Adventure starts mid-July, 2012

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 – Much Wenlock to Thorpe

The day dawned with heavy cloud cover and light rain.  Today’s destination was Thorpe, in Dovedale, but there was no hurry because at least one of us wouldn’t be walking in the rain.  With no need to arrive at Thorpe early, we detoured to Kenilworth to visit its famous castle.
Kenilworth Castle
From its origins in the 12th century under the reign of King Henry I, Kenilworth Castle has undergone a number of additions and architectural changes, and over the ensuing five centuries became a center of political intrigue and scandal.  In 1210, King John greatly reinforced the castle by flooding the surrounding lands and turning the castle into an island.  So reinforced, it withstood a six-month siege in 1266 by the troops of Henry III as he suppressed an uprising of rebellious barons housed in the castle, until they were ultimately starved out.  Although the rebels lost some weight during the siege, it was nothing compared to their weight loss when the King had them beheaded.

Private Garden Made for a Queen

Three centuries later, Robert Dudley took possession of the castle and spent buckets of money remodeling it, all to impress Queen Elizabeth I, whom he apparently sought to marry.  Although he was much older than the Queen, he was still “a favorite” of hers.  Unfortunately the Queen was deterred from marrying him, partly because he was a commoner, and partly because he was already married – at least until his wife was one day found dead with a broken neck at the bottom of a staircase.  Nobody charged the wealthy Dudley with a crime, of course.  Still, there were enough doubts about the cause of death that any thoughts the Queen may have had of marriage were set aside by the scandal.
Castle Interior
Henry V is said to have received a gift of tennis balls from the French King at Kenilworth Castle – an event recounted by Shakespeare.  The gift so insulted Henry that he declared war on the French.  Perhaps the balls were the wrong color.
Having heard more history of Kenilworth Castle than I can keep straight or than you care to have me relate, Janet and I returned to our car and drove to Thorpe, where we were staying at the Peveril of the Peak Hotel.  You may remember the Peveril from last year as the very upscale (and expensive) property frequented by the well-heeled beautiful people. 

Dirty Floor Grout

This year, things were a little different.  The room rates were reduced dramatically – as was the quality.  We found mold around the bathtub, dirty grout between the floor tiles, a missing handle cover on the water faucet.   From the prix fixe menu, I ordered lamb shank, which was dry and over-cooked; the pan-fried vegetables were mushy and unpalatable, as if they had been left in a steamer too long.  Four large tables were occupied by several dozen clients of a large walking-tour company, but Janet and I were the only independent diners.   I was saddened to see what had become of a very lovely hotel in such a short time.
Later in the evening, I called my good friend King Arthur to relate my disappointment.  “Yes, ‘tis a pity,” said the King, “all a result of an errant staff.  It seems that last year, an inattentive staff allowed a man to enter the dining room without shoes.  Imagine that – dining in his stocking feet!!  Well, decorum was maintained at the time, but word soon spread that mere commoners were taking over the Peveril, and society’s elite just stopped coming.  The hotel has recently been taken over by a walking and hiking company which brings its large groups into the hotel.  They are trying to put things right, and may do so, as long as their clients wear shoes in the dining room.”
“Allowing a guest to dine in socks?  Absolutely appalling,” I replied.  “What could the staff have been thinking?”

(c) 2012 Ken Klug


  1. This is what happen when ...commoners take over, pity! Beautiful garden, fit for a Queen!
    Closing in on the fuzzy cows....

  2. The weather seems to be worsening again the more you get north, Ken. Whenever I meet you, it starts raining. Margeret and me are camping in the fields of the Rising Sun Inn. Hahahaha. Rising sun: a very conceptual and hypothetical thing in Wales. You know it exists, but nobody has ever seen it. Anyway, love the UK.

    Margeret and Erik

  3. About this time last year, I remember reading about some American going to a fancy hotel restaurant in his socks. I thought it was a joke, but apparently not. Wonder if he knows what he did to the place.


  4. Ken, I wonder, next stop will be Thwaite in the Dales. Please don't forget to show Janet the shed in between Malham and Horton. It was alongside a road. And I just can't get it out of my mind that in that very shed, the lifelines of you, James, Alec and me came together in time and space.