Chatsworth House

I was blessed to have the privilege of spending a day at Chatsworth. If you haven’t googled already, the Chatsworth House is the vision of beauty and serenity in the heart of the Peak District in Derbyshire which is in the East Midlands of England. This magnificent stately home is the dwelling place of the Cavendish family dating back to the 1550s and is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

Chatsworth House

My moment of awe began the instant we drove up onto the property with the magnificent view of the park and stunning myriads of sculptured landscapes. I remember getting out of the car thinking this is just like the Biltmore House back in the States, in Ashville, North Carolina which is a Chateauseque-style mansion built for George Washington Vanderbilt 11 around the late 1800s. However, after seeing the Chatsworth, one can draw conclusions of the many similarities, yet differences that create the characteristics of the two mansions, but by far the Chatsworth is much larger.

Our first stop was the Cavendish Restaurant located on the Chatsworth property where we enjoyed great conversation, excellent food and a very relaxed atmosphere with friendly staff members. We were made to feel welcome especially after learning that one of their visitors was an American (me) indulging in the magic of England’s cherished history. After a wonderful lunch, we couldn’t wait to begin our tour of one of England’s most beautiful estates.

Cavendish Restaurant

The Chatsworth house has over 300 rooms, 17 staircases to explore and to view its beauty just a few days before Christmas made it more magical than ever. The entire house had been transformed into Christmas displays throughout with many dressed Christmas trees and fancy garland hanging elaborately from chandeliers. Upon entering, you can’t help but notice the beautiful entrance with it’s glossy marble floor patterned with intricate details along with the warmth of the soft strands of white lighting woven through garland and cascading overhead with a Christmas tree decorated in white lights at the end.

Entrance into the Chatsworth

After walking through the corridor, I found myself transported into a world of make-believe as we entered the “Once Upon A Time” a classic selection of stories from my favorite Fairy Tale book in my childhood. There were different tales all through the Chatsworth House creating a live storybook worthy to take you back in time. The themes were enchanting to the young as well as the old like myself who has never forgotten her mother’s voice reading my favorite tales to me every night before bed. There was my favorite, the Cinderella theme located in the Chapel to Snow white in the Sculpture Gallery and the house was filled with Pied Pipers roaming the corridors. I was also captivated by The Princess and the Pea theme by Hans Christian Andersen and the Pied Piper who posed for a photograph just for me. I have to include the theme, James and the Giant Peach as I loved the display that cascaded down from the ceiling reminding me of the story of the magical journey where James learned of courage and friendship. Needless to say, my imagination ran wild as I was caught up in the magic that was woven all through the house.

Cinderella Theme in the Chapel
Snow White Theme
Snow White Theme

The Princess and the Pea Theme
The Pied Piper


James and the Giant Peach Theme

As we continued our tour, I stood amazed when I entered the infamous Painted Hall with its black and white marble floor and that grandiose staircase fit for a King. Then you have that richly painted ceiling depicting the life of Julius Caesar and beautiful works of art and sculptures galore and vast wall paintings to keep your eyes busy.

Grand Staircase
The Painted Hall.

You might recognize the Painted Hall scene from the 2005 Joe Wright’s film version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly and Matthew McFadyen. In fact, the Chatsworth House was used as Mr. Darcey’s place of residence which many believe Jane Austen based her book idea of Pemberley on this very house. You will also recognize from the movie the Cascade scene in the gardens behind the house which was my favorite part of the entire visit. At the top of the hill is the willow tree Fountain with a rushing sheet of water cascading down over elegant steps which feeds into another fountain on the South lawn called the Sea Horse Fountain. But it doesn’t stop there as there are countless landscapes throughout the property such as the maze and the monkey puzzle, the Greek Altar which all are surrounded by beautiful woods and forests and who could forget those tapered trees? In the Canal Pond situated on the west side of the house is the beautiful Emperor Fountain that is the most photographed scenery at the Chatsworth and I also loved the Flora’s Temple that frames the carved statue of Flora which is one of the few sculptures that survived from the 1st Duke’s garden. It’s also the place you will find the minstrels playing the wind-up music box. The minstrel was more than happy to smile for the camera.

Cascade
One of the Mazes in the gardens
Flora Temple with Minstrel
Emperors Fountain

I cannot end my blog without telling you which room in the Chatsworth house is my favorite. It almost goes without saying that is if you know me. When I turned the corner and saw the grand piano placed near the entrance to the room, I had to stop and study the area thoroughly. It wasn’t the music room, but a room exquisite and lavishly decorated with rare artifacts and books. The Library! This particular library out of several at Chatsworth, houses 40,000 books and is the largest and most significant collection of literary rarities and among that huge collection are books handmade by monks from the Middle Ages and its been said there is a book of magic known as The Key of Solomon in which spells were written in Latin. The age of this particular book goes back to over 500 years.

