"Are you here to see the collection?"
"I will return shortly."
And with that the black door was closed in our faces.
We were bewildered, befuddled and yet - bewitched.
Do we wait or move on?
Presently the quietly spoken man returned.
We were instructed to take great care as the house was lit only by candle.
Electricity had not yet been discovered.
Photography was not allowed - one needed to just be in the moment and experience the surroundings.
"And please, although it is not forbidden, don't try to examine closely each small item.
The best view is from the middle of the room."
We tiptoed into the first room and found ourselves in a comfortable parlour.
The sound of a horse and carriage passed by the window.
Confused, I glanced through the lace curtain at the street outside - no carriages, just cars, but again I heard horses hooves on cobblestones.
The tinkling crash of porcelain behind me and I turn and see a broken cup on the hearth.
The smell of spiced ale.
A meal half eaten.
A cat runs across the room.
Where are we?
In another room we discover we have just missed a friendly gathering.
An alcohol fueled gathering by the sounds of ale jugs being opened and distant laughter in the hall.
The guests must be just leaving.
An overturned chair, spilled ale.
I turn and see a painting on the wall and realise that I am standing in that painting,
Only the people are missing.
And the mystery of the overturned chair is solved.
Room by room we explore, absorb and experience.
We communicate only in whispers. Speaking out loud seems wrong.
We follow the story, room by room of fortunes rising and falling,
and in each room we feel the occupants have only just left.
I was sure they would return very soon.
If I waited.
For once I was happy for the no photography rule.
Instead of trying to get the perfect shot, I was free to just be - there.
Be part of the story.
And so I leave it to your imagination as to what is behind that black door.
(Or of course you can Google it)
Do you want to know where it is?
Come closer and I will whisper........................ "It's here"
Spitalfields, London - June 2015