An Eventful Christmas at Trevelver Castle

Started by Chris in Prague, December 28, 2023, 08:50:31 AM

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Chris in Prague

The Trevelver Castle Christmas events are continued here in a new An Eventful Christmas at Trevelver Castle thread in General. Featured are many of the characters from our "Alternative West Country" plus Scotland but no trains.

Chris in Prague

An Eventful Christmas at Trevelver Castle

[This continues from and overlaps with the end of the story of Jenny and Father Christmas.]

Copyright Christopher Shallow MSc 2023

It was Monday, December 24th 1962. The winter of 1962-1963 was to be one of the coldest winters in the United Kingdom in the Twentieth Century.

There are always two Christmas Eve parties held in Trevelver Castle's Great Hall. The first, from 3 to 6 pm, is for the local children. It is organised by Huw Jenkins, the Head Butler, and his wife, Gwendolyn, the Housekeeper, with the help of Sylvia's beloved old Cornish widowed nanny, 'Nursie', Widow Curnow. Castle staff and the Chelsea Girls, all dressed in Christmas costumes, are the eager helpers. The clowns, jugglers, magicians, and musicians are all enthusiastic, skilful local amateurs known to the organisers.

Outside the ancient stone walls of Trevelver Castle, snowflakes pirouetted in the wintry air. Within the castle's Great Hall, magic unfurled—a place filled with delights for the local children, their eyes wide with anticipation. Candlelight flickered, casting a warm glow on their rosy cheeks.

The hall was adorned with fir garlands entwined with crimson ribbons bearing silver bells which sparkled in the reflected candlelight. The scent of freshly cut pine filled the room. Brightly painted giant wooden nutcrackers stood guard by the entrance, their wooden jaws grinning in perpetual cheer. Twinkling lights danced like captured stars, illuminating ancient tapestries hung on the stone walls. A giant yule log of oak, symbolising the strength and wisdom of the mighty, crackled in the grand carved stone fireplace; its warmth filling the hall.

Laughing happily, the ten 'Chelsea Girls' moved among the children, dressed as festive fairies, giving each child a Christmas cracker to pull. Their costumes shimmered blue, gold, green, red, and silver, and delicate silver tinsel wings sprung from their shoulders. Clowns and jugglers with brightly painted faces beamed as they made the children laugh and gasp as they twirled ribbons and tossed colourful balls. Musicians—fiddlers and pipers—played merry tunes from the minstrels' gallery above, inviting toes to tap.

Games and laughter filled the air. Blindfolded children spun, giggling, aiming for Rudolph's elusive tail in the 'Pin the Tail on the Reindeer' game. Little legs hopped across the stone floor toward the finish line in sack races, sacks moving like miniature sails. In the storytelling corner, 'Nursie' sat on an old wooden chair, weaving tales of Cornish legends and winter magic.

Nursie seated in her storytelling chair.

And what a feast was served! There were sturdy bright red china mugs with gold trim bearing a silhouette of the castle etched in gold, filled with warming mulled apple juice fragrant with cinnamon and cloves. Supervised by the kitchen staff, there were matching red and gold plates of gingerbread men, each child helped to decorate their own with dark currant eyes, white icing buttons and smiles. Giant plates of sticky treacle tarts, in the best Cornish tradition, lined the centre of the trestle tables along with miniature mince pies full of spiced fruit encased in delicate pastry, dusted with powdered sugar. For more adult tastes, there were matching cheese plates filled with Caerphilly, Cheddar, and Double Gloucester, along with local cheeses, Cornish Blue and Yarg, paired with a selection of savoury biscuits, slices of freshly cut crisp apple, and tangy pickles. And, served in the bright red china mugs, seemingly endless quantities of hot chocolate, frothy and topped with whipped Cornish cream.

The bright red china mugs with gold trim bearing a silhouette of the castle etched in gold designed by Eli.

But the greatest individual care lay in the stockings hung by the mighty central fireplace with each child's name stitched with care. Each now filled with surprises and a touch of Christmas enchantment according to a carefully compiled list made by 'Nursie' after speaking with their mothers.

As the sun dipped low on the horizon, the castle staff prepared for the Snowfall Surprise. At precisely 4:15 pm, they released a flurry of paper snowflakes from sacks hung on the shadowy rafters. The delicate cutouts twirled and spun, catching the fading light through the hall's lofty windows. The children gasped; their faces upturned as if trying to catch the falling snowflakes on their tongues.

