Gosh, where does time go?! We are fast approaching Christmas and the new year festivities at quite a pace. Not so long ago I was warbling happily about summer visits to historic houses and checking up their sumptuous arrays of antique and heritage furniture and furnishings. In October I visited a premier house - actually the size of a palace, and from first entering the visitors' hall and vestibule, you're aware of the importance of this particular family estate. The ancestors were very high and mighty in the reign of Elizabeth I, they worked their way up the social ladder big time, to then being absolutely the sovereigns right hand men. The house contains many artefacts from that period and many more from the later generations. You can smell the age of the oak trestles and settles that adorn corridors and the kitchens especially - wardrobe arrangements may have differed but the antique splendour loses nothing for that.