Wednesday, 3 September 2014

First Impressions

Hey y'all!

My name is McKenzie Perdew, and I will be your first blogger of the semester for The Lion's Roar, Harlaxton's student-run blog. I am a junior at Western Kentucky University (located in Bowling Green, KY) where I study Psychology and Communications. That's probably enough about little ole me, because this blog is about my journey to this marvelous manor and all of the first impressions that came along with it!

So, my very first impression of England came when I landed in London Heathrow. Based on stereotypes, I was expecting very rude and unhelpful English workers meandering around the airport. (I know, I know, shame on me.) However, everyone I talked to (which was really only two) was very kind and helpful, even though they could take one whiff and tell that I reeked of American tourist. My airport experience was very simple and pretty easy, although it took me five minutes to figure out how to flush the Heathrow’s toilets. But that's a whole other story.

I like to imagine that I could give you another first impression of the roadways and landscape between London and Grantham, but alas, I was sound asleep on my coach bus. However, a few tidbits of interesting things I learned between my falls into unconsciousness: 

#1: You are required to wear seatbelts on coach buses, something that is not even offered in the States. I was pretty impressed at how seriously they take road safety.
#2: There are literally roundabouts everywhere and they are so efficient. Bowling Green (where my school is) recently got a roundabout on the edge of campus and it was a huge disaster because apparently no one knows how to drive in a circle and read traffic signs properly. Yet, everyone over on this side of the pond drives them flawlessly and effortlessly. For that, I commend the British.

I finally woke up to Owen Sheridan's voice on the microphone telling us that if we looked over to our left, we could see the glorious manor where we would be staying. In that moment, I absolutely fell in love with this place and I couldn't believe that I was staying here for four whole months. I'm not exactly sure how Gregory Gregory managed to do it, but this manor was even more beautiful than all of the pictures WKU gave me and I Google-d combined. Like, I'm talking so gorgeous that a smile creeps across your face, and you don't even know it because you're so awestruck in that moment. It happened to me, and it was hands-down one of the top 5 best moments of my life. I won't even bother to try to describe the architecture because the nicest words I can find will not come close to doing it justice.

As if the exterior of Harlaxton was not enough, staff members led us inside of the building, and I was left dumbfounded once again. We were led in through the front door and up one of the many grand staircases and into the Great Hall. The first thing you notice is this absolutely massively stunning chandelier that hangs from the ceiling. The way it shimmered in the sunlight left me speechless. Once again, I cannot find any words to do this light fixture justice. If you want to come close, think of the most beautiful chandelier you've ever seen and then multiply it by 1,000. Or you can just look at this picture below.

Basically, the interior and exterior of the manor is absolutely stunning. I was completely and totally blown away at the amount of sheer beautiful detail in every single room of the manor house. Harlaxton most definitely made a phenomenal and lasting first impression. Even after being here for a week, I am still finding myself being impressed by the architecture of the manor every time I walk from the Carriage House. Gregory Gregory deserves "Man of the Year" every year for his design of this building.

Although it is hard to move on from talking on end about Harlaxton Manor, the town of Grantham also deserves to get some recognition. On Saturday, the school gave us a lift into town so we could do a little shopping and exploring of our new hometown. After my airport experience with happy, kind, and helpful airport workers, I was hesitant to expect that out of everyone else. (Again, shame on me.) Once again, I was pleasantly surprised at how lovely all of the workers were. A worker from Wilko's (the English equivalent of Walgreen's) took me all over the store to find washcloths, towels, toothpaste, and hair products because I was so insanely clueless about everything there. Another worker helped us with the currency at checkout and congratulated us American students on being able to drink here.

It’s only been a week, but it has been one of the best in my life. Thank you England, Grantham, and Harlaxton for beautiful first impressions.

Stay Lovely,
McKenzie Perdew


  1. Erica Schon Pollak3 September 2014 at 17:55

    Enjoy your time at the Manor ! Welcome your new friendships for they will be lasting ones, take tons of pics, travel as much as you can afford to and cherish every moment at the Manor for it will go by SO fast. I was there Fall 1984-Spring 1985 and still remember it like it was yesterday ! Enjoy !

  2. Ms. Perdew, welcome to one of the most defining moments of your life! Stay safe and enjoy! It's been almost 30 years since I was there and I still have dreams about the Manor and the people I met there.

  3. thank you ms. pollack and mr. good! it's been an absolutely magical two weeks here at the manor. i am looking forward to them memories that are going to be made the next three months :) thanks for reading!