What to do when you aren't looking for Darcy... what to do...
Well, you could always look for Westley! Good friend Nim and I trotted out of Bakewell towards Haddon Hall, one of the film locations for The Princess Bride.
The moment we saw it, we both let out a little 'yip'. It's a perfect little castle set in the rolling hills of Derbyshire.
And the adjacent cafe has the most amazing topiary ever... the boar stands for the Vernons and the Peacock (which, yes, we thought looked like a chicken!) for the Manners. Coincidentally, the families are linked to Belvoir Castle, where I had tripped earlier. The guide book told us about the romantic tale of Dorothy Vernon's elopement. The only catch was, every reference to said elopement took for granted that the reader knew all about it! I didn't and it was a while before I managed to look it up on line. However, yes, apparently Dorothy Vernon, against the wishes of her father, eloped with John Manners, second son of an earl. A set of stairs at the Hall are named for Dorothy, reputedly being the stairs she took as she ran away into the woods to elope.
Of more interest to Nim and I, however, was the archway... remember the introduction of Princess Buttercup? As we waited for other tourists to scoot - so that we could take a photo of the SIP, being, of course, the Monkey I was making from my Man in Black yarn - I kept whispering "boo! putrescence!" Unfortunately, I'd forgotten the whole speech, which goes like this: "True Love saved her in the Fire Swamp, and she treated it like garbage. And that's what she is, the Queen of Refuse. So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo." That is a seriously great speech.
Isn't it gorgeous, though - the archway that is? And inside the Hall... oh my! It really is the perfect place for adventure. Large fireplaces, chandeliers you could swing off, long halls of faded wood panelling carved with shields and boars and peacocks, uneven stone floors, ancient glass in the windows, some etched with the names of the workmen, a manacle into which guests who drank too little or too much were placed, kitchens like old caverns, the smooth feel of old wood...
And outside, the prettiest little gardens. Here's the sock again! And the rolling hills in the distance. You could swear they were the ones Westley and Buttercup rolled down!
In the museum, we even found some knitting! It had been found in an account book for 1632. I suspect it might have been a knitted bandage?? Perhaps? One that Buttercup wound around Westley's wounds?
I think Haddon Hall of all places was my favourite. It simply is... well... romantic. That truly is the best word for it.
As you wish.