Saturday 30 September 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Last day of September - where has the time gone, eh?

First of all, thank you for your kind comments in here and elsewhere about my photos.  I'm a point and clicker and maybe one in about ten is worth looking at so thank goodness for digital cameras.  I used to spend a fortune having useless photos developed and then, of course, you couldn't crop them or edit them in any way. 

The journey back was OK although I have decided I don't like Mansfield.  I went wrong going and I went a different wrong coming back - twice.  The first needed a sat nav save but the second was easily sorted (and no U turns needed).   Once on the A1, I was about four cars behind a wide load with an accompanying van with flashing lights behind it in the outside lane to prevent people from trying to pass.  I bet some would have too.  Fortunately, it was going at between 50 and 60 mph (depending on whether it was uphill or down) so that wasn't too bad but there was an enormous tail back with a few opportunists bobbing in and out until realising that they could go no further.  It did make for an easy drive anyway!

I was shattered last night and went to bed really early but woke at around two ready to start the day.  After a couple of hours of reading, etc, I nodded back off and now have a slight mugginess around my head!

Today I'll be washing and ironing the holiday clothes and resting mostly, I suspect.

Some good news.  Beth has a job!  Now that Alex is off to uni, she needed to get some employment and was anticipating a bit of a struggle, given the circumstances, but she applied on Wednesday, was contacted for an interview on Thursday and was offered the job after the interview on Friday.  Even if it doesn't last long, it's a foot on the ladder and is a definite confidence booster.  Well done, Beth!

Friday 29 September 2017


After yesterday's gorgeous Autumn sunshine, it is now dull and damp again.  It does make it easier to leave, that's for sure.

Yesterday it was the turn of Thornbridge Hall Gardens.  I'd never heard of it before and am sure it wasn't 'there' (i.e. open) last time I visited.  I almost didn't go but I would have missed a real treat because it was a beautiful garden on a beautiful day, quite the best weather of the whole holiday.

I meandered around at my leisure, stopping, looking, exploring (a bit) and generally taking it easy and it wasn't until near the end that the old foot/ankle started muttering a bit.

And because of the sun I got some nice photos too.

And now my holiday is over.  Everything is packed and loaded, the cottage is tidy and I am just waiting until the end of the milk run before setting out.
Back to Real Life, Responsibilities and Routine again.

Sigh . . .

Thursday 28 September 2017


. . . and last full day.  Today I have to pack and make sure I leave the cottage in reasonable order, not that I have really messed it up much at all and it will be cleaned before the next guests anyway.

Yesterday I was very tired so wasn't out for too long, but long enough to give Eyam Hall and Gardens and the Museum a good going over.  The Craft Centre was - OK.  I got a few decorations for Christmas - two nice wooden night light holders (I have some Christmas fragranced night lights at home) and some red stars for the Christmas tree as well as a book about Eyam Hall.

I was puzzled at first.  Eyam Hall is a National Trust property and I was sure it wasn't last time I went.  Turns out the family handed it over about five years ago.  A shame in a way, but it is quite a  responsibility to keep up and, as a NT member, I got in free.  Because of that, I decided to have lunch there and got a very substantial toasted cheese and bacon sandwich which must have been very salty because I was downing water all evening!

If you don't know the story of Eyan, the plague village, you can read it here.

and here

I vaguely remember watching a programme about it decades ago and the story stuck in my mind, somehow.

On the way home I stopped off at the Derbyshire Craft Centre (not the Eyam one) and it was rubbish - just a gift shop, not a craft centre in any way.  Shame.

A few photos.
Whisk for half an hour?  My arm would drop off!  Taken in the kitchen.

This would have had a cast iron range in it.

Someone etched a poem to his beloved in this small window pane.  Graffiti!  Vandalism!

Gorgeous hand made lace.

The colours on one section of tapestry were as bright as if it was newly made because for most of its life it had been hung back to front!

Today I plan to go to Thornbridge Hall Gardens.
I'm not sure how well my stupid ankle will stand up to a lot of walking around and the weather may have the final vote on this, but it should be good, even at the end of September.

