Tag Archives: Brierlow Bar

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.

 

Lagging Behind, and Misery in Derbyshire

It’s Wednesday today and I’m still blogging about Monday.

Eventually we reached Carsington Water, where I discovered I had left my stick at home. Though I have a spare one in the car it is one of my Dad’s and is about two inches too short. It actually causes more problems than it solves and is only there for emergencies.

It was a handy excuse for not walking round and freezing. So we went to the shops. Julia spent the points off the RSPB loyalty card on crackers and cards and I poked through the books and bird food before deciding that I didn’t feel like spending money.  I never feel like spending money, but at Christmas I can at least get into the character of Ebeneezer Scrooge and claim I’m entering the spirit of Christmas.

We went into the Air Ambulance charity shop after that. It was a miserable experience.  They seemed to have taken delivery of a new consignment of stock, and most of it was stacked in front of the books so I couldn’t see the interesting books.  To make things worse, the staff member who was on duty seemed to go out of her way to obstruct Julia as she tried to look round. It takes a lot to wind Julia up but she wasn’t very pleased by the time she’d finished.

We like the air ambulance, and though the kids never needed it, we have been at events where other rugby players have been whisked off for treatment. We also like charity shops. Things are bad when I use the words “miserable experience” about a visit.

I was able to look at a cookery book – James Martin’s Great British Winter Cookbook. I won’t add a link as that might tempt someone to buy it. None of the recipes grabbed me, and one, Tomato and Cumin Soup, didn’t seem particularly British or wintery. I mean, where are all the winter tomatoes? In Spain.

Then we went for tea and cake. A day that features tea and cake can’t be all bad can it? And the restaurant is always good. I say “always”…

Julia liked her mince pie. I thought my raspberry and orange cake was a bit dry. And deficient in raspberries, though as I served myself I only had myself to blame. Then I started to think I detected the aftertaste of artificial sweetener. It may not have been, but it was definitely an unpleasant aftertaste.

To cheer things up I suggested a trip to the bookshop at Brierlow Bar.  I wasn’t expecting much, but as we were on the doorstep thought we might as well go.  To be fair, some of the book stock does seem to be improving, after a bit of a slump, as does the card stock. However, we bought cards and stationery and no books, which doesn’t look good for the future.

We couldn’t even eat cake as we are dieting and had already had our daily ration.

In my dreams of next year I see myself standing outside the shop with my nose pressed up against the window looking in at the bright lights. Inside, people enjoy tea and cake, buy expensive bird food and select books that I wouldn’t enjoy.

Sadly, I cannot participate and I gradually fade away like the ghost of readers past…

I will leave you with that picture.

The next post will be more cheery.

 

Derbyshire goes Downhill

Having successfully taken photos of Wingfield Manor we cut up through Crich, noted the crowds at the Tramway Museum and discovered the Crich Memorial was closed. Looking at the website on my return I found it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I didn’t know that.

In Matlock we noticed crowds in the paddling pool and on the boating lake, A hula hoop, if thrown at random, would have dropped round two or three people, more if you;d aimed at the ice cream queue. The cricket club and football club were both open for use as parking at £3 for the day. That’s very reasonable – at Nottingham RUFC we used to charge £5 for football parking because we were close to Nottingham Forest. It makes a useful contribution to club funds. I notice that the football club charges spectators £10 to watch. Seems like a lot of money. but maybe I’m biased. I’m sure it’s cheap by football standards but it seems like a lot for 90 minutes of semi-pro Level 7 football.

So, knowing that Derbyshire was likely to be crowded due to sun and school holidays we pressed on to Eyam, intending to visit Eyam Hall in the famous plague village.

As you may have been able to predict, both pathetically small car parks were full, street parking was difficult and the nearest public car park was too far away for a man with arthritic feet. We will go back later in the year (hopefully before the school holidays start in earnest) to have a look at the Craft Centre and the Tea Room. We might have a look at the historical and cultural bits if we have time between cakes and retail.

After a certain amount of random travel, failing to find convenient parking for photography and being hassled by lorries, we found the bookshop at Brierlow Bar (again). The tea, as you can see in the featured photograph was a nice, bright, orange colour, though the table was overburdened with foliage and the cafe as a whole was deficient in cake. If you look closely you can see Julia’s amber earings (as mentioned in a previous post) and her new amber necklace.

 

Creamless cream tea - TESCO Chesterfield

Talking of tea, we went home via Chesterfield, partly to avoid a long section of roadworks at Matlock and partly to go shopping. This isn’t really part of the travelogue, but I do want to record that TESCO’s cafe had no cream for the cream teas. They did offer squirty cream out of an aerosol as an alternative and  I tried not to let out an anguished cry. Judging by the reaction of people around me, I did not succeed.

