Saturday, July 04, 2015

Such Good Friends...

Elm Park Three Rivers District

Weird man-made chlorinated, depth-marked pond, 360 beach; I kind of loved it, but it is kind of wrong. (Be warned: It cost $4 a person -- which, since swimsuits were on and I had promised a beach....ergh.) Notice, we spent 5 hours, un-coerced, for free at the dirty Lake Harriet beach...and 2 hours, coerced, for $20 at this beach. Ah well, you win some...and even the loses have some fun and memories...(and gray hairs).

5 Hours at Lake Harriet

Weekend Camping Trip at Baker's Nature Preserve

Cabin camping with some other families from our church...pond life exploration, owl pellet dissection (vole skeletons!), canoeing, rock climbing, nature photography, hiking, neat fungus finding (cup and coral being my favorite finds), lots of kid independence with friends exploring the woods, lots of mosquito and spider bites, campfire cooking, sleeping bag bunkbeds, early bedtimes, together!



Think Bank Evening at the Zoo

These chuckleheads and their photo faces...

Friday, July 03, 2015

Day 6: Kedelston Hall

(Photo Matt Rowley)
On our last day in England, we had quite the ordeal deciding where to go. The complication was the weather -- which turned out to be down-pouring. Also the girls were with us, as it was a Saturday. And I really wanted Matt and Vicki to see something they hadn't seen yet. This house is on the edge of the Peak District that is spoken of in a few of Jane Austen's books. We so wanted to go into it, but it took us 3 hours to get up to this point, and the next day we knew we were bus-riding back to London and then flying to Iceland and then 6 more hours back home. We just didn't know if our butts could hold out
So, with no further ado, Kedelston: Hall: An English country house in Derbyshire which is the seat of the Curzon family. This family has own the estate since 1297 and have lived in a succession of manor houses near to or on the site of the present house. This house was commissioned by Baron Nathaniel Curzon in  1759. The family still lives in one side of the massive house, but the rest is own by the National Trust.

"The house was designed by the Palladian architects James Paine and Matthew Brettingham and was loosely based on an original plan by Andrea Palladio for the never-built Villa Mocenigo. At the time a relatively unknown architect, Robert Adam was designing some garden temples to enhance the landscape of the park; Curzon was so impressed with Adam's designs, that Adam was quickly put in charge of the construction of the new mansion." (Wikipedia) 

It has a neoclassical interior that I happened to really dislike. It was cold and uninviting and pompous and creepy and so obviously disproportionate to what a family needs to live graciously in view of all the poverty and needs of this world. I hate to get too much into all that bothered me about the colonial exploitation ties to India -- so obvious with this particular family and estate. really soured my appreciation for even the fine grounds around the house. I am glad we went to this estate. I am glad I saw it. But I kind of wish it wasn't my last day there. Ah well, such as happens when you go on an adventure. At least I was there with 5 lovely companions.  

Talent, people, talent.

(Photos of Brad and me by Matt)

This ballroom was so ugly. Really ugly. But it was big and ornate and expensive. So there's that.

This is a historically accurate reproduction of the original upholstery.

The Curzon Family Tree

Part of the large library collection still remains...

A pretty fireplace guard

A collection of giant model ships

A howdah for riding on an Elephant

This is a portrait of Lady Mary Curzon -- a painting which was about 8 feet tall hanging at the base of the main interior staircase. She is wearing the famous Peacock Dress: 

"The peacock was a magnificent masterpiece of Indian creation: "It was stitched of gold cloth, embroidered with peacock feathers with a blue/green beetle wing in each eye, which many mistook for emeralds, dipping into their own fantasies about the wealth of millionaire heiresses, Indian potentates and European royalty. The skirt was trimmed with white roses and the bodice with lace. She wore a huge diamond necklace and a large broach of diamonds and pearls. She wore a tiara crown with a pearl tipping each of its high diamond points. It was reported that as she walked through the hall the crowd was breathless." (from the blog Arrayed in Gold.)

This awesome taxidermy room...