How they live (the other half)

This weekend the Photo Challenge over on our other site is The Other Half. This is my response to the challenge.

To accompany my photographs of How They Live (the other half) my eldest daughter, Victoria, has once again agreed to be my guest blogger and write an account of our summer day out.

Over to Victoria

You can’t move in the UK without stumbling into a historic pile of stone, cream teas and sweeping, landscaped gardens. After years of visiting various locations with my children, I’ve recently experienced something new……entering the stately home itself.

What a house - Chatsworth 1

Stately homes have become extremely adept at catering to the family in order to remain financially viable – these places cost an absolute fortune to run. You can enjoy adventure playgrounds, petting zoos, bird gardens, treasure hunts, mazes and water features. In the cafes there are kids’ lunchboxes, multiple locations to buy ice-creams and the obligatory gift shop.

The house itself however is usually unsuitable for children. Firstly, they have to stay behind ropes and can’t touch anything (impossible request for any child and most adults as well, we just can’t help trailing our hands over stuff). Secondly, most adults without children resent their presence making you so nervous you can’t appreciate the surroundings. Thirdly, let’s face it, few children want to look at old furniture.

I’ve spent long years walking past imposing entrances, wrestling a pushchair and dragging toddlers or sulky pre-teens with a yearning to enter and immerse myself in scandalous history and grand interiors. Until this year! This summer I visited *Chatsworth House in the heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire with my mum, Susan.

The Golden Gate

Chatsworth House 2

The Hunting Tower


What a wonderful grown-up day we enjoyed in this imposing residence, parts of which date from the 1500s (The Hunting Tower, where you can actually stay and feel like a fairy tale princess, if you have a head for the narrow spiral staircase).

We meandered slowly around the amazing house and made an effort to smile benignly at the children racing around to complete a treasure hunt. And what a house it was. You could spend all day just looking in awe at the painted ceilings, never mind the artwork, fireplaces, bedrooms and grand staircases.

Victoria taking pictures of magnificent light fittingsThe Painted ceiling

Garden Buggy Tour

I loved it, but the surprising highlight was a tour of the gardens. They are very extensive – over 100 acres – and we quickly realized walking around wasn’t an option. Luckily you can grab a kind of golf cart with a guide who drives around the estate. Paul, our guide, was amazing and we found out so much more about Chatsworth’s history thanks to him. If you ever visit, this is my top tip.

Stately homes make you very hungry. We had to take a break in our tour for an extensive lunch and also afternoon tea – history is exhausting! Both were delicious and served in the old converted stable block, an impressive structure which originally stabled 80 horses and provided accommodation for grooms, coachmen and stable boys – it even had a blacksmith’s shop.

It was a lovely grown up day. However, this is Mum and me. We seem to have developed a bit of an obsession with naked sculptures. Reviewing the photos we both took of our day out, there is a disproportionate number of statues featuring naked men. I’d like to say this was just a one off, but we did the same when we visited another stately home, Harewood House at Christmas last December.

Another Naked man

Next year we want to go to Blenheim Palace. They have loads of naked sculptures we’ve heard….

Thank you so much Victoria for once again agreeing to be my guest writer and for describing our day so beautifully!

To keep this post to a reasonable length, I created an additional PDF Photo Album, if interested  Click Here.

*Chatsworth House is the seat (home) of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and has been the home of the Cavendish family since it was purchased in 1549.

© 2018 In response to the photo challenge The Other Half from Weekly Prompts.

21 thoughts on “How they live (the other half)

    1. Oh, Ivor, thank you so much for your lovely comments, I’ll pass on to Victoria. I’m glad you liked my pictures. The idea of doing an extra PDF album/document occurred to me a couple of weeks back when writing Mrs Feelis,. Up until then I’d never thought about doing extra and saving as a document. It gave me something creative to do which is always welcomed. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They’ll be a day, I shall call on your expert help, I’m still using a ‘blinking’ computer, It’s driving me crazier, and I’m typing from inside the looney bin tonight…………

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s my brother’s computer that he set up for me, but after numerous investigations, it appears it has a video chip problem. It’s quite new and still under warranty, but he’s on holidays again, and when he gets back I’ll be going to china….. long story, but I have to make do for a while yet. But don’t worry I’ll let you all know which looney bin I’m in, and anyhow they’ll probably have good computers there on the “inside” ……

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I wonder why His Grace, The Duke of Devonshire, chose to have his seat/home/palace/house in Derbyshire; did he perhaps, want to put Mr Darcy to shame?

    These are magnificent places, but I must admit I shudder at the conditions, the poor buggers who built the place, and worked therein, had to put up with and endure. Paid barely a pittance and treated worse than the owners dogs.

    Off with their heads I say 👿

    And now they have the temerity to charge people to go round the place, which even Miss Bennet and her Uncle and Aunt Gardiners did not have to do!

    I do believe, that in a way, these places are obscene.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand what you’re saying, those poor sods much have had terrible lives, but I’m glad some history has been preserved.

      One tale we enjoyed hearing from our garden guide was about the gardeners. Apparently the estate used to have its own brewery and a past Duke installed an underground pipe leading to the house, beer on tap as it were.
      A few years ago during some outdoor renovation work an addiional pipe-line was unearthed, it led from where the brewery used to be to the gardeners cottages. This pipe was undocumented and must have been put there by those gardeners long ago!

      Liked by 1 person

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