In August LSW and I went through our diaries to work out when we might be able to go away for a night or two to explore parts of the UK countryside. I was surprised to find LSW’s work and community commitments, plus my commitments to Forest Green Rovers fixtures, meant that we struggled to find two contiguous days when we could be away.
We ended up identifying two days earlier this week as the only dates we could get away before we head off to Australia for a month at the beginning of October. We decided to use the time to visit my parents in Nottingham and then go on to stay in Derbyshire and see Chatsworth House.
It was very good to see my parents – something we haven’t done enough even since I retired. They are coping well into their 80’s despite the aches and pains probably to be expected at this stage of life. Nottingham feels a long way away and so it was good to combine the visit with our first slice of real tourism since I retired.
We dined and stayed overnight in Stoney Middleton in the heart of the Peak District and which is the location of the legendary Lovers Leap. We walked to Eyam, the so called ‘Plague Village’. We also strode in the breeze along the dramatic Curbar Edge – a recommendation from my Dad. It was exhilarating there. It’s a landscape similar in some ways to our Cotswolds home, but also refreshingly different. It certainly reminded us of various TV and film re-enactments of scenes of contemplation and unrequited love from Victorian novels set ‘Up North’ (the breeze even gave me the teary eyes).
The Joe Wright film of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice also came to mind when we visited Chatsworth House the following day. The house is set in terrific grounds. The views are archetypally English (designed by Capability Brown), the kitchen garden was full of produce and inspiring, and the house itself is breath-taking. The rooms were particularly good due to its lighting and a current fashion exhibition that was beautifully displayed and which brought the house to life.
It was a good couple of days of tourism. We have another couple of tourism days coming up in London next weekend – though that feels more like just going back to old stomping grounds – and then we have the Australia trip. It’s largely booked now and an exciting prospect.