Last Saturday I visited Bakewell Christmas Market on my own and managed to have a good look round the town, walking up to the churchyard and along the riverside path for a few hundred yards. Today I went to Matlock's Victorian Market with my friend Justin who's slightly disabled and quite unwell at the moment; he needs to walk with a stick and is always tired and thirsty [he's diagnosed as being pre-diabetic.] Therefore we kept our walking to an absolute minimum.
When we got off the bus at Matlock we were both feeling a bit uncomfortable; I needed a pee and Justin needed something to eat and drink. The Crown pub would meet all of our needs but it was packed...nowhere to sit down; so we walked along the road to where the public toilets are...and a fish and chip restaurant. I dodged the traffic to cross the road to use the toilets at the entrance to the park and Justin went straight in to the restaurant. Several minutes later when I arrived to order my fish and chips Justin was already sat down at a table, his eyes closed in ecstasy with a can of Coca Cola clasped to his lips.
Justin had thoughtfully placed his walking stick across the seat opposite, ready for me to sit down. As I approached with my meal two people who had finished their meals and were sitting next to him got up and left. For a few minutes there was an empty seat next to both myself and Justin; maybe one of us should have got up and moved to the other side of the table so that we were sitting right next to each other. It was difficult for either of us to get up and then back down again because of the cramped layout of the tables and chairs...and so we didn't bother - we were as comfortable as we could be where we were.
A couple of minutes later two women, aged in their fifties I should think, sat next to Justin and myself. It was obvious they were uncomfortable because they kept looking around for when other seats might become available. As soon as possible they were off and we had the empty seats next to us again. Justin immediately went off on a bit of a rant - he was offended by the women doing this and wondered why they might have behaved this way. He asked me a couple of times; I knew perfectly well why the women didn't want to sit next to us, but I refrained from answering until we'd left the restaurant. The woman sitting next to Justin, and directly opposite me was distressed because, due to the confined space, my right knee was wedged tightly up against her left thigh.
The festive market was held in Hall Leys Park as usual, and was uncomfortably crowded like last year. We weren't interested in any of the Christmas tat, just the food on offer. We made a beeline for a stall which was selling food suitable for a mediaeval banquet; I bought a rabbit pasty, a mixed game slice...and a squirrel pie! I haven't a clue what squirrel tastes like though; so that was a leap in the dark. There were even more exotic delicacies to be had, crow pie, badger pie, and hedgehog pie. Like the squirrel pie, they were quite expensive and so I didn't buy any more. Justin was less adventurous, just buying a game pie, a wild hog and apple pasty, and a mixed game slice too.
After leaving the market we looked round the shops in the town; there are eight or nine charity shops which we were both keen to visit.
Travelling on the bus back to Sheffield we got talking to a pensioner; I think this was the highlight of the day for Justin.