Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cobwebs and Cream Teas by Mary Mackie

Title: Cobwebs and Cream Teas: A Year in the Life of a National Trust House
Author: Mary Mackie
ISBN: 9780752834108
Publisher: Orion Publishing, 2001
Paperback, 175 pages
Genre: Memoirs
Rating: B
Source: Purchased from Alibris.

First Line: Remembering our first encounter with Felbrigg Hall, I'm irresistibly reminded of all the horror movies I've ever seen.

Author Mary Mackie's husband feared being tied to a desk for the rest of his working life; their children had "grown and flown"; and as a freelance writer, Mary's work could be done anywhere. When the position of Houseman at Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk, England became available, Mr. Mackie applied and was given the job. This slender volume recounts a part of their lives spent in this National Trust house.

I spent an enjoyable hour or two reading of the library in the house, the things the couple discovered while they worked there, and just the daily tasks that are expected of a Houseman (one of which involves walking fifteen miles on a slow afternoon-- without ever leaving the Hall).

Mackie has a light touch and a good sense of humor which combines well with the information she packs in this book. She continues her memoirs of life in this stately home in an additional two volumes-- Dry Rot and Daffodils and Frogspawn and Floor Polish-- and I look forward to reading both of these as well because I cannot resist sampling the histories of old houses, large and small.


  1. Barbara-- It is! A refreshing change of pace from reading all my crime fiction!

  2. Oh I love memoirs like this too - maybe because this would be an ultimate dream of mine!

  3. This sounds like something right up my alley -- thanks for highlighting it, and enjoy your holidays :)

  4. Leah-- It used to be one of mine, too, but now with a lot of my own DIY and remodeling behind me, I'd be more than willing to pay a crew to do the work while I sat and supervised! LOL

    TBG-- I hope you get a chance to read it, too. :)


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