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    • Day 75

      Stalkers Cottage Day 1

      June 22, 2018 in England ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

      Big sleep in after our long drive yesterday. Once we got going we drove to Cheadle to do a bit of shopping. While there we had a look at a church which is known as Pugin's Gem. Pugin is an architect who designed Big Ben and the interior of Westminster. The church was spectacularly colourful inside, quite different to most English churches. Afterwards we drove over to Alton where we went to a nice pub for a quiet drink in the sun. On the way home we found a local farmshop where we picked up some more supplies. Just down the road are the ruins of Croxden Abbey where we stopped for a quick look only (closing time)This is the Abbey we can see from our cottage and like Byland Abbey it was established by the Cistercian monks in the 12thC.Read more

    • Day 77

      Stalkers Day 3

      June 24, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

      Fantastic day today. We walked about a mile down the valley to Croxden Abbey and joined an open garden route around the tiny little hamlets of Great Gate and Croxden. We paid at St Giles church where we were given a cup of tea and cake before our arduous adventure. On we trudged through the prettiest gardens in the world.........and all around the abbey. The abbey is now located on the property of a large and prosperous farm whose garden was unfortunately not open. But we peeked over the stone wall and eden appeared before our eyes. So elegant, tranquil and simple. The colours of an English spring are so wonderful; purples, pinks yellows blues reds orange and every shade thereof. And the perfume as you walk along, even from the fields and hedges is so delightful. Staying in the countryside has really given us a sense of nature's bounty and the silence all around is very relaxing. The historical towns are exceptional but the rural landscapes are sublime. It was nice to talk to some of the gardeners too. Understandably, they're a relaxed lot.
      Dinner at the Raddle Inn. Better this time.
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    • Day 76

      Stalkers Day 2

      June 23, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

      Another big sleep in as we are still finding it hard to keep up the pace. We are trying to slow it all down a bit. Around lunch time we drove to the market town of Uttoxeter. There was a market in the main street selling local food and crafts.
      We then drove to an area where we were told there wa a famous cafe and walk. We stopped at the Ramblers Retreat for lunch. Quite good.
      After lunch we went on a scenic walk from the cafe. Unfortunately we found we can go the wrong way even when walking. When we got back from what was a very nice walk, we looked at the map and realised we had gone on a different walk to that intended. Hope we'll have time to do the "actual" walk later on.
      On the way back we stopped at the town of Alton where there was a beer festival and market in the main street. There was another Pugin church here which was very beautiful and less decorative than the one in Cheadle. The priest there is Vietnamese and he told us how his family had escaped Vietnam in the 80's. Couldn't help thinking what a huge change in his circumstances and how life had evolved it's course for him. The church, monastery and castle are now owned by the church and the castle is used to accommodate disadvantage kids for holiday respite. All good and interesting stuff!
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    • Day 78

      Derby and Bakewell

      June 25, 2018 in England ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

      Had a few dramas returning our hire car but won't bore you! Happily set out for Bakewell after leaving Derby and we were planning on having a famous Bakewell Tart. Sadly, when we realised they were full of jam we changed our minds and set about a brief exploration of the town. Bakewell is another market town located on the River Derwent. (nothing to do with the lakes district though) It was a busy market day, people everywhere but a friendly vibe. Visited another ancient church with remnants of earlier buildings dating from the 9th century. The stones were etched with symbols including the ancient staffordshire knot which adorned what is left of a cross in the church grounds. Astonishing antiquities which really link you to the past and the people that lived in these parts, maybe some our forebears!! Homeward bound through lovely farmland we spotted a dairy which used raw milk. Col had an icecream and me a delicious coffee. You could really taste the difference. Final stop was Ashborne, a pretty place with a Sainburys. Home with our stash of goodies and a pile of vegies and Cod for tea.Read more

    • Day 81


      June 28, 2018 in England ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

      Last night the Met officially called it a heat wave in the UK. The weather has been bright and sunny since we arrived in Staffordshire with temperatures in the mid 20s. The news is full of parboiled Brits at the seaside and with their feet in ponds. We are are quite enjoying the mild sunny days ourselves.
      Quiet day, washing clothes and preparing for our move to Cambridge tomorrow. Highlight of lunch at Denstone Farm Shop. There are quite a few of these farm shops around and as you would expect their quality varies. Generally though they're nicer than a regular town cafe. We've been trying to buy our eggs from the free range roadside stands. The best were in the Yorkshire Dales where we bought a dozen eggs, all huge and all double yokers. It was amazing and we'll no doubt be talking about it for years!! Very happy that Damian has arrived safely and is staying with his friend Ali in Maidenhead. On Sunday he's training up to Cambridge to meet us for the week.
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    • Day 80

      Leek and the Peak District

      June 27, 2018 in England ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      Our day out today was a trip to Leek and around the Peak District
      Leek is a Market town that is interesting without being particularly exciting. Most of the buildings date from the 17th and 18th century. It was worth a two hour walk around.
      We then drove up through Blackshaw Moor into the Peak District National Park. Taking whatever backroads we could find we visited Longnor (a pretty little village), Flash (the highest village in England), Upper Hulme, and a number of other impossibly cute villages in unbelievably beautiful countryside. On the way home we stopped at the Manifold Inn in the Manifold Valley for a very nice dinner and a well earned drink.
      Continuing on we took a "short cut" that took us along a road that got narrower and narrower as we went along until we were eventually opening farm gates every 500m to get to the other end. Well worth the drive as the valley views were amazing.
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    • Day 74

      The Peak District

      June 21, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

      Packed our bags again for our move down to the Peak District. We have booked a cottage near Hollington in Staffordshire. Started the drive by picking up coffee and cakes in Hovingham then set off South.
      First part of the drive was mostly motorways but then we diverted through the Peak National Park. Stunning scenery again. Stopped for lunch in Buxton which is a spa town that once had pretensions to rival Bath. Stopped to ask a lady who was filling up drinking bottles at a natural spring about the water quality and she said it was the best. Unfortunately, we didn't have our drinking bottles with us so we'll never know!
      Arrived at the cottage about 4pm. We are in a little hamlet with about 6 houses and a pub. Cottage is well presented and comfortable with great views over the fields which includes the ruins of an abbey about 1 mile away down the valley. Can't wait to explore. Had dinner at the Raddle Inn only a couple of hundred yards up the road. Food was interesting, huge servings, average quality.
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    • Day 79

      Missing Day

      June 26, 2018 in England ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

      Just checked the blog and realised we had lost a day. Now what did we do that day?
      We have decided to stay another 3 nights at Stalkers cottage. It is so comfortable it is not worth leaving. Also the owners were very obliging and gave us the cottage for 40 pound a night.
      Our day was a quiet one, catching up on washing and lunch at Denstone Farm Shop.
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