The weather has been glorious over the Easter weekend just gone and although I mostly missed out on it (had to work) it happily stayed nice for my day off, today. Thought it was time I exercised the old pins so I wandered off to visit the Cuckoo Stone, which lives in the middle of a fairway on Matlock Golf Course.
I have to say, my stroll reminded me of how much I miss Brackenfield. Where Ogston Reservoir used to be the backdrop of my favourite and off-taken routes round Brackers, the much less appealing golf club takes its place in the middle distance. Instead of the deciduous bluebell woods rustling with birds and festooned with moss, I got this rather stark prospect:
Instead of Berridge Lane ford, I got a merrily tricking drainage ditch.
However there were some interesting things to look at along the way, such as this ruined building and the surprisingly laid-back local residents.
The Cuckoo Stone itself isn’t very dramatic but I do like the story about it. The name is reputed to derive from ‘Cock’s Crow Stone’ and local lore has it that on certain days of the year when a cock crows at dawn the stone turns around, rotating to midnight. It isn’t known if the stone was deliberately erected where it is, but naturally there is speculation about the lost circle of the Seven Brideron/Bretheren that once stood on Matlock Moor a short distance away to the North.
It’s easy to miss it nowadays unless you know where to look for it, about 20yds from the footpath that cuts across the 11th fairway of the Matlock golf club, hunkered down beneath a guardian hawthorn tree.
March lacked much in the way of adventure, I have to say. It came in like a lion and went out like a lion. There were very few days out to enjoy or much of noteworthiness in general. Here’s the highlights, such as they were:
1. We did go for one long walk, from Matlock to Matlock Bath and Bonsall and back via Cromford and Starkholmes. Phew! This is the churchyard of St Giles C of E Church Matlock in Starkholmes, looking a bit Gothic on a cloudy day.
2. And a stop for refreshments at the Fountain Tea Rooms in Bonsall, where Twig consumed the most decadent hot chocolate I’ve ever seen. Marshmallows, cream, sugar sprinkles and raspberry sauce. I had a fruit smoothie *looks virtuous*.
3. I’m make a quilt out of pieces of Liberty tana lawn, which is lovely to work with. So fine and smooth. Some classic Liberty prints in there as well as some more ‘modern’ offcuts from the DN design room.
4. The Georgian Home Guard mustered to defend Cromford Mill against the French invaders. I don’t recall actually seeing any French invaders so they must have done a good job.
There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread to make the house feel like home! The problem with baking one’s own bread is the time it takes – all that kneading and proving and rising and knocking back and kneading and rising ad infinitum. Takes bloody hours! You have to plan bread-making like a military campaign, and it’s only feasible on days off work.
That’s unless you bake Italian Rustic Bread! I use this really easy recipe from the “From the Feast” blog (which contains many other splendid recipes too) and have had some good results with it. No kneading! I usually use half white (or pasta flour) and half brown (or granary) flour and it makes a tasty flattish loaf, the kind that would be good for bruschetta if you’re so inclined that way.
Here’s one I made earlier today:
And yes- it made the kitchen smell good! 😀
Februrary came and went post-haste. The highlight was a coach trip to York for my birthday (a belated celebratory outing, but the thought was there!). It was supposed to be a visit to the Viking Festival, but when we got there there was a distinct dearth of Vikings and pillaging and all that kind of stuff. Just a few activities for children and a very small living history ‘encampment’ populated by a few cold and wet looking re-enactors. A couple of cheerful and friendly Viking ladies demonstrated their card/tablet weaving technique to Linda and nålbinding (a kind of knitting or crochet done with one needle) to me. The coach trip didn’t actually give us time for anything else beyond a quick zip up and down the Shambles, a button-buying foray into Duttons for Buttrons and as many tea/coffee/cake stops as we could squeeze in before piling back on the coach. I do like York, but prefer my day trips to be a bit more leisurely (and less wet! It rained hard for much of the day).
I haven’t been out for many strolls on my days off work since we moved here and I feel bad about that. There aren’t as many interesting and scenic walks straight out of the back door as there used to be at the old place, but that’s not really an excuse. Today it was so warm and sunny, a day when spring felt just around the corner and full of promise, that I decided to blow off the cobwebs after I’d done some work in the garden, and went for a walk down Lumsdale.
The waterfalls and mill ruins in Lumsdale are always lovely anyway, but the afternoon sunshine was glorious and the whole world seemed positively technicolor and glowing after the long grey days we’ve had for so long. To say it was half term, it was really quiet and I had the place to myself. Lovely.
Well, January came and went with almost indecent haste. We had snow, plenty of it, and lived in Narnia land for a while (actually, as I type this on 6th Feb the last of the snow is clinging persistently on exposed and high land). The transformation of my attic den has been completed bar the finer details which will come as and when inspiration and cash allows. Little else seemed to have happened, although I know it must have done. I read and knitted a lot and made cloud cuckooland plans for spring and summer projects of which one or two may actually see fruition. Oh and my scrap/photo journal has keep me busy on freezing cold snowy days off work.
Here’s the visual round up of the month.
I don’t know where this year has gone, I really don’t. I know I always manage to sound amazed at how time has fled away from me but this whole year has been ridiculously vague. We spent the first half of it embroiled in selling our old cottage (no longer Brackenfield Bandits!) and buying a new house in Matlock (now the Matlock Marauders!). Then I changed my job, dropping to just one day a week at the old one and starting 4 days a week at a plant shop. And with all the attendant hassle of renovations, decorating et al that the new house has entailed, we feel like the normal routines of life have been put on hold this year. And now 2014 is almost over, and who knows what 2015 will bring us.
But before we forget it, this was Christmas 2014: