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Pampering – a tempting rainy day indulgence

Sad to relate, neither John nor I have recent first hand experience of being pampered (professionally) – John almost certainly never, I’d say with confidence.

So, we need some up to the minute feedback, please, of local pampering possibilities.

We used to recommend on the basis of reliable information that  ‘Hurley’s Boutique Salon‘  in Ashbourne was good for spa treatments. It has now been taken over by Sally Montague and the spa treatment section of the new website is ‘under construction’ so that is no good at present. Nearer to us than Ashbourne is the Brackendale Spa near Carsington about which we have had mixed reports, some good, some lukewarm. It is in a potentially busy holiday complex, so perhaps one needs to choose timings and dates carefully.

The third possibility I  have experienced first hand and found it excellent;  this was a couple of years ago but we haven’t heard anything to suggest it no longer is. The Devonshire Spa is run by the students of  Derby University (Buxton) in the wonderful old building with a dome in Buxton that used to house the Dukes of Devonshires’ horses (in some impressive style).

Because it is students it is cheaper than it otherwise would be, and the beauticians may be younger than some but they are well supervised and obviously at a fairly advanced stage of their course. I went with a friend and we both rated it highly – I can’t imagine why we haven’t been back, except we both lead busy lives, not prone to too much self-indulgence!

Such a serene little hide away from the real world…

All in all this really was an amazing weekend and to come back to Douglas’ Barn every night really made this a weekend to never forget, we enjoyed being there so much we didn’t even venture out for an evening meal, we just snuggled up in front of the fire and enjoyed each others company.

I cannot think of a better place to go to explore the Peak District, let alone to just chill out and take in the awesome views from the kitchen and bedroom windows. I cannot thank you enough for creating such a serene little hide away from the real world.

LW February 2010

Walks, Speedwell Cave and possible ballooning

More really helpful comments from Laura (thank you, Laura, so much!)…

Little daunted by their aborted helicopter ride (and we can vouch for the beautiful day!) Laura and Andy changed their plans.

“So as an alternative to the helicopter we chose to walk around Derwent Valley and the Ladybower/Derwent Reservoirs on the Saturday, which was amazing, the views were incredible and the scenery beautiful.

I’m actually glad that we took the opportunity to walk it rather than just flying over it (although obviously gutted about missing out) as seeing it from a walker’s perspective was just un-missable.

We also took a trip to Speedwell Cavern for a boat ride through the caves, but have to admit that we were a little disappointed with that. It was fun to be in the boat and and listen to the miners’ stories, but it was more for kids and the ‘Bottomless Pit’, which you get to stand and look at for about 10 minutes was a bit of an anticlimax, but as I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you, the approach to Peak Cavern is just immense and worth a trip to Castleton for that if nothing else.

Other than the *Spa and Helicopter ride, I think the only other activity that I considered was a hot air balloon ride, but let’s be honest February probably isn’t the best time for balloon rides.

*More about the Spa experience later!

Exciting activities to liven up your holiday here

We have received such a helpful email from Laura, a recent guest, responding to our to our quest for sharing of information for the benefit of other guests. Laura managed to pack an enormous amount into her weekend here with Andy, having obviously done a fair amount of useful research beforehand.

“The highlight was due to be a Pennine Helicopter Pleasure Flights helicopter ride”

Unfortunately, she tells, “this didn’t go ahead as the weather was apparently not suitable for flying on the Saturday, even though to us it looked beautiful so we have to rearrange and come back up for another weekend…which let’s be honest really isn’t a hardship!!”

“I booked for us to go on the Dambusters Run, but as you can see there are a few more to choose from. Once we have rearranged the flight I will give you a full run down of events, but so far they have been very helpful…”

Personally, I found even the the fast moving headlines on the website a bit hard to cope with, but a helicopter ride on a beautifully calm day in this beautiful part of the Peak District would be memorable. Watch this post – John and I may well venture into the air ourselves!

This week’s update

A ‘quietish’ week after the last one. Ashbourne’s Shrovetide Football two-day rugby scrum on a field with no boundaries is over for another year, we’ve had snow and sunshine  and now beautiful warm sunshine again today, Saturday.

Having thrown away my removable splint I have been down to London for a couple of days with daughter Ruth and son Nick; this  included our attending a book discussion at Daunt’s in Marylebone High Street – Lady Antonia Fraser in most entertaining conversation with Valerie Grove about her new book ‘Must You Go’ – about her love affair and marriage to Harold Pinter. It had always seemed an odd match, but obviously a very happy and inspiring one. The book is a most fascinating read, hard to put down.