Then, outside the ancient castle, Christmas arrived with a flourish. The air was crisp, and snow was still falling steadily. Alerted by a trumpeter sounding from a corner tower, the children, once more bundled in their woollen scarves and mittens, were led outside the grand hall, their eyes wide with anticipation.

Outside, Santa Claus, a portly man in crimson robes, together with some of his elves, jumped out of the sleigh pulled by nine reindeer and unloaded a red and green railway goods van, opened its doors, and began distributing the presents it contained. The children's faces lit up with joy as they were handed their gifts. Santa's booming laughter echoed off the castle walls as he moved among the little ones, handing out small parcels wrapped in glistening paper. Each gift held a secret, the child's desire—a wonder that danced in the eyes of the recipients.

Then, returning to the Great Hall, the carols and laughter began. Voices joined in harmony, echoing off the ancient stones. The old carols, sung for generations, filled the room like a warm embrace. The adults and children sang with full-throated abandon, their breath visible in the air furthest from the hearth's warmth.

Then more magic unfolded in the corner, where the Punch and Judy Show came alive—the puppets dancing, bickering, and tumbling in exaggerated delight. The children, now seated on a semi-circle of wooden benches moved from the tables, leaned forward, their laughter ringing out. Judy's high-pitched voice and Punch's clumsy antics filled the hall, erasing any lingering worries or cares.

Within the centuries-old walls, laughter rang out. Then, as the musicians took up their tunes again, children twirled, their eyes alight with wonder, while the laughing adults danced alongside them. Together, they feasted and drank, their bodies warmed by the yule log burning in the flickering hearth.

Belief hung in the air. Child and adult alike, they believed in the enchantment of the season—the hushed secrets shared in whispers, the promise of miracles carried in the frost-kissed air. Their memories, etched like delicate frost on windowpanes, would remain long after the last snowflake had melted. And as the chill winter night settled, the castle itself held its breath, holding their dreams close—a trace of magic in every ancient stone.

Chris in Prague

Everyone agreed that Jenny, in her unique costume, looked the best.

Chris in Prague


Chris in Prague

After an afternoon filled with joy and laughter, the children, each clutching their going-home bags filled with the contents of their stockings and a red and gold Castle mug as a souvenir, are safely ushered onto a row of green single-decker 'Southern National' buses lined up outside Trevelver Castle. These buses are led by the same big yellow Scammell 'Mountaineer' lorry, 'Penmayne Urban District Council Snowplough No.1', that Jenny Davies had ridden on earlier, a sight that brings a sense of familiarity and comfort to the young Welsh girl. She watches as Lord Trevelver leaves the vehicle's cab after giving a Christmas present, a gift pack of 'Christmas Ales' brewed by the Castle and Headland breweries to the driver, Jowan Trelawny, along with everyone's hearty thanks for agreeing to work on Christmas Eve so that the children all get home safely.

As the last child steps onto the last bus, Sylvia Trevelver, with a warm smile, gathers her friends, the 'Chelsea Girls', in a corner of the castle's Great Hall. She then leads them down some stone steps to the adjoining cloakroom, a spacious room with rows of wooden lockers and a central wooden bench.

Trevelver Castle Cloakroom

"All right, ladies", Sylvia begins, her voice echoing slightly in the large room. "You've done a fantastic job as Christmas Fairies at the children's party, but now it's time to switch gear. You'll find dungarees, caps, and indoor shoes in these lockers. Each locker has your name inside it. They are in alphabetical order from the inside right of the room. Please now change so we can start tidying up the Great Hall."

She opens one of the lockers to reveal a pair of hanging dark blue dungarees, a dark blue peaked cap, and a pair of flat-soled brown shoes. "These should be comfortable and practical for our next task. Remember, we must prepare the Great Hall for the party later this evening."

With a warm smile, she adds, "I know it's been a long afternoon, my dears, but your help is invaluable. So, let's get changed so we can complete the transformation of the Great Hall together."

Inspired by Sylvia's words, the 'Chelsea Girls' nod in agreement and exchange their Christmas Fairy outfits for more practical attire. The cloakroom buzzes with a renewed sense of purpose as they prepare for the task ahead. The evening may be drawing in and the happy children gone, but in Trevelver Castle, the festivities are a long way from being over!

Chris in Prague

Chris in Prague

With their work done, the room clean, and the brooms and mops put away; there is just enough time for the 'Chelsea Girls' to admire their surroundings.

