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one wedding, a big house, and some apples - The Villages

hutch0
Date: 2009-09-13 22:06
Subject: one wedding, a big house, and some apples
Security: Public
Location:home
Mood:calmcalm
Music:news 24
We're just back from an eventful and interesting weekend. On Thursday, we drove up to Renishaw, just outside Sheffield, for my brother Geoff's wedding.
And very nice it was, too. The wedding was at an hotel called The Sitwell Arms, which was where we were staying. The weather was brilliant, the ceremony very nice, and the dinner and reception very enjoyable.
This is my brother and his daughter before the wedding.



This is Geoff and Kirsty signing the register after the ceremony.



This is Bogna outside the hotel after the wedding.



And this is me and Geoff at the reception.



And no, we do not look like each other.
Anyway, a fun time was had by all. The disco in the evening was a little...80s for my taste, seasoned with the odd house and rave number, and very loud, but everyone enjoyed it and much dancing was done. Some of it by me. Although not very much.

We don't get up-country very often, so we'd decided to stay over on Saturday and go sightseeing. Bogna hadn't seen the Peak District before, and she fancied a trip out to Chatsworth House, so Saturday morning, after the hangovers had faded a bit, we lit out for Chatsworth.
The next bit won't mean anything to anyone except robsoft - who will probably shake his head sadly if he ever reads this - so feel free to skip ahead. Chatsworth is actually not very far from Renishaw - about half an hour, forty minutes by car - but the route isn't enormously scenic, so I decided to navigate Bogna there via Dronfield and Holmsfield and Nether Padley and then down through Frogatt and Curbar, which has some startling views.
Anyway, we got lost. Fortunately, Bogna is still not aware just how badly we got lost. We got lost in Dronfield. I'm ashamed to say we got lost in the only part of Dronfield I actually know quite well. We drove up and down steep streets, found our way to an A-road, and wound up some time later in an industrial estate in northern Chesterfield. Then we retraced our route, found another A-road, and shortly afterward were on the southwestern fringes of Sheffield. There, I picked up the road to Holmsfield again and we swept up and over the moors and down the hills to Chatsworth.
Which looks like this:



Chatsworth, although it's in Derbyshire, is, by a strangely English logic, the family home of the Dukes of Devonshire, and it's a totally awesome place from start to finish. The estate is larger than some towns. The original house was built at the behest of Bess of Hardwick, a much-married Elizabethan lady who was born poor and married well several times and wound up one of the most powerful women in the country. Hardwick Hall, fifteen or twenty miles away, was another one of hers, and is regarded as one of the greatest Elizabethan houses in the country.
Anyway, her son was the First Duke of Devonshire and he had the original house torn down and began a programme of building which went on well into the Eighteenth Century. The grounds of the House are incredible.
The First Duke was responsible for The Cascade, which looks like this from the bottom



And like this from the top



As you might guess, Chatsworth is more than adequately covered online, and all you have to do is google it. It was a lovely day, we walked for absolutely miles, and considering the weather today it might have been the last summery day we have this year.
Going home, Bogna insisted we use the satnav, which got us back to Renishaw in about forty minutes. But my route was better.

