A warm (warmer, it’s all relative) day so hardly any snow or visible ice about on the roads and paths, although in deep puddles there still can lurk a layer of ice providing a slippery trap for the unwary.
John and I and another group of friends went today to Hartington where most of us embarked on a delightful two-hour walk ending in a very pleasant and convivial lunch at the Devonshire Arms (in Hartington, not Beeley!).
Of course because of all the sudden warm(er) weather there is a lot of mist about in the valleys, lingering all day in some places. John managed to capture some rather evocative misty views looking down over Hartington from the hills above.
These are the grey/green/blue misty colours I find so attractive and which we tried to reflect in Douglas’s Barn, wanting to create a calm, peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
If you’d like to see a few more John took today (all variations on a theme) they are in the Photo Gallery, under Here and There. Double click on a photo then you should be able to see each in turn, slightly enlarged.
2010 began in snow and shows every sign of ending in snow although the current forecast is for slightly warmer weather, causing fog and mist, but basically ‘staying cold and damp with some patchy light rain’.
Meanwhile on a more domestic front, Nick had to be back at work on Boxing Day so set off at about 6.30 am and returned safely, in time… We were sad he had so little time off for Christmas but can’t feel too sorry for him as he flies to Tobago for New Year, poor chap. Ruthie had a couple more days here which was lovely but she too had to return early, as she goes to Burgundy with some friends for New Year. We meanwhile remain, less excitingly but very happily in Parwich, enjoying a gentle round of local parties, walks and get-togethers.
About 35 of us enjoyed a wonderful walk to Tissington and back on Christmas day, stopping to enjoy a picnic lunch of mulled wine and Christmas goodies in front of the Hall before setting off back home. The scenery was beautiful, the sun shone, the skies were bright blue and the snow was dazzling. We all agreed how very grateful we were to live in such a lovely part of the country – one could go far to find somewhere as stunning as it all looked on Christmas Day. (In the photo on the right you can just – with very sharp eyes – make out Orchard Farm in the background.)
Finally, a gentle reminder to any would-be-guests who are thinking of booking a holiday next year – 2010 prices finish on the first stroke of the clock at midnight on New Year’s Eve…!
Both lots of Christmas guests have arrived safely, and managed to get their cars up the final slope. The barns are warm and snug as usual, and feeling very Christmassy especially with the snow outside (although there’s a paltry amount compared to what we had nearly a month ago!). John tried to capture an idea of what snow there is in this image on the right – if you double click on the image you get a better idea of how nice it all looks.
We managed to find two small – but almost perfectly formed – Christmas trees and with a bit of holly and poinsettia not to forget the usual lilies and a plate full of Orchard Farm’s unique Christmas Bakewell and mince pies both barns look quite inviting and jolly – it would be tempting to book ourselves in but both barns are already booked for Christmas next year so we’ve clearly missed the boat there…
We brought home yesterday a new LED, HD Ready and goodness knows what else white flat screen TV for upstairs in Douglas’s Barn, pleased to update things as usual but even more pleased to beat the VAT increase in the New Year.
Now all we have to do is wrap presents and wait for Ruthie and Nick to arrive, separately, from London. Sara and her family meanwhile are enjoying the summer sunshine in Australia so no white Christmas for them.
Another post that will only be of any use for people in London (sorry, we will do something a bit closer to home soon) and before Jan 11 when the show closes; howeevr, if you are in London and able to go, Salad Days at the Riverside Studios, Hammersmith, is an absolute must! The blurb says ‘A sure-fire cure for your winter blues’ and how right they are.
Eight of us went after the family wedding mentioned before, and it ended a wonderfully happy day on a truly magical note. Everyone, and not just us, came out of the theatre with smiles on their faces and their feet tapping. I would have loved to have sat through the whole performance again.
The atmosphere is set as you enter. The entire cast is amassed at the door, in academic garb. The ‘chancellor’ solemnly hands everyone their degree scroll impressively rolled up and tied with red ribbon and congratulates them on their tremendous academic achievement… Then they all rather surprisingly break into dance and the fun starts.
Salad Days was written in 1954 but seemed to hark back to the 1930s and the era of the Charleston although there was a bit of rock and roll and jive. The theme however was very topical – it is all about a young couple, freshly graduated from university but unsure of what lies ahead. You even have the two mothers singing rather plaintively that they don’t understand their children.
The singing and dancing and comedy is superb. The audience sits facing each other across the stage in the middle. It is all very relaxed and intimate, with no sound system but the strong voices carried perfectly. Most of the cast are very young and freshly out of music or drama school but I feel sure they will go far.
I would simply love to find an excuse to go down to London, snow permitting, to see it again before January 11th, unless of course one of the big theatres takes it up.
…This report will be of more practical interest if you are in London, or planning a trip before the end of April.
We are not often there ourselves, but when we do go try to make the most of any spare time available to visit art exhibitions, the theatre or other interesting things that are on, and even perhaps indulge in a little bit of window shopping (there’s nearly always a birthday or Christmas coming up, or we are on the look out for some new little treat for the barns…).
We went down to London last weekend a day early for a family wedding on Saturday 11th. On the Friday before son Nick and I went to ‘Evolving English’ at the British Library (very conveniently near St Pancras for those of us whose main station that is).
Pardon me for not having the pleasure of knowing your mindset before making you this offer and it is utterly confidential and genuine by virtue of its nature.
If you are at all interested in English, this is fascinating. It is so easy to assume that although the English language has continually been influenced over time (if nothing else think of the time after the Norman Conquest when for several centuries anybody posh or official spoke French) that the English we speak and have been taught now – and some of us have even taught – is how English should remain forever more.
