With the monkey of course. If monkey is going to be standard fixture in Chotu - Motu household, then we reckon that it might as well get used to the travel. Ten weeks seems like a good starting point. Especially since it will have to go to three different continents by end of year. We picked a relatively harmless national park to make its life easier. It ended up not being such a big deal. Monkeys are just like backpacks except that once in a while, you have to nourish them instead of the other way around.
Anyway. So on what was the hottest weekend of the year, we drove up from the fens through the midlands to the Peak District.
"Hey. According to guidebooks, there are a number of English homes in the park"
"Yeah, it always surprises me all national parks within this country are inhabited and are privately owned. Though one understands why"
"Yeah but that is not what I was referring to"
"What were you referring to then?"
"Large English country homes"
"Like Henry James types?"
"Think so. Like the seat of the Duke of Devonshire or something"
"Ah. Prime American tourists territory. Is that how they make money?"
"Must be only. There is this place called Chatsworth Hall which seems to be the most famous of them all. Major gardens and a maze and stuff"
"Should we go?"
"Have you gone mad?"
"Well, you do realise we might only be able to do one walk, say 4-5 hours a day. The monkey will create ruckus otherwise"
"Hmm. It has been unusually quiet for a while now"
"You have gone deaf. It has been growling like some tiger for a while now"
"Oh. And here I thought it was exhibiting more human characteristics lately"
"That it has. I have no doubt it will one day be a humanitarian monkey"
"Or a simian human, you never know"
"Is there a difference?"
"Who the fuck cares?"
"True enough. About these houses..."
"Dude, this sounds like some proper tourist trap"
"I know but there's this other house that's not that famous and won't be crowded at all. Maybe we can go there"
"What house is this?"
"Place called Lyme Hall. On the Cheshire side of the park. Nice and all"
"Who used to live there?"
"Nobody we know. Some Venetian architect did some work on it in the 18th century. Seems worth going to"
"If we have time, why not?"
"What is the catch?"
"Dude, monkey or not, you don't ever want to go visit some English country home. What is the deal?"
"Nothing really. There is one other place called Haddon Hall. But it doesn't sound like family entertainment place"
"This weekend, there is a special programme in the Lord and Ladyship's chambers"
"You are kidding"
"I know. So Lyme Hall it is then?"
"Dude. You do want to go to this place, don't you?"
"Hang on, let me guess. Which Henry James was shot there?"
"I have no idea. And Henry James heroes? Come on now"
"Hmm. Newland Archer didn't go to England, did he?"
"I don't think he did. But why are you thinking Americans when talking of England?"
"Oh wait. Of course. Austen?"
"Yeah. Darcy's home"
"I didn't think you like Mr Darcy very much"
"I don't. But you don't remember this scene in the BBC version where a brooding, most delicious Colin Firth jumps into this lake which has a reflection of the house and then dripping wet, he walks towards the house"
"I can assure you that I am absolutely certain that I do not remember this particular scene"
"I know you don't. So shall we go there?"
"You do realise that there will be no delicious Colin Firth around?"
"Yeah, but one can't have everything, you know"
No, we didn't go to Lyme house. Turned out that monkey can handle long walks pretty well. More in Chotu and Motu get lost in the Derbyshire Dales.