SINCE 2006

Jennie's Blog

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New pictures coming soon!

My front garden has surprised me this spring with an abundance of annuals that didn’t die over the winter! My attempt at an English cottage garden has really encouraged me to continue planting. I didn’t think I’d inherited my mother’s green thumb, but my roses are so healthy and hearty (even after a late freeze) that I am tickled pink! I’ve now planted Catmint, Dianthus, “wave” Petunias, “carpet” roses, and a little purple flower whose name I’ve forgotten.

My wonderful husband is over in England this week with a group of close friends, touring up through Yorkshire and into Scotland, so he has the camera. When he gets back, I’ll take pictures of the front garden to share — and maybe I’ll share some of his pictures from this latest trip. What a delight!

P.S. – You can see photos taken by one of dh’s friends of their current jaunt through England and Scotland at this link!


Finally! I’ve got the last of the pictures in the gallery. Hope you enjoy seeing our last day in wonderful England! Click below to access the album:


And I can’t resist sharing a photo to demonstrate how our trip to England has already influenced some changes here at home. They are simple but have really made a fun difference in our house! First, I painted our front door a deep, rich blue. Then, I had my dear husband hang two baskets that I filled with flowers. Finally, I planted some shrub roses (which you can’t see here). I took this picture shortly after this was completed; I’ll have to take a more recent one so you can see the flowers in the height of their glory! Little bits of England cling to us still….

Derbyshire and Chatsworth

Now I’ve uploaded the pictures from our drive through the hills and dales of Derbyshire and our visit to Chatsworth House. I hope you enjoy all the incredible scenery as much as we did!

Derbyshire Scenery

In and Around Chatsworth

P.S. – Whoops! I got a note from someone who said the Chatsworth photos would not enlarge. I figured out why and fixed the problem. Now you can click to get enlarged photos in that gallery. Thanks for letting me know, Lisa!

Costume Photos and More!

I’ve finally gotten through our photos from the Jane Austen Centre, Museum of Costume in Bath, and the interior of Warwick Castle. There are lots of delicious things to drool over in these galleries!

Click below to go directly to them:

Inside the JA Centre and Museum of Costume

Inside Warwick Castle

Links to Picture Galleries!

Well, it is taking a while to resize and upload pictures to the online galleries. Thank you for your patience! I do finally have three galleries on line and am working on the others as time permits. Let me know if you have any difficulty accessing these links. Here we go:

Scenes from our day in London

Inside the V&A Museum (lots of historical costume shots!)

Jane Austen’s House and Hampshire

I hope you enjoy looking at these! I’ll try to get the rest up soon. It is fun to relive the memories!

Visit to Chipping-Campden in the Cotswolds

At last we’ve gone through our pictures, and I’ve finished the blog post I started while at Heathrow! Here are the details of our last day in beautiful England….

We packed up our belongings Wednesday morning and loaded the car around 9:30. Melissa and I dashed into some of the shops in Bakewell to see if we could find some more gifts for family and friends. There are so many charming little stores in this tiny village. What interested us the most was seeing how vastly different the fashions in the windows are compared to those in London and Bath. There we saw much more avant garde clothing–lots of trendy, skimpy things. Up here, where the temperature is a good 10-15 degrees lower already, the fashions in the windows are far more sensible! Here you find woolen shops with tweed jackets and long skirts. We admired lots of beautiful sweaters made locally and further north. After picking up a few things, we headed back to the car and set off for Chipping-Campden, which is where Melissa’s father’s family came from.

