Friday 15 January
Happy New Year my little Blogettes, hope you all had a great Christmas !
We planned to kick of this year with 3 months in a 6 star resort in the Seychelles, but unfortunately we very narrowly missed out on the £66 million in Britain’s highest ever Lottery Jackpot. We got one out of the six required numbers, Bummer ! !
So, as a close second we trundle off to spend three nights at Chatsworth in Derbyshire which most of you would know there is a lovely stately home owned by the Duke of Devonshire.
One slight problem before we set off was that when I picked up “Cis” from storage I found it had a large nail through the tyre. £172 later (that put paid to my Christmas pressie Money from Santa ! ) and sporting a spanking new tyre (although the tyre fitter has damaged my alloy wheel ! Knob ! ) we set off on a frosty morn westward towards our weekend destination
It took us around 11/2 hours to reach the campsite due to hold ups with roadworks near Mansfield and then had to hang around for a further 15 minutes along the access road to the campsite as we weren’t allowed to arrive before 1.00. Once they finally let us on we pitched up close to the really warm and clean shower block. We then “Rugged Up” as my Aussie friends would say, against the cold afternoon and entered the 1000 acre Chatsworth Park grounds, following the rather muddy path through to the village of Baslow. Once there we tried out two of the pubs in the village to suss out where we would like to return to for food later. It was nice and cosy in both of them with their real fires warming the bars but unfortunately we had to drag ourselves away because we knew we had some important guests coming to visit.
On returning to “Cis” we had a couple of hours chilling and awaited Mouse ( Alan ) and Marie who came around 5.30. Once they’d settled in for a while, we then set off back to the village trying to avoid the mud as best as we could in the pitch black surroundings lit ineffectively by mobile phone torch light.
We chose the Wheatsheaf pub which was your average Marston owned boozer with average but ok food, except for Jane’s & Marie’s desserts which were over nuked in the microwave, luckily they removed the cost of them from the bill. We were joined for a short while by one of Mouses sailing mates George who lived nearby, this turned out to be a real winner because he kindly gave us all a lift back to to the campsite in his motor saving us going A over T on the by now frozen and very slippery paths back.
Once settled into the cosy and ample bosom of “Cis” we chatted and chilled the rest of the night until time to hit the sack.
Saturday 16 January
Mouse and Marie had to leave us around 9.00 this morning as they had guests coming around 11.00 to their own house. Jane and I ( now that the heating was fully cranking out some degrees ) got up after a cuppa drunk under the snugly duvet and once dressed, washed and breakfasted, headed back into the village to catch the bus.
We took the short trip into the small but pretty market town of Bakewell where we wandered around the little shops with our biggest purchase being some really tasty cheese that we will hopefully eat at a later point in this trip.
By this time it was lunchtime and we opted for a pint in the Red Lion which was ok but the pub became really busy. The food looked pretty good here though and there was plenty of people trying it. We only had the liquid equivalent as we wanted to eat a little later.
From there we wandered around a bit more following a small canal footpath back to the north of the village trying to avoid the black ice made by the ducks splashing around close to the path.
We checked on the timings for the next bus back and having another 45 minutes to wait and having been totally retailed out, we had no alternative but to dive into another pub called the Wheatsheaf ( Yes another one ! ) for another swift one to await our chariot home.
On our return to Baslow we decided to sample the board of fayre in the Devonshire Arms, both choosing Duck leg Cassoulet. Unfortunately that was off the menu ( so was the home made pie Grrr ! ) so Jane chose Sea Bass and I had Bangers and Mash both of which were delicious. They were however not as good as the dessert. I had the best Sticky Toffee pudding ever, with lashings of toffee sauce, whilst Jane had a Lemon Possett with a berry compote. Scrummy or what !!
We managed to weeble our fat bellies back to the campsite just before it got dark again, allowing us to watch where we were walking and avoid the sludgy man traps along the way. On arrival back at “Cis” we chilled the rest of the evening reading and watching a film on my laptop before calling it a night.
Sunday 17 January
What a difference a day makes !, On awaking this morning, we were greeted with a 2 inch deep blanket of white snow which looked absolutely beautiful in the park.
Having topped up with a “Belly Buster” breakfast we wrapped up and strolled out into the park. We had a good wander around the side and bottom of Chatsworth House before heading up the hill to the lake above which supplies the fountains and waterfalls in the grounds of the house.
Chatsworth House was originally built in the 1560’s by Bess of Hardwick, but the layout of the house generally as it is now was completed in 1696 by William Talman for the first Duke of Devonshire.
The first Duke also carried out the creation of the gardens but it wasn’t until the 4th Duke in 1755 commissioned the famous Lancelot “Capability” Brown to create the naturalistic landscape that we can see today.
When Jane & I first met 32 years ago, the lake and grounds were the places we visited on our first day out together. That was in April when the Bluebells were blooming, somewhat different today with the lake solidly frozen and snow on the ground. At this point we were joined by an incredibly tame Robin who followed us around for quite sometime. Unfortunately we had no food with us to give him a treat but Jane tried kicking back the snow so he could forage on the soil.
Having reached our former Tryst, we had a further wander around the woods before returning down to the lower park level and then back to “Cis” where we spent the rest of the afternoon/evening thawing out and reading the Sunday papers whilst settling off our hunger pangs with a nice curry which we had brought with us.
Monday 18 January
We set off back home around 10.30 after our ablutions & breakfasts and feeding the birds with virtually all the snow by now having melted away which saved any problems with getting off the pitch on the site. It was actually 20 minutes quicker reaching home despite the ever present roadworks on the M1. I wish I had shares in a Traffic Cone factory, I’d make a flipping fortune !
That’s it for now folks but we aim to take “Cis” out again in March by then hopefully having had a nice week in the sunshine in Tenerife in February if all goes to plan.Look out for the next instalment soon TTFN Pat & Jane xx