Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Wednesday - day five

 Morning, everyone.  Two days ago, the weather forecast for here was dismal - to day it looks really good, three cheers.  In fact, it looks fine until Friday when it says pouring rain.  That won't spoil our holiday but it will be tough for Suzanne driving back south.

So yesterday was cold, sure, but lovely and sunny with just two rain showers, one before we left the cottage and the other while we were eating a late lunch.

The morning was spent at Haddon Hall.  As I might have said once or twice this week, Haddon Hall is one of my most favourite places ever and it was lovely to be back there again.

It is (or was) a fortified manor house, although the turrets and battlements were more for decoration than for defence.  The earliest parts of the Hall were built during the late twelfth century and there are just a few remains of its Norman origins - a pillar and arches in the chapel, some wall and Norman lancet windows.  

The most modern actual building seems to have been in the early 1600s.  

By then, the estate was owned by John and Dorothy Manners who had a delightful love story of their own (true?  Maybe, who knows) and in 1703 their grandson was created first Duke of Rutland.  The place was uninhabited for two hundred years until the ninth Duke and Duchess started an intensive and extremely sympathetic restoration to make it the place it is today.  It is now inhabited by the eleventh Duke and his family; we met him as we were listening to a talk in the lower courtyard and he walked across to us to say hello prior to taking his dogs out for a walk.
One if several gargoyles (I've checked the guide book and it is a gargoyle)
Parts of the chapel date back to Norman times and the walls are covered with frescos.  They would have been very decorative, brightly coloured and probably dating back to the early 1500s.

This particular bit is called, unsurprisingly, 'the three skeletons'.
As well as the introductory talk in the Lower Courtyard, we were lucky enough to catch a talk in the kitchen, a very fine example of a Tudor kitchen.  

After the kitchen talk, we wandered around as we fancied.  There's no set route and once there, once can come and go as one pleases.  It's all very relaxed and one of the most friendly places I have ever been to.

This is an old spinet at one end of the Long Gallery.
There used to be a large collection of tapestries at Haddon Hall but, sadly, in 1925 a fire seriously damaged or destroyed about sixty pieces - a tragedy!

What could be restored was and then rehung and there are quite a lot of pieces left and the family are trying to find the best way to display them.

You can get really close to them and I could have looked closely for ages, noticing all those little clued to what clothes, etc, were like.

The actual gardens are not enormous and, at the end of September, weren't at their best but we could see they would have been lovely in June/July.

We enjoyed a very good coffee in the restaurant before visiting the shop (you have to visit the shop, don't you) which had been taken over by a couple of young photographers who had turned their work into various bits and bobs - coasters. key rings, jigsaws, books, notepads, etc.  We bought Christmas gifts!!

Then we left, setting our faces south and taking the scenic route round Matlock to Crompton Mill.

We didn't do the Mill tour.  Suzanne wasn't interested and I didn't mind, as I've already determined to come back next year.   Instead, we explored a whole load of interesting little shops including an 'antique' (ie 'posh junk') shop, a super yarn shop (yes, I did - I will be knitting more socks to keep my tootsies warm this winter) and the Visitors' Centre where I got a fold up backpack and shopping bag which will be most useful.  We had a late lunch there too and then came back up, staying on the A6 so we could drive through Matlock/Matlock Baths.  As a child and young teen, I had visited Matlock Baths a number of times and, despite many changes, it still looked happy and familiar.

If you're interested, here's a couple of links.  The first is to the Haddon Hall site and the second is to the Crompton Mills site.

It was a lovely day . . . 

In the evening we chatted and chilled.  I knitted and Suzanne cross stitched and I started looking a cottages for next year.  If I look just outside the National Park, properties are so much cheaper and I'd rather like a longer stay - there are so many things to do and places to see that we don't have time for as well as old favourites to visit.

Today, we hope to explore Eyam, the 'plague village'.  It's a delightful place with a little museum, a hall and lots of gorgeous cottages, etc.  I'm looking forward to today very much.

I hope you're all having a great week too.  xx

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Tuesday - day four

 Morning, everyone.  I'm back to my usual waking hours today rather than the very late seven o'clock I woke at yesterday.  As I don't intend to go down a cave and up a mountain (ok, hill) to  Castle in order to sleep a bit longer, I guess early waking will continue in my life!