This morning, we checked out of the hotel and instead of going home the logical way - which would have involved turning left out of the hotel, driving a couple of miles, turning right at the top of the hill to join the M1 and then just driving until we reached Mill Hill, Bogna said, "Let's use the satnav. Type in our postcode and tell it to give us the route that uses the least amount of motorway and see what it does."
What it did - and I could have told Bogna this - was navigate us around Worksop and onto the A1, which is the fastest non-motorway route back to London. Which was fine by me - homeward bound is homeward bound, after all. Somewhere in Nottinghamshire, Bogna said, "You know, you can get the satnav to display places of interest." And I went, "Hm, let's just worry about this thing not delivering us to Newcastle."
So we toddled on - toddling in Bogna's case involving charging down the A1 at around seventy miles an hour - until, somewhere in southern Lincolnshire, not far from Grantham, she spotted a sign that said `Woolsthorpe Manor.'
"Oh look," she said, "a manor. Shall we take a look?"
Me - knowing that she'd spotted the National Trust symbol on the sign and done the sums that said it would probably have toilets and at least a place for a coffee and a chance to stretch our legs: "Sure, if you want."
So we got off the A1 and drove down some narrow country roads for a little while until we pulled into a car park with a sign that said, `Woolsthorpe Manor, Birthplace Of Sir Isaac Newton.'
I should pause here and afford Bogna 'nuff respect, because she has previous at this. Years ago, when Thog lived in Exeter, we went down to visit him, and on the way back, charging up the A303, Bogna spotted another National Trust sign and turned us off the main road, and we wound up at Stourhead, which has one of the greatest country house gardens on Earth and, incidentally, inspired me to write `Discreet Phenomena.'
Anyway. Woolsthorpe Manor was indeed where Newton was born. It's not a big place



in fact, it's pretty austere, as you might expect, but this is the place where Newton was born and the place where he did a lot of his work on optics and the place where he saw the apple fall. The family orchard is just across the path from the house, and the tree itself is still there



The National Trust have done a pretty good job with Woolsthorpe. It's not a big, flashy operation. They have a little educational centre with lots of hands-on experiments to demonstrate Newtonian principles to kids, but it's all very simple compared to some Trust properties and I was heartened to discover, after talking to one of the ladies who look after the building, that people are still going there, even though it's not well-known and it's pretty off the beaten track. She said they had about five thousand people in over the Summer. Which is probably what Chatsworth gets over a weekend, but not too shabby.
And all the time I was thinking, "Neal Stephenson writes about this place in The Baroque Cycle..."
The only thing that did rankle with me was that the sidelining of Robert Hooke is, apparently, still continuing. Hooke was every bit as great a scientist as Newton - his work on microscopy was literally groundbreaking, he was a pivotal figure in the early days of the Royal Society, and he went on to survey the City of London after the Great Fire - but he was of fearsome appearance and something of a sonofabitch and that lost him friends. He's continually written out of history - he designed The Monument, which marks the site of the Great Fire, but it's ascribed to Wren. And at Woolsthorpe again and again I saw stuff about Newton which said, "...Robert Hooke thought this, but Newton proved him wrong..." You'd expect a Newton hagiography at his home, but seeing Hooke dissed like this seemed unnecessary, and it annoyed me. I am, you might guess, a fan of Robert Hooke.
Anyway, we spent more than an hour at Woolsthorpe, then rejoined the A1, schlepped at great speed to the Arkley turnoff, and thence down through Barnet and Whetstone and home, stopping off at Marks & Spencer to pick up some bread and some microwavey stuff for dinner, before finding the cats - who had been looked after by our friend Ewa - relatively pleased to see us.
And that, Best Beloved, was what I've done on my holidays so far. The second week will not be anything like as eventful.
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
`Discreet Phenomena' is floating about online, if you're interested. If Bogna hadn't spotted the sign we'd have missed Stourhead and stopped somewhere else, and I might never have got the idea for the story.
Toast's writing shows promise... :-)
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pds_lit
User: pds_lit
Date: 2009-09-14 00:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Agreed with quietselkie. And you do not look like your brother! Tell Bogna...NICE FROCK!
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Bless you. And it is a nice frock, isn't it?
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pds_lit
User: pds_lit
Date: 2009-09-14 23:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yes, Bogna looks good in that dress.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:39 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Mind you, she looks good in any dress, although it's hard work to convince her of that.
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calcinations
User: calcinations
Date: 2009-09-14 09:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Nice.

But lost in Dronfield, I can understand. Not that Chesterfield was interesting, apart from that weird church spire.