"My dears", Sylvia begins, "I invite you to take a moment and look around. Where we are standing, the Great Hall of Trevelver Castle, is more than just a huge room. It's a treasure trove of historical artistry, a testament to our family's rich past. See the frieze along the right-hand wall there? Those ten hand-painted panels depict the Trevelver ancestors. Each panel is like a window into the past, showcasing the lineage and legacy of our family.

"Now, lift your gaze to the magnificent painted ceiling above us. It's a masterpiece of medieval artistry, supported by sturdy, dark oak beams. Intricate paintings adorn the plaster between these beams, capturing moments of grandeur and courage from our castle's rich history. The rich, dark wood of the beams frames these paintings, adding depth and character to each scene.
"As you can see, for Christmas, the frieze and the ceiling have been complemented by festive decorations, making the Great Hall the incredible sight we see, a testament to our castle's rich past and the joyous present.

"So, as we prepare to begin our glad celebrations of Christmas, let's take a moment to catch our breath and appreciate the beauty around us. Thanks to your help, this hall is now ready, steeped in history and adorned in holiday finery. Let's make this a Christmas to remember, girls, in this beautiful Great Hall. You'll find cooling, refreshing drinks served at the bar over there", she points across the room."

Chris in Prague

Lord Trevelver stands out of direct sight in a corner of the Great Hall's Minstrels' Gallery with Lady Trevelver at his side, proudly observing the young women below. Turning to his wife, he says, "Just look at Sylvia and her friends, my dear. Each one of them is so unique and different."

Lady Trevelver nods in agreement, "Indeed. Eli is the most vibrant member of the group. She stands out with her pale skin sprinkled with freckles, striking marigold blue eyes full of life and curiosity, and long, flowing red hair."

"But it's not just her distinctive look and lively personality that others admire", adds her husband.

"That's right", his wife responds with a smile. "Eli is also incredibly talented artistically, with considerable skills across a wide range of visual media. Her artistic flair adds another dimension to her unique personality, making her contributions to the group even more invaluable. And, next to her, 'Big' Belinda Anderson, with her blonde hair, green eyes, round face, and full figure, certainly stands out."

Her husband chuckles, "Indeed she does! And don't forget Suzi Williams, with her long, dark, wavy blonde hair and brown eyes standing next to Belinda. She adds a touch of glamour to the group. And by Suzi's side, Monique Gournay, the French model with brunette hair and grey eyes, with all the proud bearing of her Norman ancestors."

Lady Penelope adds, "And the pride of being that most exalted of women, a Parisienne! Then, a little apart from the others, there's the youngest, dear petite Jenny Davies, so sweet with her blonde hair and bright blue eyes; always full of innocent joy and enthusiasm. And, next to her, her best friend, Angela Evans, with her curly brunette hair and pale hazel-green eyes behind those stylish black-framed spectacles, is the methodical one. Her work as a PA to Giles Roskrow has certainly honed her organisational skills."

Lord Charles smiles, "Knowing Giles, I'm sure it has! And let's not forget the newest Welsh member, Amanda Morgan, talking to our daughter. Amanda's the daring one with a head for heights, bringing a fresh perspective and her spirit of adventure to the group. The Celtic Connection, at work, I suppose!" He laughs heartily.

His wife continues, "That so many of them have Welsh forebears is remarkable. But the latest member, Sofia, is truly a sight for sore eyes! You know the one, the beautiful daughter of Jose Maria de la Vega, the mayor of Sant Cristofol."

"Yes, the capital of the Principat de Guin." Lord Trevelver continues, "Her large brown eyes, framed by long, glossy black lashes, are certainly captivating. And that narrow nose, set above full, shining red lips, makes her even more striking."

Lady Penelope adds, "Then there are her thick black eyebrows, arching in perfect curves across a smooth brow, framed by her wavy raven wing black hair. Even her ears, small and delicate, are in precise harmony with her features. No wonder wherever she goes, she's a conversation stopper!"

Lord Charles agrees, "And her voice; husky, low, and naturally seductive. Sofia certainly brings a uniquely sophisticated quality to the 'Chelsea Girls'."

"Yes, and we're delighted to have her and her charming father with us this Christmas, my dear."

Their eyes meet, sharing a moment of mutual admiration for the diverse group of young women her daughter has brought together. They both fall silent, watching the girls below in relaxed conversation. Then Lady Penelope observes, "Each of these wonderful young women brings something unique, making the 'Chelsea Girls' a truly remarkable group. I'm looking forward to seeing what they can achieve together."

