09 October 2010

A return to reality

Hi readers
Again… more tardiness in the blogging department.  My only excuse is a horrible lack of time!  Where does it go?  And of course, it seems to go faster each year you age so it's extra fast this month.  Back from the UK two weeks now.  It is SUCH a long way to get home.  Such a long way….  The flight seemed to go on for ever and ever.  I was unfortunately seated next to a woman who had forgotten her deoderant so that was an even bigger incentive to disembark.  Unfortunately, I did something to myself during the flight because I have had a numb lower leg ever since.  I think I've given myself a nerve entrapment, which is one more reason not to fly in the cheap seats!  Shame that's where I will continue to be sitting….  What is with those grey boxes on the floor of the plane though?  Under almost every seat (certainly under every seat in front of me so that I couldn't stretch my legs out) 
So, our time in Manchester was spent visiting a couple of fabulous historic houses.  I will attach a bunch of photos now & try to give a description too.  These photos below are from our visit (on my birthday) to Dunham Massey - a historic house & deer park about an hour's drive from Manchester.
 The entrance is via the arch below the clocktower where the stables are and around to the circular driveway.

 One of the local deer and one of the out buildings with a precarious roofline.
 The sitting room, with a gorgeous portrait of the 10th Earl of Stamford with his mother and sister Lady Jane Grey.  He died childless and unmarried in the 1970's & bequeathed his family home to the National Trust.  I wish I had been able to get closer to the portrait because it hasn't come out very clearly in this photo ...
 All those scrumptious books! 
The Swan with Two Nicks (referring to markings on the swan's beak designed to show ownership) was just down a country lane, past cow paddocks (truly!) & about a ten minute walk from Dunham Massey so we went there for lunch & an ale.  It was so… so…. so….. English!  I was looking for Mr Darcy, but alas he was nowhere to be seen, despite it being his type of country.  

Maybel's funeral was on the Thursday & was held in a Catholic church, just about 100metres from her house.  So, the hearse arrived, together with an undertaker in morning dress with a top hat and a black walking stick, & we all walked behind the hearse down to the church, with the undertaker in front.  It was so different to any funeral I have attended before, including my own dad's!  The padre very kindly explained all aspects of the requeim mass to we heathens before we all took off to the crematorium.  However, on the way there, it was amazing to watch total strangers in the street crossing themselves or tipping their hats as the hearse passed by. I had to take the time to explain to the undertaker that here in the Colonies, it's pretty well a case of chucking the body into the back of a ute & opening a keg of beer.  Seriously!  Don't you agree?  Certainly the formality and respect shown was a novelty to me. 
On our last day, we trekked out to Bakewell, Derbyshire, to visit my previously favourite historic house,  Chatsworth.  To be honest, this is actually the house that Mr Darcy was living in when Lizzy Bennett arrived with her aunt & uncle, the Gardiners.  The house is still owned by the Duke of Devonshire & has been in his family since 1549.  I saw it with different eyes this year & really, I have to admit to it being a bit OTT (Over The Top).  It is just too deluxe.  Too much lushness and grandness.  It wouldn't suit me as a home at all, even if Mr Darcy WERE in residence.  The gardens are absolutely divine however.  Here are some photos.
 Here is am in the courtyard of the stables, with this lovely statue.  Do I like a tiny bit royal?  You know… all horsey?  
 Here is a beautiful portrait of Lady Georgiana Spencer, who became the Duchess of Devonshire when she married the 5th Duke.  You may have seen the movie, "The Duchess", which is based on her life.
 One of two magnificent stone lions which I think would look splendid by my own front door! 
 These are the infamous Killer Guinea Pigs, which are held hostage in the petting zoo of Chatsworth.  Look at their eager gleaming eyes!  I sense shades of Monty Python here ...
 Big sigh…  Just a little country cottage.  And look at the colour of that lawn!! 

 One of the current sculptures in the "back yard".  I really do feel a Hills hoist would add a lot to the general appearance, don't you agree? 

They are extremely dog-friendly here in the UK and dogs are allowed in the gardens of all these fabulous historic houses and also allowed to sit inside pubs!  Some can even stay in hotels!!   

No comments: