An Autumn Trip to Chatsworth



I left close friends behind when we moved from North Yorkshire in 2014, and they’ve never felt further away than this year. Even if it’s hard to find the time to zip up the M1 to meet, when you know you can’t do that, it makes missing them even harder.

So when all of the kids were successfully reinstalled back at school, my friend Kirsten and I made a plan – to find a convenient halfway point, and meet up before the world shuts down again. And today, that’s exactly what we did – the halfway spot we fixed on was the glorious Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Chatsworth, under a lowering Autumn sky

The plan was hatched and we prebooked our tickets. The imminent Tier 2 for Derbyshire threatened earlier in the week, but I reckoned we were meeting in someone else’s garden, so it was probably still legal.

The drive up was a simple two hours, and it was worth every single minute. Waiting at the end of the journey was several hours in an oasis of calm, and time with a dear friend that can never be replaced by video calls – all amid stunning autumn beauty, a reminder that whatever the craziness happening in the human world, the seasons are cycling just as always – and this year is particularly beautiful because of it.

My big worry was that I’d run into a mass migration as people rushed to escape the new restrictions, or rush home to them – but fortunately, the world is not quite as mad as I feared.

I came back to a full work inbox and all sorts of school and PTA updates, but the day away was worth every single moment. In these crazy and unpredictable time, I’m marking down every seized opportunity such as this as a big win.

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