Saturday, April 02, 2005

They call me the Duchess of Devonshire

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I am going to save myself some writing by posting a shitload of pictures.

Both yesterday and today we visited Chatsworth, a famous house where the Duke of Devonshire lives. It’s called a house, but that’s really an understatement because it’s more like a palace. The duke still lives there, but it’s also a major tourist attraction and you can tour parts of the house where I assume he doesn’t conduct his daily business, although it would be neat if we could totally invade his privacy like some cross between Big Brother and a zoo.

At lunch, before we entered the house, I had to take a picture of this because before I left America everyone was like, “Whatever you do, don’t order iced tea! Ooh, faux pas central!” but finally here is some proof that “iced tea” in Britain is an ordinary drink and does not refer to some mysterious bodily fluid or racial slur. (Or maybe it is, and this product is unbelievably crass.)

Here we are, the Heeley kids (including honorary Heeleys) in descending order of age.

Whatever this sign means.

I know there is a Duke of Devonshire, so my next hope to sit on one of these thrones is to become the Duchess of Devonshire. Let’s hope daddy’s single and looking for some action.

Here are a couple of fancy rooms inside the house. Despite the fact that I can’t remember a single interesting fact about them individually, they were very memorable and pretty.

Before they invented cameras, the paparazzi just had to engrave really quickly.

We spent a lot of time in the statue room. I don’t know if the curators appreciated that very much. All I know is, I have natural talent for mimesis and I’m going all the way to Hollywood if that’s where it takes me.

The house itself is surrounded by miles and miles of gardens where we spent the rest of yesterday and most of today. Well, I don’t know if the grounds actually go on for miles, but it was longer than I cared to walk so you can just put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Most noticeable is the water staircase leading up the hill from the house. The view from the top is amazing, and I’m not referring to the airline stewardess comedy starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Mike Myers.

While we were still touring the house, Laura told me there was a tree on the grounds that squirted water from its branches. I thought she was making a stupid joke about weeping willows, but she wasn’t. There really is a water-spraying tree. I am speechless.

I think the best part of doing this pose everywhere I go is when other people join the fun.

I almost shat myself when I saw these fat bastard chickens. But they’re not really fat, they just have loads of feathers. On top of that, they’re not even chickens -- they’re roosters. But they don’t say “rooster” here, they say “cockerel.” And that’s the truth.

This fountain was called “Revelation” because the petals around the gold sphere in the middle would periodically open and close due to water and gravity working together somehow. I’m sure this is an explanation the designer would be proud of.

Finally, there was a neato hedge maze which I actually got lost in and had to cheat to find my way to the middle. Once I had reunited with Laura, I reenacted being lost so that all of you could see what it must have looked like.

Laura and her brother and I also threw the rugby ball around for a little while, until it landed in poop and none of us wanted to play anymore. It’s interesting that what began as a fixation simply on the erotic aspects of the sport has blossomed into an appreciation for throwing a ball back and forth with no discernible purpose.

Last, but not least: LAMBS!


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