We had a wonderful, quiet Sunday morning (well, Cathy drove the sitter home while I chilled out with my baby on the couch!), then I happily took up Cathy on her offer to see Kedleston Hall, which is another of Derbyshire’s stately homes that features jaw-dropping Robert Adam architecture (perfectly preserved upstairs) and the wonderful Indian collection of the late Lord and Lady Curzon.
When my husband first surprised me with this special trip, it was early enough that I’d have time to put together my costume for the masquerade ball at the end … but, naturally, grandiose schemes were the first to cross my mind! I could totally see making a 1780s take on the White Queen, from panniers to a towering powdered wig! Then common sense (and the deadline and my actual suitcase space) reined me in, and I decided to go for something far less ambitious but still fun.
I repacked my suitcases Friday night to squeeze in all the fabric I’d gotten on an outing with Suzi on Wednesday (I wish I’d taken photos — SUCH a fabulous shop!). The next morning, Keith drove Cathy, the baby, and me to St. Pancras Station, which I’d never seen before. Goodness! It is an absolutely jaw-dropping example of Victorian Gothic architecture.
Suzi had a morning appointment on Friday and urged Cathy and me to do something on our own. She and Keith would meet us for lunch around 1. So we took the bus to Oxford Street, then walked past Selfridges to Manchester Square, home to the stunning jewel box that contains The Wallace Collection–one of London’s best kept art museum secrets.
After Cathy’s arrival, we decided to simply hop a bus up to Piccadilly Circus and walk around as dusk fell, enjoying the lights of Piccadilly Street, Regent Street, and all the lovely little side streets that connect the two. It begins to grow dark around 4pm at that time of year, so it’s quite easy to catch all the lights without being out very late.
As a very early Christmas surprise in 2014, my husband gave me a small gift bag in November and asked me to open it. When I unwrapped the tissue paper inside, I found what looked like a Mardi Gras mask and felt completely puzzled. “You’re sending me to New Orleans?” I asked, incredulously. He laughed and told me to guess again.
After a year of careful planning and hard work, we did, indeed, put together a marvelous tour itinerary, revisiting some favorite spots from the 2012 tour and adding a new costumed event. But, due to a crazy change in immigration law where we live in Africa, my travel visa lapsed and could not be renewed until after the tour! Thankfully, my well-traveled and very gracious husband stepped in and lead my tour for me, and I chimed in on Skype now and again to chat with the group and see how things were going. It was a huge disappointment to miss my own trip, but I’m so glad it went off without a hitch and was a roaring success. Here are some photo highlights thanks to Cathy Hay of Your Wardrobe Unlock’d, who was a special speaker on this trip and took lots of pictures!
Well, the little time I’ve had online has been spent working on this year’s tour instead of formatting pictures from last year’s! Time is flying by far too quickly. In less than seven months, we’ll be in Bath, Winchester, Chawton, and London, touring Jane Austen sites and viewing historical fashions up close.