We moved to take up a post in Mellerstain House, the home of the 13th Earl of Haddington and his family.
Our home was in the east wing of this stately home, which was built in 1725 by William Adam. The west wing housed the Earl and family.
The main central house wasn't built until about 40 years later by the son of William Adam, Robert - one of the best architects ever.
This is the southern aspect of Mellerstain House with the formal gardens in the foreground.
Here is the Stone Hall, which is the first room that visitors see when they enter the east wing. On the extreme left, through the archway, is a centuries old stone spiral staircase which leads to where our home was. A wonderful and spacious apartment of some ten rooms, two bathrooms and large kitchen. It was just amazing.
This is the music room, originally the main dining room. During the year there would be some wonderful musical events, followed by a supper in one of the lower rooms. Classical music given by some truly superb artistes. I used to love assisting with these evenings, greeting the musicians and singers and the audience. There would be approximately 80 guests at these evenings.
Here is a view of the superb library. This is probably the best room in Mellerstain House. The beautiful plasterwork designed by Robert Adam was inspired by his visits to Europe which depict various historical and mythical themes. A truly amazing room.
South of the house is a large lake, home to two lovely swans who give birth to a family of cygnets annually. As and when these baby swans grow large enough they leave their Mellerstain lake home and leave Mum and Dad swan to enjoy their peaceful existence. Hence the term 'empty nesters'
We left this idyllic part of the Borders in September 2012 to be closer to our daughter Clare and our two grandchildren. It was lovely to be able to see them more often without the long and tiring drive south each time. But it was so very sad to leave Mellerstain and all those we had come to know and love. In this parting photograph Pat and I are seated in the front. To the right of Pat is Isobel, youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Haddington. We first met Isobel when she was five years young. Just behind me is the lovely Countess Jane Haddington and behind her is Lord John Haddington, the 13th earl. Beside John Haddington are the housekeepers and, on the right, Gordon, the gardener; he does a remarkable job in tending these award-winning gardens.
I am in a reminiscent mood, hence this posting. We shall, one day, return to Mellerstain for a nostalgic visit. May have to go by train or plane. The long drive may be a tad too much for this aging old couple. We do miss this lovely place. We really do.
All the photographs are courtesy of Mellerstain House of course.