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Parwich Wakes

The annual Wakes Week is upon us once again, and all the activities taking part in wonderfully relaxing warm weather. A short shower of rain last night was only refreshing – one knew it simply couldn’t last!

The week always starts with the Parwich Oddfellows’ Procession round the village accompanied  by a rousing brass band and scores of followers. There are various pre-arranged stop-offs for refreshments before everyone goes to a special service in the church and then the Oddfellows enjoy a traditional ‘roast dinner’ in the Memorial Hall.

Then there are stalls, children’s entertainments and finally a fancy dress parade with some magnificent floats and clever ideas. There are hosts of photos on the Parwich Blog, many – but by no means all – John’s. Do have a look.

Meanwhile, the jollities continue all week… The best place to follow them will be on parwich.org

Orchard Farm garden in June

SONY DSCWhat a beautiful spell of warm summery weather, and  the gardens have loved every minute of it!

John has been busy – when he has not been working in the garden – photographing all the flowers while they are at their best so when the garden is looking bleak and forlorn later in the year we can all remind ourselves how it once was!

We are slowly gathering a selection of photos into an album in the Gallery called Garden Flowers. Do have a look.

Tom Chambers to star in White Christmas

Just a quickie to give you a link to a news item on the Parwich Blog today about Parwich’s own Tom Chambers who will be appearing in White Christmas, at the end of the year.

We may all be biased but we think he is very good indeed and in time will go far! Meanwhile, no doubt there will be coach loads of trips to the theatre to support him.

Talking of which several friends and we went to Stratford on Saturday to see the RSC current production of Antony and Cleopatra. We often go, and love the Courtyard Theatre where one is so close the the stage and all the action wherever one is sitting. Normally we are riveted by the whole performance but – although as always we enjoyed the outing – we were very underwhelmed by this modern dress production.

The compelling love affair between Antony and Cleopatra was very unconvincing  –  it wasn’t obvious  what they saw in each other at all,  so the whole point of the play  was rather lost.

Gorgeous gardens in sunny Parwich

Parwich  Open Gardens by all accounts was a great success. The day had dawned for us with a slight sense of dismay when our lawnmower packed up half way through John’s final trimming, but we didn’t let that weigh us down too much as short of getting down with the proverbial nail scissors there wasn’t much we could do.

Anyway, the sun was shining, the air balmy, the gardens all looked superb, even Orchard Farm’s  stubbornly daisy-studded lawn.  Garden lovers streamed in from near and far, to enjoy, admire and compare notes. For its first big public occasion the new Memorial Hall looked wonderful – for a far better description  do have a look at the link to the  Parwich website – with scores of people sitting inside and out enjoying their cream teas and admiring the children’s displays.

And finally, here’s another link,  for photos of some of the open gardens , including one of the Tom’s Barn garden. Funnily enough, there’s not one of our lawn

Parwich Open Gardens – a garden (still) in the making

It is our village annual Open Gardens day today, and miraculously the sun is shining. There was one day not so long ago when in spite of a truly torrential downpour visitors poured through the Parwich gardens, soaked to the skin.

Orchard Farm opens its doors too. We always feel a trifle foolish doing this; the first time we were asked we were horrified that our half made garden  might be of any interest to anyone but were assured that it is reassuring for people to see the odd garden which is obviously needing some work and some weeding.

So the first time – about eight years ago, we called it a ‘garden in the making’ and made a little display of photographs showing the before (ramshackle field with docks and nettles growing rampantly over  old asbestos blocks, corrugated iron, rusting tractor parts and even possibly some old animal remains) and the now as it was then.

We have made some progress since then but in our minds (and literally) it will always be – and look like – a garden in the making, but that description is wearing a bit thin by now.  We’ll try and think of something a bit fresher next year meanwhile, please be warned, manicured it is not!

Top Tips: two walks, one wine and pubs that accept dogs

We are always grateful for up to date comments about what to do and where to eat and thought that this thoughtful review, left in the Tom’s Barn Visitors’  book, would be useful for a wider audience. This would  include Douglas’s Barn guests although none of them share the immediate concern about pubs that accept dogs, local visitors to our blog (we all round here appreciate good food and good walks!) and of course  future guests who may be planning what to do in the  time they are here.

