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Once she and two others rolled up to the local pub dressed as nuns and downed shots until they became so tipsy the landlord suggested it might be time to return to the convent.At this, 'Mother Superior' and her two acolytes gravely removed their habits to reveal chicken costumes. Our cleaning lady, Mo, had opened the bathroom door to be confronted by the musician-Sam Gopal sitting on the loo wearing a gorilla mask." In the early days, the house was uninhabitable, so people slept in one of the farm's 11 barns.
I've met some really cool people who keep it fun and since it's free I can invite all my friends. OMG DAN I MET THE COOLEST DUDE IN TEENCHAT NAMED REYES :). I really like how they have the different race-based rooms 2 get a taste of everyone's ideas in a room where they feel comfortable! One of my closest friends told me about it and from then on I've been coming here! In practice, they were repaid (with no interest) when they left rather than retaining a stake in the property.But everyone, including Princess Margaret when she came to stay, was expected to muck in with housework, heavier tasks such as rebuilding walls and looking after the livestock (cows, geese, chicken, pigs and horses).And, three decades before Hollywood finally honoured her with an Oscar, a bewitching young blonde named Helen Mirren, who used to bomb around the countryside in a white MG was being feted as the "Sex Queen of Stratford".
Then fiercely republican and a free spirit whom critics accused of 'turning her back on stardom' by choosing experimental theatre over a lucrative screen career, Mirren spent a lot of time at Surrendell.
"It didn't leak, but it had been used as a grain store by the tenant farmer who was there before us. Apparently, the ghost was a mother whose child had died in the house, and she used to come at night to the farmer's daughter's room and tuck her into bed.
"I felt the ghost myself once, too, as a very strong presence on the stairs.
The sprawling Jacobean farmhouse, set in 57 acres, was owned by Sarah Ponsonby, an artist whose brother is now the Earl of Bessborough.
It was derelict when she bought it for £37,500 in 1975 with two others - her then boyfriend John Rendall and interior designer Mike Tickner.
The head gardener was Roddy Llewellyn, who was often found stripped to the waist, swearing at the goats for eating all his strawberries, or moving his prize sow Mah-Jong from one part of the garden to another via an elaborate set-up of electric fences.