Steve and Ellie left yesterday; we had a great visit. It was wonderful being able to see friends from home. We did a lot of sightseeing: Warwick Castle, Liverpool/Cavern/Beatles tours, Chatsworth House.

Chatsworth was gorgeous; it was the most perfect place I have ever seen. Very ornate and luxurious, every surface inlaid, carved, painted, gilded…yet still very much a home. I could imagine being a kid there, running down the long halls, playing hide and seek. The Music Room totally undid me. There is a series of State Rooms, with carved and embossed walls, everything very rich, detailed and on the verge of being overdone. On the far side of the music room, there is a half-open door, and you can see a violin hanging on plain paneling. It looks very simple in comparison with the rest of the room, and then you realise that it is a trompe l’oeil painting. It was so beautiful, and it was all too much to take in; I stood there with tears streaming from my eyes, unable to handle it all. I’ve never been so moved by anything.

Anyway, we had a great time, and I was sad to see them leave. I miss my friends.

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