The day started out overcast and windy, but as we approached Gloucestershire, the clouds scattered, revealing a bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine. By the time we reached Chipping-Campden at 2:15, it was warm enough to leave off our jackets for our walk about town. This place immediately won our hearts as our favorite village. Its buildings are of a yellow limestone even warmer than the color seen in Bath. There are doorways in shades of royal blue, forest green, and deep red, and flowers hang in abundance from wrought-iron baskets. Melissa’s third cousin, Barry, waved at us as we drove up, then greeted us warmly with kisses on the cheek and a handshake for Matt. We immediately liked him and felt at home. Melissa’s father visited Chipping-Campden almost a year ago and took the “grand tour” of Keen family sites, and Barry had offered to give us the same tour. We started out at the Eight Bells, a B&B and public house that served lunch. Unfortunately, we were too late by half an hour for lunch, so we walked down High Street to a small bakery that served lunch until 3pm. Barry treated us to a delicious meal and afternoon tea.

When we finished, we began our tour by stopping to look at a building that used to be the Live and Let Live Pub, which Melissa’s great-great-grandfather owned in the early 1900s. It now houses an antiques shop. We decided to return later to look through the antiques. Further down the street we visited the town’s market stall, built in 1679. It is an impressive edifice for a “stall!” Melissa’s great-grandfather etched his initials somewhere inside the building, but there are so many carvings that it has proven impossible for Barry to locate those particular initials! We gave it a good try and saw carvings dating to 1737–others without dates were deeply worn and had no doubt been there much longer. The uneven floor was made of worn stones and dipped in the center of each aisle, showing where years of foot traffic had gone.

Looking for initials in the market stall!

Next to the market stall is a tall memorial for WWI. Melissa’s great-grandfather designed and carved the memorial. He had apprenticed as a woodcarver and stone carver in a town guild and used his skills to ornament altar pieces for local churches as well as gravestones. We walked across High Street and headed back toward the town center to see the house where Melissa’s grandfather was born. The house is called the “twine house,” since it is next to an alleyway where men made ropes. Below you see the house, then Melissa standing in front of the house with the alleyway to the side.

After taking several pictures, Melissa and I decided to visit the antiques store before it closed. Matt and Barry walked on to St. James’s Church, which is where many members of the Keen family were baptized and buried. The antiques store proved to be one of those that you cannot skim! Melissa and I browsed all around the upstairs, which was filled with all kinds of fine china, silver, pewter, and more. Then we spied the stairs to the basement and headed down. There were three rooms jam-packed with more china and pewter, with scads of mugs and cups hanging from the rafters. It was unbelievable. Boxes on the floor held mismatched saucers and cups at 30 pence each. We poked around quite a while, then went upstairs to make our purchases. By then, the shop was closing, so we hurried on our way once we had our bags in hand and saw Matt hurrying toward us from the opposite direction. The churchwarden was on the way to lock up St. James’s, so we’d have to dash if we wanted to see the inside.

This beautiful parish church was built by Sir Baptist Hicks, who also built the market stall and a huge estate in Chipping-Campden. His name shows up all over the town, in fact, and plays a large part in the history of the area, as do the names of his parents. Inside the church is a tomb for his parents, who lie in marble effigy atop. Next to this are statues of Sir Hicks and his wife, along with a bust of their daughter, Penelope, who “died a mayd.” Sir Hicks’s wife commissioned the sculptures after the death of her husband and had them portrayed holding hands:

On the left you see the bust of Penelope.

The interior of the church is lofty and grand. We spoke with the churchwarden (who was actually running late–very fortunate!), and Melissa was able to look up her Keen ancestors in the church’s record book. Barry told us he had not been able to find the grave of Thomas and Elizabeth Keen, since its marker had been moved some time in the past. But as Matt walked out of the church, he saw the marker opposite him in the low stone wall next to the walk! Here is Melissa next to the tombstone:

We walked through the churchyard, marveling at the many stones (some of which may have been carved by Melissa’s great-grandfather), then we looked across a field to the ruin of Sir Baptist Hicks’s grand estate. The great house burned down a long time ago, and several gate houses are all that remain behind the high wall of the estate. The gate houses themselves are so huge that they’d easily contain a large family! Some mullioned windows stand partly open, and you can see remnants of curtains inside. Torture for the truly curious! Wouldn’t we love to see what was inside those 400-year-old houses! Here is the main gate into the estate, which stands next to the church:

We finally wended our way back down to town proper, passing the church’s almshouses on the way. These are as neat as a pin and beautifully kept, a testimony to a church that cared for its poor and widowed parishoners. Would that the modern church shared the same vision! It was now nearing suppertime, and we hoped to grab a bite before heading back to Heathrow, but the Eight Bells did not serve food until 6:30. Melissa took some last-minute pictures of the inn, which was originally built to house the men who built the church’s bell tower. It is a beautiful place, so warm and inviting! These pictures can’t do it justice, since a flash takes away from the warm glow of its atmosphere.

