Sunday, 11 July 2010

A great holiday and a sad story in Derbyshire

If you think of England, you may think of London and all it's great buildings, but there is another side...the "green and pleasant land" as we all used to sing at school! The picture of the landscape of Derbyshire for me depicts this, the green fields, the stone walls dividing them and the lush vegetation.We stayed in a village called Sheldon which is a couple of miles outside Bakewell, and this is the lovely little barn conversion we stayed in with it's own little garden.It was spotlessly clean and every comfort included. These cows were driven up the village twice a day for milking and nice to see even if we did have to wait a bit to get out in the mornings!
Bakewell is a lovely little town with interesting small shops and seems largely untouched by the supermarket giants that ruin our towns now. Down by the river these folk were dancing to old 40's music and passers by were joining in, it was a great atmosphere.There is a village called Eyam near Bakewell which has a beautiful window in the Church depicting the plague that killed so many of the villagers in 1665-6, in total over 14 months, 260 villagers died. If you want to see the window better please click on the picture.
The bottom left of the window shows the local tailor, George Vicars opening a parcel of cloth that had been sent from London, unfortunately it also contained fleas and as he dried it out the fleas became active. George died a few days later of the plague.
The Vicar of the parish, William Mompesson decided that as people were dying all around, their services should be held out in the open to minimise the risk of infection. It was decided that everyone should stay in the village to contain the outbreak, and food was left outside the village for them to pick up with no human contact. There was a young couple, Emmott Sydall from Eyam and her sweetheart Rowland Torre from a neighbouring village who would meet at a river and shout across to each other but sadly Emmott and eight of her family died of the plague and this is in the bottom right of the window.
The Vicar's wife, Catherine Mompesson nursed many of the victims herself and lost her own life in the process, aged 28 leaving a young family. Every year on the Sunday nearest her death a service is held and a wreath laid on her grave to this day.
A sad story but it happened in so many places back them, it's well worth a visit and the village is very pretty anyway.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

From Dorset to Wales to Derbyshire.

I've been a bit quiet on the blog front as we have been on holiday for two weeks, the first week in North Wales and the second in Derbyshire. Amazing weather for both weeks and we've come home feeling refreshed.
Our cottage for the first week was quite old and a little basic if I'm honest!
Okay, I'm kidding...this was the cottage we stayed in, it was 200 years old and had still got alot of original features in it. The half stable door, a built in box bed with wooden steps up to it which was very old,

and an old hand made kitchen with a slate workspace. It was a nice place and a nice position right up in the hills, but not as clean as it could have been and a not great bathroom. Rather strangely they had added a sauna to the cottage but the shower was rubbish so it was a bit useless really! I don't think they had saunas 400 years ago! However while D watched England get beaten and thrown out of the World Cup I reclined in the sauna with a good book!
We walked up the lane on the first evening and saw masses of bird life, 5 Cuckoo's together...I have never seen that before. Wheatears, Redstarts, Red Kite, Buzzards, Pied Wagtails, Grey Wagtails, Mistle Thrush and lots more.
Foxgloves everywhere, wonderful against the stone walls. and then the relaxing started....lots of walking, reading, sewing, sunbathing, drawing and no painting...I just didn't get around to it.