United Kingdom

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    • Day 46

      Victorian delights

      October 8, 2016 in England ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

      Another day with vague plans that came together very well.

      Yesterday I booked a trip on a canal boat. As I mentioned in an earlier blog I didn't really understand how a canal lock worked.
      There was some miscommunication in that my booking wasn't passed on to the canal boat. I got to the Hollingwood Hub on the Chesterfield Canal at 10am to find the boat still parked up. The lovely lady in the cafe gave Bob a call and he explained that he didn't get the booking and would be down for 11am. So I sat in my car and read one of my new books (an exciting tale of schoolgirls who get shipwrecked - "School on an Island" by Rita Coatts for my book friends).

      At 11 I found out they weren't intending on going until 12. So I had a cup of tea.

      It was worth the wait though. I was the only passenger and so was able to have a good chat with Bob as we talked about the canal and other things.
      And I got to go through a lock! We entered at the lower end and floated to the top. We went further down the canal, round a bend that is apparently there because the land contains the mass graves of plague victims.
      We turned around and then went through the lock again, this time lowering the water.

      It was one of the (many) highlights of my trip. Bob wouldn't let me pay because I'd had to wait so long so I bought a souvenir tea towel.
      I met a lovely 88 year old man, he has backpacked and rock climbed all over the world. He sailed up the inside passage on a yacht with his wife and another couple.
      We had a good chat.

      From there I came over to Matlock Bath to do the Heights of Abraham, a cable car to the top of a massive hill.
      Parking was a real problem, the car park by the cable car was full, I eventually found one at the other end of town. Walking down to the town I discovered that the Illuminations were on tonight. As luck would have it I was parked in the right car park for that.

      I had a look at the lead mining museum, others probably would have found it more interesting that I did. It did emphasise just how cramped the working conditions were.

      I found the cable car and made my way up the hill. It does give a lovely view and there is a lot to do up there.

      I'm Victorian times it was a very popular spot but they had to walk up!

      After coming back down I was making my way back to the car when I came across a Victorian Bath house/arcade. The water used in the baths is high in calcium carbonate and would "petrify" objects. I saw lots of examples of this.

      The swimming pool is now a koi pond but I could still get the idea. Upstairs was a hologram exhibition and that was really cool.

      Tea was pretty much fish and chips or variations thereof. Two out of every three shops on the Main Street seemed to be fish and chip shops.

      A lot of the shops also have "bikers welcome" signs. Apparently lots of bikers come here. A few years ago the county decided they would name it difficult/impossible for the to park in the town as a way of discouraging them from visiting. 8000 bikers descended on the town. This is accordingly to the young guy from Darby who shared my cable car on the way down.

      Anyway I had fish and chips for tea, I could add peas, gravy or curry. I decided to try the curry as Phil recommended it after Whitby.
      I was expecting more of a Thai curry sauce (don't ask why) but it was more of a curry powder gravy. It was better than I thought and I'd chose it over mushy peas but not gravy.

      The illuminations turned out to be rowing boats lit up on the Derwent river. It has been a tradition since Queen Victoria's golden jubilee. The first boat out was lit by candles in glass jars, the rest was electric.

      It was certainly something different, the whole place had a fair feel to it. It finished with fireworks at 9. I'm sitting in the car in the car park waiting for the traffic to die down before leaving.

      I've enjoyed my time in the Peak District but I'm not sure I've actually been in the National Park.

      Canal boat Madeleine
      Entering lock
      Approaching full lock
      Petrified objects
      Cable cars
      "Ship in a bottle" illuminated boat
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