Myrtle’s Tour de Force!

Myrtle Throgmorton, aka Jennie Chalmers, 2021
Thwarted by nothing, champion blagger and intrepid explorer, Myrtle Throgmorton made us view Haddo House with different eyes as she burst through the heavy wooden doors of this much-loved venue for music and the arts.

Skilled musician Frank Thomson was the first to experience a ‘Myrtle moment’ as he played some wonderful tunes on his accordian in the atmospheric wooden panelled entrance where Myrtle demonstrated her dazzling footwork and fabulous feeling for rhythm.

Jigging and jiving with a tantalising skirl of her tartan skirt and bloomers,  Ms Throgmorton paused to Frank about the stories behind the reel tunes although she admitted it had been many years since she’d ‘stripped a dashing white sergeant’.

Flourishing her telescopic feather duster at regular intervals to ensure she maintained her 2-metre distance from her interviewees, Myrtle continued round the house, stopping off to chat to Jim McColl. Known to many in the North East as a guru of gardening, Jim helped Ms Throgmorton with her uncontrollable ivy challenge and discussed the advantages of the no-dig policy while admiring the parterre garden outside the drawing room window.

Clearly a historian, Myrtle knew her facts. She drew attention to some little known details like the papier mache Wedgewood-esque designs on the dining room ceiling while also referring to big events like Queen Victoria’s visit to the Haddo accompanied by her bust… on display in the Ante Room along with portraits of handsome men like the 4th Earl who was rather more Ms Throgmorton’s cup of tea.

Always ready with some topical bon mots like’ The Andrew formerly known as Prince’ or her ambition to go into politics ‘purely for the sexual harassment’, Ms Throgmorton  stomped determinedly towards the library where she introduced us to Jamie McDougall – tenor, friend of Haddo,  BBC presenter and host for Haddo’s first virtual Arts Festival.

Here there was a great visual gag from the videographer team as we viewed Jamie’s recital accompanied by Dr Roger Williams MBE as if through a pair of opera glasses. Happily the song by (Schumann?) was about a message of hope.

That theme continued as Haddo chapel provided the setting for Ms Throgmorton’s chat with  minister of Methlick Kirk , Dr Will Stalder. There they discussed the benefits and forward-thinking aspects of ecumenical worship as encouraged by Haddo’s first Marquess and his wife ‘We Twa’ but not’ Me Too’ while enjoying a stirring mini recital on the Father Willis organ performed by Dr Roger Williams.

This whirlwind tour finished with a well deserved cup of tea although who knows where Myrtle’s friend Midriff Bulge ended up. That remains a mystery but this redoubtable woman aka Jenny Chalmers could spark a whole new trend in stately home tours.

Fauré programme enchants at Haddo

Save the Date!

Oxford Professor of Poetry to visit Haddo