We bade Barry a fond farewell, hoping we’d see him again in the future. It really is amazing how you can “go home to a place you’ve never been,” but that’s just how we felt in Chipping-Campden and in Barry’s company. He is a delightful English gent, and we were so glad Melissa was able to meet one of her Keen relations across the Pond! We drove back to Heathrow through Oxford, finally reaching our hotel around 8:30pm. Thankfully, they were still serving supper until 10pm, so we were able to get a bite to eat! Then we repacked all our luggage to cram everything in, did some blogging, and took a brief nap. The hotel desk forgot to call our room to wake us up at 3am, so I awoke with a start to see 3:45 on the clock and leaped out of bed! Thankfully, they had called Melissa, who was already up and had gotten a cart for our luggage. After some wrangling to get things down the narrow hallways, we managed to get into our taxi and made it to our gate well in time. Security in Britain is far more strenuous than it is in the US (and you thought it was bad here!), but we made it through and boarded our flight without any delays. An uneventful flight across the Atlantic brought us back to DC, then to Atlanta, where Melissa’s mother picked us up and drove us home. It has taken until today (Monday) to get over the jet lag, which is far worse coming back than it is going over! But now we are happily settled back into our regular routine, enjoying memories of wonderful days in England and hoping for a return visit in the future.

Thank you to everyone who has left kind comments on the blog! It has been a pleasure to share the trip and all our fun with everyone. What a blessing to be able to go on such a journey with so many friends cheering us along!

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P.S. – Yes, I will upload the rest of our pictures and post links to them — watch for those in the near future!

P.P.S. – Someone wanted to know what kinds of “sculptures” were on the grounds of Chatsworth, but we didn’t waste camera memory on them! Just as an example, here are some brief descriptions: An upside down “boot” that looked like it was made of melted and burned marshmallows; a tall, skinny bunny beating a tambourine with a stick (looked like the Energizer Bunny after a diet–LOL!!!); various pieces of twisted metal painted bright, obnoxious colors; a waxwork (or latex or something) sunburned woman in a bikini lying on a lawn chair (I kid you not). We just tried to airbrush them out of our sight as we viewed the otherwise heavenly scenery all around! Perhaps some day the grounds will be returned to their former splendor and rid of the silly pop “art!”

Just a few random musings…

I don’t have pictures formatted or uploaded yet, so I’m not ready to post about our last day over in the Cotswolds, but I’ve been mulling over so many of the wonderful parts of our trip and figured I’d post a few thoughts before I forgot them. It has been wonderful to keep this travel journal while memories are fresh and I’ve had the time!

One thing I loved about English architecture was seeing how local materials are used to greatest advantage. Everywhere you go, it looks as though the buildings could have grown up right out of the ground. In Alton and Chawton, the brick is all a warm red that came straight from the native soil. In Bath, the golden limestone was quarried nearby and looks like it is happiest when the sun breaks through the constantly shifting cloud-cover. In Derbyshire and the north midlands, you find stone fences criss-crossing fields in abundance–built as the farmers pulled the stones out out while plowing (just as in my native Virginia). The same grey stone forms most of the houses and village shops as well. As you travel back down through the midlands, you see more red brick formed from the soil, then an almost yellow-gold stone meets the eye in the Cotswolds. Each area has its own unique color palette and texture.

