The subtitle of this post... Looking for Mr Darcy.
Yes, I went to Pemberley. The Pemberley. The BBC Colin Firth-as-Mr-Darcy Pemberley!
I took a bus that wound through little villages and hopped off completely unaware of where I was in the universe. I then struck out down a road and eventually found the entrance to Lyme Park, which involved a further trek before... Pemberley!
And, oh, I totally get why Lizzie reflected thus:
"And of this place," thought she, "I might have been mistress! With these rooms I might now have been familiarly acquainted! Instead of viewing them as a stranger, I might have rejoiced in them as my own, and welcomed to them as visitors my uncle and aunt."
Lyme Hall itself is gorgeous! The wooden panelling is superb and while it is quite grand, it's still a very comfortable residence. I particularly loved the Knight's Bedroom, with its crooked fireplace, the tale of the skeleton found under the floor boards and of ghosts that haunt it, and the outlandish four poster bed.
I had to take a sock to visit and, naturally, I had to pick the right sock. So, having woken up in Bakewell at 6am that morning, I finally cast on Netherfields in my P&P sock club colourway, Mr Bingley. Okay, Darcy in a pattern called Pemberley would have been better, but I didn't have that.
The Netherfields are my first attempt at toe-up and using circulars. After a few false starts, though, I was off! Okay, I still only have the toe done, but, seriously, I was on the move!
So below you see my attempt to capture my Netherfields overlooking Pemberley and the lake. Only, it was really really windy and the Bingley ball kept rolling and I didn't want... ah... Bingley to end up in the lake. Now that I think about it, that could have been really really funny! But, alas, all you can really see is the top of my knitting bag.
But later I hit the lake again and sat down and knitted away, waiting for Darcy to appear, all wet and soggy and in need of a nice towel and cup of tea. He didn't show up. I sheepishly asked one of the guides whether it was the lake. Her face crinkled in delight: "Yes, it definitely is, and don't feel embarrassed. I have lots of questions about whether Mr Darcy is in... unfortunately, he never has been."
As I wandered the park, I found the deer - including the white ones!
And then back to Bakewell. This was where Jane Austen was reputed to have stayed. I was in a B&B in a very old farm house and it was wonderful. The village itself is a perfect English village and the B&B has the softest, whitest beds! Jane, I totally agree. There is "no finer county in England than Derbyshire". Oh, okay, I also love Oxfordshire, but Derbyshire really is beautiful.
Plus, I found one of my favourite ever gravestones in the church yard at Bakewell. "In Commemoration of the awfully sudden death of George Bown, aged 35 years, who was killed by a stroke of lightning during a thunder storm."