It must be 20 years since we went to Chatsworth last, and things have changed a lot. That was clear from the outset of yesterday's visit: many more people make for it nowadays, and no wonder. It's a most welcoming environment for all sorts, and yet retains the quality of a family home. As when we were at Burghley last year, you felt that everyone on duty was somehow part of the family - such a different impression (again) from what you receive from your average National Trust property!
We needed more than the few hours our busload spent there to do it justice: the nearest we got to seeing the gardens was this view through one of the windows in the house. But perhaps it was as well we didn't leave later than we did, as less than halfway home the engine of our coach sprang a diesel leak: kind bikers alerted the driver to it. So we crawled off the dual carriageway and spent the evening (more than three hours) experiencing the antidote to stately homes, a suburban pub garden in the Midlands. Good for group bonding at least.