Just then, they hear her daughter call, "All right! Let's get started!" The happy couple exchange proud smiles, filled with anticipation for the evening ahead.

Chris in Prague

Lord Trevelver, noticing his wife's gaze drifting, follows her eyes to Angela Evans. Recently released from the TARDIS Sick Bay, Angela is now standing surrounded by the other 'Chelsea Girls', a testament to her resilience and strength.

Lady Trevelver, her eyes shining with relief and joy, sighs softly, "Seeing Angela recovered and back with them all, it's truly a Christmas miracle." Her words, filled with emotion, hang in the air, adding another layer of warmth to the festive atmosphere in the Great Hall. "The miracle of Angela's recovery, much like the spirit of Christmas, serves as a reminder of hope and joy in the face of adversity. It's a moment that captures the season's essence – a time for miracles, love, and togetherness."

"Yes, indeed it is, my dear. Now, look at Susan Foreman, checking Angela. The Doctor's granddaughter. She's now an unquestioned member of the Chelsea Girls, yet she still has this air of mystery about her", adds her husband.

"Indeed, to those who do not know her, she's quite the enigma. But her bond with Sylvie is like that of sisters, the younger sister that Sylvie never had. Susan's always welcome at our townhouse parties and the castle", his wife replies.

"True. But then", Lord Charles laughs, "even the Doctor, with his eccentricities, is a welcome guest.

"Susan seems to thrive in our 1960s world, doesn't she, my dear? The music, the fashion..., and the culture-forward 'Chelsea Set' of artists and socialites. She fits right in", remarks Lady Penelope.

"Absolutely, except when Daleks appear!" her husband states.

"She enjoys the same pop groups as her friends, John Smith and the Common Men, the Beachcombers, and singer-songwriters like Enka Lou-Lou, and is interested in beat poetry", continues his wife.

"And yet her understanding of technology and history is truly amazing. But, when she first arrived in London, Sylvie said Susan knew so little about ordinary things, like money", continues Lord Trevelver.

"That's why she's so grateful to be a 'Chelsea Girl'. They help her with such practical matters. They even introduced her to Vidal Sassoon for her hairstyle", replies Lady Trevelver.

"When Sylvie first met her, Susan told her that she was only sixteen and yet, she had an aura of timeless wisdom to go with her enigmatic charm. An air of maturity offsets her youthful appearance", her husband observes.

"Indeed, it is. Susan says she is far older than sixteen of our years. It's not surprising then that her attire is always elegant and fashionable. See her hair, how perfectly it frames her face... But it's her captivating brown eyes, my dear. They hold such depth and unspoken knowledge", Lady Penelope continues.

"Yes, her eyes truly captivate all who encounter her. She's a remarkable young woman, is Susan, whatever her true age!" her husband exclaims.

"Indeed, but then they are a very remarkable group of young women, and we are very fortunate to have them all here to help make this evening possible", states Lady Trevelver.

"Indeed, in their very different ways, they are remarkable, my love. But we should go up to get ready. We have a long night ahead of us!" responds Lord Trevelver.

Chris in Prague

There is much for the 'Chelsea Girls' to admire as they drink their cool refreshments. For Christmas, the historical frieze and the magnificent painted ceiling are complemented by festive decorations that add a touch of holiday cheer to the hall's grandeur. A towering Christmas tree, adorned with twinkling, coloured lights and delicate ornaments, stands proudly at the far end of the hall from the magnificent stone fireplace with the blazing Yule Log. The tree is decorated with traditional handmade ornaments, each telling its story. The soft glow from the tree lights casts a warm, inviting light on the hand-painted panels, enhancing the vivid colours and bringing the ancestral figures to life.

Garlands of holly and ivy are draped along the dark oak beams, her vibrant green leaves and red berries providing a striking contrast against the rich wood. Bunches of mistletoe hang strategically, adding a touch of romance to the atmosphere.
The ornate Bohemian crystal chandeliers are decked with strands of silver tinsel, her soft light reflecting off the tinsel to create a shimmering spectacle. The chandeliers cast a soft, warm glow that dances on the tinsel, creating a mesmerising effect.

Eli turns to the other girls, her eyes sparkling with excitement. "Ladies", she begins, "just look at the Great Hall. See how the Christmas decorations beautifully enhance its timeless splendour. These festive additions bring warmth and joy to the room, right?" Her friends nod.

