coffee madam?

coffee in my 'work' mug

coffee in my favourite ‘work’ mug

I love coffee.

I don’t drink a lot of it. Maybe only a cup or two a day but when I do, I really enjoy it.

For years I used to have a percolator, then I moved onto a cafetiere and after a particularly lovely stay with friends in Rome, I used a traditional stove top coffee pot for a while.

my barista recommended keep cup for travelling with coffee

my barista recommended keep cup for travelling with coffee

BUT

None of them was completely satisfactory for drinking coffee at home.

Percolators seem to burn the coffee very quickly, cafetieres stew it and render it heart attack strength coffee if you don’t drain them quickly and I never manage to watch the stove top pot carefully enough to stop it boiling!!

We have friends, Kate and John, who rave about Nespresso and after one particular sampling the delights from their machine, JC decided that we should get one for the kitchen.

Since our kitchen is pretty small and we don’t have any workspace to speak of, he thought we should build an extension to increase the size of our kitchen.

Seems a bit extreme for the simple pleasure of a cup of coffee but there you go!!

When I get something into my mind, it generally stays there until it is resolved in some way and I didn’t fancy waiting for the age it would take to get around to building an extension before I could enjoy a good coffee at home

a coffee machine

a coffee machine

Anyway, having been completely convinced that Nespresso was the way to go, we stayed with friends in the Peak District in the summer and the cottage had a coffee machine that seemed to make lovely coffee every time.  After a weekend of faffing about and drinking lots of cups of frothy coffee (when we weren’t necking sauvignon blanc by the gallon), I was pretty convinced that the faffing was worth it.

There is absolutely no denying that Kate is right and the Nespresso pod system is incredibly easy with no mess and no faffing whatsoever but I found  I didn’t actually mind the faffing. It’s not like I want to drink coffee throughout the day and then not sleep at night. I just want an odd cup that is really, really nice.

The ritual of grinding the beans, filling up the filter, attaching it to the machine, frothing my milk and waiting for the pruck, pruck, pruck noise as 2 little nozzles deliver the dark creamy coffee into my little cup is rather rewarding.

in place and ready to use

in place and ready to use

I have cleared the decks, found a corner in a cup’d for the toaster and the magimix and placed my order with John Lewis for a next day delivery of a lovely shiny new De Longhi espresso machine

ikea dinera coffee cups that match the sofa!

ikea dinera coffee cups that match the sofa!

We are experimenting with coffee blends, we are experimenting with frothing and we have bought new coffee cups too. It has been sooooo much fun.

We still don’t get it right a lot of the time just yet (JC is better at it than I am!!) and my barista art skills leave a lot to be desired but it’s fabulous.

can ya till wot it iz yit?

can ya till wot it iz yit?

We will still build the extension of course but there’s no pressure to get on with it to house a coffee machine now!

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a weekend in the Peak District

the view

the view

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.

our acommodation for the weekend

our acommodation for the weekend

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.

Max watching the coffee and cards session

Max watching the coffee and cards session

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!!

Hamlet making the most of it

Hamlet making the most of it

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.

village pond

village pond

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.

Matlock Baths - Biker's Paradise

Matlock Baths – Biker’s Paradise

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.

rows and rows of speed machines

rows and rows of speed machines

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.

 

think bike - bit difficult to avoid it really

think bike – bit difficult to avoid it really

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.

 

hamlet enjoying a cooling roll in the grass

hamlet enjoying a cooling roll on the grass

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.

 

some of the lovely little stairways in town

some of the lovely little stairways in town

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.

 

rambling pond side properties

rambling pond side properties

Everyone was clearly happy and there was a nice vibe.

Not remotely what we had expected but quite wonderful all the same.

 

village waterwheel

village waterwheel

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.

 

dry stone walls

dry stone walls

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.

 

lovely hilly meadows

lovely hilly meadows

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!!