Category Archives: Derbyshire

The Scone Chronicles XIII

And yet again – no scones.

The venue was the bookshop at Brierlow Bar and though Julia looked carefully, she could see no scones.

She did, however, buy two slices of glistening home-made cake. It looked sumptuous. And delicious. And once again I had to relearn that tough life lesson that looks can be deceptive.

As you may have noticed, I’m not the cheeriest or most modern of people and I am suspicious of change. I’m still not fully convinced that the bookshop needed a cafe, or that a crowd of people and dogs is of benefit to a bookshop with narrow passageways. I’m almost certain that anyone who parks a pram in a gangway, so that fat men with walking sticks nearly fall over getting past, should be prosecuted by social services and their children put into a gloomy gothic orphanage.

In a way it’s a shame I didn’t fall as the combination of damp floor and blocked gangway is a dream for an ambulance chasing lawyer.

Much as I despise the current compensation culture it would be fun to sue and make a few cogent comments to the court about people running cafes in a space that should be filled with books.

I’m not sure whether I would then give the money to Julia for a new polytunnel or burn it on You Tube just to prove a point. (The point being that the money wasn’t important, not that I am stupid).

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Good in Parts

Anyway, back to the cake. It was apricot and some sort of nut. Julia was in “Bear of Very Little Brain” mode and forgot the details on the way from counter to table. You’d have thought she’d have been brighter after an hour and a quarter of top flight conversation with me in the car, but apparantly not.

It tasted a bit like walnut, but there was definitely a large identifiable piece of cashew in there too.

I said: “Cashew!”

Julia said: “Bless you.”

After you’ve been married 30 years this is what passes for humour.

It was confusing cake because some of it tasted of ginger too. The top, where the glaze had soaked in, was nice and moist, but the lower two thirds was dry and quickly reverted to crumbs. Fortunately we had cake forks to deal with this problem.

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Appearances can be deceptive

To sum up, and to put my personal bias to one side, the tea was good, as it always is (made with proper leaves and a strainer), the ambience is getting better as they sort things out, the cake could have been better, but even that wasn’t too bad, and the book stock seems to have improved.

I’m actually quite impressed with what they have done at Brierlow Bar, despite my resistance to the 21st Century.

 

Things That Worry Me

Number One – my teeth disintegrating. As you may know, I’m in for a tooth extraction tomorrow (despite the fact it’s barely twinged since I went to the dentist about it).

I have been thinking I was over-reacting, but last night it started aching again and I’m now very keen on having it removed. It’s been going on a while so it’s time to be decisive.

For the last few months I seem to have been finding a lot of chalky bits in my mouth. It’s worrying, particularly after I had one disintegrate a couple of years back.

I seem to spend a lot of the evening finding bits of chalk in my mouth, which is bad news, and has been occupying my thoughts far too much. However, I realised what it is a couple of days ago. It’s the chalky bits from the tablets I take every night.

Number Two – plumbing. The house’s plumbing, not mine. Mine is way down the list. In winter I always worry about the plumbing. We’ve been here 30 years, we’ve had a couple of plumbing problems, but nothing we can’t cope with. But I spend several weeks each year worrying about it. It’s a Christmas tradition.

 

 

As you can see from the black spot in the duck picture I’m using the old camera. I’ll explain why in a later post. The spot only shows when you use the zoom.

Number Three – cocking up Christmas. A month before Christmas Julia starts refusing to tell me what she wants as a present. Then, a week or two later, she hands me a wad of cash and tells me the whole Christmas holiday depends on me. Then, just as we reach the posting deadline for Amazon, she tells me what she wants.

I wake up at night sweating at the idea of disappointing Julia or failing to produce Christmas dinner.

It was quite relaxing spending last Christmas in Suffolk, though I did worry about the plumbing a lot while we were away.

A number of you are probably shouting “death” at the blog. This, I hope, is a comment on the fear of death, rather than a critical reaction to my blogging.