"It's as if the hall itself is welcoming us, inviting us to celebrate", replies Jenny, her bright blue eyes sparkling.

"So, my beloved friends, let's make the most of this perfect setting and ensure we do our best to make this a Christmas celebration to remember!"

Chris in Prague

Parental Discretion Advised!

After the cleaning, the ten 'Chelsea Girls' headed to the communal white-tiled showers, a space filled with the echo of water droplets and the faint scent of lavender soap. The soft candlelight in the vast bathroom creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, adding to the overall luxurious feel of the space. The jets of warm water will wash away the grime and fatigue, leaving them refreshed and rejuvenated.

But, first, it's time to peel off their work clothes, hot and dusty from their labour, and step into the warm embrace of the shower. Each helps her friend remove her shoes, short socks, and dungarees. Laughing happily, they then wash each other, including their dusty hair, with the finest shampoo.

Once they are certain that each is completely clean, each steps out of the communal shower. Smiling, joking and teasing light-heartedly, they grab one of the big, soft, fluffy towels to dry each other while wishing each other a night of passion and romance with the young man of their choice.

Before leaving the shower area, the ten young women reach for the fluffy white towelling bathrobes hanging by the exit. The robes, soft and plush, are comforting against their damp skin, absorbing the remaining moisture. As they slip their arms into the wide sleeves, the fabric envelops them in a warm embrace. They tie the sashes around their waists, securing the robes in place. Now wrapped in the luxurious comfort of their bathrobes, they're ready to continue their preparations for the evening's ball.

The hair and makeup area is a large, open space bathed in the bright glow of incandescent bulbs. The air is filled with sounds: the soft hum of conversation, the rustle of bathrobes, and the occasional burst of laughter. The scent of hairspray and perfume hangs heavy in the air, mingling with the faint aroma of lavender soap and the fresh, clean smell of recently washed hair.

Along one side of the room, a long, polished mahogany table stands against the wall, its surface cluttered with an array of cosmetics: tubes of lipstick in various shades of red and pink, compacts of powder, bottles of nail polish, and trays of eyeshadow in every colour imaginable. Large, ornate mirrors hang above the table, reflecting the busy scene below.

The women, dressed in their bathrobes, move around the room with a sense of purpose. Some stand in front of the mirrors, applying makeup with practiced ease. Others sit at the table, carefully curling their hair with hot irons or pinning it up in elaborate styles. There is a sense of camaraderie among them as they help each other with difficult tasks, exchange advice, and compliment each other's looks.

Despite the flurry of activity, the atmosphere is relaxed and cheerful. The women chat and joke with each other, their voices filled with excitement and anticipation for the evening ahead. Every now and then, someone would break into a song, and the others would join in, their voices filling the room with music as they sing hits from Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Cliff Richard, Édith Piaf, or Charles Aznavour.

It is a scene of joy and preparation, a moment suspended in time, as these young women ready themselves to step out and embrace the enchanting night that awaits them. It is a timeless depiction of friendship, beauty, and the universal ritual of getting ready for a special occasion.

With their hair and makeup done, they move to the tall clothes lockers, where their beautiful ball gowns in various styles and colours are carefully hung, and their silk lingerie, nylon stockings, stiletto shoes, and matching clutch bags are waiting. The sight of the gowns, each meticulously crafted and unique in design, brings a sense of anticipation and excitement, a promise of the glamorous evening to come. The 'Chelsea Girls' stand before the full-length mirror, admiring their reflections as they slip on the silk lingerie. The sheer fabric caresses their curves and accentuates their femininity, bringing delight to each of them.

They smooth out any wrinkles in the silk fabric, ensuring it fits perfectly against their bodies. They feel empowered and beautiful, knowing they are about to attend a truly grand ball. They admire the lace trim on the silk lingerie, appreciating the delicate details that add to the overall elegance of the set. They take a deep breath, feeling the silk hug their curves just the right way. With a smile, they adjust their undergarments, ensuring they are comfortable and secure. Smiling broadly, they run their hands over the smooth fabric, feeling the softness against their skin.

In front of a luxurious full-length mirror, their eyes sparkle with anticipation and desire as they behold their reflections. They marvel at the intricate patterns of delicate lace, the alluring silk straps that sensually grace their body, and how the fabric lovingly moulds to their every curve. They delight in how it accentuates their self-assuredness and irresistible allure. With a mischievous glimmer in their eyes, they exchange a knowing look, relishing the delicious anticipation of what awaits them. It is a moment of intoxicating sensuality where they revel in their seductive enchantment.

