Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Jolly Hockeysticks! T'was a spiffing weekend!


Okay so this weekend my friend Karen and I descended upon my other friend Michelle (who moved away with her boyfriend last year). I thought I would tell you a little bit about my weekend as it was fun fun fun.

This is quite long so I will section it up! You can also watch my video on my Youtube account. I have some different stuff in both so I am not just repeating everything!

On the Sat we went to Chatsworth Country Fair. Chatsworth House is a bloody great big house in the middle of Derbyshire. I went there once when I was about twelve or so and fell in love with it:

(Photograph by Chris Gilbert, www.ravenseyegallery.co.uk)

This weekend was the Chatsworth Country Fair. As the website says:

"The Country Fair is one of England's most spectacular annual outdoor events, held in Chatsworth park, and it attracts large crowds from all over the country. Massed pipe and military bands, demonstrations and parades, hot air balloons, parachuting and over 300 varied trade stands and rural crafts make this a memorable event with something for everyone."


So, being responsible adults, obviously the first thing we did was go on a fairground ride. The Ferris Wheel to be precise. To be even more precise; the Ferris Wheel of Death.

It looked harmless enough as we watched it going round from a distance. Nice and slow, relaxing, etc. However after we paid for our ticket we realised that we had seen it going at the "getting people on the ride" speed. The normal speed was fricking fast! Suddenly we began to regret eating our ice creams straight before this.

Anyhoo, ho hum, we had paid so we got on. We had to squeeze our fat arses in as we wanted to sit together (Karen and me on the edges, wedged against the metal works... ouch). Then we started going up slowly while they stopped to get other people in their seats. It was about half way up to the top that I realised that it was bloody high! And of course, being me, I began to regret my decision to get on. I had that feeling that you get on a rollercoaster as you go up for the first drop... that "why? why did I get on this?".

It was too late obviously. I just held on tight to Michelle's hand trying not to have hysterics. When everyone was on they let us go round fast. At this point I was totally fine - like when you have been down the big coaster drop and wonder why you were worried - but as soon as I stopped worrying Michelle and Karen started. What a trio we are.


The next thing we did was have take an hour long tractor tour of Stand Wood. It was very beautiful and interesting. The woman driving the tractor also gave a commentary. I love guided tours! I find everything so fascinating.

Here is one little story she told us. My photo above is of Emporer Lake. In the 19th century the sixth Duke of Devonshire (the aristorcarcy never seem to live in the county which their title would make us believe) travelled to Russia. There he met Emporer Nicholas who had a gravitational fountain made by Petar Hoff. The Duke was impressed by the fountain which shot a record breaking 32 foot into the air. The Emporer boasted that no one would ever build a better one.

A few years later, in 1843, the Duke discovered that the Emporer was to visit Chatsworth the following year so he quickly gave his head gardener, Sir Joseph Paxton, the task of building their very own gravitational fountain. In order to build the fountain Paxton excavated an 8 acre reservoir (the Lake) which sits 300ft above the house. He connected to this over 2 miles of hydraulics in order to make the fountain work down by the house below. At peak capacity the lake released 4000 gallons of water a minute. He completed the work in only 6 months!

When they tested the fountain it reached over 90 foot in height, squashing the Emporer's previous record. It has been recorded at 300 foot. The Emporer never made his visit unfortunately, but the Lake and Fountain were named in his honour.

Today the jet stands at about 18 ft high. This is for two reasons. One, the hydraulics are very old and there is a risk of breaking the valves if turned on to full capacity. Second, with such a high jet the water does not retain its 'solid' nature. Unfortunately everyone in the park would be soaked in an instant as the wind carried the spray away from the fountain. This became quite a nuisance.

One of the last times it was put on fully was in 1939 when the girls of Penrhos College were evacuated to Chatsworth. Faced with the prospect of years and years in a strange place, away from home, the Duke and Duchess turned on the fountain to provide them with a magical site as they stepped of their transport.


There were an array of different stalls at the fair including those selling walking sticks, tweed, cheese, meat, puppets, paintings, photo frames, sculptures, chocolates, spices, sauces, chilli, dried fruits, knives, fudge, wine, juice, vodka, crisps, and more.

My friend Michelle particularly liked the German sausage stall and the taxidermy stall:

Of course the best stall was... the face painting stall!

Me and Karen got out face's painted with butterflys (the spotty dog would have been ridiculous). I was tempted by the batman one though. As you can see above I got stuck with the least experienced face painter while Karen got the best. Mine was a bit rubbish but nevermind! It was still funny. Except my friend Michelle said I reminded her of Darth Maul from Star Wars: the Crap One.

As we were having these done we remembered we had to go food shopping before we went home. So we ended up walking arounf the supermarket like that. I think Michelle felt most embarassed though that she was being seen out with us lol.


In the evening Paul (Michelle's boyfriend) cooked us a bbq. We had Angus beef burgers (super yummy) and sausages that we bought from the fair. Actually we bought them from the Jimmy's Farm stall at Chatsworth, which is ironic since the actual farm is about 15 mins away from where I live here in Felixstowe.

After dinner we watched Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Now Karen and myself had seen the film before whereas Michelle never had. The reason she never had was because she is the biggest wimp when it comes to films... like... ever. She particularly won't watch anything with blades or knives in. So basically she looked away whenever any murder was going to happen. She wouldn't even look at the last scene. We had to explain to her because she had only actually viewed about 15 minutes of film.

She makes me laugh.


The next day we had a Full English! I love fry-ups!

We had toast, boiled mushrooms, grilled bacon, oven cooked hash browns and sausages, and scrambled egg. So really, come to think of it, we didn't actually fry anything in our fry-up!

We then played classy games like Ker-Plunk and the Only Fools and Horses DVD Game. By the way Only Fools and Horses is an old British sitcom about a cockney dodgy-goods seller called Del Boy. Thess clips are nearly always voted to be the best comedy moments in polls:

David Jason is a national treasure!


I finished The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger. It was brilliant. I recommend it to everyone. I am now reading Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
I have a start date for my job! I am starting this Monday! The 9th, at 9am. Go me!

Anyhoo, that is all for now.

DFTBA, Helen xxx

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