Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rooting Around in People's Houses

Ha!  You thought that was all we did, ride on a coach and sleep in hostels, didn't you!   ...You didn't?  Oh.  Well, anyway, here's the rest of it.  Or at least:  THE FIRST DAY

In the beginning was the... okay, okay, not that first day.

We were going to go to Fountain Abbey first, but the winds were so strong they shut it down.  Completely serious, that's what happened.  So we continued to our next destination, Pemberl Chatsworth.  Chatsworth is an old estate.  Olllllld estate.  Everything there feels like age.  We came in the back.  There was an alley lined with trees and statues, then we went in and found the entryway; there was a very definite path--you go here, then here, then here, but you can't go here before you go here.  You know, like that.  Every single room...I mean, every room had art and furnishings that, if I were offered the monetary value of half of the room, I'd be bowled over.  And that's every room!  So, not just old, but fabulously, obtusely wealthy.  The *ceilings* were all painted!  I think, out of the house, my favorite was the carving of the veiled lady.  She shows up in Pride and Prejudice, but a) in the wrong place and b) you don't get to see it clearly enough.  Let me put it this way--you can see her face.  Under a veil.  Made of stone.  I don't know how the artist got that kind of skill...but I wouldn't mind being able to do that.  So the house--definitely impressive.  Several people were talking about how much they would like to be able to live there.  I can't say I would.  There's way too much.  Really, I'd prefer one of the houses we went to later.  But that was later, so I'll get to it later.

After that, I went out to the grounds and the gardens.  Now there's some nice gardens.  Most of it was the manicured, perfectly trimmed space you expect from Victorian or such gardens.  Very pleasant.  Bushes lining the main walk, with statues in between each, and more statues all over.  There were also some statues from a sculpture show that opened a few days after we left, and they weren't quite what you would expect.  Multi-colored flowers on stems 10 feet tall and striped, a lion made of jutting pieces of metal made to look like wood, two feet upside down like a giant just did a swan dive into the ground, and some equestrian sculptures of a unicorn and a pegasus, half white and half with exposed musculature.  Yep, interesting stuff.

So...nice, clean-cut part of garden, well and good.  But I preferred the other side that had more of a wild feel to it.  They had a grotto, first off, with a weeping tree.  No, really, it was squirting water out of it.  Quite beautiful.  The rest of it--there was a stream running through, one or two fountains, it felt like a recess in the woods, so it wasn't as open, which I think added a lot to the feel.  There were also enormous rocks piled against each other carefully to make a haphazard, natural looking formation.  My favorite part there.

They had a farmyard, too, but it was closed.  It appears they were selling one of their horses there...maybe I should have picked it up, but then I'd have to keep it in London a few months, not to mention trying to get it home and then finding a place in Provo.  Oh, yeah, and the money thing.  Yeah, that too...
Also, when we went, I hadn't seen Pride and Prejudice yet--we watched it on the bus the next day.  Kind of glad I hadn't seen it earlier, or I think I would have looked at the house and grounds differently.

Oh, yeah...almost forgot!  We saw the Royal Helicopter land on the lawn in front as we were leaving.  Tony our coach driver said he didn't know who they were, but he ruled out the queen because a) there wasn't nearly enough security (like people standing in front of the coach so he couldn't try to ram the car that went from the helicopter to the house) and b) once they were close enough, it didn't look like her.  His guess is some minor lord.

That's that.  Please ask questions; I'd love to answer them!

To be belatedly continued.....


  1. Wait, you hadn't seen P&P? Seriously? What obscure cave have you been kept in?
    Ok, so I can picture the statue you are referring to, Elizabeth was examining it. Tehe, Elizabeth, I mean Bennet, from the movie, but i guess you did too. Oh this is too fun.
    Oh wow, I am sighing with jealousy. Thank you for this post. At least I can live vicariously through you.

  2. Ok, so... Wow. That statue of the woman in the veil has always intrigued me, so I think it's awesome that you got to see that! Wow. You know I'm jealous of all you got to see,cause that's just amazing, but not, because I would be even more jealous of the people who lived there if I was there seeing it. It just must be so amazing! So cool! Thanks for the updates of your awesome life!

  3. Coming soon: Visit to Stourhead Gardens where the Temple of Apollo is--see also site of first proposal in above movie.