairs to what is Louise’s sewing room’s closet. The last time he was here, he went downstairs and came up kind of dejected because there was no secret door. I promised him that the next time he came over there would be a special door for him. Louise was talking to Arwen and she told Hurricane that Poppa might not get the doorway done because he is busy. Hurricane looked at her like she was crazy and said “It will be there because Poppa promised”.

I haven’t always kept promises to my children and I have let down the grandkids more than a few times, but not this time. To Hurricane and Tornado it will be like they are exploring Casa Loma, The Banff Springs Hotel and Lewes Castle all rolled into one. Their imaginations will have them fighting the bad guys with the foam swords and shooting the nerf darts. I imagine I will be the target of a few of those sword thrusts. I am looking forward to dying a thousand deaths.

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