Sadly, the weather today is for a maximum of 11 and rain showers.  I don't mind the lower temperatures but Suzanne feels the cold a lot more, bless her.  Oh, well, there's nothing we can do about it so life goes on!

All our plans had to change yesterday!  We headed off into Bakewell, only to find that, to our dismay, there was some sort of market where we had expected to park.  We weren't the only ones to be caught out either.  It was rather packed with cars all turning into the roar and having to turn to get out again.  A bit chaotic.  We tried to find more parking space but failed so we decided on the spur of the moment to go back and 'do' Haddon Hall which we passed on the way to Bakewell.  That would have been a Very Good Plan, had Haddon Hall not been closed due to 'unforeseen circumstances'.  

Really not our day!!

So we came home again (thankfully Bakewell is pretty close to Beeley, we hadn't driven for miles and miles) to have a coffee and talk.  It started raining at that point so we were quite glad to be inside anyway.

We had lunch at home and decided it would be quite nice to visit a few craft centres/shops.  We  had clocked Caudwell Mill as we drove to Bakewell and we found a couple more.  The one at Eyam was closed on Mondays but the one at Calver was open  so off we set.

Caudwell was a lot better than when I last visited which was a number of years ago now.  The glass workroom was open and we enjoyed looking at all the lovely glass creations.  Sadly, the silver workshop was closed but the general shop was open and we spent a long time looking around and admiring creations by local crafters.  I could have spent loads on some lovely pottery but common sense prevailed and I came away with a couple of gifts and a pretty little necklace while Suzanne got herself a couple of pottery pendants.

Then we headed off to the Derbyshire shop.

It had been designated a 'craft centre' but it wasn't, it was an Aladdin's cave of all sorts of bits and bobs.  There was a good display of Halloweeny/Autumnal stuff as well as - well, it's hard to say what it didn't have, to be honest.  Fun to look around.

Suzanne got herself some very nice gloves and I got some Autumn themed paper napkins and a wooden mushrooms on wood ornament.  I'll take a photo of it to show you in another entry.
There was quite a nice glimpse of some of the peak rocks around the village - well, it would have been nice if it were not for the electric wires.  I might try to edit them out later on.

Buy then it was well past four so we headed home, had a cuppa and a biscuit apiece and settled down to chat and craft, me with my knitting and AS with her cross stitch.

Today it is Haddon Hall.  Fingers crossed it is open again.
Tomorrow, we hope to get to Eyam (the famous 'plague village') and spend some time there.
Possibly we will try Bakewell on Thursday.
And that's the holiday over.

I have already decided that I will be back.  There's so much that we haven't done.  Suzanne isn't that keen on a return so soon so it will be a solo holiday.  There are a few Premier Inns in the area as well as numerous B&Bs and cottages so I will have to cost things out and see what I fancy.  I could take a cottage and then spend just a few nights in a Premier Inn, maybe.

Time to stop and get the first coffee of the day, I think.  We're in no rush this morning so I'm feeling good and relaxed.
Have a lovely day!  xx

Monday, 26 September 2022

Monday - day three

 Morning, one and all.  Day three of my holiday and we have rain!  Actually I got yesterday wrong - I was looking at the weather at home, not here .  Here was far less encouraging but we avoided any rain, thankfully.    Today's looks better than it was predicted yesterday.  We're OK with lack of sunshine but I'm very glad to see that there's no rain predicted today.

Yesterday was brilliant.  We took a nice drive up to Castleton, parked a little way out from the centre (it's a small place so it wasn't a problem) and walked to the visitor's centre first.
I'd already booked the tour of Peak Cavern and they told us that we could pay for Peveril Castle at the foot of the castle hill so that was OK.
We had a wander round the little town first.  Castleton is right in the heart of the Peaks, between the more gentle White Peaks to the south and the higher, more rugged Dark Peaks to the north.  It is famous for its four cave systems.
Speedwell Cavern is water filled and can be explored by boat (guided, of course).
Treak Cliff Cavern is a bit out of Castleton, close to Mam Tor.  It is where the unique Blue John stone is mined but it used to be mined for its lead.  It has some interesting stalagmite and stalactite formations.
Then there's the Blue John mines themselves.  These are several caverns that show the mining, fossils, stalagmites and stalactites and is also close to Mam Tor.

