Day Thirty

We are one third of the way through our holiday, hence our push to
go a little further north. The country seems but a dot on the world
map, but has proved much larger to navigate.

We’ve had an action packed day today. To make up for being on the
road all day yesterday, we had three things on the agenda today: a
visit to Lyme House and Park, a long drive through the National Park
that covers the upper park of the Midlands, and a an exploration of
Buxton.

Lyme House first. The house will be familiar to anyone who watched
Pride and Prejudice – it was filmed on the grounds and the house
was a key setting. As part of another festival, a giant stature of Mr
Darcy, replete with soaked white shirt, had been installed in the
Reflective Lake. The media was there in force to capture the event
and it caused quite a flurry. The house is truly magnificent, reflective
of a bygone era. Built in the 1300s, it was home to the Lyme family
for 800 years, and reflected perfectly the elegance of the Edwardian
era in its latest incarnation. The gardens were vast, with the
driveway over a mile to the house, formal topiary and rose gardens,
a tropical plant glass house, lakes and a small waterfall. Fallow deer
too, apparently, but they had hidden themselves well. Took some
lovely photos of the garden, and one of what may be the most
perfect rose I have come across. We had lunch in the restaurant,
bade Mr Darcy farewell, and set off on our drive.

The drive took us through the towns of the Peak District National
Park, including Chapel-en-le-Frith, Glossop and Snake Pass and
ending back at Buxton, showcasing a variety of histories of the
region from farming, mining, corn milling, the moors and the utterly
desolate Snake Gully which is meant to be the most isolated and
remote place in England. The countryside is just beautiful.
Patchworked into fields, bisected by low stone fences and dotted
with heather and wildflower…and sheep and cows sleepy in the
warmth.

We passed through a reservoir and Chris pulled off road so that I
could get a photo…to find a squirrel who was happy to get a
surprise lunch of almonds. I set off down the hill to get my photos …
only to be completely distracted by a fat rabbit who hopped out of
the undergrowth….and THREE SQUIRRELS who were busily helping
themselves from a bird feeding platform. Funnily enough, they were
rather happy to get an almond lunch too. Furries fed, we set off
again to marvel at the ever changing landscape around us.

We are both in awe of the effort it must have taken to build the
miles of stone fences that cover the countryside. The time, effort
and persistence needed really boggle the mind.

We pull up in Buxton by early early evening, so whilst the shops are
closed, it’s a great time to explore the town as its nicely bare. There
is activity with a flurry of opera goers attempting to have dinner and
arrive on time. Buxton is as elegant as the first glance promised. The
buildings are sandstone and ornate, and the railway line leaves town
on an arched structure, reminiscent of a Roman aqueduct. There are
a number of large scale renovations in town that will restore an
historical baths building into a spa hotel. It will be spectacular when
its completed.

We end the day with dinner in town, with the opera crowd. I spot a
woman with lovely red shoes teamed with a French navy dress. I
took at least fifteen/twenty pairs away….but I miss my shoes. And
my wardrobe.

A big day. Off home for a few relaxing drinks I think.

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