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