And then there's the Peak Cavern, the one we visited.  It's the most natural of the four and is called the Devil's Arse because (the tour guide said) people were kept away with warnings that if they went in the Devil would get them but also because the lower parts of the mine flooded regularly (still done at times, I gather) and the pressure of the water forcing air through the smaller passages makes a very farty sound that is then amplified in the huge cave opening and sounds right across the valley, presumably sending all the children into fits of giggles!

The last bit of the walk to the cave opening.

We were warned that inside the cave it is a steady 7C, regardless of the weather outside.  Also that sturdy shoes are essential.

In the past, Peak Cavern was the least commercialised of the caves as it had no valuable seams of mineral.
However, it was inhabited by rope makers and their families, who made the ropes that were vital for the lead mining further down the road, using help and tallow.

We were given a demo of how they made the ropes but I can't show photos because there are other people in it.

Poor rope makers and their families - it must have been a very hard life.
I took plenty of internal photos but, to be honest, they all look much the same and don't show anything.

There is plenty of evidence of glacial and water erosion and some baby stalactites on the roofs which are hard to see.

Access is fine at the mouth of the cave but it descends quite steeply (there are some steps) and then there's a corridor of about fifteen metres that must have been tiny but which was enlarged when Queen Victoria visited the mines and they gave 

her a concert in the large chamber beyond.
She flatly refused to bend so they enlarged the passage just enough for her - so the rest of us still have to bend in order to go further, she being around 4'11", I gather.  She was a little lady!

They still hold concerts there but in the mouth of the cave, where the rope makers lived.

The acoustics, I gather, are excellent but it's chilly.  They tried using big gas burners to warm  up the entrance but it obstinately remained at 7C so now everyone wraps up warm!

So that was Peak Cavern.  The complete tour, with demo, etc, was around an hour and a half and it was so very interesting.

Then we had lunch and a warming coffee before tackling Peveril Castle.

Rather than go through its history, here's a link to the relevant part of the English Heritage site

and to the Wiki page

It's a fair old puff up the very steep hill that the castle is built on.   I may be missing all my exercise classes this week, but yesterday more than made up for them!

Access was via a sturdy zig-zag path with benches thoughtfully provided now and again.  We reckoned we did OK for two ladies in their seventies!

You can see Castleton in the valley and you get an amazing view!

There's not much of the old castle left now but plenty of footings to show where outbuildings and walls would have been and the keep itself can be accessed at the middle and there's an original spiral stone stairway to get to the lower level.

I'd have taken a panorama photo but my camera battery had given up the ghost - very annoying!

We made our way back to the car and came home feeling that we'd had a Very Good Day Indeed!

Today we plan to explore Bakewell and you never know - A bit of Bakewell pudding might be consumed at some point!!

The sun is now shining (yay) and I really ought to think about getting up, showered and dressed so I will love you and leave you for now.   Have a fab day, everyone, and thank you for reading my ramblings!  xx

Sunday, 25 September 2022

Sunday, day two

 Good morning, everyone.  It's wayyyyyy too early to look out and see what the weather is throwing so I've resorted to the Beeb which says sunny, gentle breeze and up to 18C - I'll go with that!

Here's a few photos of the cottage.  

The view from the back gate (which is firmly padlocked so no wandering into the field).  The right hand side bit is the entrance, downstairs loo/shower and kitchen and the rest is living room two bedrooms and the bathroom.
See how nice and shiny the garden is.  

And from the front.

Inside, part of the kitchen.  I've never cooked on a range like that before, on all the time with two ovens, a hotter one and a slow oven and three plates on top, hot, medium and simmering.  I really enjoyed using it for cooking dinner last night.
It's a very nice kitchen indeed with dishwasher, washing machine and a fridge freezer with a proper sized freezer, not just a silly little box at the top of the fridge.

This is the living room.  It's very nice and comfortable but it has inadequate lighting for these darker evenings.  Fine if you want to sit and watch telly but not when you have cross stitch/knitting/books to read.

I thoroughly approve of this though.

Plans changed slightly as they always do!

