Lee Castle, Lanark
It is a short and misty road from the present to the past and I love nothing more than a wander along it. I worked at Lee Castle, in Lanark, on various restoration projects for five years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, becoming good friends with the owners, Baron Leslie Peters and Lady Patricia, who were pouring a fortune into reinstating the building and the surrounding woodlands.
I loved to walk around the castle. I’d take a breath and close my eyes and I’d be transported to another time; I could see, smell and sense the past – the carriages pulling up outside, Robert the Bruce signing the charter under the ancient oak tree, Cromwell having dinner, servants running around, laughter from the croquet lawns.
The Baron and Lady Patricia had met a guy called Michael Lafosse who claimed to be descended from Bonnie Prince Charlie, styling himself HRH Prince Michael James Alexander Stewart, 7th Count of Albany. To assist with Michael’s claim to the Scottish crown, they first had to get him ordained. They restored the ancient chapel in the grounds, had it consecrated and all was set. The Baron, a Knight Commander, had gathered a congregation that was impressive and interesting to say the least – Templar Order in full regalia, an air of such importance, edged with a tingling thrill.
The stone walls and time-worn flagstones flickered with candlelight and there was a sense of comfort from perfect geometry, all creating for me a beautiful silence. I slipped along that misty road – my trance, this time, being truly tangible.
• Paul Hodgkiss has built a reputation for distinctive wood furniture for both commercial and residential customers. Since 1996 he has been forging a unique, instantly recognisable style in bars, restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, historic buildings, shops and homes.