(Please note, by the way, that we have  taken on board the comments towards the end about the misleading information re an enclosed garden on our website.  I  changed the description on the website immediately –  our garden is not – and never could easily be  – enclosed so that dogs could never get in or out.  We are sorry about that – in fact we quite often wish we could stop other dogs getting in who frequently have to be discouraged from deciding it might be a good local gents/ladies.)

“Tom’s Barn – what a fantastic find! Had everything we could possibly have wanted, rounded off our honeymoon perfectly. I am sure we will return in the future!

The weather was glorious – a little too hot to do all the walking we wanted to. We enjoyed a walk to the George at Alstonefield  (fab food, allows dogs, but we sat outside; the Bluebell at Tissington (nice meal); Red Lion at Hognaston (the best ever Sunday roast!).

We also walked from Parsley Hay to Biggin and back across the fields and along the Tissington Trail. We ate at the Waterloo (fantastic sandwiches and homemade chips – no dogs allowed but we sat outside) – very hot – 30C – a little too hot for this ten mile walk!

We spent a lot of money at H. Smith in Ashbourne – a great selection, especially of wines, and they stock our favourite ones. We recommend Vina Esmeralda 2007 – such a fruity wine for a summer day; we enjoyed sitting outside the front door with a glass!

It’s the finishing touches that make the cottage so special, the cake (that lasted all of ten minutes I add!) the fresh flowers that smell so lovely and freshly laid eggs!

If we can make one TINY criticism – the website implies there is an enclosed area of garden which is our criteria for booking a cottage, having a dog. It really didn’t matter here as Lily was a good girl and learnt the grass behind the cottage was for business but in the past we’ve had terrible trouble getting her to go in new places, so you might want to reword it on the website.

Having said that though we probably wouldn’t have found this special place if we hadn’t thought it had one. All in all an amazing stay – sad to be leaving, and our thanks to you both. (Another 5* review on TripAdvisor…!)” May 2010

Five Stars and a Gold Award

We heard some time ago that we had been granted  Five Stars and a Gold Award for both Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns, which of course was a great relief and delight. Just when I was beginning to wonder whether I had dreamed the whole thing we have now  actually received the 2010 Inspection Reports. We will happily produce detailed facts and figures for anyone who would like to see them.

Just to explain for those who are lucky enough not to have to deal with these things: to achieve Five Stars in self-catering accommodation there are various straight forward conditions which must be fulfilled – such as,  for instance, the property must have a dishwasher.

The Gold Award is for ‘exceptional quality of accommodation and customer service’.

Also, much less simple, one must also satisfy the inspector that  in each of all the following sections the accommodation meets the minimum level for (in our case) Five Star:  the Exterior and Setting,  ‘Management Efficiency’,  Cleanliness, Public Areas, Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Kitchens.

We’re delighted to have met these fairly stringent guidelines and just as delighted to report that once again we have achieved 100% for cleanliness throughout both barns – well done Janet and Carol!

There were one or two anomalies – possibly even in our favour – which we find really puzzling and for which we thought we would seek an explanation – possibly more about that later. However,  the final average overall score for Douglas’s Barn  is 92%, and 91% for Tom’s Barn and we’re not complaining about anything.

Our new video: Instalment three

I started writing this while Simon was filming our study for the new video. He felt it important that viewers should see the Orchard Farm nerve centre, so to speak. Whether it will survive the cutting/censorship stage remains to be seen.

All we are hoping for is an entertaining and informative few minutes which will give newcomers a flavour of what to expect and may perhaps revive some nostalgic memories for our many loyal ‘old stagers’.

It comes at the end of a long but enjoyable two days.  The weather forecast was appalling, correctly so for yesterday, which was grey, overcast and drizzling on and off all day. It was grey, breezy and dreary here at Orchard Farm, but with  much stronger winds at Carsington where John took Simon and his son Mike, who were working together on the video, to see lots of sailing boats  skimming attractively over the waves. Or such was the hope, in fact there wasn’t a boat that dared to go out, but the windsurfers were apparently having a wonderful time, pitting their skills against the strong wind.

