Sunday, July 31, 2011

Derbyshire - Days 11 & 12

The last hours of our trip - an afternoon, evening, and early morning - felt like stolen time as we walked the streets of this charming little town where every door and rain gutter has to be painted the same shade of blue. We ate a delicious dinner in the inn pub, played cards as the sun slipped down, and went to sleep dreaming that we would never have to leave.

Haddon Hall - Day 11, Part 3

Haddon Hall is a 13th century castle situated a few miles from the Chatsworth Estate in the Derbyshire Dales. The road leading to the castle was lined by hills with deep green grass and sheep roaming as far as we could see. Walking up to the castle meant a small drawbridge and a walk up a hill. While the rooms were old and the walls were crumbling, it was still an adventure to imagine who had lived here and what they had been protecting as they stood on the wall surrounding the home.

I always used to picture myself playing on harpsichords like this one when I practiced my baroque pieces. I'm actually grateful I had a large piano to pound away on instead. I fear I might have snapped the strings on something as delicate this instrument.

Naturally, the flowers growing along the walls and in the gardens were our favorite part of visiting Haddon Hall (which was used as part of a Jane Eyre film a few years ago). Don't ask - we're not really sure what the purpose of the stairs is or what our dad is doing.

Darcy's Pemberley (Chatsworth Estate Home) - Day 11, Part 2

As we were walking through the rooms of the Chatsworth Estate, you couldn't help but wish Georgiana would be around the corner playing the piano with her brother standing close by. Despite Mr. Darcy not being there, it was an impressive home. The Duke and Duchess of Devonshire's art collection is unreal. The family still stays in a portion of the house. Can you imagine calling this home?

The veiled statue from the movie - my mom was mesmerized by it.

I was mesmerized by the books, the piano, the painting of the girl below, and all the rooms in the house where Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and others had been entertained by previous Dukes and Duchesses of Devonshire.

I teased Jenessa that this was her looking at her boyfriend Colten who was halfway across the world. She was not nearly as amused as I was by that joke.
The bust of Matthew Macfadyen as Mr. Darcy that was commissioned for the film can be seen in the gift shop. Ironically the gift shop is even beautiful. The walls are stone and the windows look out the greenhouse and a gorgeous hillside.

Darcy's Pemberley (Chatsworth Estate Grounds) - Day 11, Part 1

The Chatsworth Estate is the location they used for Darcy's Pemberley in the Keira Knightley version of Pride & Prejudice. I know that version makes some cringe, but it is one of my very favorite movies. The grounds were beautiful. Like every moment we spent in the Derbyshire Dales, I felt like I was in a Jane Austen novel. It was a dream come true.

Jenessa made friends with a pheasant. His name is Freddie.

There are not enough adjectives in my vocabulary to tell you how much I enjoyed seeing the English countryside. I would love to live there someday even if it is only for a few months.

Arrival at the Devonshire Arms at Pilsley - Day 10, Part 2

I fell in love while I was in England with Derbyshire and our bed and breakfast on the edge of the Chatsworth Estate. The pictures do not do justice to Jenessa and my bedroom or view, but know that if you ever can't find me, I have gone here. Someday, I'll hole up here for a season, write, sip lemonade overlooking green pastures, and walk cobblestone streets at dusk.

While we stayed here, we enjoyed the most delicious meals at the Inn pub made from ingredients grown on the Estate. We chatted with a few of locals and got a picture of life in a small town. Everyone knows everyone. Everyone seems to be interconnected. And more than anything, I want to get back there as soon as I can.

Oxford - Day 10, Part 1

Visiting Oxford was like stepping into one of my personal dreams. In my lifetime, I hope to attend classes there. Beyond the historical and literary significance of the university and its thirty-eight colleges, the campus and town are stunningly beautiful. I loved walking the grounds and learning from our quirky tour guide about Oxford's past and present.
Christ's Church College

Can you say Harry Potter? Many scenes from the movies were shot or modeled after Oxford locations. This particular quad was part of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Anyone for quidditch? Or let's be honest - I'd really just love to walk around and study here.The hospital wing and more.
Without a doubt, we LOVED Oxford.

Trafalgar Square, Red Bus Tour &Pygmalion - Day 9, Part 3

After eating our Pret A Manger sandwiches in Trafalgar Square, we rode one of those wonderfully cliched red bus tours around London. We rounded out our evening with a night at the theater seeing George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Besides the sunburns from being on the upper deck of the bus for so long, it was a perfectly lovely day.

Dad looks a bit tired, but he snuck off for a bit just after lunch and surprised us with the Pygmalion tickets. Three cheers for him!

There are dozens of pictures from the bus tour, but for all our sakes, I narrowed it down to a great view of the Tower Bridge and T.S. Eliot's church. It was a fun adventure to see London from such a comprehensive view, and naturally it gave us great ideas for our return trip.

Notice who is playing Henry Higgins? The sensational Rubert Everett. Kara Tointon was wonderful as Miss Eliza Doolittle.