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The Italian Job.

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

I think it was Edward Stanley, the nineteenth century Bishop of Norwich, who said, “Those who think they have no time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” I'm just wondering, with the hours that I've spent in my life exercising, how bodily illness has managed to find any time into which to wriggle and occupy. Yes, it was time for yet another hospital visit, for yet another investigation into yet another bodily system.

In order to speed things up, rather than be referred to the Royal in Chesterfield, my GP had directed me to a consultant in Sheffield. With the road past Froggatt Edge closed and with road works around Bakewell Mrs Bygone Boozer decided to let Malcolm, our trusty satnav, guide us on way. We've been on several of Malcolm's magical mystery tours before, but yesterday he produced no interesting detours, at least not on the outward journey, and got us to our destination in good time via Chatsworth and Baslow.

After a bit of a wait, because another doctor was using the treatment room, I was eventually ushered into the room where a young Italian nurse invited me to remove my clothes and put on a gown before she stepped outside whilst I obliged. Using the word young is really rather redundant these days as I'd imagine that virtually one hundred percent of the nursing profession is young when compared with my good self. I did think it strange that she said I could keep my underpants on, for I was certain that they'd have to be removed shortly.

Clad in a non-stylish non-Dolce & Gabbana gown, with positively non-Prada pants beneath, I lay on the bed as the consultant removed his Boglioli blazer, a nice Italian job I must say, and folded it over a chair back, before picking up the endoscope. Underpants off – I told you – a quick smear of lidocaine gel and there they were. My internals displayed in glorious technicolor on the big screen. Having completed his look around he then decided to give me a guided tour. Each new movement of the camera raised the discomfort to a higher level. "Yes, Yes, I can see where the detrusor muscle has been lost. Oh! That's what a diverticulum looks like, is it? JUST FINISH WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND GET THAT BLOODY THING OUT OF ME!" I may not have actually vocalised that last sentence but I got my wish and the camera, which had seemingly grown from being one that was as slim as pencil at the start to a full-sized digital SLR complete with a 1000mm telephoto lens by the end, was removed.

After a quick wipe down by the Italian nurse – note I've dropped the unnecessary 'young' – and a brief chat with the doc, I was dressed and reunited with Mrs B B who steered me home by reversing Malcolm's earlier route. As she did so we passed this house.

Italian Villa, Edensor, Chatsworth. © Jo and Steve Turner.

The Grade II* listed Italian Villa in Ednesor (pronounced Enza for all you non-locals) is by the side of the B6012, as it wends its way through the parkland of Chatsworth House. The early eighteenth century building didn't always look like this, having been remodelled in the 1830s for the 6th Duke of Devonshire by Joseph Paxton. In her book Bygone Beeley, Ednesor and Pilsley, erstwhile photo-librarian at Chatsworth Diane Naylor describes this transformed former Talbot Inn as well the other individual buildings of this planned village.

Quite when the Talbot stopped being an inn I don't know. It could've been many years prior to its 'Paxtonisation' as in 1788 the Ednesor Inn, now housing the estate offices, was built for the 5th Duke. I've certainly not found the Talbot mentioned in any directories.

Despite the abuse the lower part of my body received yesterday I thought that I'd try a ride this morning. I'd keep it short and keep it indoors so that I could stop whenever I wanted. In the end I managed a pain-free eighteen miles around Vietnam's Ha Long Bay in the company of Emma the besotted bicycling bot.

Good news on the riding front goes with good news of the endoscopy front. It now looks as if the operation that was talked about back at the end of last year is deemed no longer to be necessary. Or at least not just yet. And as today's ride was completed with no adverse effects I'll probably venture out into the real world tomorrow. I fancy riding through Chatsworth to capture my own image of Paxton's Italian Job.

The image of the Italian Villa is cropped from a photograph of Jo and Steve Turner and is copyright. It is reused under this licence.

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