Friday, 27 May 2011


Ben's exams are finally over and it is half term. To celebrate, we have decided to have a week of family time. Mark will be joining us for a few days, so we're going to concentrate on having fun.

During this week, the internet will be closed down and blogging will take a hiatus. We'll be busy doing other stuff.

Two posts will appear, pre-set to publish on the appropriate days, but I will not be posting live again until after half term.

It will feel odd to not be posting daily, because I haven't missed a day since I started back in January 2010, but it seems the right thing to do and, at quite short notice, I don't want to rush off a series of pre-set posts just for the sake of it.

I'll have lots to post about when I come back online. Look forward to seeing you then :)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Fields of red, white and yellow

After Ben's birthday lunch on Tuesday, we drove back via a few South Derbyshire villages and I took the opportunity to photograph this lovely field. The camera doesn't really do justice to the overall effect of the flowers, but it gives you some idea.

The poppies give a vivid splash of vibrant red against the backdrop of the green foliage, the white cow parsley and the yellow flowers; which I think may be escaped oilseed rape! Am I right anyone

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.

Look for the letter, to see where I am.

F is for Findern.


Driving towards Findern via Stenson, the first sign of the approaching village is the school.

With approximately 120 children on roll, Findern is a sustainable size for a village school, housed in buildings which date back to 1923 but which have regularly been added to over the years. It was originally built to serve the three communities of Stenson, Twyford and Findern.
Immediately after Findern school, the road crosses dual bridges over first, the railway and then, the Trent and Mersey Canal. Unfortunately, the railway bridge is undergoing repair at present, meaning that the road is closed, so I had to make a small detour of about three and a half miles to reach the other side.

Once round to the other side, I could see this. Next to the canal bridge is the Nadee Indian Restaurant, occupying the building which was once The Greyhound pub.

You can see some of the construction paraphernalia blocking the road.

Continuing on for about another quarter of a mile along a single layer row of houses, there is the village recreation ground...

dedicated to King George V (father to King George VI of The King's Speech fame).

After this, things become slightly odd. Having already crossed the railway and canal, we now pull out onto the main road and take a new bridge over the main A50. This new South Derby by-pass, has effectively shaved off a section of the village, leaving the bulk of it divided from the recreation ground and the school.

This is the better known part of Findern.

At the heart of the old village is The Green,

alongside which are The Old Forge, which is now a day nursery,

The Village Store and Post Office, next to which is one of two hairdressers in the village,

and the parish church of All Saints.

This bench in the churchyard was dedicated in loving memory of Robert James Loverock (1949 - 2005); A Findern Lad!

Next to the church are the Parish Rooms...

and, tucked away behind the church, on the edge of a more modern estate, is the Methodist Chapel.

The main street is mainly old houses,

including the village pub The Wheel.


but there are also a lot of newer builds here; little estates which have grown up to house the people wanting to move out from Derby. The Village Hall is amongst the newer constructions.

Finally, Findern is not without industry, with a Vauxhall garage and a car showroom. And then, about a mile further on, right at the outer edge of the village, is a large garden centre.

Time for a coffee and a cherry scone, I think :)

Would I like to live in Findern? In places, it's very pretty and there is plenty of history to be hunted down. The amenities are good for a village and it's within easy striking distance of the city; yet close to some lovely countryside. On the other hand, it's sandwiched between two busy dual carriageways and, even in the churchyard, I could hear the noise of the traffic.

Bottom line, I wouldn't want to pay village house prices for a property here, but I can see why other people choose to do so.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Sunset over Alport Heights

Mark was home for a couple of days in early May. We went out to do some stuff and found ourselves fairly close to Alport Heights, so he asked if we could drive up and take a look at the gritstone pillar he had climbed when he was about 15. He wanted to see just how idiotic he really had been.

His final verdict was that it was a semi-idiotic thing to have done; but pretty 'ballsy'.

This time, I wasn't worried at all!

And we hung around to watch a rather glorious sunset!

(Enough chit-chat. I'll leave you in peace to enjoy it too!)


Happy Birthday Ben :)

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Bluebell

Just over a week ago, courtesy of my aunt winning a competition, we came here; The Bluebell at Tissington. (Though, actually, at Tissington is a slight misnomer. 'On the main road a short distance from Tissington' would be more accurate.)

I hadn't been to this particular pub for ages. In fact, I think the last time I had been here was for my cousin's wedding reception and that is going back a long time!

I've driven past it many many times though; travelling between Derby and Buxton, Derby and Manchester... It's a lovely building; limestone and solid and so nicely proportioned.

It has a small seating area round the side and a larger beer garden, complete with smoker's gazebo.

