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This, That and The Ebor

There’s this: a crop of summer-blooming Amaryllis, a huge flower that normally blooms in winter — unless you’re like me and forgot the bulbs in the cold room until recently….Blog Photo Red Amaryllis2

Blog Photo Amaryllis Red and White

Then there’s this darling photo of Mr. D. and Mr. JC. 

Blog Photos JC and Dawson

Then – for a change of pace – these two vintage cars….

Blog Photo Ebor House doors open 16 jpgEH

…in front of my favorite 17-room mansion, Ebor House.

You may remember that time I got lost and ended up sipping coffee with a stranger in the kitchen of his beautiful old mansion.

Ebor House was built in 1868 by the Farncombs, a remarkable English-Canadian family which counted two Lord Mayors of London, England, as close relatives.

Blog Photo Doors Open Ebor House

Well, there I was at Ebor House again last Saturday, and this time, for a very different reason.

For the second time, Ebor House was a highlight of Doors Open Clarington.  The architectural conservancy event features many beautiful heritage buildings in Clarington. And I was the author guest, invited to speak about my books, share my knowledge of Ebor House and also the Farncombs’ history.

Blog Photo Farncomb Legresley

While I was in one room, “Farnie”, great-grandson of Frederick and Jane Farncomb, was in another room, charming visitors with tales of growing up at Ebor House. He inspired me to keep going: his energy was so radiant! 

Well over a thousand visitors — including a few cyclists- visited Ebor House. 

Blog Photo Doors Open Cynthia

Some were the younger generations of the Farncomb family, keen to learn the history of their family and their ancestral home. I was glad to meet them and answer their questions.

I was pleased that my sleuthing through history also ended up helping Doors Open Clarington.  My thanks to MaryAnn Isbister, whose excellent design work turned my 6-part blog series on Ebor House into a full-colour fundraising booklet for the event.

The volunteers (including Leo Blindenbach, who was in charge of the Ebor House site) were organized and gracious — as were the new owners of Ebor House, Andrea and Nav. Yes – Ebor House has new owners — or should I say “stewards”? They have been loving and caring for the old house, and making further repairs.

Organizers Bernice Norton, Marilyn Morawetz, Leo and the rest of the Doors Open Clarington team should be very proud!  Bravo, all of you!

57 thoughts on “This, That and The Ebor”

      1. Yeah. I watched about half of it and had to click away. The local paper is posting stories on every one of the victims and after three or for I just had to post my sad face and move on. I want to know them and remember, but it’s heartbreaking.

  1. That’s a fascinating read, as are the links back to your previous posts. York was most requently known as Eboracum, with Ebor/ebora being the root for other names. One theory is that it derives from ‘place of the yew trees’. I found the York/Leeds angles most interesting. You look radiant in that photo – your outfit looks the same colour as the first amaryllis. Beautiful flowers and adorable dogs.

    1. It’s one of the most fascinating stories I’ve researched in recent years. The York connection was a strong one, indeed, and despite having studied Latin, I didn’t know that Ebor means York till when I started the research.
      And so much for being observant: I didn’t realize that my clothes were the same colour as that amaryllis! Thanks for the compliment.

      1. It’s not so much doing the Latin, but rather Roman history which was a large part of my first degree. Plus, as I come from Yorkshire and have worked on a dig in York, I have a bit of a head start on York history.
        Here, if you find time, is a short summary of the etymology of the name York, which shows how Roman Eboracum went to Viking Jorvik, via Anglo Saxon something else. So you can see that York is directly derived from Yorvik.
        End of history lecture 😉

  2. The Architectural Conservancy is a perfect place for you and your books, both being about the value and history and beauty of homes! Great photos! Let me know when Ebor House is on the Open Doors Clarington again.

    1. You know: I didn’t think of it, but that’s exactly what Bernice Norton and her team thought and I’m glad they did. I’ll let you know when it’s on the tour again.

    1. I met Farnie’s children and grandchildren and I think they would all have a big smile to hear him described as a ‘cutie’. Especially since I have to second that emotion!

  3. Sounds like a marvelous day! And you’ve hit on so many of my favourite things – bright flowers, sweet dogs, old cars and great architecture. And I can’t get over Farnie’s brilliant smile. Thank you for such happy things to start the day.

  4. Who knew that getting lost could turn into such a wonderful adventure and an opportunity to write about the history of this family and their amazing home and property. Congratulations on this fantastic piece of work and thank you for graciously sharing it with us. Cheers!

    1. Isn’t it all incredible, Lee? I had been fretting that, because of the pain and injuries, I had lost my ability to be touched by the ‘magic’ of the divine –whereas my pre-accident life seemed full of inexplicable and magical moments. But then when I happened upon and into Ebor House, it felt like a slice of the divine and I realized it was still there – I had stopped seeing it for a while. One of the new owners, by the way, is also an author, among other similarities. Life is strange and wondrous.

    1. It really was a perfect setting, Wendy, and the house was magnificent before but now it feels both magnificent AND like a family home. Full of light and warmth and so grandly and well-built it reminded me of our farmhouse.

    1. Yes, my books did well, but the day really belonged to Doors Open and Ebor House. Most of my time was spent pushing the booklet (print version of my blog series) whose sale was used as a fundraiser for Doors Open Clarington.

  5. And bravo Cynthia! You must have been exhausted at the end of the day! I remember your interesting posts about Ebor House – a fascinating read and what a fabulous idea to turn them into a booklet!

    1. Completely exhausted. Leo kept checking up on me to make sure I was alright. But so happy for him and all the other organizers and also the new owners/stewards of Ebor House, a lovely family.

  6. Writing seems to open many doors for you…even ones you may have thought closed. That is so wonderful. The amaryllis is gorgeous. Being in Maine, I always only have them to brighten a windowsill in the dead of winter. Another blogger has told me that what we, in the northern hemisphere, call amaryllis is not a true amaryllis but a hippeastrum..Have you or Hamlin ever heard anything about that?

  7. I remember those blog posts, nice to revisit the house and story. Lovely photos. I have some heirloom (from my husband’s father) Amaryllis outside in my tropical garden, still waiting for the flowers – got some pretty foliage.

    1. It really was such a wonderful adventure, Lavinia, and on Saturday, there was a moment when I reflected on that and wondered if I really got lost or just ended up where I was supposed to be. The whole thing kinda went beyond serendipity.

  8. I remember the story of this house. How nice that they used your blog story like this.

    I can never get hippeastrums to bloom again, so your secret is to keep them cold?

    1. I like their nice strapping leaves in the garden in the summer, so I put them outside in May.
      I stop watering them at end of summer, let the leaves dry off, then remove the bulbs from the soil.
      I put them in a brown paper bag in the cellar/cold room for the winter, then removed them this year in May, potted them up and let them return to life and blooms. You should see the new flower buds forming at the base. If not, I cover the whole thing – potted bulbs with soil — for a week or two. When it has flower buds I remove the cover and put the pot back into the light.
      It’s a series of simple steps. I completely forgot these ones in the cold room, but they still bloomed five months after Christmas in May-June.

  9. A wonderful honor for you Cynthia and how special to revisit the house – what a great event. The blooms are fabulous too – such fantastic flowers!

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