We drove down the road (it's walkable but . . .) to the Peak Village in Rowsley, a neat little shopping centre with some interesting shops.  We spent ages in a shop that sells bath bombs, pretty soaps, and so on and will be coming back on the way home on Friday to get little gifts for people and maybe for ourselves too.

The was a Cotton Traders, to my great delight, because it is one of my favourite online 'sensible clothes' shops.  I got some trousers and also looked long and hard at a lovely knitted top that would be great for layering up on colder days.  I'll look at it again online.

Then we went to a bedding shop.  Because the car was so full, we decided against bringing extra pillows from home and that was a mistake because the pillows provided here are good quality, sure, but very 'orthopaedic' - in other words hard as a brick!  As we both needed new pillows anyway, we had a nosey round the shop and came out with two pillows apiece and Suzanne also got a mattress protector (for home, not here). 

There was a Denby outlet shop too, packed with lovely china and kitchen utensils, pans, knives, etc and I found the pan I have been looking for for ages and ages.  It is egg pan sized so small but the sides are high so a perfect shape for an individual, one portion tortilla/frittata/quiche and a metal handle so it can go in the oven without any problems.  I was so pleased.

We wandered around but didn't buy anything else, there wasn't a proper food shop, sadly and we didn't really fancy paying Chatsworth prices in the eating place so we came back and had a bits and bobs lunch with odds and ends that came with us - lettuce, tomatoes, and so on.

So after lunch we decided to drive up the road, into the Chatsworth estate to the Chatsworth Farm Shop and just get some stuff - cheese, veg, eggs, etc.

I do love that shop - it has so much interesting food.  Also, there was a food fair which was really good with  lots of samples to try.  
We're well supplied now with stuff - no need to do any more food shopping.

On the way back, we stopped off at the little Beeley church, St. Anne's.  It's extremely old in places and nicely maintained, inside and out.

If I lived here, I suspect wandering around the churchyard would be a favourite thing of an evening.

We didn't hot tub, we had dinner and then chilled with our crafting - which is how we know the lighting is inadequate.

Today, we are probably going to Castleton, doing a tour of the Devil's Arse (caves) and climbing up to Peveril Castle.  It's all subject to change though - we're feeling very chilled.

Have a great day, everyone.  xx

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Saturday - day one

 Good morning, everyone.  Welcome to the weekend.

Well, we got here - eventually.  Starting at the beginning of the day, I went to Slimming World, not to get weighed but to help with my usual weighing duties.  I'm very glad I did because Michelle (the other 'on the desk' helper) was away so Jen would really have been stuck if I hadn't gone.

After that, I worked through my List of Things To Do while Suzanne gaped at the number of bags, etc, that I thought necessary for a comfortable week.  She's never done self catering by herself.
It all went nicely into the car, all fitting together so nothing rattled.

The house sitter arrived and we set off.  It all went swimmingly until we were nearing where we were to join the M1 when we saw warnings that that section of the M1 was closed after a multi vehicle crash.  Drat.

So we veered off and worked out another route and the Genie (the Sat Nav - Suzanne's name!!) soon caught up and we were going swimmingly until . . . yup - the road ahead was blocked.  We weren't too far away from it but cars were doing U turns, etc, so we did the same and went the other way with Genie trying to take us back for a while.

So we found a place to stop and consulted both phone and proper map (well done, Suzanne, for bringing one).

And then, to cap it all, we were almost at Beeley, taking a lovely country road that avoids some very steep, hairpin bends around Rowsley (following Genie) there was a sign announcing 'ROAD CLOSED'.  We couldn't believe it.  There was a lovely lady walker approaching and she told us there was a land slip and the road ahead was indeed completely closed.  Thankfully, she also gave us some very clear instructions as to where to go, Genie caught up and we made it.  The journey had taken half as long again as it should have taken and poor Suzanne was exhausted.

Thank goodness, we had booked a table at the Devonshire Arms which is literally just a hundred paces down the road, had a very good (maybe slightly overpriced meal but we're on holiday!) and a large glass of wine apiece which helped!

We had hoped to get there in time to settle in and go for a saunter around the village but as it was all I took was a couple of photos of the view from the garden (which looks lovely).

There's the famous Hot Tub to the left, well sheltered from the road by trees and I'm really hoping that gate means we can wander into the fields beyond.

And almost the same, just turning a little to the right.