Well, to be honest, I’m not much afraid of death. At 60 I can still pretend it’s a long way off. Anyway, compared to the stress of Christmas, death isn’t that bad.

 

This afternoon, to avert the chance of a disappointed wife, I took a trip to Bakewell, where I visited an excellent jeweller, ate a hot turkey sandwich and was shown how to avoid paying 20 pence to use the toilet. I saw “shown” as I’m not admitting to anything…

I can show you the shop but as she reads the blog I can’t picture the things I bought. I may show them on Boxing Day. Prepare to be surprised by my lack of imagination.

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It’s Christmas…

 

Home for 4.30.

The days can be short in winter…

A Drive in Derbyshire

1st November and, by coincidence, it’s Day 25 of the 100 Posts/100 Days Challenge. So far, so good, with posts on 25 successive days.

I’m cutting a few corners to keep to the target but it’s not too bad – I’ve always done that, even when I wasn’t trying to keep to a target. It’s not as if the written version is ever as good as the version I have in my head when I sit down to type.

We went to Derbyshire today – looking for autumn colour and fresh air. The air was certainly fresh, but most of the colour seemed to be either dull or, as we got further North, lacking. At the top of the county only the beech trees seemed to be showing any coloured leaves. The rest of the trees were bare.The header picture shows Wingfield Manor, one of the places Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned.

 

 

Bakewell, Bridge, Boots

One of the benefits of a cut-price classical education is that I am able to find my way round Google when I want to appear educated. My Grammar school career ended after only one year when the school was converted to a Comprehensive.

Whilst watching photographers near the bridge at Bakewell I thought Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Well you would, wouldn’t you? Though “Who photographs the photographers themselves?” would be more suitable.

As a result I decided to photograph some of the photographers. That’s not as easy as it sounds, as most of them now use cameras for taking pictures and merely appear to be staring at their phone. It can be difficult to separate the photographers from the general run of slack-jawed tech users. It’s a bit like shopping these days – it’s difficult to tell whether people are talking to themselves or using a bluetooth earpiece. I tend to think that neither is necessary whilst shopping.

I also took a picture of a pair of boots. They are Doc Marten’s with an angel painted on them. I used to wear DM’s for work. They were light and comfortable and, despite the odd puncture, very practical. As I recall, they used to come with instructions for punctures repairs – you used to heat a knife blade and use it to seal the hole by melting the rubber sole around the hole.

It seems positively Victorian. My Dad was part of the last generation to wear clogs, I wore Doc Marten’s and my kids wear all manner of exotic footwear. Such is progress. You could probably chart the decay of Western Civilisation by reference to the nature of our footwear. From clogs to boots to trainers. My grandchildren will probably wear dancing pumps.

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Boots at Bakewell

They were interesting boots, though anything beginning with the letter “B” would have done to complete the title.

If someone had walked past with a bulldog it could have been a very different post.

Matlock and Macaroons

We had a good day today, as I said in the previous post, despite the rain.

It started with a breakfast at McDonald’s, which I view as a treat when taken in moderation. I didn’t bother to tell Julia that I’d had one after yesterday’s blood test in case she went all diet-conscious on me.

After that we moved on to a doughnut and a cup of tea at Sainsbury’s in Matlock. Julia resisted the doughnut and just had tea, but I was in a relaxed holiday mood. We didn’t actually stop for tea, it’s just that I have a Pavlovian response to seeing a teapot. We actually stopped because my breakfast tea had worked its way through. This tea and toilet cycle was to be a feature of the day.

Next stop was Bakewell, which was the point of the day. We were looking for a birthday present for Julia’s sister and an internet search had located the item we needed in Stone Art in Bakewell. You may recall that we went there some time ago and bought a pendant for Julia. This time we bought a pendant for her sister. Pendants are good for presents – no need to know a finger size and no need to know if someone has pierced ears.

I had checked my bank balance when we were in Sainsbury’s, so I was able to do the decent thing and secure a pendant for Julia.

She, as you can see from the header picture, responded by buying coconut macaroons. She also bought a Bakewell pudding, but there is less comedy potential in a Bakewell pudding.

