Wednesday, 26 January 2011

I Found Bill's Word!

I think it just goes to show that all good things come to those who read enough (or, as in my case, way too much).  You'll recall that just the other day I mentioned my frustration at never being able to validate Bill's choice of the word 'policies'.  New readers may not realise we have a habit of referring to our three (used to be four, but now there is a large landing) bedroomed semi-detached (sort of like a duplex) house with attached garage, front and back gardens (a very middling house) in grand terms:  the East Wing (bedroom), the West Wing, the Dining Hall, the Theatre (the landing with the TV) and the Policies (the grounds outside the house).  What with having started the seedlings (little leeks already peeking!) in the Box Room (a legit name) I may begin referring to it as the Garden Room or perhaps the Conservatory.

Anyhow, I was sitting reading a library book, Memories of Ninety Years, by Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.  On page 32 she is saying 
"The family bus was a horse-drawn waggonette, sitting five aside facing each other.  The policies at Dalkeith stood between the North and South Esk."
 Don't you know I was thrilled to bits!  (Yes, I have been told I'm easily amused.)  

The Princess (a title given as a courtesy by her neice, the present Queen, so she didn't have to be a 'Dowager Duchess' - always makes me think of a humped back, that title) talks about her many homes, both before and after marrying the Queen's uncle Henry.   Princess Anne's father was John, the 7th Duke of Buccleuch and the 9th Duke of Queensberry.  (I'm always amazed when they have more than one title, as though one wouldn't be amply sufficient for anyone; no wonder there aren't enough to go around to everybody.)

Montagu House, in London, now part of the offices at Whitehall, has two Wikipedia entries for some reason, possibly to do with its life as a house vs being an office. This is where the extended family and servants, as many as 68 people, lived during The Season in London.  With one indoor toilet.  (I'd no idea that the present Queen abolished the ritual presentation of debutantes to court in 1958.  I'm sure it was dreadfully boring, but really!)

Eildon Hall, in the area of Scotland referred to as the Scottish Borders, near Newtown St Boswells.  This is where they always went in July, after The Season.  They travelled up by train.  Their own train.

Drumlanrig Castle, in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, belonged to her grandparents.  It appears to be a hotel now.  The children visited between September and Christmas, during hunting season.  

Dalkeith House, AKA Dalkeith Palace, is on the outskirts of Edinburgh.  This was where the family traditionally spent Christmas and New Years until 1914, the year of the Great War and of her grandfather's death.  It was opened in 1982 for the marriage of Princess Anne's nephuew.  It is currently "European study centre for the University of Wisconsin USA, accommodating some 80 students at a time."  Hmmmm.

Bowhill, in Scotland, is still the home of the present Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry, but it is open part of the year to visitors.

That's as far as I've got with the book, so we'll have to pick this up again sometime.  Before I go, I would mention that it does no good to put 'policies' into Google, not even with Scottish legal terms.  I did find that if one Googled 'castles' and 'policies' that a wonderful list of properties in Scotland appeared.  Even better, however, the Gazetteer for Scotland that shows you the map of the Scottish Borders, also provides a glossary:

Policy:  In Scotland a policy is the name given to the designed landscape surrounding a mansion.

So, Bill's got his retirement job cut out for him, eh, maintaining the policies...


Tish Jett said...

Love your post Shelley. No one can read too much. It's not possible (I say as tasks that need attending pile up around me).

You still don't know do you?

You won in the drawing for Betty Lou's book!

Please send me your address and I'll give it to BL to forward to her publisher.

You can e-mail me at

Hope this makes you happy.

Warmest regards,

Frugal Scholar said...

Oh, I'd love to read that book. Hoping I can find it in these parts.

Jo said...

We are all products of those we were raised by or the area we were raised in. Words and phrases pop out of our mouths without our thinking. Not being raised in this area, I know I get strange looks occasionally when speaking.