Next, each woman delicately unrolls a pair of silk stockings, feeling the softness of the fabric against their fingertips. They gently unfurl the stockings, ensuring they are free of wrinkles or runs. With careful precision, they slide a foot into the stocking, slowly gliding the material up their leg, feeling the smoothness of the silk against their skin. The process is repeated with the other leg, each movement measured to ensure perfect alignment of both stockings. Then comes the challenge of the silk garter suspenders. After a brief struggle, they fasten the belt around their waist and delicately attach their stockings with the delicate straps and tiny clips. Standing, they admire how the stockings enhance their legs' sleek contour. Their increased confidence and allure make them more excited for the evening ahead.

Finally, it is time to gracefully step into their ballgowns. The silky fabric elegantly flows to the floor, cascading around them as they delicately adjust the bodice for a perfect fit. Pausing to, again, admire their reflections in the mirror, they feel a surge of confidence and beauty. Their eyes sparkle with excitement as they twirl, ensuring the gown drapes elegantly over their bodies. Transformed into visions of allure, they appreciate how the matching silk lingerie beneath complements their stunning attire. As they finish dressing, they exchange knowing smiles, their eyes gleaming with anticipation and a hint of mischief for the event ahead.

The 'Chelsea Girls' are all full of admiration for Jenny, their youngest member, as they marvel at the captivating ballgown Angela selected for her. The elegant gown is crafted from luxurious silk that shimmers under the soft room light, reflecting an air of sensuality. Its deep midnight-blue hue seems to dance and transform with each sway of Jenny's hips.

The gown's fitted bodice contours her slender figure, highlighting her curves in all the right places. It is adorned with delicate beadwork, forming a tapestry of intricate swirls and blossoming flowers that sparkle with a subtle, seductive charm. The neckline, cut in a flattering sweetheart shape, offers a subtle glimpse of her cleavage, drawing attention to the elegant curve of her collarbones and the gentle arch of her neck. It is a gown that not only enhances Jenny's natural beauty but also reflects the sophistication that she so desires.

The gown flares out from the waist into a full, voluminous skirt. The skirt is made from layers of silk and tulle, giving it a sense of movement and fluidity. It billows around her when Jenny twirls, creating a stunning visual effect. The back of the gown features a low scoop, adding a touch of drama to the design. It is fastened with a row of tiny silk-covered buttons running down the centre of the back, a classic detail that adds to the overall elegance of the dress.

Jenny's ballgown, a harmonious fusion of classic elegance and contemporary sophistication, is an exquisite selection for the grand ball. This stunning ensemble gives a much-needed sense of confidence and glamour to the shy teenager.

Once they have adjusted their ballgowns to perfection, the girls focus on their footwear. Despite having a range of options from towering stilettos to comfortable flats, they all choose the elegance of stilettos for the start of the ball. With elegantly draped gowns, they carefully step into their chosen shoes, adding the final touch to their flawless outfits. They understand the importance of protecting their delicate gowns from accidental snags or tears, so they are put on without shoes.

As the girls step into their stilettos, a wave of excitement tinged with nervousness washes over them. The rhythmic click-clack of heels against the floor resonates in the air, instilling a sense of power and confidence. Each stride they take is imbued with an enhanced sense of femininity and elegance, their posture naturally straightening and their movements becoming more graceful. The stilettos, accentuating the length of their legs, make them feel both sexy and desirable. The act of wearing stilettos amplifies their senses, bolsters their self-esteem, and exudes an aura of empowerment and allure. As the night unfolds, some may opt for the comfort of less towering footwear, but the initial impact of the stilettos remains undeniable.

Their preparations complete, each girl turns to the nearest mirror for a last look, taking a moment to admire her reflection. The transformation is not just physical but also emotional. The ball gowns are not just garments but a symbol of a magical evening that awaits them. With a final adjustment of a hairpin or a quick dab of perfume, they leave the dressing area, their beautiful silhouettes disappearing down the softly lit castle corridors, ready to dance the night away. It is a ritual, a metamorphosis, which marks the end of their work and the beginning of a night filled with laughter, dance, and camaraderie.

After the traditional service of traditional carols and readings ends at 11:15 p.m., after a quick visit to the cloakroom to remove all their outer winter clothing and boots, proudly wearing their elegant, close-fitting, long satin ballgowns and enjoying the silky feel of the lingerie beneath, each 'Chelsea Girl' will be announced by the Head Butler, Huw Jenkins, as they enter the waiting ballroom. They know this moment is one they will treasure forever, and they feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to wear such beautiful and confidence-enhancing garments on this special night.