The speed limit on the A1 is 70mph.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:09 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As I said, I got lost in the only part of Dronfield I actually know, which is embarrassing. Chesterfield used to be quite a nice little market town, but the last time we were there the big shopping mall outside Sheffield had sucked all the life out of the centre of town and shops were closing all over the place.
A lot of people were over the speed limit on the A1 yesterday, some of them by a considerable amount judging by the way they blew past us.
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mylefteye
User: mylefteye
Date: 2009-09-14 14:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, the Cascade. I dunno why but I thought that was called Jacob's Ladder. I've even got a pic of my grandma in my photo album with Jacob's Ladder penciled in next to it. Bugger.

By a nice coincidence, my daughter has been learning about Newton at school today, and told me all about him on the way home. I just showed her the pic and she seemed rather impressed that I knew someone who's been there. :)
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think, I think there's a feature called Jacob's Ladder at Matlock, which isn't far away, but I can't remember what it is.
On the other hand, it might just be an alternative name for the Cascade. For all I know, it might be the original name, and it fell out of favour.
I have more pics of Woolsthorpe, if your daughter wants them. No interiors, unfortunately. I'd have liked to, but it's a National Trust property and you're not allowed to take photos indoors.
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mylefteye
User: mylefteye
Date: 2009-09-14 23:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's Jacob's Heights at Matlock, innit? I ought to know these things. Matlock, Bakewell, Monyash, Buxton etc were all popular destinations when I had me bike.

re. the pix, yes please, you have my edress. If I know my little un she'll make a Powerpoint presentation to impress her teacher. It used to be an apple in our day. There's probably a Microsoft joke in there somewhere but it's late and I'm tired so you can make up your own.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:38 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's the Heights of Abraham at Matlock. And the area is still infested with bikers, all going much too fast for the roads.
Pix on their way.
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mylefteye
User: mylefteye
Date: 2009-09-14 23:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yep, Heights of Jacob and Jacob's Ladder are both Matlock. That'll learn me to google things before I leave comments.

Thanks in advance for the pix.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Hah! I do it all the time. Although I still have no idea what the Heights of Abraham and Jacob's Ladder are. As you say, it's getting late; I'll look them up tomorrow.
I wanted to visit Bakewell while we were up there, as it's virtually next door to Chatsworth, and I really wanted to show Bogna Castleton. But we just didn't have time.
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mylefteye
User: mylefteye
Date: 2009-09-14 23:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My brother went to Bakewell on Sunday. He saw a guy let his dog off his lead near a field full of sheep. He went over to say something then saw it was David Blunkett. They said hello and that was that.

Okay, it's not a great story, but we're smalltown folk in SOT.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-15 00:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You'd think, considering Mr Blunkett's encounter with the cows last year, he'd be more careful.
I remember seeing him years and years ago, when he was just a Sheffield MP, on the train from Sheffield to London.
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mylefteye
User: mylefteye
Date: 2009-09-15 00:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
To complete my repertoire of personal MP experiences -- I walked past Robert Kilroy Silk in Longton once. He saw me looking at him and said, "Hi!" I made a dour little noise like "Harumph!" and walked on.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-15 00:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I love it. I absolutely love it.
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User: sarcobatus
Date: 2009-09-14 19:35 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm stuffing my suitcase and taking off for Chatsworth.

Beautiful.

You and Bogna make a handsome couple.
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You'd love the Peak District, you really would.
Bogna's the good-looking one. She's the brains of the outfit, too.
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jmward14
User: jmward14
Date: 2009-09-14 22:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Erm, I think you do look rather alike: same shape head, close-set ears, similar postures. But I agree, Bogna looks marvelous, and it sounds like you both had wonderful adventures, which is the important thing. Hugs and smiles, Jean Marie
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hutch0
User: hutch0
Date: 2009-09-14 23:01 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We got that all day at the wedding. Someone would introduce me to a member of Kirsty's family and they'd say, "You know, you and your Geoff are ever so much alike!"
*sigh* I guess you need to know the family to appreciate the differences; Geoff takes after my father's mother's side of the family, the Lillys, while I'm more like my mother's side of the family.
But you're right, Bogna did look lovely. Everyone agreed on that. And we did have a smashing weekend.
Big hugs to you, Birthday Girl.
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