The 3 L's

Dowager Duchess of Devonshire

Yes, I know that I have been all about London since I moved here, London, London, London, London this and London that, but today, I spotted a news article that really struck me in a way that I would not have expected; today, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, the last Mitford sister, Deborah Cavendish, passed away.

This isn’t a grand obituary, or any such thing, it just felt right to whip up a quick post for someone who always seemed to feature somehow in my consciousness, be it a day trip to Chatsworth, a Nancy Mitford novel or a documentary on the Mitford clan. Not to mention, someone who I’ve always envied for their style. Go to Chatsworth, and you will find countless paintings and photographs of the glamorous Duchess, and, later, Dowager Duchess.

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Having spent just under four years living in Derbyshire, and before that, eighteen years just one county away in Staffordshire, Chatsworth house – the Cavendish estate – has always struck me as being the most magnificent house in the whole world. I have visted Blenheim and Versailles, and I still prefer Chatsworth. I think that preference is in part down to having spent my childhood reading and re-reading Pride and Prejudice, only to then pick up the remote and watch the BBC series (and later, Joe Wright’s beautiful 2005 version), on repeat. After all, rumour has it that Pemberley was based on Chatsworth, which was visited by Austen. I also think that it’s partly down to a consistent fascination with the famous Mitford sisters.

Deborah-Devonshire

Can you blame me for having sat up straight and taken notice of them? It’s not every day that you come across a family of sisters as varied as the Mitfords: a novelist, a duchess, a naxi, a fascist, a communist and… Pamela, the one with the quiet life. I have lost count as to how many Mitford books I have read (both those written by Nancy and the numerous biographies and autobiographies, and so it just seems obvious that I would love visiting Chatsworth even more, it being the home of one of the fascinating six sisters, a home which is also one of the most beautiful houses in the country.

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Like most of us, I never met the Dowager Duchess, but I saw what she and her husband, and later, her son have done to the estate over the years; the farm shops, the twee little cafes and the produce that lines the shelves of independent shops across the county, all to stop Chatsworth from becoming another National Trust property – not to mention the constantly updated art collection that lines the old walls in a more modernly styled wing of the grand house.

And then of course, as I said before… she was just.. so glamorous!

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Wanderer

Derbyshire Ramblings

It seems even my passport and post-uni freedom can’t rein in my ‘workaholic’ tendencies… apologies, I’ve been working really, really hard on something that hopefully I can share online in another week or so! Secrets, secrets, secrets 😉

So, my friend Fabby came to Derbyshire a few weeks ago, and, being the lovely friend that I am, I was host and tour guide. Of course everyone who knows that I gave her a tour of Derbyshire (which is basically anyone on my Facebook who actually pays attention to my Facebook page), is wondering… why would my lovely Mexican friend fly from Spain (where she has spent the past six months) to Derbyshire??

This is why…

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The Peak District.

No one can visit England, and not take a moment to see the Peak District… and the Lake District… and various parts of the South Coast… and Oxford… and Cambridge… I could go on… what I’m trying to say is, I can’t remember the last time I met someone who has ventured beyond London and maybe Manchester/Liverpool on their visit to England. That’s not including people who are studying in England or visiting family. Venture out, people!

This fairly-spontaneous visit was definitely proof that I literally have no idea where life will take me any more. We planned her stay within a fortnight, after deciding that she was coming to visit while in Seville after about ten minutes.  It started with a conversation about our mutual love for this:

which turned into a conversation about the locations featured in this:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit of a P&P expert. After all…

*wink* apparently….

But anyway, my fashionable (?) geekiness means that I therefore know that Joe Wright’s version of P&P was filmed at Chatsworth and Stanage Edge (to name a few), both of which are in Derbyshire. And having read P&P, I also know that Matlock and Bakewell are mentioned and therefore had to be added to our must-see list too… basically, P&P is Fabby’s favourite film, we therefore instantly decided that she had to see Derbyshire. And so it all just arranged itself.