Chris in Prague

Lord and Lady Trevelver's bedroom in Trevelver Castle is a testament to their love and shared life. Originally two separate bedrooms, in line with the custom of married nobility sleeping apart, the newlyweds decided to break tradition. As soon as they were engaged, they had the larger room, the former Master Bedroom, transformed into their shared sanctuary.

The smaller adjoining room was cleverly converted into his and hers walk-in wardrobes, providing ample space for their attire. Beyond the wardrobes lies a splendid bathroom, boasting a king-size bathtub offering a luxurious bath and a separate shower big enough for two.

Adjacent to the bathroom is a WC and a bidet, an addition insisted upon by Lady Penelope, accustomed to continental comforts.

However, the pièce de résistance of the room is a newly constructed wooden balcony resting on carefully selected oak beams inserted the length of the floor, accessible through French windows. This suntrap is one of Lady Trevelver's favourite spots to bask in the summer warmth, providing a peaceful place for relaxation overlooking the magnificent castle grounds below.

In keeping with the castle's aesthetic, all the wooden frames in the high-arched windows were replaced with ones in the same late medieval style. However, the replacements feature metal frames and double glazing, ensuring the room remains cosy and draft-free. This blend of historical charm and modern comfort makes Lord and Lady Trevelver's bedroom a unique and splendid sanctuary.

Chris in Prague

After a delightful breakfast, Lord and Lady Trevelver retreat to their shared bedroom. Bundled against the December chill, they open the French windows and settle comfortably on the balcony.

From the bedroom balcony of Trevelver Castle, the view is nothing short of breathtaking. The castle grounds blanketed in pristine snow, stretch out as far as the eye can see. The early morning sun casts a soft, golden light, causing the snow to sparkle like a sea of diamonds. The stark, leafless trees stand like silent sentinels, their branches dusted with frost. In the distance, the rolling hills of North Cornwall rise against the clear winter sky. The quiet serenity is only broken by the occasional sound of birdsong, creating a sense of peace and tranquillity. It is a view that captures the stark beauty of winter in the Cornish countryside.

Sitting side by side, Lady Penelope, snug in her warm Pashmina shawl, turns to Lord Charles. Her eyes sparkle with excitement as she faces her husband. "Charles", she begins, her voice soft yet filled with anticipation, "how are the preparations for this evening's grand Christmas Ball coming along?"

Looking out over the grounds, Lord Charles takes a moment before responding. "Everything is proceeding as planned, my dear Penny", he assures her, his voice steady and confident. "The ballroom has been splendidly decorated and prepared, the menu has been finalised with Gwendolyn, and the stage for the musicians is ready."

Lady Penelope nods, a satisfied smile playing on her lips. "And the guest list?" she inquires.

"Invitations have been sent to all our guests, and the replies have been overwhelmingly positive", Lord Charles states with a hint of pride in his voice. "It promises to be a memorable evening. Not least thanks to the highly advanced sound and lighting systems Susan has supplied us with."

"Tell me about this sound and lighting system, but, first, how it got here, Charles?"

"As the TARDIS was being used by Susan's grandfather while investigating the phenomenon of the wolves from Willoughby Chase, conventional transport had to be arranged by Huw. The equipment was carefully packed and secured in a 16' 5" long British Railways 'BD' container. The container was loaded onto an army lorry at Susan's London home, 76 Totter's Lane, in Shoreditch."

"I see. How was it transported from there?"

"Under the watchful eye of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart, my dear. The lorry made its way through the city to Waterloo station. The Colonel, commanding a detachment of the Scots Guards, ensured the safe transport of the equipment."

"And what happened upon arrival at Waterloo?"

"The sealed 'BD' container was carefully unloaded using a crane onto a BR 'Conflat' flat wagon standing in a far siding out of public view. This wagon was then shunted onto the Penmayne portion of the 1.25 a.m. newspaper and passenger train, especially at Cant Cove."

"And once it arrived at Cant Cove, Charles?"

"After the train arrived at Cant Cove at 9.24 a.m., the station pilot removed the loaded 'Conflat' from the back of the train, departing for Penmayne. The branch goods train then took the loaded 'Conflat' along the 'Castle' branch to the cellars under the Castle. There, the equipment was unloaded into the goods lift, supervised by Susan and Huw and taken on trolleys to the Great Hall."

