Moors and Castles and Lots of rain…a week in Derbyshire, part one.

England travels

Feeling much better today, thankfully. I have a great man-nurse to make me tea and soup and whatnot. Unfortunately, I guess he has to get used to it for the next week or so. Poor guy.

I took a TON of pictures last week! Far too many. So let’s just start at the beginning. Last Saturday consisted of 4 and a half hours of driving, settling into our cottage (which was just as quaint as the pictures suggested) then a pub dinner, then a short walk around the village and countryside at dusk, then bedtime.  Nothing too crazy. Sunday was the only completely rain free day, and since we’d watch weather reports that showed a wet week ahead, we took advantage and went for a long, 5ish mile hike on the Stanton Moors. The dogs loved it. We loved it. The sun was shining, and we encountered the Nine Ladies stone circle, similar to Stonehenge on a much much much smaller scale, but with the same amount of knowledge (ie none). There were a lot of sheep around, all strangely comfortable around people-so comfortable that they fairly aggressively stole some food from a toddler until his dad got angry and scared them away. Repeatedly. Crazy sheep!

Monday the rains came. Nonetheless, we visited a tiny village called Cromford where Richard Arkwright made the first factory in the world, or something like that. Most of what I picked up from that was he loooooved child labor and was greatly rewarded for thinking of doing it on a mass scale before anyone else. High five dude. Way to go.

Tuesday we took another giant walk. This one nearly killed me. It was rainy and parts of the walk were very, very steep and narrow. More of a hike really. We were meant to go to someplace called the “Heights of Abraham”, which involved a cable car up a mountain, but we walked up the mountain instead. Woo! Very pretty, and by this point we’d all bought rainjackets, so it was all okay. I just feel bad for the English folk who live that far north and deal with that weather all the time. And even FURTHER north, like Yorkshire or something…brrrrrrr. It’s the middle of July! I want the heatwave that the rest of the world is having!

Wednesday we hung out in the drizzle and went to a fantastic manor called Haddon Hall. It’s an 800 year old castle open to the public from noon to 5 everyday, and the family who it belongs to (Lord Edward Manner, if you were wondering) still lives there-in private quarters, of course. Amazing. The day we were there there were some dressed up actors filming a period piece in the chapel. The chapel itself was beautiful and held a carved marble memorial in the shape of a young boy who would have become Duke of somethingsomething except for that he died at the age of 8. His mother, the Lady of the Hall spent the next 9 years carving the piece in his honor. She was incredibly talented-I was blown away by the dedication and ability there.  And while reading some literature I discovered that the Hall had also been used for scenes in Pride and Prejudice and The Other Boleyn Girl. I geeked out. I love love love old stuff like that, and everything was so much older than I’m used to! Also, Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth/Kiera Knightley one) is awesome.

As we finished up exploring the house and it’s beautiful grounds, the rain really picked up and we went to the adjoining restaurant (I know, I know, that part obviously can’t be 800 years old, but it really WAS a part of the old building!) and sat down for a cup of tea. By the way, this was essentially how everything we did ended-take a walk, cup of tea, see a castle, cup of tea, wander round a village, cup of tea, etc. Oh so English, oh so civilized. And a nice way to sit down for a little while. And because it was up in the Midlands, we often also had scones and clotted cream with our tea. Clotted cream=not as gross as it sounds. More like the taste of whipped cream with the thick texture and spreadability of butter. Learning is fun!

I will save the rest of my recap for later on this week. My chompers are coming out tomorrow, so I’ll be out of commission then, but down for the count the rest of the week. Plenty of time for blogging. In the meantime, here are more outdoorsy lovely pictures from the first half of our vacation, as well as ones I took inside Haddon Hall!


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