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A Quiet Country Walk in Derbyshire

Super Saturday it really was! Gripping television and inspiring performances by our athletes including Jessica Ennis who comes from Sheffield. We watched entranced, together with no doubt most of Britain unable to tear ourselves away even to write a blog post (sorry) but now I have successfully wrenched myself away from the tennis doubles, having had the satisfaction of seeing Andy Murray romp through to a singles Gold medal apparently easilybeating his old rival, Roger Federer apparently (they make it look so simple…).

Our daughter Ruthie came up from London, which she reports as buzzing with excitement and a real atmosphere of goodwill and happiness whilst the roads and tube stations are pleasantly quiet and crowd free! We met her at Derby station, and before we allowed ourselves to start watching the games we stopped off at the Gate in Brassington for a delightful lunch, eaten in the sunshine in the garden almost on our own (was everybody else already watching the box?). I had Goats Cheese en Croute, with Pears and Walnut and truly delicious it was. The photos here have none of John’s expertise as I simply pressed and clicked with my mobile phone camera. without much thought of anything other than capturing the moment.

Ruthie and I decided to walk back home, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine and working off just some of the large lunch we’d enjoyed. We left John to take the car back, but he had his camera with him so he was happy about that. Those of you who know the walk will recognise our route, turn left out of the pub, and turn right when if you go straight on it takes you to Bradbourne…

Having turned right and rounded the bend at the top of the hill, we saw a herd of 25 cows and heifers on the lane, munching happily on the verges. We could see no open gates so hoped that by walking gently on we might be able to encourage them to return to the field they’d obviously escaped from.However, they set resolutely off at a spanking pace and we soon realised they’d need to be intercepted before they got into the B5056. The B5056 may only be a B road but it carries a fair amount of traffic bound for Longcliffe and Bakewell, and the lane meets it between two blind corners.

We rang a local farmer, who didn’t know whose cows they were but said he’d ring around. We waited anxiously but nothing happened, and becoming seriously concerned we rang the non-emergency police number. Waiting for them we climbed over gates onto a field at the side of the road and walked briskly along hoping we’d be able to get back onto the lane in front of the cows and at least encourage them away from the main road. At this stage two men rushed up in a truck and between them (90% and us10%) we managed to get the herd into a spare field where they propped up an gate against the entrance.

Feeling pleased with our little adventure we carried on down the now cow-free lane to the B5056 where we waited for the non-emergency police person to turn up. Having given them my name we did not fancy them turning up to view a field of happily grazing cows looking quite at home albeit in a strange field – but they weren’t to know that – and would no doubt have put my name down at the top of their list of nut cases who make fake calls to the police!

They did turn up, forty minutes after we rang. The action was all over by then, but they were very appreciative, probably only realising then that there could have been real mayhem had the cows got onto the road (on the bend between two blind corners) with cars piling up against them from both directions.
thanked us and drove off up the lane to inspect.

Then the heavens opened! It is the first time in all the years we have been walking to the Gate that we have got wet, but we certainly got rained upon this time. However, it wasn’t cold and buoyed up by our adventure, the good lunch and fresh air it didn’t matter, and John was at home with warm towels on the Aga, tea and cake (and the Olympics) at the ready.

The icing on the cake, so to speak, was our friend Aida from next door, who popped in later with a tray of the most interesting looking mushrooms she’d bought as a present for us from Wirksworth Farmers’ Market. Conceding that they were photographically beautiful, John wasn’t sure about the wisdom of eating them until Ruthie concocted the most delicious and delicately flavoured pasta and mushrooms for supper from our River Cafe cookbook which he ate with the greatest of gusto and absolutely no restraint whatsoever and lives to tell the tale.

And now we settle down snugly and totally inert to watch Hussain and others stretch themselves physically. Perfection!

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