Inside, the surroundings were very pleasant and the service was good. The food, however, was a bit ordinary, which was disappointing for the price. There wasn't anything wrong with it. It just wasn't really anything special. However, as we weren't paying...

It made an interesting change.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

I wanna be a crane driver!

Yesterday, I told you about my 'adventure' with the closed road. The bridge being repaired was for the railway, but right next door is the canal. Such a peaceful scene...

...maybe that's what sent him to sleep!

I wanna be a crane driver!!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

We will not be here for long...

Today, I went for a little drive to visit a local village (which happens to begin with F). I moseyed down the road, window wound down, enjoying the sunshine and the peaceful country lanes, eased over the narrow bridge on the bend and...


Oh well. Look on the bright side. With the road being closed, no-one is going to object to me dumping my car on the verge for half an hour.

Between me and where I wanted to be are a canal and a railway. It seems that Network Rail are busy having a bridge repaired - until July! BUT, pedestrian access is still open! Time to go investigate!

In fact, they've built the pedestrians a whole new bridge!

Complete with views of passing trains. This really took me back to when I was a kid and we would go stand on another metal pedestrian bridge not far from here, watching and waiting, eyes strained for the first glimpse of the yellow front of a DMU waaaaaay down the track. Part of the fun was in the vibration of the bridge as the train roared underneath, but the real bonus was if we could persuade the driver to sound his horn as he approached.

Years later, my own lads used to enjoy this same experience as part of a visit to stay with Grandma and Grandad!

A little rebuilding going on...

from the 'Considerate Construction Company'.

Erm... Anyone got a red pen?

Friday, 20 May 2011

HRH Queen Victoria

A few weeks back, when I posted about the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary, Pondside asked if I had a photo of the statue of Queen Victoria. I didn't, but now I have - sort of.

The DRI is being redeveloped and the section where Queen Victoria stands is all fenced off. I had to try from the street; over a high wall/hedge; with trees which have been allowed to overgrow during the redeveloping.


With a bit of timing, waiting for the breeze to blow in the right direction to move the leaves just a fraction, this was the best I could manage.

Michael reckons the Bonnie Prince resembles Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Victoria is a different matter entirely!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Watering holes along the gate of iron

Irongate seems to have more than its fair share of pubs. This one was once a Nat West bank. I remember coming in here in the early days of having a bank account.

Now, it is a pub with a very appropriate name.

Right next door, is another pub; the Thomas Leaper. This pub stands on the site of Iron Gate House; the Leaper family home, which was built around 1740. In its time, it has also been a bank and then in 1880, Brigden's the tailors moved in. They remained in this building until 1997 but now have their premises a little further down the 'gate.

Across the road from these two is The Slug and Lettuce, one of a chain of pubs...

...while, just down the road is Jorrocks; a very thin building which looks as though it has been squeezed in between the Music Centre and (I think - if memory serves me right) yet another bank.

This pub is a grade 2 listed building which was once a coaching inn and dates back to before 1648, which is when it is first mentioned in a deed document.

This pub though, I find rather creepy as there are ongoing records of seances being held on the property. Not something I want to mess with thank you, so I think I'll leave it there.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Eastern Edges

My personal challenge for this round of Miss Jenny Matlock's alphabe-Thursday is to post about a location within the borders of my own county of Derbyshire, UK, for each letter of the alphabet.

Look for the letter, to see where I am.

E is for Eastern Edges


Towards the north east of the county, where the limestone based White Peak area of the Peak District National Park meets the gritstone based Dark Peak area, there is a series of edges.

The most northerly of these is Stanage Edge, rising up above the large village of Hathersage. At nearly four miles in length, it is the longest of the edges and rises to a highest point of 458m. It is popular with both walkers and climbers, with the latter being able to test themselves on hundreds of routes.

It is a much wilder area than the White Peak villages of previous Alphabe-Thursday posts; offering windswept moorland with grouse and heather.

A small number of climbers turn up accompanied by their dogs which scramble around the base of the rocks enjoying whatever fuss and attention they desire, and then curl up on a rucksack or fleece for a nap.

In 2005, Stanage Edge was used as a location in the blockbuster film 'Pride and Prejudice', based on the novel by Jane Austen and starring Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen. It was also used for the BBC production of Jane Eyre in 2006.

At the southern end of  Stanage Edge is the Cowper Stone, a distinctive outcrop of gritstone which almost looks as though it is falling off the end!

After the Cowper Stone, stretching roughly southwards from Stanage Edge are Burbage Edge and Froggatt Edge, with the latter making way for Curber Edge above the villages of Curber and Calver.

Baslow Edge brings the line to an end.

The Edges are a bit of a drive from home, but well worth the journey!