I was umming and ahing about eating out this evening but it's never much fun on your own so I think I will pay one more visit to the Farm Shop.  I wanted to go back to buy some little family gifts anyway.  Might be steak, might not - I will see what they have.  They do have some 'ready meals'.

Wednesday 27 September 2017


Good morning, everyone.  Another holiday dawns, just today and tomorrow left now.  I've taken a peek outside and it is cloudy but dry.  Maybe the clouds will lift but if they don't, no problems.

Today I think I am exploring Eyam, the plague village and if I need a brolly, no problems.  I'd like to go to the Hall, the museum and the craft centre (I'm a sucker for craft - I'm sure you hadn't noticed that!!!).  There's also another craft centre en route, if I remember to stop off.

Yesterday I mentioned making bread and ending up with too much dough, due to my own carelessness.  I wrapped up that extra dough and popped it in the fridge.  Last night some of it made a couple of flatbread-naan type things to have with my curry (I had to keep flattening them as they cooked in a frying pan because they wanted to rise!) and this morning I'm using the rest to make a couple of rolls, one for breakfast with bacon and the other for my packed lunch.  All very delicious and satisfying!  😇
Yesterday's loaf and very delicious it is too.  I love this flour from the Mill and will definitely get some more next time I am this way.  I wonder if the sell it over the Internet.  Must check.

Yesterday was Chatsworth Day.  One can't come to the Leak District without doing a bit of Chatsworth and, of course, they have this Style exhibition which I have wanted to see since I heard about it.  Only just in time as well - it's closing soon.

It was great.  Loads of fascinating historical artifacts, info, etc, some big and shiny and some small and intriguing.  Loads of gold and glitter that didn't photograph well, hand made lace, embroidery, costumes, pictures.  How the 'other half' lived, eh?  Still do by all accounts.
It was well worth the rather high entry charge (and no concessions either - huh!).

One big change.  Last time I was at Chatsworth and asked about photography, the response was a shocked 'No, sorry'.  This time it was a friendly 'As long as there's no flash, it's fine'.  A lot of my snaps turned out too dark and most were taken through glass so not brilliant but they're a good way of remembering.

These were lovely.

Now that's what I call a christening gift!!  All gold too.

How on earth did they manage to breathe properly?

This one is even worse.  I don't even think it is attractive and I shudder to think of the internal damage it must have caused.

The tour ended up in the gift shop (very canny of them) and I bought a couple of paperbacks.  One is called 'A Visitors Companion to Tudor England' which explores palaces, country houses and castles of Tudor England and the people who lived there.  The other is by the historian I mentioned yesterday, Ruth Goodman, and is entitled 'How to be a Tudor - a dawn-to-dusk guide to everyday life'.  They both look extremely interesting and are both my sort of reading.  I won't start them until the holiday is over as I still have a stack of Miss Marple books on my Kindle that I haven't read and I got them specifically for this holiday too.  I suppose I'd have read more had there not been such a good internet connection.

Then I had my picnic lunch (along with thousands of others) and after that I wandered around the grounds but by then my ankle was playing up quite a lot and when I put the support bandage on, I must have washed it too hot because all the elasticity had gone and there was a distinct lack of support which was annoying.  I will need to get another one as soon as possible.  Ah, well, Amazon, here I come.
A very interesting greenhouse with three weather zones.

I meant to focus on the colours of the trees but, of course, the cascade is dominant.

There's quite a rock garden there.

It was a misty day despite the hazy sun .  I suppose that's that you have to expect in Autumn.

Once home, I made dinner (curry and naan and very nice it was too) and then settled down for an evening's telly including Bake Off, of course.  All most enjoyable and I could do with another week.  Maybe when real life settles, finances permitting, I will consider a fortnight rather than a week.  I'm just getting into the swing of things.

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Mmmmmmm . . .

Beautiful, warm, fragrant holiday loaf.


Time is flying.  Just three days to go - I can't count Friday as it is travelling day, can I?  It doesn't look wet outside but then it didn't yesterday, not in the dark, but it was!

