Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Family (Half) Day Out

We finally got some time together yesterday as a family, and went to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. I think the last time we went with the kids must have been about eight years ago, and although it's not every teenager's idea of a day out (no technology was allowed, though Squidgeling T managed to reinterpret the 'no phones' rule because I hadn't specifically said 'no tablet'...) we had a better time than we hoped.

I'm not going to go through the history of the house or anything - this blog post is based on Squidgeling T's photos, 'cos he was happy wandering round taking pics of things that caught his eye. And if he was happy, we were all happy. I've cut it down from the 110 photos he took... but there are still a fair few to look through! Here goes...

It was cold and windy when we arrived...
There were some pretty groovy purple chairs in the Stables courtyard - this is one of the few pics I took.

And then we get into the house itself... The entrance hall is pretty amazing, not least because of the fabulous painted ceiling. For some reason, T liked taking pictures on the slant...

Love the wall paintings - they look like carved stone.
Can't remember the name of the technique though...

Chatsworth is just as famous for some of the modern and contemporary art it contains as it is for the 'old' art and masterpieces. Here's one example:

Here's another - I can now say I've seen a genuine Damien Hirst piece - sited in the chapel. Look at the golden statue - it was called 'St Bartholomew's Pain', and shows the saint (who was flayed alive) holding his skin over his arm. A bit 'yeurch!' but also a bit 'Silver Surfer' from the Fantastic Four film. Except in gold. 

There are so many things to see - you could spend hours looking at stuff and still miss loads. 
Ornate carvings

A two-foot tall geode of amethyst

Wonky candles

Polished crystal

T taking a selfie with the chandelier in a mirror
 This was another art installation - the tiny ceramic tiles which stud one wall are apparently based on the mitochondrial DNA patterns of teh current Duke, his wife, son and daughter-in-law. There's a panel in it for 'Everyman' as well, and it's all reflected in the ceramic-framed mirrors on the opposite side of the gallery.

Clever placement...I should've stood on tiptoes...

Anyone for dinner?

The ceiling - inspiration for my next patchwork project?

Stag's head chandelier - complete with REAL antlers!
 By the time we got into the gardens, the sun was out a bit more, it'd warmed up, and we went for a wander...

Perfect placement
 You can't go into the garden without walking beside - or even in - The Cascade. Here's a view from pretty near the top - and yes, T stood in the middle of the water to take it!

What was fascinating was that the wind was blowing directly up the slope, so one minute the water was running smoothly down the steps like this:

The next, it was being blown back up the cascade!

 The movement of the water fascinated T, so he took a few more at the top, where the fountains were...

The walk beside the trout stream was rather lovely. There were lots of daffodils, sculptures to enjoy, and of course, a bit of rock-climbing. (On a much lesser scale than what T usually does at the Climbing Station...)

An artistic 'lightning struck tree'

The innards of a dead one

This next sculpture was being spruced up; two men and a cherry picker, applying a special wax and buffing it up to make it black again rather than weathered grey. I really liked this sculpture...

And of course, no self-respecting stately home is without a maze.

Slap bang in the middle

Just before going into the maze...
spot the selfie being taken in the middle of it! 
 I didn't go into the maze - I sat and enjoyed the sunshine instead.

This chap was doing the same...

And then it was back round the end of the Emperor Lake towards the house.

T got within a couple of feet to take this
 And to finish off the day, T even managed to capture a rainbow or two in the fountain...

A fair chunk of the house is shrouded in scaffolding at the moment as part of a huge renovation project - quite a contrast between the facade that has been renovated and the scaffolding poles.

Windows onto a very different life...
So there you have it. Selected highlights of an afternoon out with the Squidges! As I sit here and the rain's pounding against the window and wind's howling down the chimney, I'm glad we went yesterday and not today, as we'd planned...

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