Back now and we are off to look for a barn owl spotted by friends, which John hopes to photograph. Watch these pages, as they say… so far in our experience owls disappear once a camera is anywhere near.

Using the Blog Part 3

If you are an experienced blogger don’t bother reading this. But for those many of us who are not we hope that this  series of three ‘Using the Blog’ posts may just help explain away some of the more puzzling and potentially off-putting mysteries.

Comments: Anyone can ‘post a comment’ i.e. write something about a post they have just read. We really hope that gradually more of you will do this so that others can benefit by your recommendations or experiences.

To avoid spammers we now have to check that each comment is  genuine before publishing so there may be a delay before your comment goes live.

Anonymity: To avoid being rejected as a spammer you need to have a genuine email address (which we will see but never publish).  You can use a pseudonym or your real name – what ever you feel happiest doing.

Finally,  I’ll finish with our protocol:  The aim of our website and blog is to inform, entertain and involve young and old: our guests past present and future, our family and friends including our many friends and colleagues in Parwich and the surrounding Peak District area.

We will publish any comments that we deem written in good faith (whether critical of us or our barns or not!). However, if ever we  considered a comment or photo unsuitable or offensive, for whatever reason,  we would not publish it.

What a Week!

It was cheerful but exhausting. At least we weren’t actually doing the decorating but there was a lot of moving stuff out, moving stuff back, cleaning, sorting, replacing…

Janet and Carol did a fantastic job, coming in quite voluntarily two (extra) evenings to make sure they got everything done in time for our next guests due last Friday. And of course by the time our guests arrived everything looked quite ordered and serene.

We also had the pressure on, this end, making sure we had all the paperwork ready for our ‘green’ inspection for the Green Tourism in Business Scheme, which was scheduled for that very same Friday. The preparation was arduous, but the actual inspection when the time came very pleasant; it will be several weeks before we know the outcome but we are hoping we will move up a notch to the Silver Award section. We will announce the verdict as soon as we hear ourselves!

A very subtle transformation

Well, we’re back to normal after a particularly busy week. Jason and Stuart (who are amazing decorators) managed to redecorate both barns within a week working throughout the  weekend before last. They spend as much time on what many of us find the unbearably  boring sanding and rubbing down, but it pays off. The paintwork looks immaculate.

We thought the barns looked pretty good beforehand but they do look particularly  fresh and inviting now. In Douglas’s Barn we repeated the Farrow & Ball Buff for the woodwork and Matchstick for the walls because that seemed to have been a happy choice.

But, what for Tom’s Barn? After much deliberation and soul searching we plumped for Slipper Satin throughout (a rather attractive white, if that makes sense) and for the woodwork Old White  which depending in the light  is off-white, or pale grey – even sometimes pale grey with an almost  olive tinge…

We think it looks great, let’s hope you do too.

Latest picture of Orchard Farm

DSC06928-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just caught the stonework glowing in the wintery sunlight before everything was covered in hail.

What on earth is a blog? Part 2

Using the Blog & Gallery– what does it all mean…?

Most of you will know far more than us. We are very new to blogging ourselves so hesitate to start parading even as semi-experts; however our enjoyment of the Parwich blog and now our own  means that our confidence is growing and we are beginning to understand some of the terminology.

However, we are new enough still to be painfully aware of what can totally mystify a newcomer so here follows some short explanations of the words you may meet while trying to make your way through our blog (please correct us gently if we’re wrong) . Lesson three will be more about actually using the blog.

Pages: You are on the Home Page. On the right at the top of the page you will see all the other pages including the Photo Gallery  listed in green with little icons beside – click on any that interest you.

Posts: In blog terminology, articles are called Posts. New posts appear at the top on the left. As soon as a newer one appears, the original one moves down. It then moves to the top of the list of five Recent Posts  on the right.  When another five have come after it,  it ‘disappears’ and can be accessed by clicking the appropriate  Category heading.

Categories: Down the right hand side are listed the topics you might want to follow. All the articles (‘posts’) should be categorised under the appropriate heading, so one doesn’t have to go wading through scores of subjects of no personal  interest at the time.

Tags do much the same thing with a different set of headings. Tags  enable one to pursue a theme regardless of which category all the articles are officially listed under.

Browse: This lists all the tag titles, the more  ‘popular’  the bigger the writing.

Archives: Everything posted each month is listed under that month.


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