When Marion had her 60th birthday last year, we and a group of friends (four couples in total) got together and celebrated at The Inn At Whitewell. We got along so well that we suggested that we should make such reunions a regular event and six of us were able to meet up again in November in Yorkshire. Last weekend saw our third gathering and I am delighted that all eight of us were able to make it this time as we rented a big house in Matlock in the Peak District.
We got there on Friday night and enjoyed a good meal (I would say that as Marion and I cooked it) with plenty of fresh Suffolk produce from Leo's Deli, Hall Farm Butchers and other local stores. Our friends Mark and Nita, whose son runs the fabulous and multi award winning Whalley Wine Shop, took charge of the wines for the weekend and supplied us with an excellent range to complement the meal. With such good wine and conversation it was well into the early hours when we got to bed.
With unpredictable weather forecast for Saturday we played safe and went to nearby Chatsworth House where we could keep ourselves occupied rain or shine.
|Friends Dave and Janet Wareing brought their three King Charles Spaniels with them. Nita adopted one of them.|
|Marion and her dearest friend Jane|
|Chatsworth's parkland and gardens are full of interesting sculpture.|
|And beautifully landscapes.|
|A fascinating mechanical sculpture that opens and closes with water pressure.|
|There's a real mix of the old with the new in the house.|
|Nothing illustrates that point better than the chapel.|
|The ceiling in Chatsworth's entrance hall is not quite Michelangelo but still pretty spectacular.|
|More sculpture combined with landscaping.|
|Being rich sometimes has its drawbacks like having to dress like this.|
|Our dining room in the house wasn't quite like this but it was extremely good.|
After a good day at Chatsworth we returned to the rented house before enjoying a good meal at a cheap and cheerful local Italian in Matlock called Viva. The service was friendly and the food tasty.
|On Sunday morning we had to have a look at what was waking us up at six in the morning. The bells on this clock were the culprit.|
|We carried on from the church for a walk to Matlock Bath|
|A rare photo with me on.|
|The route passed some spectacular scenery and the famous cable cars (above) at the Heights Of Abraham|
|We didn't stay long in Matlock Bath as it was overrun by motor cyclists and resembled the pit stop at the Isle Of Man TT|
|We walked to The Barley Mow in Bonsall for a good pub lunch|
|It was quite a crowd for a small pub to fit in at short notice but the food was excellent and worth waiting for.|
|Duly refreshed with plenty of local ale and Sunday roast we walked back along the Limestone Way to Matlock|
|It really is an ideal base with lovely countryside but also plenty of local amenities.|
|It was lovely to receive this thank you from friends Mark and Nita for our organising the weekend - it really wasn't necessary|
Mark also sent some of his photos of the weekend.
|Dave surveying the landscape.|
|East? West? This way's best|
It was a great weekend and we're now planning the next.