Yes, today has been all about Pride and Prejudice. 20 mins from where I am staying are the rising hills and rocky formations of the Peak district. To my delight a copy of the book rests on a shelf in my room.
This morning, after sorting breakfast out in the cupboard outside my room, I set off to stand, like Lizzie, contemplating life from a jutting promontory.
I feel I captured it perfectly, although if you look closely you will see MY shot has a row of parked cars in distance, and my contemplations were disturbed by a rowdy group of children readying to hike just beyond my self-timer on tripod. Still, it’s the attitude that counts.
I, like Lizzie, then felt obliged to search out Pemberley – aware that Mr Darcy was absent – and set off (towards Chatsworth). Who knew, he might turn up!
I passed heather on the fields, narrow lanes, leafy glades and 30 mins later my GPS guide proclaimed ‘arrived!’ Sadly, no vehicle traffic allowed so I continued down to the village of Baslow and parked in a pay and display there. I had just enough money for two hours and silently congratulated myself on the small size of parking lot and desultory groups preparing to come too. I truly would have the place to myself with perhaps a housekeeper to show me around.
The walk was promising – over a wee bridge and past a thatched cottage.
At any moment I would be on the tree-lined drive. Brisk walkers and groups of people with dogs straining on leads passed me (do ALL English people own dogs? – just asking). Around the corner my excitement notched up.
Surely – any minute now – that broad facade would swing in to view. But no. To my chagrin I was told by a passerby that it would be over 2 kms to the house! I quickened my pace, remembering last night’s Eton’s Mess and e v e n t u a l l y in the far distance could make out a haze of monumental size and shape. I sat for a while to catch my breath.
Soon I could make out a tiny stream of cars constantly gliding up the hill to the carpark below the huge building. You can imagine my dismay to realise I had approached from the back AND could have parked closer! Comforting myself with the thought that Lizzie walked to the village herself, I slowly – and painfully (sciatica) – approached the entrance. Here I purchased a sausage roll and drink and sat down to contemplate the grounds and the long snake of cars.
Refreshed, I paid to view the garden and was relieved to find a ‘train’ inside the gate. I was on it before you could say “MrBingley”.
Finally! Pemberley as I remembered her!
I did beg the train driver to take a wee diversion back to the village but he thought I was joking. A light rain began to fall which made the train an even more exemplary choice.
Back at base I entered the shop and there, at last! Was Mr Darcy. Sadly not the real one.
Taking Jane Montague’s advice I purchased an ice cream and strolled for a bit, then headed out to make the long trek back to the car. I have never been happier easing in behind the wheel. But I LOVED Chatsworth!
On to find the other familiar place from the book – not far away is Haddon Hall ‘the most perfect house to survive from the middle ages.’
From within these walls they filmed aspects of the inn where Lizzie and the Gardiner’s stayed, and where that letter about Lydia was delivered. More importantly, this elegant manor with worn flagstones, faded ancient tapestries, and sparse original carved furniture has been preserved and added to since the 11th century. It was much smaller than Chatsworth but I welcomed the smaller crowds and the warmth of the hosts and helpers.
The original approach to the manor was by foot up a steep path in the corner by the garden.
A very interesting ramble:
The garden was wildly lovely:
The glass panes looked very old:
It was now 3.30 – and I was beat. On sudden impulse I decided to eat at the manor restaurant with an early dinner instead of going out tonight. Good choice! Here is the view from my window and here what I ate:
All in all a wildly satisfying day immersed in the world of one of my favourite books. I need to mention that the first place I drove to this morning were the Redmires Reservoirs – series of three deep pools that supply water from up in the hills above Sheffield. They are fed from various small streams in the Moors.
Goodbye Darcy! Be there next time!!