Wednesday, January 07, 2015


What I Did On My Holidays.

I'm such a twerp.  What follows are a few interesting things I did on my trip to Derbyshire this Christmas!

It snowed!!!  On Boxing Day evening we got about 4 inches.  It was lovely.  Well it started and I complained and bitched and moaned because I hate the cold and the wet and the ice and the associated risk of falling over.  The Canadian with us thought I was a killjoy.  She is right.  However when we went out to the pub, all wrapped up, on a journey that took us over a few fields and I discovered that my shoes were waterproof and my toes remained dry and warm I was quite happy.

The next day we went out in the snow again. Of course.  Here is proof:

Then on the next day we went out to Ambergate and had a walk through the Shining Cliff Woods.  There's a lot of fun to be had in these woods, particularly when you discover Oakhurst House, which is technically off limits but there's not much actual fence to keep you out so we went in anyway.  This is the house:

Now that is not the sort of house you'd expect to see in the middle of Derbyshire!  It's long since abandoned and the second floors and roof has fallen in.  It's fascinating to look at and work out which rooms were used for what.  We had the additional pleasure of a robin following us around as we wandered around the building.  He was probably trying to chase us off, they are territorial little buggers.

We reckon this room was the kitchen:

This must have been a main door as you can just see the boot scraper at the bottom right of the entrance:

There is also some interesting graffiti:
We had fun searching out an old yew tree called Betty Kenny's yew, where a family supposedly built their house around this massive tree and raised 8 kids in the branches.  See the full story here.  Then there was all the ice to mess about with.  Some of the puddles had a couple of centimetres of ice frozen on top.

For better pictures of our trips out go to James Sharpe's instagram.  Because he's got talent and I'm a photographic fool.

Another day we went out to Fresh Basil in Belper for breakfast:

Between us we got 2 full Englishes and 2 vegetarians.  On my vegetarian one I swapped out the egg for black pudding.  They were good.  Very good.  Not too much.  The black pudding was well worth it and the Fill Englishes got 3 rashers of bacon instead of the usual two.  Although I am informed it wasn't smoked bacon.  The halloumi on the vegetarian plate was properly cooked which you'd think would be a given, but I got battered halloumi in a Kent pub recently and the halloumi wasn't cooked.  Bah.  The same place gave my boyfriend food poisoning so I am Not Impressed by it.

Fresh Basil has lots of signs up about the importance of shopping local and how much money goes into the local economy when you shop local as opposed to supermarkets.  I appreciate that.

Later that day we went to Kedleston Hall who do a very nice cream tea and the cake of the day is always gluten free.  Surprisingly for a National Trust place winter admission prices were just £1 per adult.  We had a good walk around the grounds and I had a massive rant about the parasite aristocracy and class injustices in England and the boyfriend told me to shut up and be quiet.  Fair enough.

One thing I didn't like about the hall was the godawful taxidermy they had in the corridor on the way to the shop.
Decorating dead animal heads is not on!  It's gross and inappropriate.  The stuffed bird scenes (you can see the cases at the bottom of the picture) were particularly disturbing.  I understand why the National Trust still has this stuff up - it's part of the history of the hall and that's what people want to see when they visit.  The owners still live in the Hall and I expect there are lots of complicated agreements about what the Trust can and can't do with the bit they run.  I just don't like taxidermy.

Apart from that shock the rest of the trip was petty good :)


SallyP said...

Your pictures are lovely, and your breakfast also looks lovely. And delicious!

Georgie said...

That house! Amazing, what a find. There's a bar nearby that has loads of taxidermy and they dress the animals up in Christmas outfits. Its weird. Theres a stuff cat in a Santa outfit. Its really weird x

Saranga said...

I just don't get taxidermy, and adding costumes is weird.

Thanks for the comments both :)