We paused to take the customary pictures of the locks on the bridge, and the trout under the bridge before crossing the river to the car park, which is where the previous post starts. Sometimes I confuse myself with all the time shifts, but I wrote these two posts in order of how much the events annoyed me, and it’s much easier to get annoyed about closed toilets than it is about buying jewellery.

We got caught behind a wide load coming down the Via Gellia and the satnav picked a peculiar route through Matlock on the way back. I hadn’t used it on the way to Bakewell and was only using it on the way back because I hadn’t switched it off after using it to get to the bookshop. It doesn’t seem to know there’s a by-pass these days.

Finally, back at home, we found a letter from the anti-coagulant service – I have four more weeks until the next blood test, having hit the target again. This is good news, particularly for my inner elbow, which was starting to get quite tender.

We then had seafood linguine and Bakewell pudding and custard for tea. Julia did the cooking and Number 2 son did the washing up.

All in all, an excellent day. And I still have material for another post.

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Two Burgers (2)

On Wednesday, we took a tour of Derbyshire and, needing toilets, we stopped at the Brierlow Bar bookshop. The car park was more crowded than usual, so we deduced that the plan of converting from bookshop to cafe was working.

You can’t begrudge someone maximising their earnings, but it’s depressing to think of all this being done at the expense of the book stock.

The cake was good (we had a very nice, moist blueberry and lemon sponge), the tea was excellent but, and I am trying to suppress a smile here, standards are slipping.

Despite several members of staff bustling about, they were so slow serving that we had to eat very slowly to avoid finishing the cake before the tea arrived. As we ate and drank tea the staff then decided to talk of their urgent need for the toilet (it seems too many customers were using it). This isn’t going to spoil my appetite, but it may be upsetting for the less hardy type of customer.

The real killer moment came when a staff member with a paint pot walked behind the counter and added water to the paint from the kitchen sink. I know they like you to have one sink for hand washing and one for washing up, and, if possible, a third for vegetable preparation, but I’m not sure about paint dilution. It doesn’t contain pathogens so environmental health may not have an issue with it. On the other hand it doesn’t look very professional.

Use the outside tap, use the tap in the toilets or ask one of the kitchen staff to pass you a jug of water. Do not, if you value your reputation, walk behind the counter with a paint pot.

Even worse, in my eyes, was the fact that the tea strainer they gave us had not been washed properly. A couple of left-over tea leaves won’t kill you, but it does make you wonder what other hygiene corners are being cut.

At least I can report that the book stock seems not to have been pruned since our last visit and though some sections are still struggling the crime novels, cookery books and aviation sections seem to be improving.

I’ll leave it there, as I’m starting to remember the book stock we lost.

It looks like Part 3 will contain news of my second burger of the week.

 

The Afternoon Passes…

The afternoon slipped past as smoothly as the morning, though it was arguably less productive. All I did in the afternoon was to eat lunch and take a trip to Sheffield.

Lunch was slightly disappointing, so I’m not going to review it, except to say that if we ever need to stop for food in Chesterfield again I will ignore Frankie and Benny’s and go to Harvester instead. You get more flavour at Harvester, and free salad. I say “free”, though I concede this may not be totally accurate.

They have a big wheel in Chesterfield at the moment.  I’m sure it will be quite interesting to go on it and see the twisted spire close up if you can ignore the fact you are being taken for a trip in the sky in a device where costs and weight have been kept to a minimum. I really should have taken my camera, as it made an interesting sight.

We then carried on to Sheffield and dropped Number Two son off, along with two bags of healthy foodstuffs and the contents of my wallet. He’s been home for the weekend discussing his dissertation with Julia. He discussed the Rugby and the Superbowl with me. It’s probably for the best, as, though my grasp of sport is poor, it’s far better than my grasp of matters academic.

Tonight, being back to sensible eating, we will dine on soup. Julia has already prepared and packed the lunch salads for tomorrow. I foresee a dreary, though virtuous, few days.