“It’s for RESEARCH.”
That’s what I told my husband anyway, as he looked over my shoulder as we sat next to each other on the couch. I had my computer open, as I always do, and paying very little attention to this latest episode of Doctor Who (I’ve seen it already, but the hubs hasn’t. He has acquiesced to my demand that he watch the series. Hey, I watched Lost for him.)
“That’s not research,” he says. “That’s porn.”
“It is not!” I cry.
“It is. It’s house porn.”
Yes, dear reader, open on my computer was a Google image search for “19th century English country manor.” But these aren’t manors. These are mansions. Dream residences. Castles at a time when they didn’t build castles anymore. (My theory: too drafty.) Some background might be in order: We have recently begun day dreaming about a house, and therefore many of our computer searches of late have been floor plans and neighborhoods. But these manor houses are a bit out of our reach. (To be fair, I’m pretty sure they are a bit out of the average billionaire’s reach too.) Thus, I wouldn’t day dream about living there. Of course not. Except when I do.
“I am writing about a house party, and it is at a very specific kind of house.” I tell him importantly. “I was simply using visual aids.”
“You were cheating.”
“It’s not cheating, and it’s not porn.” I reply firmly. Then, under my breath. “Everyone does it.”
“Fine,” he says. “What does your house have too look like. In your book,” he clarifies.
Oh. Right. My book. I told him it was a very specific house, after all.
“Well it has to be ostentatious.” I reply. “A bit over the top.”
“You have chosen your category well then. What about this one?”
“That one might do,” I muse. “I like the vines. It has a bell tower, even – a little one. But I think it needs to be bigger. Plus I need some turrets. I like turrets.
“Riiiiight,” the husband answers. “For your fictional characters. You could make it fictionally bigger, you know.” He scrolls down a bit, and points to another one. “What about this one. Turrets abound.”
“Turrets abound, yes. In fact, I think it’s made up entirely of turrets.” A shoot him a look. He knows this look. “And what about bigger? I don’t even think that’s a full-fledged house.”
“What about that one? It’s perfect – grand, ostentatious, I think those things on the corner count as turrets, and it even looks familiar. I could see you – er, I mean, your characters – living there.”
“Of course it’s familiar. It’s Highclere Castle.” Off his blank look, “It’s Downton Abbey.”
Downton Abbey, it has to be said, he watched voluntarily. I think he has a thing for Mrs. Patmore, the cook.
What about you dear reader? Have you ever been caught daydreaming – er, I mean researching – about certain houses? Which ones? Post pics below!