Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Last of Chatsworth, Maybe

I went through my pictures for the last part of our day at Chatsworth, and found over 20 that I want to share!
But then I should be done with my favorite day and I can move on to other things.

These are actually three different baby robins that we saw after leaving the house.  The first two were momentarily captured by myself and my daughter, respectively.  No baby birdies were injured, and they were immediately released after a short cuddle.

After a few more steps, we found ourselves near the Vine House. Oh my. Another wonderful place to spend the rest of my life. Don't these look delicious?

Just a few of the magnificent blooms we encountered.  

And here we are, blooming ourselves.   Idiots, that is.

The top of the Cascade.
Someone really happy at the top of the Cascade.

We caught this pheasant helping himself to some chicken feed.  We happened upon more pheasants in the woods a few minutes after this shot.  Just wandering around, eating whatever.

Did I mention I love chickens?  Aint he a beaut?

Not the maze, but it reminded us that we hadn't conquered the maze earlier.  My daughter really wanted to conquer the maze.  So, we decided to give it one last try.
We were heading down some stone stairs towards the maze when I noticed little bugs jumping out of our way.  Little bugs that weren't bugs at all.  As soon as they warmed up in our hands, they stopped trying to get away.  
I told you this was a magical place!

Here is a view of the maze from those stone stairs.  Taunting us.
And they have wonderful gardens planted around the maze to tempt unsuspecting tourists.  I think these are called lupins.
And here is proof that we conquered the maze!  The olive tree is at the center.  We just missed a hidden entry in one of the corners.  This attempt took us little time at all.  Almost anti-climactic, after all we'd seen and done.
But it was getting on past 5:30 when we came out of the maze.  We were one of the last to leave Chatsworth, and it was with a full heart that I climbed behind the wheel and drove us back to Uttoxeter.
Goodbye, sheep of Chatsworth.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Chatsworth, Part Three: The House

With the rain falling out of doors, we retreated to the interior of the house. Of course it is jam-packed with art of every conceivable form (except quilts - not one!). Every room is a knock-out.

Here is the entry hall.  Even blurry it's stunning.
Look up.

Doesn't it seem like the royal treatment?

The view from the top of the stairs.

Doncha love the detail?  And who dusts this stuff?

Here are some of my favorite rooms:
Doesn't this room seem so bright and cheerful?  Actually, it is lit up by the flash on my husband's camera.  It was very dark and dreary with the naked eye.  Of course, there's no windows.
The pink dining room.  This one got me.  I actually had my jaw drop, and my mouth hung open.  I'm sure I looked quite the idiot.
But how could I not be in awe?  A PINK dining room!
And don't overlook all the gold, too.  It was just beautiful.

Here's some of the stuff in the various rooms:

Just a little flower arrangement.
More stuff to dust.

This tureen was in the pink dining room.  I could just live in that room alone.

They did  have the huge sculpture room with all those sculptures you can see in the movie (Pride and Prejudice), and here is the one that was commissioned for the movie, of Matthew MacFayden, who plays Mr. Darcy.
And this is the Duchess of Devonshire, whose life features in the new movie coming out, The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley.  How 'bout that hair, huh?

I guess we all know who that is, riding on His red thingy with all His friends.  Look up at the ceiling, Adam.  There's some wonderful paintings up there, too!

Which leads us to the chapel.
Which leads me to a funny story.

We had been making a tour of the house, self-guided, when we came across a tour guide and his group.  We couldn't pass them easily, so we stayed and listened a little to his spiel.  It was interesting, but my daughter and I finally slipped past the group just as they were entering the chapel.  

There's a smallish library and some rooms with contemporary art beyond the chapel, and then one is back in the entry hall again, ready to start on the second part of the house.  

My husband, meanwhile, was still stuck with the tour group, which kept getting in his photos.  My daughter and I spied some out-of-the-way chairs in a hallway off the entry hall, and since we'd been on our feet for nearly 6 hours, we decided to sit and wait for the DH to show up. 
We were right next to a door with an alarm on it, probably leading to the private apartments, and people were to-ing and fro-ing through this door repeated.  One of the people to pass by us  was an elderly chap who decided to stop and chat us up a bit.  I was tired and found myself in the embarrassing situation of hearing an English accent spoken to me and trying not to respond with the same inflection.  But we had a nice chat, and he turned to go. 
At that moment a thought occurred to me: that nice man isn't dressed like the rest of the house docents.  They're wearing navy blazers, his was tweed.  I was just beginning to think, "Oh no..." when one of the docents came up to us and asked, "Do you know who that was?"
Now my stomach flipped over, but I said, "No."
"That was the Duke."

Peregrine Cavendish, the twelfth Duke of Devonshire. 
It's a good thing we didn't know who he was, or I would've been really tongue tied and stupid.

Eventually my husband caught up with us and complained about all the tourists getting into his pictures. My daughter and I just sat there and nodded until he finished, and we could say, "Guess what we did."

We finished the house tour and the rain had stopped, so we went back outside!