two days in bakewell

september 11: goodbye, manchester. we made our way to bakewell in derbyshire (in the peak district). the landscape transformed into hills and the countryside. why do they call it the peak district? because of the peaks, silly! oh. we saw sheep and cows in meadows lined with low-stone walls. a sun rain came by and a double rainbow appeared. we were quiet, impressed by the natural beauty. we passed sleepy towns on the way with stone houses lined up, shoulder to shoulder near the road.

by evening we arrived at our hotel, the rutland arms. our guest room was small and charming with moss growing on our window ledge. supposedly jane austen stayed at this very hotel and described what she saw outside her window in a scene in pride and prejudice. maybe she did.

we had a group dinner. my dessert was the original bakewell pudding. where’s the pudding?! exclaimed holly. pudding is the word for dessert (we learned). everyone was satisfied and tired from our drive. lying in bed that night i could hear the occasional car drive by. i waited for sleep to come.

september 12: we had the morning to explore bakewell after breakfast (i had haddock with egg). jeannie joined emily and i for a spell as we walked around. we saw a little river with a walking bridge, swan and fish. we stopped by a grocery store (on the look out for Fitness cereal for my friend). emily and i walked up towards the church which overlooked bakewell. on the walk down we saw cottages with names and brightly colored doors.

our group took our bus to hardwick hall. first, lunch. i sat with holly, heather, raquelle and francis (british lady who grew up in bermuda). she and i both ordered the nutloaf (pretty good) and we all ordered the treacle cake for dessert (yum). before we walked around the grounds, jennie gave a brief history of bess of hardwick who built the hall–lots of glass windows with many, many, many tapestries. she and her (fourth) husband were responsible for mary queen of scott during her house arrest. jennie suggested reading: bess of hardwick by mary lovell.

i walked with aylwen (from australia) and others to the hall. we saw the house crest, “ES” initials everywhere for bess, and huge tapestries.

i wanted to roam the garden, but the weather stopped me from staying too long. i did check out the former (hardwick) hall that was damaged. someone mentioned that the old hall was used in period films–jane eyre maybe? i walked back with debbie to the gift shop before heading back to the bus.

the driver, john, gave us a special treat: stopping by chatsworth house. this was the location for mr. darcy’s pemberley in the 1995 pride and prejudice. *swoon* while people took more pics i spoke with keith, suzi’s husband, who explained the difference between the birds i’ve been seeing. the ones i noticed were magpies, not to be confused with blackbirds, ravens and crows of course.

group dinner back at the hotel. eton mess for dessert. after the table was cleared there was group sewing. suzi demonstrated invisible zippers while constance showed how she did eyelets. jennie helped debbie with her stays. emily worked on her dress hem. i didn’t have any sewing to do, but i wanted to be near everyone working.

next destination: coalsville, leicestershire to view the symington collection of victorian corsets.

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