 

A Day in Derbyshire

We dropped Number 2 son off in Sheffield after lunch and took a trip into the Peaks. It was a lovely day, the verges were full of celandines and wood anemones in the appropriate places and all was right with the world, apart from one thing. For some reason whenever we say something worth photographing there was nowhere to park.

I’m not saying Derbyshire County Council has designed the road system to stop drivers taking photographs but if they ever decide to do so it will be difficult to improve on the current situation.

Despite this I did manage to get some shots of scenery, or fields and rocks, as Julia pointed out. With a bit more enthusiasm I could have parked and walked a bit more, but that would have meant spending less time at the Brierlow Bar Bookshop.

We’ve been there before, as regular readers will know. The tea is still up to standard and we had some very acceptable cashew and banana cake (though it was a little rich, even for me). I think my new healthy diet might be blunting my ability to appreciate cake. It’s a stiff price to pay, even for a few extra years of life.

I’m afraid a high price has also been paid by the book stock. The Nature section doesn’t seem as strong as it used to be, and the Poetry section seems to be depleted, although my other favourite sections seem either the same (History) or expanded (Crime Fiction). Julia says the Craft section is much smaller too. I like tea but I like books too. I am conflicted.

I suppose I should have bought a guidebook to the Peak District to address my ignorance but I bought one on stained glass, one on War Poets and one about an archaeologist who solves murders.

That’s why there’s a lack of information on Lead Mining, sheep and Blue John in this post. In future posts I will try to address this failing.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, books and snow

Saturday stretched ahead, with nothing to do and nobody to do it with (Julia was at work as usual). It was a lovely day, not at all suitable for staying in doing housework, and so I decided that a visit to a bookshop sounded good.

When does a visit to a bookshop ever not sound good?

There’s an element of irony in driving  40 miles to look at books on nature and sustainability, but I can live with that. I can live with most things that allow me to visit a bookshop. Anyway, I’m giving up meat two days a week, grow my own veg and make compost so I’ll allow myself a little backsliding.

It was a patchy journey, mixing sunshine with overcast skies. It improved steadily until I reached Cromford and turned off on the A5012. It’s a minor road, as you can guess from the number. It also runs through a narrow wooded valley, which makes it picturesque in summer (possibly even “bosky”). In winter, it has a tendency to shelter snow and ice in the shadows.

It is known locally as the Via Gellia as it was built in the 18th century by the Gell famiy. They are said to have built it around 1790 to connect their lead mines to the new smelter at Cromford, though it may have been built to serve their quarries as early as 1720. It still has quarries along its length, and large lorries can be a bit of a hazard at times.

Part way up there’s a lay-by with several dozen bird feeders. Someone has obviously made a lot of effort to make and maintain the feeding station. The light was going by the time I stopped, so I couldn’t get any decent photographs of anything that moved, but I did see a variety of birds – Chaffinches, Great tits, Blue Tits, a Coal Tit and a Goldcrest. Somebody is doing good work here.

The bookshop, for once, let me down. Stock has been moved and the nature section seems smaller. I don’t like it when things change. Doesn’t make it a bad bookshop, just one with a cafe, a smaller nature section and a sense of panic when I can’t find things where I normally find them. It will be better next time.

If it isn’t better next time I will have to develop an interest in military history or art, or even the birds of countries I will never visit. There are many ways of working round a situation.

The photographs were taken using my old camera, please ignore the black splodge in the top right corner. As you can see, as I progressed in the journey (and gained height) it became more wintry.

 

 

Wet, wet, wet

When we got to Sheffield we made sure Number Two son had groceries and then I hauled out the map to look for Wigtwizzle. It wasn’t there. It may be very small, it may be like Brigadoon, or it may only appear on maps that weren’t purchased from discount book shops. So we decided on Plan B and zipped up the M1 to Wakefield for an hour at Hampsons Garden Centre.

It was, as usual, over-staffed and manic, with a car park full of plants on trollies and a cafe full of staff impersonating zombies. Despite this the hot beef sandwiches were excellent, and we escaped after buying books, bird feeders, meal worms, pies and cheap tat. No plants – we are suffering from gardening overload. Despite the generally unwelcoming air in the cafe (including notices about not eating your own food and not abusing staff on pain of being reported to the police) it’s always a decent meal. I’d give it 4 stars as the home-made pies, occasional cheery service and reasonable prices (especially breakfast) make up for a lot.

After that it was off to the Peak District, where it started raining as we crossed the boundary into the National Park and continued until we arrived home. Sometimes it was so loud we had to turn the satnav up to hear directions. Yes, I hate it but I used it, as the route from Glossop to the bookshop was not exactly direct.

Waiting for a group of 20 Guides now so will finish with a few photos and continue later.

Just discovered that the Guides cancelled yesterday by email. We got back late and I didn’t check my mail. Am still going to go as I need to feed chickens and stop swearing.

Will be back later with a more positive attitude.