As I flew back over the US on our way home, I could look down on fields that closely resembled the English countryside (particularly in Pennsylvania and Virginia), complete with native-stone fences and buildings (those over 150 years old, at least). After we landed in Atlanta and started our drive back home to Alabama, though, I couldn’t help but notice the vast tracts of “quickie mansions” all over the place. I’ve seen them before, but they just really stood out to me this time as flimsy and disposable. I know there are similar buildings in Great Britain, but they are so few and far between as to be the exception rather than the rule. I have to wonder why we Americans live such a fast-food existence, even when it comes to creating homes and places of worship. I’m really inspired to get back to saving clippings and pictures for a “future ‘real’ house” file. My own mother did this for years prior to designing the house we built when I was 12. Mom designed the passive solar house to last, and she made the most of the rocks that came out of our ground when we did our own landscaping and gardening. She scoured flea markets and garage sales for old doors, windows, and cabinets–some doors over 200 years old and built with pegs! Every nook and cranny in that house tells a story. I am thankful for the new house we live in here in AL, but I have to wonder how long it will last. Will it be here 300 years from now, a testament to hard work, skillful labor, and long-term planning? I have to admit that I doubt it. One of my dreams is for our family to build a house out of native materials that will stand the test of time and be a testimony to coming generations of the creativity and planning of their ancestors. Maybe it’s a silly dream, and maybe I’ll never see it realized–but perhaps one of my children will. Who knows? So I continue to stuff that manilla folder with ideas….

More random thoughts: I love the tradition of tea (morning and afternoon) in Britain. It’s actually a habit I formed myself when I was a newlywed, and my children love to see the teapot come out. They know it means a respite from the day’s pursuits and a few moments to sit, talk, and reflect. I loved all the tea shops in England, and I’m already using the lovely tea cozy Sarah sent home with us! One funny: When we had tea at Naomi’s house last Sunday, she said, “Now, do you mind having yours in a mug, or do you want a cup and saucer? I know how Americans rather expect the cup and saucer, but we English do use mugs!” We had to chuckle. I prefer a mug myself, since you can fit more tea into it, but my girls still love the delicacy of cups and saucers!

And, finally, though I’ve said it before, it bears repeating: the flowers! Everywhere. The tiniest cottage and the grandest estate all burst with beautiful flowers. There are hanging baskets, window boxes, pots, edged walks, even stone walls brimming with flowers. I have a rather notorious black thumb, to the consternation of my giftedly green-thumbed mother, but I am determined to overcome it and do more with flowers next year. They really do make a home something special–no matter how simple the landscaping. I’m already drooling over pictures of geraniums, nasturtiums, impatiens, sweet peas, and roses. Ahhh!

Well, that’s enough musing for now. My little ones will be up from naps shortly, and we’ll be having supper with dear friends. I hope your weekend is as warm and wonderful!

Home, Sweet Home!

We are back after more than 18 hours in the air and in airports. We are beat! But we had a happy return to five excited little people, and we are so glad to be together again at home. After we get over the jet lag crash, I’ll post the blog about our last day in England and the link to all the photos so you can enjoy all the sights!


A Day in the Peaks and Chatsworth House

After going to bed to a cold, drizzling rain, we awoke Tuesday morning to glorious sunshine and this view from our hotel windows on the third floor:

Chatsworth doesn’t open until 11am, so we decided to drive through the Peak District all morning, then go to the great house after lunch. Let me tell you, it really is worthwhile to get a car if you come to England! It’s a little intimidating at first when you can’t understand all the road sign pictures and have to drive on the “wrong” side, but you quickly become acclimated. We lovethe roundabout system and wish we had it in the US. There are no four-way stops here and very few traffic lights unless you are in a major city like London or Birmingham. A roundabout keeps traffic moving smoothly, since you briefly yield (or “give way,” as they say here) to traffic already in the roundabout before joining in yourself. Then you take whatever “exit” you need to get back off the roundabout and go in a new direction. And if you missed your road, you just go ’round the roundabout again! It really is clever. We also understand now why English cars are so tiny. Over here, no one plows down villages to make way for a four-lane highway or larger streets with sidewalks. If a village has tiny lanes, your car has been designed small enough to fit them! And people really are careful drivers, even if they go fast. They’re used to the narrow streets and politely give way when necessary. Parking is scarce, so many streets have an entire lane taken up by parked cars that you must navigate around in order to go forward. The oncoming traffic will often stop or pull far over to the opposite side to let you pass. It’s tricky at first but old hat after a while.