Bakewell

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My camera pretty much stayed in my bag while we explored Bakewell, except for one lovely (and not at all touristy) photo of me. Besides that, Fabby was very much the photographer that day, while I was very much the tour guide, introducing her to the wonders of Bakewell tarts (oh dear, that sounds horrendously suggestive – sorry Fabby! Haha!) and quaint English villages. Matlock was another stop that my camera did not see that day.

Chatsworth House

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And Here’s Fabby!

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This isn’t feigned child-like excitement for the sake of the camera, we really were both running around the grounds like little kids. I’ve been to Chatsworth 1000 times and I still always act this way when I go there, and so to combine my usual Chatsworth excitement with Fabby’s ‘oh my god I’m at Pemberley, a location from my all-time favourite film in a beautiful part of the world that I have never seen before’ excitement.. at that moment, I loved it there so much that had I won the lottery, despite my plans for Italy, I’d have snapped up one of the many little cottages in the 1000 acre grounds of Chatsworth in a heartbeat. Then again, hopefully if I were lucky enough to win the lottery, I could afford a house in rural Derbyshire and Italy… and Paris… and London… 😉

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So Fabby has now seen the setting of this:

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and this:

and we saw this…

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(we especially loved the ‘Please do not Kiss’ sticker, though I think Fabby was somewhat disappointed)

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Stanage Edge

The next day we walked from Hathersage village to Stanage edge, the setting for this scene:

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It was insanely windy. Even though the wind was luckily blowing North-East, I still felt like it was suddenly about to turn South-West and therefore send me straight off the edge of the rocks as I posed for snaps, just for the fun of it. It really was sweep-you-off-your-feet-windy. The sort of wind that would thoroughly enjoy blowing unsuspecting visitors off Stanage Edge and onto the jagged rocks below.

Also, to everyone *cough* Dad *cough* who claims that you need hiking boots and those scary hiking trousers with zip-off legs (shudder) to go rambling around the peaks, I found, yet again, that skinny jeans and £3 Primark lace up tennis pumps do just nicely, thank you very much. I shall never give in!

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It’s been quite some time since I last explored Hathersage Moor, and I loved it so much, I returned a week or so later for a fashion shoot, the results of which are being published in Prototype magazine, and so I’ll be keeping to myself for now. However, I do have a lovely BTS picture of me on Hathersage moor.

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Beautiful.

P.S please do not put me down as one of those crazy ‘Janeite’ fans who read attempts to finish her uncompleted novels and Austen sequels and prequels like this:

and own a collection of gowns ready to attend balls and events like this:

*I mentioned balls ironically, but on searching for a mocking image, I found that such a thing actually exists!!!*

And will go to see films like this 1000 times and have long discussions at the end of their Jane Austen book club about how much they hope such a place will one day exist.

Worst of all, on googling for the above poster, I found this

What the…

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The 3 L's

Details of Chatsworth

On Wednesday I went to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. I’ve been so many times but I still love it! But they are cleaning up the exterior of the house so unfortunately the famous view of the house from the end of the Emperor’s Fountain Lake which is supposed to look like this:
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…but was covered up by the scaffolding 😦
Definitely not as impressive… but at least the stone is finally being cleaned up after three centuries!

Over the years I’ve taken soo many photos at Chatsworth but I’ve never before looked at all the details – and lately I’ve been really into photographing details rather than the big picture wherever I go.
Some of my favourite photos from the day (all of these are straight out of the camera):
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This one above is my favourite photo of the day… even though it’s just a close up of a chandelier…
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This was a rather suspiciously shaped sculpture which I found… but it had a reflection so I took a photo! I have a thing for mirrors and reflections…
Really didn’t want to go home! Even if I’d been up until silly o’clock working away at my laptop the night before so by 5-6pm I was pretty much sleep-walking…

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