Thursday, 15 September 2011

Day 10 - Thursday, September 8, 2011

Harrogate to London

My BFF (Best Fibre Friend), Marion, is very artistic. Her way to remember our trip has been to sketch and paint scenes. She carried a little sketch book and watercolour paint case and a jar of water with her. When we weren't bumping around on the bus she'd be sketching some of the lovely vistas. After breakfast this morning we had some time to kill. Here's Marion painting one of her sketches.
We got an 8am start on the road to London. Our first stop was at Chatsworth to tour the estate of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
They live there but allow a large portion of the estate to be viewed by tourists. The admission cost generates income for the maintenance and upkeep of the manor. In the 70s, the inheritance tax law changed and in order for the Duke at the time to keep his residence, he had to sell many of his treasures to pay the government. The current Duke and his successors were avid collectors.

Fortunately they were able to hang on to this Rembrandt painting.
I loved the mosaic floors
and grand staircases.

On the ceiling of one of the grand halls was an extensive painting. I noticed one part of it had an angel? using a niddy noddy to wind the yarn from her spindle. The angel on the right is holding a distaff with flax or linen fibre on it. It looks like the figure dressed in grey is trying to cut the yarn.
Dukes and Duchesses like to collect things. This showcase had lots of interesting artifacts in it including what are believed to be King Henry VIII's rosary beads. (bottom shelf)
They rotate the items on display and the modern artwork on a regular basis.

This is the statue hall at Chatsworth. With many sculptures by Venetian sculptor, Antonio Canova.
These massive lions were stunning.

This photo was taken from one of the second floor windows.

We only had a quick tour and time to grab something for lunch. I had another Cornish pasty (pork and onion) and we piled back on the bus to continue our journey southward.

A couple of hours later we stopped Toft Farm in Dunchurch, a village where we saw several buildings with thatched roofs (now covered in chicken wire to keep the mice and birds from nesting) and one under construction/repair. At Toft Farm we watched a 10 min slide presentation on alpaca farming and had a short walking tour of the active farm. They have about 100 alpacas of all different colours. (alpaca photos courtesy of C. Brumpton)
Toft Farm Alpacas
Unfortunately, my camera ran out of power just as we were going outside to see the alpacas. They also had a lovely gift shop where beautifully processed alpaca yarn and other alpaca items were for sale. I bought 2 balls of laceweight alpaca yarn - about 560m in all. Before leaving, we had English cream tea.

We hit London during rush hour and it took quite a while to get to our hotel. We did a bit of driving around. Here's St. Martin in the Fields Church - a world renowned music tradition. I remember my first visit to London 30 years ago being surprised that St. Martin in the Fields wasn't in a field.
This is as close to the Millennium Wheel (ferris wheel over the top of the buildings) that we got.
We were first dropped off at the Strand for dinner
and afterwards,we were taken to the Millenium Hotel in Knightsbridge (on Sloane Street - woo woo!) to check in. Sloane Street is the Via Veneto, 5th Avenue or Rodeo Drive of London. Designer shops and high end stores galore (more about that in tomorrow's blog).

Marion and I scored one of the luxury penthouse suites. It only had one bed but after I went down to complain I was informed that it was indeed an upgrade to a luxury suite
and was told the sofa pulled out into a second bed. I sheepishly returned to our suite.
The bathroom was lined with marble.
Tomorrow we will explore Knightsbridge...


  1. Our room was tiny - it almost led to a riot deciding who got what bed LOL!!!

  2. just keeps getting better and better!

  3. Lucky you scoring the penthouse. How come you didn't share this info with us peons? I would have gladly traded our bijou closet-room for your suite.

  4. Marion and I were keeping our yaps shut about our penthouse suite. No way were we going to lord it over the less fortunate of our group.

  5. I'm laughing here -- I heard you say something about Penthouse Geri - I thought you were kidding as the rooms were so small LOL!!!

    We could have had the party in your room!

  6. In addition to the desk sofabed, chaise longue at the foot of the bed and flat screen TV on the wall, we had a minibar and fridge. I guess it would have been quite the party room.

  7. Oh yeah, we had a large glass coffee table, too.