Today is Chatsworth day.  I really want to see the Style Exhibition and am looking forward to that.  Then, weather permitting, I will saunter around the gardens and enjoy the autumn colours which are becoming more vivid as the week progresses.

Yesterday the rain didn't stop me doing anything.  Firstly it was off to Caudwell's Mill and Craft Centre which involves a short and gorgeous drive through the Chatsworth estate onto Rowsley.

The place looks rather battered and run down, especially without sunshine to brighten things up but there's a lovely (muddy!) walk from the car park.  The woodwork place wasn't very interesting - a few chunks of wood and someone using a power tool!  The gift shop was lovely with some very interesting pieces and I found my souvenir of the holiday.
View from the walk to the Mill

Water diverted under the Mill flowing fast and furious.

The same spot later, gentle and peaceful.

My souvenir - a bowl to keep my keys in when I get home.  I love it!

I wandered round the mill and followed the signs, reading the info as I went.  It's not a flour producing mill any more although parts do work and they get the water flowing through for visitors.  It's all rather oily and metallic/wooden and not the least bit visitor friendly in layout, but I guess that's how it really was.  Health and safety would have a field day with it all and, although there was a 'school room', I shuddered at the thought of bringing 30 children in there!  Having said all that, which sounds too critical, sorry, it was very, very interesting and informative in an adult sort of way and the helpers/staff couldn't have been nicer.

Unfortunately, the one shop I really wanted to look round, the Greenhalgh Glass workshop and gallery remained obstinately closed all the time.  I've fired off an email to them to ask if they will be open but I'm not terribly hopeful.  Never mind.

Then it was off to Haddon Hall which was, as always, lovely!  They had 'A Tudor Feast' showing in one of the rooms which was one of those BBC re-enactment programmes filmed at Haddon Hall with my favourite historian, Ruth Goodman and others.

A few snaps.
Classic view on the way in.

I always think this looks like a face.

A weird old three legged chair.  I'm not quite sure how it can stand, but it does.

A manacle on the wall in the great hall.  It seems that in them there days, you were expected to get pretty inebriated at feasts and, if you didn't, it was seen as seriously disrespectful to your lord and master and also dodgy from the religious point of view given that Jesus' first miracle was changing water into wine at a wedding!  So, if you offended in that way, you were manacled up and the wine/mead/whatever that you didn't drink was poured down your sleeve to hoots of derision from the drunken guests.
That might not sound too bad but, given the lack of washing opportunities, it was more serious than it would be nowadays.
What it didn't say was how long the poor offender was left manacled to the wall.

It was a good visit, really, really good.  The only thing that really put me off was an exhibition of modern 'sculpture' with pieces dotted all about the house, none of which worked with the background, all of which really detracted from the historical context and atmosphere, not to mention getting totally in the way in photos.  It was a shame really but there you go.

This - plonked right in the middle of the long gallery - the only one of many that I actually wanted to photograph but it just didn't fit there.  
No, no, no!

I took a scenic route home but this time it was on purpose as otherwise I'd have hit the school run.  I'm getting to know the roads now and I drove past Thornbridge Hall which was lucky because I want to visit on Thursday and didn't know where it was.  I do now!

I did something daft this morning, because I have a holiday brain, I suppose.  I am making another load, mainly to  try out the fancy flour I bought from the Mill Shop and I added not 200 mls water, but 300!  Idiot!  So I added more flour, etc, and now I have too much dough!  It's OK though because this evening I plan to make and have a curry and, if I pop the excess dough into the fridge, I can make a sort of naan with it this evening instead of cooking rice.  That'll work fine.

Well, the dough is rising beautifully and it's time for a second coffee so I will stop rambling on now.  Have a great day!

Monday 25 September 2017

Something I've learnt.

Sourdough bread fried in the fat that comes off the bacon (proper bacon, no white bits) is out of this world delicious!
(living the good life)


Good morning, everyone.  No idea of the weather; it's so dark out in the country round here but it doesn't look as if it's been raining so fingers crossed for today.