Our innkeeper recommended we drive up toward Eyam (pronounced “Eam”) instead of taking the tourist cablecar into Abraham’s Heights. So we just set out, telling the GPS to navigate us around from one hamlet to the next. The scenery here is breathtaking. One moment you are in a tiny dale surrounded by hills and trees; the next you are up on a scraggy heath overlooking farms and villages (and sheep!). Some areas have very few trees, and we passed a couple of barren moors, but most of the area we drove had lots of trees with cleared fields and villages in the dales (valleys). One of our favorite places was Castleton–and after we stopped for a moment at the welcome center and looked behind us, we realized why it was named so. There is a very old castle ruin on the top of a hill above the village that looks to be at least 1000 years old–probably more. We encountered quite a number of walkers and hikers going up the tiny lane to see the castle and the rest of the views. What amazed us most were the number of spry and active 70- and 80-somethings walking along with their sticks and canes up hills and down dales. It is no surprise the British are more fit and healthy than Americans–particularly out here in the country. People walk everywhere and stay active. It’s most inspiring.

The scenery in this part of Derbyshire reminds me so much of James Herriot’s books (the animal doctor). Everywhere you see sheep, stone walls, stone barns and cottages, and farmers busy in their fields. There is no way for me to pick a favorite view from our morning drive, because each little village had its own charms and looked inviting. (We’ll upload the rest of the photos later and link to them!) You can stop anywhere for tea and sandwiches during the day, and there are so many bookshops it makes your head spin. We thoroughly enjoyed our morning’s outing and stopped at a nice country bookshop and cafe’ for lunch. There we enjoyed a leek and bacon quiche, brie, and a cornish pastie (a kind of miniature crepe filled with beef and potatoes–and pronounced “PASS-tee”). Once back in Bakewell, we decided to pick up the famous local “Bakewell Pudding,” which has been produced there for over 120 years. It is a cross between a tart and a creme brulee’ — just imagine a rich, almond-flavored custard in a pie crust, and you’ve got it. Very tasty! Melissa and I had been madly sewing on our way back to Bakewell to put the finishing touches on our outfits for Chatsworth. I just finished the last bit of lace on my crossover gown as we pulled up to the Rutland Arms. We got dressed, changed the babies, and purchased discount tickets at the hotel desk, then drove to the great estate.

I really don’t know if Chatsworth is what Jane Austen had in mind when she described Darcy’s Pemberley. Many say it is, and I could wholeheartedly agree when it comes to the landscaping and the grounds. As you approach the house, the beauty of the surrounding hills and the winding river Derwent is utterly enchanting. There is not a single spot of ground that has not been groomed to create a pleasing view–but it all looks natural rather than ornate or forced. It is just a heavenly place to look at. Towering trees, stone walkways, roses in abundance, cottage gardens, and kitchen gardens (even including chicken houses!) are all beautifully kept. The description of Elizabeth’s first view of Pemberley does come to mind: “They gradually ascended for half a mile, and then found themselves at the top of a considerable eminence, where the wood ceased, and the eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of a valley, into which the road with some abruptness wound. It was a large, handsome stone building, standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance. Its banks were neither formal nor falsely adorned. Elizabeth was delighted. She had never seen a place for which nature had done more, or where natural beauty had been so little counteracted by an awkward taste.” That is precisely how Chatsworth looks as you drive up–even to the “high woody hills” in back and the stream “swelled into greater” eminence in the front.

