Having had a couple of marvellous days in Cambridge we reluctantly left our lovely apartment on the River Cam (sob!) and set out for the next part of the adventure.
We drove to Ely to look at the cathedral and yes, we were duly impressed, but I managed to find a fabric shop, where I advised the woman working there that she did not need to buy a pattern to make a simple rectangular tote and so we designed it together. Such fun! She’s a quilter so wasn’t sure about the construction. Even better, I didn’t buy anything.
From Ely we wended our way to Nottingham where the castle seems to be closed for restoration, which was a bit disappointing. However, we didn’t miss ye olde trip to Jerusalem, an inn which is purported to have been built in 1189 and is just fabulous.
The building rests against Castle Rock, upon which Nottingham Castle is built, and is attached to several caves, carved out of the soft sandstone. Drinks were imbibed here and it is like stepping back in time inside.
We couldn’t quite make up our minds where to stay the night, so basically kept driving, finishing up in Edwinstowe, which is on the edge of Sherwood Forest – Robin Hood country! We struggled to find accommodation and finished up in a fairly ordinary pub, but we were quite comfortable and it was only for a night. A really funny thing happened in Edwinstowe – I had put up a post on Instagram saying where I was and Judith (https://www.instagram.com/judithrosalind/) with whom we are staying in Edinburgh popped up and said that she was there too. What are the chances? Unfortunately we were unable to connect, so will have to wait until early May when we will hopefully meet in Edinburgh.
The next day we had a tramp through Sherwood Forest. I think most of the mighty oaks have been felled, although we did see a few. This one is the Major Oak where Robin Hood is reputed to have hung out with his Merrie Men and possibly Maid Marion. Judith has commented that she used to play in the tree with her siblings as a child (and possibly as an adult, I won’t judge!), but it’s all fenced off now and the branches are supported on posts.
Edwinstowe boasts a fabric shop, which surprised me, and a wool shop and seems to be quite a crafty sort of place. I didn’t buy anything here either.
Next stop was Chesterfield, which is a pretty market town with a twist – actually! The cathedral has a twisted spire and it was a bit of a jaw dropping moment for us when we first saw it.
Here I am in my Pattern union Beverley cape with woolly hat which makes me feel like a bobble head.
The church tower dominates the town. The spire is crooked because it is covered in lead and as the lead on one side heated up it began to twist, taking the whole tower with it. It is a rather extraordinary sight.
I found this rather quaint haberdashery in Chesterfield and bought some cord. Why? No reason except I liked it! Apparently Fred sends a lot of his stock to Australian customers!
Bakewell tarts were a fond memory from my childhood but I don’t think I’ve ever had a Bakewell pudding. We sought to rectify this immediately by going to Bakewell and seeking out the original shop. It appears that everyone claims to have the original shop and original recipe! We jagged a parking spot right outside this one and it was authentic enough for me, so in we went!
Questions have been asked about what I’ve done with Mark, so here he is, eagerly anticipating a treat!
and here is said Bakewell pudding – an enormous thing of puff pastry, jam and frangipane that is guaranteed to stick to my ribs.
and of course, me, gripping the table hard to contain my excitement!
I did find a vey nice wool shop in Bakewell, but left it all behind.
We moved on to Chatsworth House, which is magnificent.
and even the deer are tame here.
We didn’t stop long at Chatsworth as I was more interested in Haddon Hall, the chapel of which dates back to William the Conquerer and we were not disappointed.
This is the inside of the chapel and the tomb is of a young boy who was probably destined to be a duke. I felt so sad.
The inside of the quadrangle with the chapel off in the right hand corner. I’m not sure living here would have been a lot of fun, but the current duke still resides in a part of the Hall.
Even the downpipes were gorgeous.
The inside of these stately homes is often cold and draughty and the walls are covered in tapestries to keep them warmer. This hall had nearly 100 tapestries which had been stored in a room which, yes, you guessed it, caught fire. Many were destroyed, but some were saved and pieced together like this one.
We were lucky that they lit a fire in one of the rooms. One of the attendants told us that they often go to close up and find elderly gentlemen snoozing on the sofa in front of the fire!
In Cambridge the daffodils were finished, but a little further north and they were still going strong!
One of the things that struck me about this part of the world is the use of dry stone walls rather than hedgerows. I love the look of the landscape so neatly divided up by the walls.
We passed through the Derwent Reservoir which is where the Dambusters practiced their bomb skipping techniques. I’m wearing the Drea Renee Knits The Weekender jumper. I knitted it from Thomas Kvist Delicious Tweed which I bought in Sweden. It’s lambswool, angora and cashmere and I thought it would be warmer than it is, but hey ho. It’s quite a large pattern and I went down a size, but look at the width of the neck. I hadn’t worn this at home so hadn’t really noticed the problem. I determined to fix it asap.
Our last stop for a couple of days was Buxton. On the way we decided to walk up to Solomon’s Temple at Glossop, which was rather fascinating.
The walk up through the woods included these little animals carved out of local woods. I’ve created a montage for your enjoyment.
Solomon’s Temple is a tower on top of the hill and it’s well worth the walk as the view from the top is brilliant.
The contours in the land are lime kiln mounds. Many thousands of people lived on these hills and they mined limestone, ground it up and burned it to create lime. As I walked around I thought about all the families that lived here and how pretty difficult life would have been.
Buxton itself is one of the several spa towns that seem to abound in England. It is therefore full of amazing Victorian architecture and we spent many a happy hour exploring the town.
The opera house is particularly beautiful, and there is a conservatory of plants in there. We got caught in a very loud thunderstorm just after I took this photo.
Speaking of plants, Mark has become very mulish about taking my photo with any more cherry trees, but even he couldn’t resist these outside the beautiful Palace Hotel.
and some cherry blossom spam for you. I’m wearing the Drea Renee Knits The Weekender jumper again.
This is a slightly baggy jumper (we would have called it a Sloppy Joe when I was a girl) with some nice details. The body is the wrong side of stocking stitch with a contrasting stitch up the middle of the front and back and ribbed detail at the neck. I am not very good at picking up stitches so I replicated the ribbed detail along the sleeve edge to hide my dodgy seam. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.
You might notice that the neck is smaller. I did a little temporary fix by just sewing the shoulders a little higher. I will neaten it when I get home.
As we walked around Buxton we couldn’t help noticing this amazing dome.
It is now part of the University of Derby, but it used to be a hospital for poor people coming to Buxton for a cure. We wandered inside (I think it was allowed, but Mark is still in trespassing mode), and it is truly gobsmacking. We stood in the middle right under the skylight and our voices reverberated right round us. When built, it was the largest unsupported structure in England.
We have now completed the first week of our sojourn to the UK. Lots more to come!