There are times when I'd love to be able to sleep later and you'd think that being on holiday is one of them but it isn't really.  As most of the 'places to visit' round here don't open until around eleven, that gives me a lovely, long, leisurely morning without any of the usual conscience poking duties such as kitchen cleaning, living room tidying, etc.  Well, OK, the living room section is a bit of a mess but that's because it's so small and two minutes will sort it out fine so it's not an issue.

We had some sun yesterday.  I set off for coffee with J, an 'old' FirstClass friend, in glorious sunshine.  I took the car because I was going on from there, backed lunch on the passenger seat, feeling a bit nervous.  You can get on extremely well with people online but face to face is a different matter.  Fortunately, we 'clicked' well and had no trouble filling the coffee time with catch-up and general chit-chat.  We'll meet up again when I come back next year and maybe have lunch together.

Baslow green (with the coffee shop behind me) - lovely and sunny.

Then it was off to the Snake Pass.  I approached it via Glossop and, as I remembered from last time, the views and scenery are stunning.  As I climbed higher and higher, the fields gave way to trees and the trees to moorland, heather and exposed rocky crags.  It was quite chilly too!
It is said that the Snake Pass is quite a dangerous road with a comparatively high accident rate and I can see why.  I drove slowly, pulling in when possible to let the cars behind pass, partly because I felt it was safer and partly because I wanted to enjoy the sights.
On the way back I saw Hathersage twice, once approaching from the west and then approaching from the east!  Ooops.  That's when the Sat Nav came in useful.

I didn't take many photos - all the good viewing places were already full.  Never mind, I have memories.

A rather misty view down into Glossop near the start of the drive.

By the time I got back, the sun had gone and I was feeling quite chilly so on went the kettle, on went the fire and out came the Sunday Times.  Bliss.

Then I made my Sunday roast dinner which was very tasty.  As I did this, I was thinking of this whole 'frugal' thing and realised that, although getting my food from the Farm Shop is pretty 'ouch', I could be buying lunches out and eating out in the evenings too and I'm not.  Picnic lunches and home cooked dinners make it much better value with the advantage of it being what I want to do as well.  Not frugal but better than it could be.

Today is all organised so fingers crossed.  Firstly I intend to visit Caudwell's Mill and Craft Centre.  Beth recommended this to me and I'm looking forward to it.  I want to buy some of the mill's bread flour and have a good look at the glass shop and the wood carving shop.  I can't promise any souvenirs as I gather items are very costly, but you never know - a little wooden owl would be perfect.  Must remember to take a shopping bag with me.

Borrowed from Google until I have my own photos!

Then it will be on to Haddon Hall which is just a bit further down the road and round the corner.  Now, I love Haddon Hall and so look forward to a gentle saunter round, eating my packed lunch in the gardens, weather permitting.  On the way back I shall stop off at The Shop to get something for dinner.  Sausages, maybe - they had a huge (and I mean HUGE) selection of sausages - plus some bacon for breakfast and a few other bits and bobs.  Yesterday was alcohol free so . . .

As it is now a week day, I will have to remember to avoid coming back here between about quarter to three and half past three as parents will be picking up their children.  They're not being lazy, it's just that a lot of the children live outside of the village so need to be driven in.  I must get a photo of the school as it is a delightful building but not in school hours.  Nowadays, that sort of thing is frowned upon and I have no wish  for a member of staff to come running out to ask what I'm doing.

I'd better start thinking of washing and getting dressed, I suppose.  It's getting light, I have peeked out and, oh, dear, it is raining and the clouds are low.  Never mind, a little bit rain never stopped anyone from having a good time when they are determined to enjoy life, did it?  Have a great day.

Sunday 24 September 2017


Morning, everyone.  It's later than usual and looking good out there.

My share of the cottage is on the left.  Dodgy steps leading up to the front door and guests are told not to use them.  Er . . .

Yesterday was a gentle day.  I had a drive around, stopped now and again for a stroll, visited a shopping centre (disappointing), tried Caudwell Mill and Craft Centre and couldn't find a parking slot (so that's earmarked for a weekday visit), found where the parking is in Bakewell (another weekday visit, if time permits), noted that Haddon Hall car park was chokka-full, bought some cold meat for lunchtime sandwiches at the Farm Shop and then snugged down at home with the little fire on for an evening of reading and telly.

