Walking with my dog

by Brian Bethell
(Runcorn Cheshire)

If you look at the Locations part of this forum you will see, under Liverpool, Croxteth Hall. It is clear from that the building was built in Tudor times and added to over a long period of time...the oddity of the outside of the building is reflected on the inside with the earliest part being all wainscoating and mullioned windows ETC. The wings are different in d├ęcor and the back different yet again. Walking around the upper gallery one literary walks through time as you go from corridor to corridor. In the period between the death of the last earl and the council taking possession I was a security officer in the Hall as it was still full of the personal possessions of the Earl.

I was on nights and along with my guard dog I had to go to various points in the hall and check in with a machine thus proving I had been on patrol. Up to this point I had only done day shifts and guard dogs were not allowed on duty at day-times. I made my way through the lower floors, did the outer buildings and then back inside to check the upper floors. My entrance to the house was at the rear and so I came to check the Tudor part last. I had no sooner got to the start of the corridor than the dog began to play up, he was usually a very obedient animal and we had worked together for quite a long time; I trusted him completely. He began to walk across me, something he never did. He pulled on his lead over to the balcony rail and began whimpering and crouching down. Finally he went down on his belly and refused to move, no matter what I did. I couldn't abandon my walk as there was a check-in point halfway along the landing. I left him there and went on. When I came back he had moved out of the corridor and back to the start of one of the wings of the house.
I went back to my office and he seemed ok. On my next patrol and as we approached the Tudor corridor he became even more agitated and stubborn, refusing even to step into the corridor. Now my imagination began to work a little faster. I took Kimba back to the office and in no time he settled. One more time I tried and the same thing happened only this time there was a very strong smell of Lavender halfway along.
That's it I thought. If I abandoned all patrols I would have some explaining to do. I did not want to patrol such a big house on my own...now I was spooked. I rang my office and reported in sick and asked to be taken off site. What was going on? Truthfully, I can't say with any certainty except to say that I trusted my dog's instincts more than I did my own. His instincts had proven superior to mine on several occasions. If he was telling me that something was wrong in the Tudor corridor then I for one was going to listen. Don't let this story put you off going to visit, it is a magnificent house. It is not often you will get three different periods of English history reflected in the walls and corridors you walk through


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