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Back in October, when I first started looking for potential locations for Follies for Follies, I was intrigued by an estate near Stafford, which not only had a vibrant programme of events and educational workshops, but a considerable number of follies! There's the Cat Monument, the Temple of the Winds, and even the Shepherd's Monument, which has links to the Holy Grail, plus several others...but it was "The Ruin" a partially destroyed folly on the bank of the river Sow, that interested me most. I mean, a ruin that was always intended as a ruin, with a druid on top...what's not to like?

Time intervened, and after initial contact, it took a while to get ducks into rows, but yesterday, agent munchkin and I braved the just-under-three-hour drive across the Peak District to meet Corinne Caddy, Sales/Interpretation and Events Manager for Shugborough Estate, to discuss a potential Shugborough 'follification'. Corinne's office sports a genuine massive old cooking range (complete with squeaky rat in the oven, which kept the munchkin happy), and we very quickly settled on both potential timings and "The Ruin" as our folly of choice.

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As soon as we finished our talk, munchkin and I returned to the folly to snap countless photos (many of them puzzling to other passers-by, such as oblique angles, and seemingly uninteresting details) - what I was looking for were flat surfaces, to develop the plan...to replace the pigeons which used to be part of the folly (including a pigeon house) with glass versions. I think I might fit one into the druid's 'missing bit' (see right).

After 'work', we had a chance to visit the estate's museum, which includes a warren of servants' quarters, kitchens, shops, dressing rooms, an old school room, and others...every now and then, we'd meet a 'resident' in full costume, and munchkin had a chance to do laundry as they would have done 'in the olden days', grind sugar, and play with replica Victorian toys.

The folly is confirmed, and 'follification' will take place over the last week-end in September - I will post updates on the folly's page, and, of course, on Facebook.

 


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