View from the Chatsworth coffee shop.  You can see how misty is was.

A lovely day and a comfortable evening too.

Today I might be meeting up for coffee with a friend from old FirstClass days as she lives locally.  It'll be nice to have a bit of a chat and relive old times.  Then, weather permitting, I will head up to the Snake Pass and do that drive.  Last time I went that way it was drizzly and the views were somewhat disappointing so if the weather closes in, I won't bother but it looks good right now so fingers crossed.

I'm finding that already time is running short.  There's enough that I want to do to fill the rest of the days so I shall have to be very organised to fill the time.  I've done a sort of timetable for the four days from tomorrow to Thursday.  There are some things I just can't fit in so isn't that a good excuse - er, I mean reason, of course - to book another visit, maybe around June time when the weather is generally rather good and when exams are on so children aren't taken out of school.

I have treated myself - dinner today is loin of lamb (a dear little joint for one from guess where) with roasted tomatoes and roast potatoes, both from the garden!  I had to look up how to cook loin and am not sure whether to have it pink or slow roast it.  Most of the recipes I've looked up ask for fancy -pants ingredients which I don't have so I will wing it with dried herbs!

Well, better go.  I have essential stuff to do like uploading photos (so I won't send this until I have), having a bath, getting a Sunday paper and some mint sauce (didn't bring it with me, silly me 😉) and reading the paper with a fresh oj (from guess where) to hand until my friend confirms time and place.

It's going to be good.

EDIT:   Ooops - I sent after saying I wouldn't, sorry.  Never mind, I've added a few photos now.

Saturday 23 September 2017

Brrrrr . . .

It's a bit damp and a bit chilly and ever so dull so thank goodness for this.

Saturday paper, hot cuppa tea and the fire (fan heater tarted up really) on.
This is the life.


Good morning from sunny Baslow in the Peak District.  It's chilly but lovely and I'm on holiday.  I've been looking forward to this for so long, I can hardly believe it's here at last.

First of all, the cottage.  It is bijou, tres, tres bijou, but delightful.  It's actually half a cottage really and the other side is empty, I think.  I'll take a photo later on.  Maybe they have plans to do it up once this one takes off or maybe it belongs to someone else, I am not completely sure, although the garden and front path are shared.  There's steep stone steps to a cellar and equally steep wooden stairs to the bathroom and bedroom, both of which are a jolly good size and the bed is enormous and very, very comfortable!  The stairs are just a bit too steep and narrow for comfort and with a turn at the bottom so I will take them carefully and use the hand rail.

The kitchen looks good - fairly well supplied with tools, etc, and I have brought Thermione with me so I will cope fine.  In fact, I shall put a loaf on to knead soon because fresh bread is one of the joys of my life and there's a little freezer in the kitchen as well as a bigger one in the cellar so it will stay fresh.

It's not really a Thermo-sized kitchen so a bit of a squash.  Never mind!

It was an OK journey but a lot longer than I expected (in terms of time) because there were hold ups on the A1(M).  Maybe I should have gone M1 but you never know, do you?  Just as I drove into the national park it started raining and, because I was late, I got there just as school was out, just what I didn't want to do.  Of course, there was no parking anywhere close by so I popped off to guess where.  Yes, the Chatsworth Farm Shop!  It's developed since I was last there (which has to be well over a decade ago now) and is a great experience, despite the crowds.  I can see that I will eat well this week and I can also see that frugality will fly out of the window.  Well, I have saved up so that's OK, I'm not spending what I haven't got.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do today.  I'm feeling rather tired so maybe I will just get into the car and follow my nose, seeing as the second star to the right will have gone to bed.  It's actually virtually impossible to get lost in the Peak District as there are so few roads and anyway, my sat nav will sort that out.

A few more photos, taken in rather dull light.

View from the front door.

Autumnal tints showing - this will be a colourful week.