Finally I have a spare minute (or rather, a need for some procrastination) and I am able to write about the second and most exciting installment of my weekend antics!
Since summer my Mum had been planning on having a day trip down to Derbyshire, for the Chatsworth Christmas Fayre; she went to the Autumn Fair and brought back many lovely treats and tales of sumptuous grandeur, and so I could not resist inviting myself to her christmassy market bonanza!
Typically, on the one day we had 2 hours of driving ahead and a hours to spend out in the open, the weather was horrendous. But weather-resistance is a main requirement for being British, I suppose. The drive was rather frustrating; communication between pilot and co-pilot broke down for a while, to say the least. When we finally left the motorway for the Peak District, I was all fluttery inside - I've recently watched the film The Duchess, and highly recommend it (even if, like me, you can't bear Kiera Kniteley's excessive pouting), and as the lanscape started rolling upwards, I expected to see her house nestled in the hills around the next corner. It's a really lovely part of the country, and I'd love to go back soon to explore the Peaks! Finally, we pulled into the drive. Wow. Even though half the place was covered in scaffolding, the scale of the house and its grandeur was incredible! From the gardens behind, a giant flume of water was gushing upwards, blown at an angle by the wind.
We headed for the markets, and instantly spent £3.50 on a bag of exciting fudge - get the important things done first, I say! The stalls were selling alsorts, from lovely wooden ducks to pidgeon pies, and I bought a selection of organic soaps set out in an egg-box for a christmas gift.
We decided to miss out a tour of the house and have extra time in the gardens, as they are immense, with more to see than we had time for. The landscaping was done by Capability Brown in the 18th Century, I am told, which is something not to be missed (though, actually, I think we missed that bit...)!
The gardens really were wonderful, and we were able to carry on the 'sculptures' theme of the previous day, as a sculpture sale was taking place, and many lovely (and not-so-lovely) works were scattered around the land. In the misty afternoon everything felt so fresh - my favourite part was the woodland, where the trees towered towards the Peak District and the ground was damp and wintery. We spent a lot of time admiring the Cascade Fountain too, which is designed so that each step makes a different sound as the water gushes over it.
A really lovely day - one that I wish I could nip back to now, and escape the huge pile of work looming ahead. So, I must dash and get on with things, especially since I am being wined and dined this evening :-)