They went to Dovedale and had a very useful time at  Tissington where Sir Richard was good enough to let them into his beautiful gardens at the hall (not always open to the public); they also filmed  the  Tissington White Peak Butchery – that favourite destination of so many of our guests (and us!) who all love to walk over the hills to buy their truly excellent meat and pies.

By the time the crew got to Chatsworth it was dusk and the drizzle was really beginning to settle in for good. The shots of Chatsworth, seen across the park, looked beautifully misty and dream like although more ideal would have been house basking in the glow of the setting sun.

Today, Friday, was much better than the forecast, and by mid afternoon the sky cleared and the sun shone, so in the end we were lucky. Simon and  Mike made the very best use of the day, with lots of views of Parwich and a trip to the pub and the shop-in-the-pub. They caught our milk being delivered, and the papers, and our eggs. (They missed the veggie box delivery; they missed also the cake baking so my beautifully shiny oven door was a waste of time and elbow grease after all that!

The voiceover was the bit I had been truly dreading, but Simon made it relatively easy with sympathetic questions and promptings. We then gave them a supper of Tissington Bangers and saw them on their way back to Bath.

It will be some time before the new video hits the screen. The pictures need to be edited, the worst of the ums and ahs taken out of the voice over, and suitable  background music selected.

Sad to say two more twits are leaving home.

(This post was  sent at dawn (ish) this morning by Jenny and Derek, originally as part of a comment to yesterday’s post ‘The Blue Tits have left Home’. We thought it deserved space of its own…)

Sad to say two more twits are leaving home. 6am and planning to leave early to avoid Simon and his camera – who was still filming last evening in dimming light.

Despite unusually wet weather our stay – as expected – has been excellent. Before our next visit we are going to work on developing short walks for oldies.

We categorise our needs as being between the very interesting guide book of the village and White Peak Walks by Mark Richards. We young 70 years old plus aim to walk 20 to 25 miles during a week’s stay. Which requires walks of no more than 4 miles in length and with contours slightly further apart than they used to be.

We tried the path immediately behind the house shown as Unsuitable for motorised vehicles. It is also unsuitable for bath chairs. It goes up and yet even further up and is most rewarding. It is a slow steady climb which provides plenty of time to use John’s excellent guide to flowers and fauna in the Green File. The steady climb to the road and the journey back down into the village is most rewarding. Such a trip takes about 3 hours – losing the way is essential and chatting with any passing mortal is to be recommended. It also allows recovery time for the next day. A good example can be found in Waterside Walks in the Peak District Page 94 Ilam and the River Dove.

The title for the collection of walks could well be “Strolling with oldies up hill and down dale”.

We look forward to that, Derek and (Jenny), and thank you! There are many of us that this would suit admirably.

The Blue Tits have left home

SONY DSCWe don’t know whether we have occasion to be rejoicing or commiserating, I do hope the former. There has been no sign of parent blue tits or offspring for two days.

Does anyone know, do the young ones literally just fly the nest, followed by the parents? Or is this another case of ‘nature red in tooth and claw’? Of course Boots is under suspicion but she could not possibly have attacked the whole lot anyway, and certainly not without leaving a lot of evidence behind…

Now, if we had had a camera installed we would not be in this state of ignorance and anxiety.


LATEST NEWS

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  • Time for a short pre Christmas break

    Time to get a bit of relaxation before the Christmas mayhem. There are still short breaks available in Douglas’s Barn. Plenty going on in the Peak District. Lots of Christmas markets selling lovely gifts that you don’t see elsewhere. Chatsworth House is also a must at this time of year. There are plenty of stories […]

  • A busy Sunday in the Peak District

    Lots of events to go to in and around Parwich today but managed to get to the Horticultural Show in Parwich and the Hartington Show. Missed out on the Antiques in Ashbourne though which is always worth going to. Izzy did better than me by getting 1st prize as the Prettiest Bitch at Hartington Show […]

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