Uninteresting week so not much variety on the blog this time. We do have another Carol Seppanen book update though. I read State of Decay by James Knapp, 370 pages. I didn't know anything about the book or author so when it turned out to be a captivating read I was more than pleasantly surprised. Plus it turns out to be the first in a series so now I have to find the next two. The series is based in the near future with a suitable blend of old and new. The old: FBI, police, cars and motorcycles for transportation, modern day guns, cage fighting. Blended with the new: implanted eyeballs that have data and communication links back to the home office, technology that brings a person back to life once they die (called revivors) to be used in the military and manual labour jobs. In the future there are three tiers of people; third tier who are the poor, second tier who are poor people who will donate their corpse to be a revivor once they die, and first tier people who are rich, powerful, or served in the military. Short story is someone has hijacked some revivors and is eliminating people who are born with mind controlling powers. The book is fast moving and told from the perspective of four people. I don't read books with the zombie theme so I was surprised that I liked this one but the story is expertly woven together and action packed so now I need to find the rest of the series.
On Saturday we visited Kedleston Hall (Wiki link or National Trust Link) which is close to us. (I didn't know anything about the place before we went so all of my information came from the tour materials and pamphlets so if I do misquote part of the history it's due to my faulty memory.) If I used one word to describe the house I would say opulent. The existing place was built by the Curzon family in the 1760's to rival the nearby Chatsworth house (our trip to Chatsworth). The original property was built in the 1200's but was remodeled to the existing condition as a status symbol. The family has always lived in the west wing which we did not tour, the open area is the main house which was always meant as a show place and entertaining area. The property totaled 820 acres and included a golf course. Impressive place but not quite on par with Chatsworth. For the movie buffs, Kedleston was used as a location for The Duchess starring Keira Knightley. Now onto the pictures.
First of many Steve Frey pics - Not surprisingly the sheep were abundant on the grounds so Lori decided to see how close she could get to petting the babies. Not very close.
Another Steve Frey pic - Try, try, try again. We were within six feet of this family but then they moved away. It was funny because once the momma led the lambs about fifteen feet away she looked at Lori and bleated at her five or six times. She was not happy with Lori.
After scaring some mama sheep we walked around the grounds for a while until the house opened. It was sunny and a little brisk in the morning so we didn't walk for long.
Front of the Hall from the bridge.
Property from front of Hall. Bridge in middle, golf course on right, sheep everywhere.
Rear of the main building from the garden.
View of garden from steps in above picture.
Siege mortar from 1745 in the guest shop corridor.
The guest shop corridor had many hunting trophies and photograph pictures from trips to India.
On the property was All Saints Church (Wiki link), dating back to the 1200's and the only remaining building of the original Kedleston village.
Plague detailing the building history of the church.
Mr. and Mrs. entombed side by side.
View down the centre of the church towards the alter.
Sir John resting.
Sir John's placard.
View down the centre of the church towards the entrance.
All Saints Church.
Door from 1613.
A Jim Seppanen pic - I liked the hollow trunk.
After the church we toured the opulent main house. Very visually stimulating, I can't imagine how much it cost to build back then although I am sure there have been modifications since then.
Caesars' Hall - main house entrance, named for the Roman emperor busts lining the walls.
Museum treasures from Indian and African trips.
Display case of ivory carved items. Lots and lots of ivory items.
Tiger skin rug from 1932 or 33.
Trivia never to be used again.
The Billiards Room.
Main house layout pic.
The Marble Hall - designed after the entrance hall of a Roman villa. "...the massive 20 Corinthian columns are made from a veined local alabaster."
Fireplace in The Marble Hall.
The Music Room.
The Family Corridor.
I spotted this Rembrandt on our tour.
I was impressed but maybe I am just easily impressed.
The Withdrawing Room - where the ladies withdrew to after dinner. The men stayed in the Dining Room. This room was spectacular - check out the couches.
The ceiling in The Withdrawing Room.
Backward sitting reading chair.
The Saloon - "a huge domed rotunda rising to a height of 62 feet."
Hard to capture the size but this is a life sized portrait, one of many found in homes of this stature.
A rare feature - a wall screen separating one room into two sections.
The State Bedroom.
Beautifully painted urn.
The Dining Room.
Maybe the most impressive wine cooler I've ever seen.
The Peacock Dress from 1903.
Peacock Dress explanation. Lady Grantham from the TV show Downtown Abbey is based upon the lady in the picture.
No pictures but Saturday night we ate at Darley's, a fancier restaurant in Darley Abbey (north of Derby city centre) on the River Derwent with the Freys. Not only was the food very good it was adults only so it was especially relaxing. Lori had a starter assortment, monkfish main and dessert assortment. I had a mackerel fillet starter and duck main. I skipped the dessert since nothing jumped out at me and I have learned over here not to eat desserts unless I know what is in them or if something looks really good. Reason being I can taste nuts in many sweets and even a small reaction isn't worth it. Great end to a fun day though.
Sunday is US Mother's Day so HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all of the mothers out there! We had a low key day. First up was the four of us watching a girlie movie (The Perfect Man) that Lori picked out. I have to admit it was entertaining, Karl even managed to keep his manly teenager sarcastic comments to himself. After the movie we stopped at a boot (Brit word for car trunk) sale which is like a flea market. I was looking for some beer and wine glasses but the only ones I liked were gone when we went back to get them. The majority of the stuff was the typically junky second hand "treasure" I expected but at least I can put the "boot sale" check in the box.
A Sarah Anderson pic - My first and probably last boot sale.
For Mothers Day lunch we ate at The New Water Margin, a Cantonese restaurant. It was very good but I felt a little drowsy after eating so there was some kind of allergy ingredients in the food.
The Dana Johnson pic - our main courses on the heaters with rice and noodles. Best Chinese food we have tasted here.
Next weekend we are seeing "not a real doctor" Doctor Stine in Amsterdam. Can't wait to see you Christy!