This weekend of blistering temperatures and the threat of summer actually arriving, has reminded me of a weekend we were lucky enough to disappear on recently.
It was a gloriously sunny and fun weekend in the peak district to catch up with friends that we haven’t seen in far too long.
We booked a cottage that catered for all our needs, that was in a rural location but also close to the amenities of a little market town called Wirkworth.
We did brilliantly well with our choice and the cottage was amazing. Recently converted from a barn just next to a very pretty public footpath, it afforded us quite a lot of privacy but the occasional distraction from passers by; especially since Max decided to greet each and every one with his big bark!!
It was just what we all needed. We went with absolutely no expectations and found it completely charming and far better that we could have hoped.
We had good weather, gorgeous surroundings, great company and enough beer to kill a man. What else do you need?
Everyone mucked in, there was lots of booze drunk, rubbish spoken and food eaten and it couldn’t have been better.
Mostly we just chilled out at the gorgeous, gorgeous and perfectly appointed cottage. We played cards around the garden table or set up tennis (for the more energetic amongst us), we read, we chatted (a lot!!) and thoroughly relaxed.
When we did venture out (we were very tempted to stay put but really felt that we had to see more than the wonderful view from the barn garden), we were just as happy with what we found and some of it came as a complete surprise.
We had briefly passed through Matlock Baths on the Friday night as we arrived, so we decided to go and wander through this sleepy little ribbon town on Sunday morning. We would grab a coffee, maybe an ice cream and enjoy the peace and quiet of the riverbank walk and it’s pretty shops. It should be pretty quiet leading up to lunchtime.
I think we were the only people in the whole county who DIDN’T know that every Sunday, Matlock Baths is overrun with bikes and scooters of all shapes and sizes as well as the diverse collection of people that ride them.
Every single parking space along the length of the village has 2 wheels parked in it and even the station car park was struggling to accommodate the 4 wheels that had chosen to visit at the same time.
JC got some cracking shots of some of the bikes (clearly someone’s pride and joy) and the irony of the huge, seemingly out of place, ‘think bike’ sign wasn’t missed on us – you really couldn’t help thinking about bikes since it was practically all there was as far as the eye could see.
Once we thought about it, it made sense that this funny little place couldn’t sustain about 8 fish and chip shops a greater number of cafes and 2 bike wear shops without something spectacular like the sunday pilgrimage to contribute to the coffers.
Everyone was clearly happy and there was a nice vibe.
Not remotely what we had expected but quite wonderful all the same.
We eaked out as much of the weekend as we could and didn’t leave until the latest possible (our booking was until monday am but we all had to get back for work!! boohoo) with another walk to check out the local station of Wirkworth and the sweet town centre itself.
These small towns are clearly affected by the out of town supermarkets and the change in our shopping habits but it is hanging on in there. Like all small market towns, it has it’s problems but it is surviving. It has retained its charm and there are a handful of brilliant little retailers as well as decent pubs and I hope it lasts.
We are going to make this little weekend an annual event now because we were so taken by the place and the surroundings. We’ll be booking it well in advance so we aren’t disappointed.
I’m looking forward to it already!!
One of my friends, Caroline, who I met dog walking (in the dark one winter morning I might add) has just been on holiday with her family (Nat and Drew). Well, technically, she’s been on holiday with most of her family! There’s one member who stayed at home to keep order. We were lucky enough that he stayed home and took his own ‘holiday’ with us.
His name is Bosley and he is a very, very sweet and lovely black labrador.
Although Bosley and Max have had their moments (mostly, I hasten to add, they have actually been Max’s moments!) they get along fine and I think there is a love of sorts there. They have been very settled and happy together this week.
Max definitely takes advantage of Bosley’s good nature and is sometimes just a bit mean to him. He takes stuff like toys from Bosley. Why does Max do it?…… because he can…….. and because Boz just goes ‘whatevs’….. I AIN’T BOVVERED!’
It’s a bit of a shame, though, because Max is mostly an un terrier like terrier. What I mean by that is that he isn’t yappy or snappy, doesn’t bite or cause trouble and is pretty laid back, loving and great fun.
It would be easy to say ‘nut up’ Boz but no one, including Caroline wants Bosley to ‘nut up’. He’s just perfect the way he is.
I have a soft spot for black labs and Max nearly was one (if you know what I mean!!) so Bosley comes to us with an already built in affection for him. I loved him a bit before cos he’s a lab, I loved him a bit before because he is a sweety, now I love him heaps because he is Bosley!!
He was with us on ‘holiday’ for a week and I didn’t want him to go home.
There is no doubt he missed Caroline, Natalie and little Drew but I’d like to think he has enjoyed his temporary home this week. Max and he quickly settled into a nice chilled out way with each other, they slept close, they played lots and they both seemed to enjoy the doggy distraction each other’s company offered.
JC hadn’t spent any time with Bosley prior to his holiday but he has clearly taken a real shine to Bosley (you couldn’t fail to to be honest) and has spent a lot of time playing with him and Max, he has kept up their command training and made sure they behaved. He’s loved it. Affection from Bosley involves a lot of licking that is practically a shower, but it is very funny and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Bosley takes up quite a bit more space than Max but he is so well behaved and a complete pleasure to have around. He has found his favourite places in our home quite quickly. One of them is the pond which is just a big mucky puddle to him and he likes those, another one is sleeping on the edge of Max’s bed and the other is right by the oven (just in case……..).
We’ve done the usual ‘stupid o’clock’ walks in the morning near darkness, we’ve played, encouraged tricks and had big cuddles in front of the fire. This is all the normal stuff we do with Max but Bosley has slotted in and become part of it. It has been fantastic.
He’s home now and I think he is happy to be home. Hopefully we are lucky enough to have him stay again.
Our JRT, Max comes almost everywhere with us. He comes away with us at weekends, around to friends when we are invited and we don’t holiday without him. Destination and accommodation is chosen on dog appropriate and dog friendliness.
The only times he can’t be included is restaurants and work, really.
During the week Max stays at home in the day but only for a few hours at a time. Although we both work, we are very lucky to both work from home mostly and have to be out for only a few hours each time. Even though we are mostly around, our friends Jess and Jeanette pop in a couple of times a day for a quick play and to let him out. I sometimes think he wishes we’d all just go away and leave him in peace for a bit.
When we do have to go out, we leave home having put him to his bed with a small treat and he is perfectly happy.
If we start packing the car, however, that is a completely different matter and that simple task generates a huge amount of doggy activity.
Packing the car simply isn’t allowed to happen without his involvement. It has to be dealt with.
Given the first chance, he will be in the car making sure that he is ahead of us and we can’t going ANYWHERE without him!
He tries to look a bit casual but there isn’t a single movement that gets missed.
If he can’t manage getting in the car, he positions himself right by the door and is ever watchful
Once he’s happy in the knowledge that we aren’t doing anything fun without him, going anywhere without him or that we are doing something that he should clearly be involved in, he nestles into your knee (just to make sure you don’t make a move without his knowledge of course) and doses intermittently.
He generally likes having some part of himself touching you at most opportunities but if we are staying away, he keeps up the contact that he starts in the car and doesn’t generally sleep unless he is against mine of JC’s warmth.
Ever watchful, he rouses himself at the slightest shift before sighing and nodding off again.
Once safely home, he is happy to take himself off to the quiet corner where his little bed sits and sleep the sleep of the innocent without the need to be touching one of us as we are close by anyway and will be returning soon!
It is very funny and incredibly endearing. I can’t honestly think why we’d leave him behind!