But of course that is simply not true. Even a short spell at the British Library shows one that the language is alive, permanently developing and changing fast. From audio headphones dangling everywhere one can listen to examples of English spoken by people from earlier times, different walks of life and other countries; rap music, slang, texting, official business jargon, the accents and idioms of the millions who visit our country… These are all ‘English’ and all influence our language whether we like it or not.
I can’t resist adding a quote (see the bit in bold on the right) taken from some kind bank manager from Ghana who was writing ‘to solicit my assistance in a funds transfer deal’ involving US$3.5M profits made by his bank during the last two years).
If the majority started writing like this so-called bank manager or pronouncing a word ‘incorrectly’ or writing ‘you are’ as UR does that make it correct? Who is to decide which of these changes is good or simply not acceptable?
You can record your own voice, which will be used as part of their research into the various influences which affect the language and what the majority are now doing. You can even record your voice online although Nick and I did ours while we were there.
Today we bought two new plastic sledges for the use of our guests and/or rather less excitingly for pulling luggage up to the house if that becomes necessary again. Determined not to be caught out next time round we also purchased a new snow shovel – our last one is now in London having been urged upon son Nick when he left here in heavy snow over a fortnight ago – and some road salt. This comes in fairly minutes 20kg bags – heavy to carry, expensive to buy and somewhat ineffective on the snow and ice – but considerably better than nothing!
We’ve also ordered some mince pies from Riverford Organic just in case the Aga and I can’t keep up with the demand, and one or two new Christmassy candles and decoration etc for the barns.
But more importantly, we need a weather update, particularly for those of you planning to arrive here on Friday…
It has been much warmer, and drizzly and wet the last two days. There is very little snow about, apart from heaps at the side of the road in some places, and pockets of white on the hillsides where the snow has settled in the dips and furrows or banked up under stone walls.
We seem to be hearing a little less of the dramatic talk of an ‘Arctic blast’ bringing heavy snow that was being loudly proclaimed last week. There is talk now of rain turning to sleet and possibly snow on Thursday but we haven’t had any general weather warnings (or that we’ve heard, anyway). If you are at all concerned, keep looking at the BBC weather for Ashbourne.
The snow has pretty well all disappeared! We have been away for a few days for a family wedding in London, and in spite of genuine determination to write posts from the big city itself our time was so happily busy – more of which later – we never got anywhere near a computer.
Anyway, to update everyone on the weather situation: we left on Thursday afternoon, taking the car very gingerly down the lane for the first time since 27th November…! There was still a lot of snow and ice about, and it felt extremely cold. We parked the car on an ice-covered surface at Derby station (which incidentally almost cost more than our fares down and back) hoping things wouldn’t have frozen up completely by the time we returned.
We returned on Sunday evening to find no snow, no ice and the temperature a relatively warm 5’C or so. However, before any of us start feeling too confident, apparently there is talk of another cold snap – a so-called ‘Arctic blast’ – with bitterly cold weather and maybe more snow. Keep an eye on the BBC Ashbourne weather.
The height of the snow is reducing, but almost imperceptibly. Our guests today managed to leave OK with baby (Douglas’s Barn) and cello (Tom’s Barn). Philip K from next door had most kindly offered to ferry them down in his Landrover but our intrepid guests insisted on making the journey to their cars on foot as did the incoming guests, having tried and failed to make that final slope by car.
John has been out taking more photos – we thought this view of the garden in the late afternoon was rather attractive, with the sun casting shadows through the trees.
Idly watching the Antiques Roadshow at Chatsworth tonight we were intrigued when the daughter of an artist called Bert Broomhead (who up until that moment we had never heard of) produced a rather beautiful picture of Parwich painted in 1950. John had recorded the programme and was able to ‘rewind’ and take a few stills but a picture of the actual painting can be seen on the artist’s website
Momentarily we struggled to place the view until we realised it must have been painted from directly behind Orchard Farm. Interestingly there is no rusty haybarn which we had assumed to be even older than 60 years and of course no sign of any of the ‘newer’ houses along this road.
What is there in pride of place is nostalgic reminder our old two-seater privy in the foreground on the left. There was no loo and no bathroom and not much else either in the house when we bought Orchard Farm in 1983 but needless to say we did improve the facilities somewhat before moving in. The privy sadly was demolished by a van taking the corner too fast at least twenty years ago so now all we have left is the levelled off waist-high wall.
The church is there in the background, the McCabes’ old barn, and is that Knob Hall in the right hand corner?
There is no dramatic news of thaws, or indeed even more snow. The last two days have seen blue skies and apparently warm, bright sunshine but not either warm or bright enough to melt much of the snow although the level is down on its previous highs. I thought the photo of the wallflowers gamely peeping through the snow might give us encouragement! Maybe the snow can’t last for ever.
Life below our final slope has more or less returned to normal although getting in and out of the village still needs care; apparently once on the main roads everything is pretty well all right. Our guests are parked below the snow line, and those coming tomorrow plan to do the same.
Meanwhile, our bad weather contingency plans worked well and as so often happens when conditions are different/difficult it creates a rather exciting sense of fun, of everyone appreciating and enjoying the unusual even if that unusual means wielding shovels and spades to clear the drive and dig each others’ cars out. And we are extremely grateful to our good neighbours, without whom we would still be virtually marooned up here!
The way everybody rallies round and offers help – and most of it sheer physical flog – is very moving. It is a cliche, but this sort of situation does seem to bring out the best in us all (as long as it doesn’t last too long…).
There is still time to book a last minute Christmas get away in Douglas’s Barn. The weather may be cold but the barn is very warm and cosy. Why not treat yourselves to a get away from it all break. You can order all your supplies from one of the supermarkets, get it delivered and […]
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 […]
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 […]