Tuesday, August 30, 2005

August Bank Holiday

Rather than Labor Day weekend, we have the August Bank Holiday Weekend the weekend before. I have been trying to get together with Mick, an English friend that I met while he was living in Indy, for awhile and we finally set up to go visit him this Saturday. We decided to make a day of it and headed in the early afternoon to Calke Abbey, a huge historical estate near the village of Ticknall in Derbyshire.

As we entered the grounds of Calke Abbey, we came upon a huge herd of sheep grazing across the grounds on either side of the road. Bri and I both, without discussing it, pulled out our cameras and started shooting.

They weren't phased, they just kept eating.

This house was amazing! Never actually an "Abbey," it was owned from about 1622 by the Harpur-Crewe family. Members of the family continued to live in the house until the early 1980's.

This part of the house is the main home. Behind it is the original home when the estate was bought by the Harpur family which dates to Elizabethan times. For some reason we did not get pictures inside, I am not even sure if you could. We were mesmermized by the various rooms with amazing furniture and art, and others that were left neglected by the family and now have wallpaper peeling and mold on the walls, just the way the family left it.

The estate closed at 5pm, before we got a chance to see the gardens, which are supposed to be amazing. We walked the outskirts of the estate to check out the Chapel. Bri tried to get back in the gates to no avail.

Here is the family's chapel toward the top of the estate. We walked around here a bit and then headed back on the road toward Derby.

We got to Derby eventually...leaving the Calke Abbey we had to leave a different way and got completely lost. We ended up essentially doing a circle around the area and ended up back by the entrance of Calke Abbey. We eventually found our way back to the motorway and made it to the Derby area, no problem! Once we got in Derby, I proceeded to get lost once more. In my man- I don't need directions way- I kept assuring Bri I knew where I was going, even though I could remember the name of the village ("I know it has a B and a S in it! I'll know it when I see it!"). We eventually found our way as Mick guided us in. He was an excellent host and took us out for a night on the town. With the exception of the smoking/heavy drinking pregnant American (a whole seperate story!), it was a great time. I didn't get any pics of Mick that night, just this cute one of Bri in the second bar we went to. Mick said as we called down the stairs, "Doesn't it remind you of the Casbah?" and later, "Doesn't it remind you of the Alley Cat?" It did, it was one of my favorites of the night.

We said goodbye to Mick early the next morning, both expecting to have outings with our friends- Bri was supposed to go to Devon, I was supposed to go on a pub crawl in Wolverhampton. Those both got cancelled for various reasons so we attempted to go to dinner in Clent and the Lyttleton Arms, supposively a good pub/restaurant. We went with Stacy about 6 or so and when we got there it was much more posh than we expected, with a Zen theme happening inside. Of course, being that it was Sunday and we live in England, they stopped serving food at 4PM. We headed to the Fountain, to no avail, but the manager was sure to give me a card for when I wanted to come next time. We made it to the French Hen and ended up having a very nice French style dinner. We rented a few movies, went back to our place and had a laid back end to the bank holiday weekend. I spent Monday with the house to myself, loud music, a little cleaning and some wine while Bri went on her trip to Wales (no longer Devon).
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