Friday, 13 September 2013

First flat day trip!

Today we had our first flat day trip! Our first stop was Haddon Hall, a beautiful medieval manor house that’s been used in several movies, including the Princess Bride (“I give you, Princess Buttercup!” aka it was Prince Humperdinck’s castle). Haddon Hall has been on my list of places I want to go to since before my last trip. I feel so fortunate that I got to finally go here today! One of my favorite parts of the house was the chapel, which had these beautiful wall paintings. It was so old and so serene. The gardens and grounds of the house are also amazing, nestled into the English countryside. For the first time since I’ve gotten here, I finally felt like I was in England. It is such an amazing feeling. It wasn’t really until I was standing up by the garden looking out onto the green pastures and cows and sheep that I could feel it, that amazing feeling—that I’m in England. I just couldn’t be happier. I've been waiting for that feeling for so long now, it feels like it's been so long since I've been here last and every time it just floors me. I'm so fucking lucky.
The inside courtyard of Haddon Hall

Our next stop was Chatsworth House, a gorgeous palatial amazing place, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, coincidentally also on my list of places I want to go to. I'm so lucky!!! It was unbelievable. Besides the fact that the house itself is amazing, it has very impressive art galleries (some of them were of my people, so I put up with it—saw my first Henry VIII portrait of the year!) and gardens/grounds that are stunning. Chatsworth House goes back to 1547 when Bess of Hardwick and her second husband, Sir William Cavendish, bought the land and decided to build. I’m just starting a biography on Bess of Hardwick, so hopefully I’ll know more about her soon, but she has a pretty fascinating story. She was married four times, and accumulated enough wealth as a widow (and due to her longevity—she was 80 when she died!) to become the richest woman in England, after the Queen of course. Her children spread throughout the English aristocracy and Elizabeth I once said about Bess, “I assure you, there is no Lady in this land that I better love and like.” I always love a connection to my time period and my people, so that was just an added bonus.

Chatsworth House

(also just wanted to say that I can't believe I figured out how to put both pictures and captions in this blog, I'm brilliant shh!)

Chatsworth House has also been featured in lots of movies, including the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice (Mr. Darcy’s house). I spent a couple hours wandering around the gardens—there were weird sculptures and ponds and a group of us finally made it to the center of the maze! Chatsworth House was also set deep in the English countryside and so the scenery was beautiful. It was raining but I didn’t even feel it. Again, it was one of those magical moments when I could feel that I was in England. Simply amazing. Today, I feel like one of the luckiest girls alive.

Tonight we went out for Indian and had cake for Kaia’s birthday. I have to wake up super early tomorrow to catch a train to London. My first ever solo trip! Even though it would be nice to explore Nottingham more, I really need to get back to my people. I’ve been waiting so long to go to my favorite places! They’ll all be waiting for me, I know. I’m going to cry so much! I’m meeting up with my friend Peter, who’s basically been my brother since before we were born, on Sunday to take him to the Tower of London for the first time. But now it’s time for bed! As someone who hates mornings, I’m not excited to wake up at 5:30 am, but I’ll do it for my people. And if that’s not true love, I don’t know what is… London baby!!!

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