It is awe-inspiring to think of the incredible responsibility it would be to care for such an estate. It would take serious management and skill to do it. This helps you understand what impressed Elizabeth so much about Darcy when she visited Pemberley. It wasn’t his wealth so much as his ability to manage it all and be a kind and caring landlord for his tenants at the same time. A fool and a spendthrift would never be able to maintain such a miniature universe. It takes maturity and great care. Such were our impressions throughout our visit.

The house itself is a bit overwhelming and so highly decorated in the heavy style of the 1680s that I don’t think it resembles Pemberley much at all. It is definitely “a fine house richly furnished,” as Elizabeth’s aunt said, but it doesn’t fit the description in the next chapter of its being “neither gaudy nor uselessly fine.” Many of the rooms are quite gaudy and drip with finery. We did enjoy the awe-inspiring spectacle of the state rooms (one of which was used in the recent “Pride & Prejudice” film). There are hundreds of oil portraits on the walls and many amazing artifacts, including two ca. 900BC stele recovered from a dig site in Egypt and placed into niches in the wall of one of the halls on the lower floor. Here is one:

The library contains books so rare that only scholars are permitted to handle them on special occasions. They date from the 1500s onwards. Room after room leaves your jaw hanging and eyes popping. But you certainly wouldn’t want to live there and be responsible for its upkeep! It would take an incredible housekeeper and steward to manage such a place. The family apartments are, of course, private, but we flipped through some books in the gift shop later and saw that they are almost as splendid as the rest of the house. I think I’d start wanting to bring in something shabby chic after a while! ;-)

What is very unfortunate about Chatsworth at present is its current occupant’s love for modern “art.” Ugly modern art paintings adorn some of the walls, and huge, hideous sculptures have been placed all over the grounds, spoiling many views and leaving the spectator scratching her head. Please pardon my rant, but can’t we just laugh at the ridiculous folly that calls the silliness on the left equal to the priceless work of a great talent on the right?

I have to wonder if there aren’t a great number of “artists” laughing their way to the bank after selling a canvas full of colored rectangles for a million or so pounds. It seems to me we moderns have totally let go of our senses. Let’s just be honest here. It really and truly does not take talent to lump a bunch of scrap metal together, spray paint it, and set it up on a concrete base. Yet we are expected to be “erudite” and view this silliness with serious reflection and find some meaning in it? I’m sorry, but there is more talent and gifting in a tiny Vermeer portrait than in one square inch of any of the horrid, ugly, and ridiculous pieces of “art” scattered over the lawns of Chatsworth. Some child needs to stand up and yell, “But, mother, the emperor hasn’t got any clothes on!” I can hear someone saying, “But it’s all about expression and the artist’s personal tastes.” Okay, but some people are better at expressing themselves than others and can make a meaningful speech rather than rambling on incoherently. They work hard to perfect their skills and hone their talents so that what they produce is timeless and reaches beyond their own generation. Would we pay good money to go to Carnegie Hall to hear someone shriek for an hour at $75 a ticket? (Hmm… perhaps that’s not the best example, considering some of the “music” today — but that’s another rant!)

One final example, and I’ll quit.This silly piece of pop art “sculpture” has been placed in the middle of the beautiful water cascade in back of Chatsworth. It is essentially a metal word taken from one of our American postage stamps from several years ago–“LOVE” with the “O” tilted to one side. Were I set to inherit Chatsworth, I’d prompty throw all this rubbish in a heap and melt it down in a grand bonfire. My apologies to the duke….

