“Roll back the carpets and let’s dance!” At least that’s what used to happen in this room.
Soon after we had completed the renovations/restoration, I invited the stalwart volunteers who staff the New Norfolk Visitor Information Centre for morning tea and a look around the house, so as they could be more informed when talking to tourists.
One of these good folk asked, “Where is the ballroom? And the music room?”
Such is the ‘mythology’ of houses which haven’t been open to the public and haven’t had many visitors for the last forty years.
We’ve been told that the formal living room was indeed used for old-fashioned country dances, with all furniture and carpets removed, a band in the hall next door, and a groaning supper table for after. (No doubt a couple of kegs outside, too!)
Stanton has always been, at heart, a party house, and again, there are adults in their 50s who can remember visiting as small children, attending one of these dances, and probably running around on the verandahs too!!
I haven’t worked out the music room reference, but can only think that perhaps the dance band in the hallway might have some connection? …
In any case, we have a music room of sorts today in the living room, where my piano sits waiting to be played by anyone so inclined.
My grandfather was a rather good pianist and I’ve inherited a lot of his music, so please feel free. We’ve always felt Stanton inspires the creative streak in people, and so, in order to foster this, we’ve provided as many different opportunities to ‘set the scene’.
A couple of whistles and recorders are on the piano, but I also have a bodhran (one of those rather basic but terrifically evocative Irish hand drums), along with a book and cd instructions, and a recent addition, a beautiful guitar, courtesy of good friend and musician extraordinaire, John Allen from Brisbane. (Watch this site for upcoming sound bytes of John’s music.)
If you’re a guitarist on holidays without an instrument and are starting to fret, then look no further. By the same token, if you’ve always wanted to teach yourself a few chords but haven’t had access to a guitar, then I have a few manuals to help out. Go on holidays to Stanton and return home with Jimi Hendrix-type delusions! Then there’s always air-guitar, assisted by a CD player and an eclectic collection of compact discs with which to pretend.
If music isn’t your thing, then the large wooden chest is filled with jigsaw puzzles, games, magazines, cards, chess set with which to wile away the time in front of the fire, ably assisted by port and sherry decanters on the sideboard.
I suppose dancing isn’t completely out of the question still …