I admired the dark wooden shelves and the different sitting areas where one could spend an entire day thumbing through yellowing pages or playing the piano as the sun sets over the beautiful rolling hills. As a musician and writer, this is what a paradise room would be to someone like me. To conclude, there are many extending qualities with the Biltmore and Chatsworth with the Biltmore being the largest estate in America and the Chatsworth being the largest among the two and much of the d├ęcor found at Chatsworth does not exist in the Biltmore but both have substantial character of their own and I feel honored to have seen both.

The Library

Margaret Goes Fishing

Online dating sites are supposed to be fun and if you are a serious prospect for finding love, chances are you have a paid subscription and you mean business of finding that long term relationship. With that said, you have to up your game with a grade A profile highlighting all of your “must-haves” for that potential boy or girlfriend. You have to start your new journey with a bang and make others in the field or sea take notice even your competition.

I decided to have some fun after hearing so many stories from some of my friends who had joined a site, some having successful endings while others were mere nightmares. In reality dating can be messy enough, but dating sites complicate things even more not to mention the stress from that first date. Some dates turn out good while others go from bad to horrific, but the meeting process that starts the journey can be one for the books indeed.

I created a fake account, with a fake name, Margaret Hatcher, and photos taken from snapchat. I wanted to treat my profile like a commercial and highlight some features that I knew would draw the bad ones to the front just like a marketing campaign. And thus, my profile packed a punch indeed.

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Meet Margaret Hatcher. She’s 58 and a Capricorn. She has a Graduate degree and her profession is a Stripper. I created her lifestyle to be one that drinks often and smokes occasionally, but many would question her degree while trying to stuff her thong with George Washington bills. Just look at her photos. Can you without laughing? Yet, she received 179 responses to her profile before I stopped counting and this is where I can honestly say, there are some crazy, messed up people out there, even desperate. I purchased a month on POF just to get a good shot at seeing what might transpire. Within minutes of posting her profile, she got her first prospect.

Her first gentleman caller was no gentleman at all. He was very adamant to find out if it would be alright for him to suck on her toes on the first date. I must say, in my quest I never imagined encountering a casual fling involving someone who found ecstasy in sucking toes and sang praises of feet. But you will have that from time to time. I suppose there are myriad ways to enjoy each other and a foot massage is one, but toe sucking took me by surprise especially when asking Margaret would she mind if he put her entire foot in his mouth. Margaret replied, “I am having some bunions taken off and nail fungus treated.” This did not become an imposition to him as he told her that was no problem. He was not the only guy who had fetishes and for the most part I have to keep this blog sanctified and not release all of the nastiness that was experienced.

There were those who were curious and rightfully so, then there were those who were downright rude. I encountered married men looking for extra curricular activities if you know what I mean. When I learned they were married, I wasted no time telling them what I thought and you would be surprised at the married men who make fake accounts just to satisfy their cravings. There were tons of stilted chitchat starters which made even Margaret Hatcher very uncomfortable. I can’t even imagine just how sour a real date would have been with most of these atrocious characters.

I accidentally made Margaret 6’3″ tall (laughing here) and some of the guys asked if Margaret was really that tall, so I went with it which made Miss Hatcher’s character even more hilariously funny but mind you, it did not keep the creepers away. Now, I have no idea what it’s like to be tall, but my experience as Margaret Hatcher brought many challenges and questions that would make a giraffe blush. But the name calling began such as Amazon, long feet monster along with other names I cannot mention, but I felt the need to be the bigger person in the room, no pun intended, as I clearly was more times than not being so tall and grace the character of my stripper. After all, girl’s gotta pay the rent.

At first I thought this journey was going to be a waste of my time, but I always walked away laughing as well as scratching my head and in all honesty, I could not wait for my paid month to be over with as I was entirely happy to get away from POF and delete the profile, but I did learn a lot about the desperation of so many loners out there and believe me, it’s a scary arena to be in. There are so many dating sites and for many they are an extremely competitive medium and you need every advantage you can get, but POF? Talk about the variety of fish in the sea! You will definitely find it here and the mad libs are far from originality. It’s more like going for a job interview or reading job resumes. Where’s the panache? If you are considering a dating site, do your research and beware of the mentality that is prevalent on these sites especially POF.

At the end of the month, on the 29th, I updated my “about” section and let all of my fishes know that Margaret Hatcher was indeed fake as if they needed to be told, but trust me on this one. I also posted a photo of the real me, and my inbox started blowing up completely even the rude fishes became nice and the sex crazed lunatics suddenly became tame and wanted a chance at real love. If you are going to take the plunge, take some advice from me and don’t waste your time or money on Plenty of Fish. I would recommend the old fashion way by getting out more and away from the internet. If you do choose to explore your options across the net, please be very careful with the information you allow the world to see about you and beware of those sick predators who are waiting for that opportune moment….jh