We did go through the sculpture gallery, which was added onto the main house in 1833 (so it wasn’t accurate for 1797 in P&P!). We loved seeing the veiled lady statue, which is truly beautiful. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t get close to it, since another piece of modern “art” was near it and roped off, which prevented us getting near enough for a good head-on look. Still, it was a lovely piece. There were two magnificent sculptures of lions in repose at the end of the gallery–gigantic in proportion and based upon earlier Italian sculptures. Next to one of these was a small display on Jane Austen and her connection to Chatsworth through Pride and Prejudice (which mentions the great estate). Then there is one of Keira Knightley’s dresses from the film and the bust of Matthew McFadyen as Darcy. The dress, while totally wrong for 1797, is still beautifully made (totally hand stitched!). The design on the back of the bodice is couched cord (cord laid out in a serpentine pattern and attached with thread loops). It’s a wonderful piece of work–if only the waistline was at its proper place! But enough authenticity griping….

We wandered all over the gardens and lawns of Chatsworth, taking so many pictures we filled up the camera’s memory card and had to (sob!) delete some pictures to make room for more. Out went the chickens! You can take pictures of them almost anywhere. And, who knows, we may think our pictures are repetitive once we get to looking through them, but we just couldn’t stop taking more as each new perspective presented itself! There are several themed gardens, but I think our favorites were the cottage garden and the rose garden. Gorgeous!

The west side of the house is what was used in the recent P&P film as the front of the house. This is where the reflecting pool and fountain are located. This is also the side of the house that contains the stairs Elizabeth runs down to escape Darcy. That area of the house is private, so we just took a long shot:

And here I am with Matt, standing before the impressive west side:

The owners of Chatsworth have been thoughtful enough to provide backpacks to carry babies, since strollers can’t go into the house. That’s why Matt has the big red pack on his back! Tucker thoroughly enjoyed the ride and fell asleep toward the end.

We walked up the hill behind the house to view the fountain at the top of the cascade, and halfway up a sign said, “Take extreme caution if you choose to enter the water.” Melissa and I looked at one another with a mischievous twinkle and immediately knew this was a must-do. We slipped off our shoes, handed over the babies to Matt, and stepped into the cool, refreshing water. The stones beneath were not at all slippery, so we weren’t worried about falling. The icy water felt wonderful on our tired feet, so we stood there for a few minutes while Matt took some pictures. Then we continued on up the hill to the fountain that spills into the cascade.

On our way out, we stopped and spoke at length with one of the estate’s trustees, a man from Derby (pronounced “Darby” here). His family went back for generations in Derbyshire, and he really knew the history of Chatsworth and many other facts about the area. He took time to explain the accent to us and why people in northern England say “Bath” rather than “Bahth.” He wanted to hear all about our English ancestors and why they went to America and when. Fascinating conversation! As we prepared to leave, he told us to take a footpath, cross the bridge into the estate, then climb the right bank of the river Derwent for a special view of Chatsworth. That’s when we took this shot. Finally, Melissa gave her very best “Marianne” impression and walked uphill amongst the sheep for some pictures. Isn’t she lovely? She even got stopped by a tourist who wanted his picture taken with her! There really is something special about going to a place like Chatsworth in period dress. I think you feel the elegance of the place a little more keenly. Or at least I can imagine that you do, and you can humor me. ;-)

We spent the rest of our daylight hours driving around the countryside further to the southeast (near the Heights of Abraham). We didn’t see any of the rocky outcroppings we’d heard so much about, but you really have to take a train up to get to those. Next time! We stopped at the Wheatsheaf in Bakewell for a hearty English supper of steak pie with potatoes and peas before returning to our hotel to look at pictures and update the blog. As I type these last few lines, I am in a hotel at Heathrow, where we’ve been since 8:30pm. Today was another spectacular day, but I’ll have to blog on it after I get home! Our flight leaves at 7am, which means we have to be at the airport at 4am. :-( Forget sleep. We’ll probably just snooze for a bit in our clothes before we head over to the terminal. We do appreciate all the prayers for safe travel! Lord willing, we’ll be in Atlanta by 2:30pm tomorrow! Farewell!

A teaser photo from Chipping-Campden!

P.S. – I just have to add that Matt surprised me with a unexpected gift yesterday. He bought the copy of the memoir Jane Austen’s nephew wrote! I was totally floored. What an anniversary! And, no, I really don’t ever expect him to top all this!

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