"That sounds like a complex operation, Charles."

"Indeed, it was Penny. But the entire operation was carried out under the strict supervision of Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart and his Scots Guards, ensuring the safe and secure transport of the equipment."

"Excellent, Charles. Now, tell me about the arrangements in the Great Hall."

Lord Charles turns to Lady Penelope, his eyes gleaming with excitement. "The Great Hall has been transformed for Enka Lou-Lou's performance", he begins. "The stage, set at one end of the hall, is elevated for all guests. It's framed by heavy velvet curtains in a rich burgundy, adding an elegant and dramatic touch."

Lady Penelope smiles, her eyes reflecting the same excitement. "That sounds wonderful, Charles. The setting will add to the grandeur of the performance", she responds.

He continues, "The technology Susan's provided surpassed anything available in 1962. The sound system delivers crystal clear sound that fills the Great Hall without distortion, regardless of volume. The lighting system can create various effects, from subtle mood lighting to dramatic spotlighting, all controlled precisely."

Lady Penelope nods in approval, "Susan's expertise in technology never ceases to amaze me. The sound and lighting will undoubtedly enhance the overall experience."

"A grand piano, polished to a mirror shine, sits at centre stage, awaiting Enka Lou-Lou's expert touch", Lord Charles adds. "This piano is unique, fitted with technology that perfectly tunes itself in real-time, ensuring the best possible sound throughout the performance. There's a space for the accompanying musicians, with music stands and comfortable seating. Microphones stand ready, cords neatly coiled and running offstage to the sound control panel."

Lady Penelope interjects excitedly, "The self-tuning piano is indeed a marvel. And the thoughtfulness for the musicians' comfort is commendable".

"Adding to the spectacle", he concludes, "is a holographic projection system that displays stunning visuals to enhance the performance. Unheard of in 1962, this technology adds a futuristic touch to the event. All these technological enhancements have been seamlessly integrated into the Great Hall, maintaining its historical charm while elevating the event experience to a level far beyond what was possible with contemporary technology. Thanks to Susan's advanced technology, our guests are in for a truly unforgettable experience. The anticipation in the air is palpable as the guests await the start of the performance in this grand setting."

Lady Penelope, sharing in his enthusiasm, replies, "The holographic projection system will indeed be a sight to behold. Susan's technology has truly transformed our Great Hall while preserving its historical charm. I can hardly wait for the guests to experience this grand spectacle." She pauses, looking over the grounds, "This will be an unforgettable evening."

Their conversation continues, a comfortable rhythm established between them. They discuss the finer details of the event, their shared excitement for the evening palpable in the crisp winter air.

Chris in Prague

Later that evening, as the 'Chelsea Girls' finished their refreshing drinks, Sylvia addresses them:

"My friends, let me tell you about our chapel here at Trevelver Castle, where our traditional Christmas Eve will be held, and you must simply join us! It's beautifully built from the same stone as the rest of the castle and dedicated to Saint Petroc. The chapel is a testament to the elegance and spirituality that simplicity can bring. It's thankfully free from the excesses of Baroque or Victorian ornamentation. Instead, it radiates a serene and sacred atmosphere."

"Sounds delightful", replies Jenny.

"Yes, it certainly is, Jenny. The chapel's grey stone exterior, weathered by time, gives it a sense of history and permanence. The architecture is Early Gothic, with pointed arches and ribbed vaults. The entrance is a simple, arched wooden door, its only decoration being the beautiful ornamental ironwork of the hinges.

Saint Petroc's Chapel, Trevelver Castle, interior

"Once you step inside, the chapel, despite its modesty, is ..." she pauses, searching for the right words, "simply outstanding. The stone walls rise to a high, vaulted ceiling, where the ribs meet at a central point, showcasing the mastery of Gothic architecture. The chapel is lit by tall, narrow windows with simple tracery, allowing soft, natural light to filter in and create a tranquil ambience.

"The altar is a simple stone table, free from excessive ornamentation. Above it, a plain, oaken cross is a focal point, symbolising the chapel's spiritual purpose. The oak pews, worn smooth by years of use, face the altar, providing a place for quiet reflection and prayer.

"Despite, or perhaps", she smiles, "because of its simplicity, the chapel radiates peace and reverence. It is a reminder of a time when spirituality was expressed through architectural elegance and understated beauty rather than ostentatious decoration. It's a place where one can feel a deep connection to the divine, free from worldly excesses."

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