I’ve certainly made no secret of the fact that one of my favourite places on Earth is Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. At some point I really must do a tally of exactly how many times I go there a year. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was creeping towards 100.
I’ve been there quite a few times over the last month or so, sometimes with the girls, sometimes on my own. The Orangery gift shop is one of absolute favourites. There are so many beautiful things that I’d love to buy…but usually I resist.
I recently picked up a copy of the memoirs of the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, entitled “Wait For Me”. I don’t usually read autobiographies and the like. I really prefer fiction. But I decided to give this book a chance, as I wanted to learn more about the way Chatsworth came to be what it is today.
“Wait for me” was written by Deborah Devonshire, know as “Debo” apparently to her family. She was also the youngest of the Mitford sisters, which means more to me now than it did when I started reading the book. Her family was so fascinating with lots of incredible adventures – sometimes it was difficult to remember that this wasn’t a fictional family.
The book starts back in the 1920/30’s and it offers a fabulous insight into history and the different way of life back then. It also tells in great detail how Deborah Devonshire helped to relaunch Chatsworth and transform it into the thriving business that it is today.
I was surprised by how moving I found the book. There were some really emotional parts, especially when the Dowager Duchess talked about her experiences with childbirth and her babies. There were more than a few tear-jerking moments.
After finishing the book, which was in record time I might add, I found that I couldn’t wait to get back to Chatsworth. I felt even closer to the house and it’s history than I had ever felt before. It made me feel like I had a new understanding of how much effort has been put in to make Chatsworth as special as it is.
Now I need to get back to the bookshop as soon as I can – there are at least two other books by the Dowager Duchess that I have to get my hands on.