It's not a fancy garden but it has been very well kept and is going to be a delight to sit in, should it feel warm enough!

Right now, I am sitting in bed, coffee on the right, feeling warm and cosy and relaxed.  I hope Suzanne is still fast asleep - she really was extremely tired last night.

The forecast looks good for today.  Not particularly warm but that's OK.  Dry is what we want and it looks as if dry is what we are getting.
We'll probably do a couple of things - go for a walk and go to the Chatsworth Farm Shop (which just happens to be our nearest shop, oh, what a shame!!) to get in a few supplies.  I'd rather like to walk up the road to the land slip which really is a baddie.   Hang on, I'll see if I can cadge a photo.

Yes - here we go.


It seems there have been two landslips, one last year and one earlier this year.

This was taken after this years slide, I think.

It is where the Chatsworth grit meets the millstone grit so geological in origin and, quite obviously, more complicated than just clearing a few tons of rock.

While looking all of this up, I saw that the Snake Pass in the High Peaks is also going to be closed for four weeks from Monday after geological problems that have required diversions for bigger vehicles.  Maybe we will give that little excursion a miss this time, eh?

So - today - posh shopping and a walk and I will take some photos of inside and out.

Have a lovely day, everyone.  xx

Edit:  change of plan - we're going to nosey around the Peak Shopping Centre at Rowsley this morning instead of the Chatsworth Farm Shop and find a few needed items and then walk up the road to see if we can discover the landslip this afternoon.  The sun is shining and it's lovely.  xx

Friday, 23 September 2022


 Morning everyone.  It's rather gloomy and, while the forecast here is for light rain, in the Peaks it is sunshine.  I hope it stays that way round.  Not so nice is the temperatures predicted - around 11/12/13 C for much of next week.  Oh, well, layers it is!

It was a busy day yesterday, what with packing and so on.  Suzanne arrived late afternoon after a drive round London that was mostly OK but with a few stops on the M25 (wouldn't you know!) to hold her up.
She's still asleep and I'm pottering downstairs

I'll be off the SW, just to help out with the weighing, before coming home to finish packing, sort out the food, change the bed for my lovely house sitter and then off we go.  We've booked dinner at the Devonshire Arms which is literally just around the corner from the cottage and a nice stroll around the neighbourhood would be really nice, once we've unpacked and are in and settled.
I'll take photos!

And that is today!  Please send vibes for a trouble free drive up.  And have a good day yourselves, whatever your plans.  xx

Thursday, 22 September 2022


 Morning, everyone.  A quick one this morning as I am rather pushed for time.  The sun is shining, like yesterday, although yesterday ended up gloomy and rather stuffy in a not-very-warm sort of way.  We'll see what today brings.

I remembered circuits - well, I didn't forget Groove, I just didn't wake from my snooze in time.  As always, Lindsey worked me hard and it was all very satisfying and energetic, bless her.  I'll miss next week's classes although I'm sure I will make up for it in walking.

Today is going to be busy.  I have the weekly chat with Chris and I'm well into sorting out food etc.  I have a bit of washing to do and I want to get all the clothes sorted out.  It looks as if it will be turning cold next week so layers is the name of the game.  And MUST NOT forget my swimming cossie (for the hot tub).

One more thing - there's a nasty scam going round that it might have been easy to fall for.  I got a text saying that I've been in contact with someone who has tested Covid positive.  My first thought was something a bit unprintable, what with a holiday coming up, but I looked again and it didn't look right.  It was nothing like the other NHS warnings and there was a link to follow to order a test.  That didn't look right either.  Also, I know that everyone I have been in contact with long enough would certainly have let me know if they then had covid.
So I googled and yes, there are several scams going round, that being one of them.  The link would have taken me to a site that looked very like the NHS site but into which I would be required to input all sorts of personal details . . .
And, understandably, lots of people are falling for it - it causes immediate panic and fear and I think it's just plain horrible.
So - please, if you get something like that, stay calm, test if you must (I didn't and, several days later, I'm fine) and don't follow the link.  

I'll definitely be posting tomorrow but if things are a bit intermittent next week, I am sure you won't worry and understand that it's holiday stuff going on.  However, I do hope to be able to upload plenty of photos of the places we go to.

Have a great day, one and all.  Take care.  xx