Here's an exterior view of Haddon Hall from the gardens. I am hundreds of miles away from it now ... on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, but I was immediately transported back to this place that should be mine by a lovely woman who sat down next to me at a table and started a chat. She and her husband were in the area for a wedding from their home in the Peak District. She had offered this after she had asked where we had been in our travels. When I told her that the jewel of that shire was Haddon Hall, she exclaimed that I had got it spot on. And she went on to explain that she loved Chatsworth, had taught the Duchess's children, but Haddon was her favorite too. And during college, she worked in its' ticket booth, toured groups, and when the Lord was in town, nannied his children. How remarkable. How remarkable that one, she just picked up a conversation with me; and two, she was from where I had just been.
We stayed a long while at Haddon Hall ... and only left as they bolted the front door. On the way out along the path, we passed the tea shop and several families were lingering over their afternoon tea. I kind of did a double take ... is that ... Rubert Graves? One of my favorite British actors? Nah, seeing things I am after having spent an afternoon with the ghosts of the Hall! We stopped at the little gift shop to look 'round. I picked up a few post cards and waited for my mom to finish her look 'round and I heard ... his voice! It was him! And as I went to the door, mom in the way, I whispered emphatically ... get out of the way mom! He and his two companions were heading toward the car park ... I was going there too as luck would have it! The boys were taking turns jumping stone fences. They were rather high ... and Rubert was having a laugh at them. He turned toward me with a look of familiarity and I said, 'oh, they must've just been in the Olympics with those jumps!' And he really took me in and gave me a smile that melted my knees. And as quick as that, they jumped into the little Jaguar convertible and were off.
I think it was him?! How could that not have been. I was at Haddon Hall. And I promise, the place was magic.