I think it's true to say that Derbyshire is an under-rated county, often-most viewed through the windows of a car as travellers race on to 'more exciting' destinations. South of county, Derbyshire borders with Leicestershire and Staffordshire. The countryside is rolling, with a mixture of arable and livestock farming. The river Trent winds its way from west to east, being joined in turn by the Dove and the Derwent and loosely followed by the line of the Trent and Mersey canal.
The idea of a link between these two great rivers came from engineer James Brindley and the canal opened in 1772. Once used to transport fragile porcelain from the Potteries, it is now almost solely recreational. There are, however, those who choose to live on the water, including one of the cashiers from my usual supermarket. The Mercia Marina was opened in 2008 to meet the growing demand for narrowboat berths.
In the background are the five cooling towers of the now decommissioned Willington power station. Lined up like a V of skittles in a giant bowling alley, they dominate the surrounding countryside and, although there is a move towards their demolition, I would be sad to see them go. They were always there, in the background of my childhood.