Sunday, June 26, 2016

Chatsworth Florabundance 2016 and Bakewell

Plenty of floral displays inside Chatsworth House today; they were difficult to photograph though because it's deliberately kept quite dark in many of the rooms...there were plenty of other things to shoot though.

The weather was quite bright by the time I had a wander round the garden. I didn't go to the most distant corners, but managed to take in a fair amount.

I timed my departure from the garden so that I wouldn't have long to wait to catch the bus to Bakewell. I went in the charity shops and the hiking clothing and equipment shops; I bought three tee-shirts for a fiver in the end of season sales.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Magical Gardens Of Bonsall 2016

The Magical Gardens of Bonsall is the name used for marketing purposes to publicise the Bonsall Open Gardens weekend. The name is certainly appropriate; I went with my support worker and we saw grottoes, cascades, a temple, a waterfall, statues of gods and goddesses, scarecrows, romantic ruins...and we briefly explored an old mine adit.

Before reaching Bonsall we called off at the Peak Shopping Village at Rowsley to use the toilets. I noticed there was a sale at one of the shops selling outdoor clothing, I bought a couple of Gelert lined fleeces for a tenner...a saving of 80%. 

We stopped for sandwiches a few minutes later at the car park above Birchover and arrived at Bonsall at just after midday; we were advised to park the car on the road just opposite to the public toilets...a handy spot in the centre of the village.

Our day out at Bonsall was very good value at £4 each, there were over thirty gardens to see, including the show gardens at 'The Cascades.' On certain days throughout the summer these gardens are open to the public and the usual cost of admission is £ we certainly got a bargain today.

The gardens at The Cascades were the first gardens we visited and I was really looking forward to this, assuming it would be the highlight of the day. I was quite disappointed though, both myself and Siobhan thought the gardens were rather neglected - there were several private gardens in the village which we much preferred.

The most interesting thing that happened here was the rather drunk owner, swaying as he approached us with a pint of beer in his hand being quite insistent that we go deep into the mine...we only set foot a few yards inside, there's nothing in there to's pitch black. By the way, a couple of hours later, further up the hill, we were greeted by another tipsy resident.

We then went on to explore the rest of the village, stopping of at the church for tea and cake and also sitting in someone's conservatory, drinking tea as we were told about some of the local characters, past and present.

Bonsall is a hilly village; I have never climbed up and down so many steps in my entire life...literally hundreds of them. As we were climbing up some particularly steep steps Siobhan and myself were agreeing that although there were a lot of steps to climb a fortnight ago when we visited Birchover Open Gardens there were a lot more today. I commented that compared to Bonsall, Birchover was a pussycat. Someone else in the garden overheard me and said  that compared to Whatstandwell, Bonsall is a pussycat.

I'm now going to search for images of Whatstandwell online. 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Grindleford, Hathersage Booths, Hathersage, Bamford, Thornhill, Brough, Hope, and Castleton

Walking the entire length of the Hope Valley from east to west.

A walk today which takes in short sections of footpaths and roads that I'd not previously walked along, maybe a quarter of the entire distance covered.

I got off the bus at the bottom of the hill at Grindleford and walked through riverside meadows and woodlands before climbing up to Hathersage Booths, taking a route which was new to me; it was difficult to find the path too.

The path went straight over the main Sheffield to Manchester railway line.

I then walked the few hundred yards down the road into Hathersage village and had a pot of tea at Cintra's Tearooms, one of my favourite establishments in the Peak District. I was the only customer in the front sitting area; there might have been people at the back, upstairs, or even outside in the garden.

I left the village using a back street which runs parallel to the main road, but higher, until I reached a short footpath across a field down to the main road. I had to re-cross the railway line.

This path continued at the other side of the road, leading down to the river. At one point the thoughtful landowner had provided a pole for me to rest my testicles on - it was exactly the right height for me.

After a few hundred yards there was a choice, either turn left and use the stepping stones over the river, or turn right and climb back up to the main road. I turned right...definitely the right choice.

I found two short scenic paths at Brough so that I didn't have to walk along the road and then took a rather overgrown path to Thornhill.

It was quite a long section along the main Hope Valley road until I reached Hope itself; there are several milestones along the route.

I don't think the church at Hope is very pretty; I think it looks quite austere and even sinister.

The last couple of miles across the fields and along country lanes to Castleton is pretty. Just after leaving Hope there's a footbridge over the railway branch line that goes to Hope cement works. It was constructed to hang lower in the middle, a bit like a rope bridge in the jungle.

I only had about five minutes to wait for the bus at Castleton. When we reached Hope a large stag party boarded. The groom was meant to be Robin Hood, but he looked more like Julie Andrews [the actress who starred in 'The Sound of Music' and 'Mary Poppins'] dressed as a leprechaun. Unsurprisingly they were going to the Little John pub in Hathersage.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Doctor's Appointment

I've made an appointment to see the doctor on the 22nd to ask to be tested for Graves' Disease, a thyroid disorder. At my Social Services annual review last week the social worker said that she thought I might have the condition, and she should know what she's talking about because her sister has it.

The main symptoms are bulging eyes, excessive sweating, frequent bowel movements, diarrhoea, leg cramps and muscle spasms, shortness of breath, and difficulty with raising my arms above my head. I have all of these symptoms and so think there is a reasonable likelihood that I do indeed have Graves' Disease.

If all, or any of these symptoms are eased it will certainly help with my well as with many other aspects of my life.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Birchover Open Gardens 2016

An excellent day out with Siobhan, my support worker; over thirty gardens to look at in a beautiful Peak District village...and several opportunities for refreshments.

I've not been to an Open Gardens event before and didn't really know what to expect; I was worried that after only about half an hour we'd have seen everything. Well...I need not have worried, we spent three and half hours in the village and there were still a few gardens we hadn't seen. Some of the gardens are quite steep and we had to climb up and down a lot of steps and Siobhan's ankle was getting a bit sore towards the end.

The gardens didn't officially open to the public until one o'clock and so we stopped at the Peak Shopping village at Rowsley to have a look at the shops and use the toilets; the ducks even have their own place in the car park.

It was the end of season sales and I bought a fleece for only £4.99.

We drove up the hill towards Stanton-in-Peak and then along the country lane towards Birchover. Just before reaching the village we stopped at a car park with extensive views of the countryside and ate our sandwiches sitting on a large boulder.

We arrived at Birchover, parked the car in a field which had been set aside for visitors, bought our tickets, went to the toilets and then walked to a farm at the western edge of the village; this was the first garden we visited. On the way we enjoyed some lovely views.

After talking to the owner and his dog we returned to the village, calling off at the church...which is actually a converted private chapel that was built in the nineteenth century.

Next up was the Reading Rooms where we enjoyed a pot of tea and a slice of cake each; the choice of cake was very extensive.

We visited more gardens and I stopped briefly to photograph a quite old Rolls Royce car.

Even more gardens, then a stop for more refreshments from someone's conservatory; cream teas served with fresh strawberries this time.

When we got back to Doncaster we made plans to visit several more villages when they have their Open Gardens days.