Watching the English at work and play.

Trip Start Jul 04, 2006
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Trip End Jan 16, 2007


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Monday, August 14, 2006

This week was all about taking it easy, and settling into the English way of life. Taking the time to have a good look around the English country side and getting to know what life is like in a "typical" English town.

Tuesday 8th August
Walked into central Belper today to look for jobs at the local job centre, and have arranged an interview next Monday for a job here in Belper, and if I get it I should be able to walk to work. Brian has his resume in with 4 or 5 places for various logistics positions and is waiting to hear back from them. Not much on the go after that so we had lunch in town and generally looked around Belper before going home. I was looking on the net for walks in the area and Andrew, our landlord, got out a heap of pamphlets that he had collected and there were quite a few country walks among them. We picked out one to do tomorrow before we both went out for a jog and then a quite evening at home.

Wednesday 9th August
Lazy morning as we have a big afternoon planned, so had lunch at home and then armed with our map we are off. The trail we follow is a scenic route through some lovely country on the outskirts of Belper and is only one of many walks we have found in the area. It is a 12klm walk with a few ups and downs and we are getting used to walking through paddocks sharing pathways with cows, bulls, horses, goats and sheep and they don't scare us anymore. The track was fantastic with great views, wonderful forests and historic buildings, and we had a great afternoon. We got back to a lovely looking pub near home at about 6 o'clock where we had planned on having a drink before tackling the last hill home. Brian had just ordered and brought the drinks back to the table when I noticed my watch was missing, so I left him there and went for a walk back down the last hill to see if I could find it. No such luck so I walked back to the pub and finished my shandy and asked Brian to take the backpack home as I was going back over the track and have a good look. I walked a long way back along the track and got lost a few times but I kept looking and after about an hour or so as I was heading home I saw Brian coming down the path. He had decided two pairs of eyes are better than one so we set off together to look again. I was sure the watch must have fallen off when I put my coat on during a rain shower so Brian kept going over the paddock where that happened and after about an hour he found it. I couldn't believe it and was very happy as it had taken a long time to pick that watch that Brian had given me for my last birthday and I really like it. Off home again and by the time we got there we were buggered as it was 8.30pm and we had started our walk at about 1.30pm. We figured that I had walked about 21klms and Brian had walked about18klm. We will sleep well tonight.

Thursday 10th August
After yesterday we didn't plan on doing too much today so we had a relaxing day at home. Brian went out to do a little shopping and took a wrong turn on his way home so had to walk up the big hill to our house twice. {Not happy Jan}. When he got back I went out for a walk and I think I walked about 5klms which was very relaxing.

Friday 11th August
We are off to Chesterfield today which is a larger town about an hours bus ride from Belper, and as they have a large market on Fridays we thought it would be a good day to go. The town is famous for having a chapel with a crooked spire which looks really unusual. The legend goes that a magician persuaded the Bolsover (a town nearby) blacksmith to shoe the devil, and shaking with fear he drove a nail into the devil's foot. Howling in pain the devil took flight towards Chesterfield and skimming over the church he lashed out in agony, caught the spire and twisted it around. There is also a rumor that the spire was amazed to hear of a virgin being married in the church and twisted around to see this wonder for itself. Ha Ha!
The truth they think is that too much green timber was used to build the spire and green timber becomes much stronger as it dries, finally setting like concrete. However it is impossible to predict how green timber will dry and defects can appear and develop, which they did! As well as this the lead tiles covering the frame weigh a massive 32 tons! They believe the church was started in1234, but the main part of the church was not completed until 1360. It has seen civil war, fire, revolution and 2 world wars but it still survives as a symbol of Chesterfield. Had a good day and Chesterfield has a really good market and is a very pretty town. We got some good photos of the buildings, but the photos of the twisted spire don't do it justice as it is an amazing sight!

Saturday 12th August.
We both slept in until about 9 o'clock which is late for us. We are doing a 12klm walk today from Belper to Cromford so after a relaxing morning we pack our lunch and are off. The start is the same as the last walk we did around Belper so we knew that part at least. The walk itself was super and it was all very pretty with a lot of up hills which are very tiring, but we are pretty fit so we managed ok. We only had some hand written notes and no map to guide us so we took a few wrong turns and the 12klm walk was more like 16klms. Halfway through our walk we had lunch which we brought with us and sat next to a little brook within a forest which was very peaceful. We eventually got to Cromford after about 5 hrs and sat next to the Cromford Canal and had a cup of tea and watched the ducks while our legs relished the rest. We then walked up another hill to see a castle which has been turned into a hotel which was very grand and beautiful, and afterwards we walked to the train station for our trip home. The train station is very old and picturesque and Brian took quite a few photos, but I don't know if they do it justice.
Once back in Belper we thought we would have tea at a little pub halfway up the hill to our home, but found they don't serve food and they directed us to another pub on the other side of Belper. After walking there we were told they don't do meals on a Saturday night so we gave up on that idea and as we were tired of walking so picked up some fish and chips and tackled the hill home. Tea was great and I am so glad we don't have to walk up any more hills, at least for today. However the bathroom here is up a flight of stairs and I am sure we will have to make a few trips up there before the end of the night. It's like the old saying goes there is no rest for the wicked.

Sunday 13th August
It rained a fair bit overnight so the ground is quite wet, and as all the trails would be a bit sticky we used the morning to catch up with some domestics such as washing, shopping and cleaning up. After lunch Brian went to the Royal Oak Inn to watch the Liverpool vs Chelsea Community Shield match at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, live on Sky TV while I went for a walk, this time along the Derwent River. Walked about 8-9 klms and had a lovely afternoon before meeting back up with Brian just as the match ended with Liverpool winning 2-1. It is a typical English pub with lots of women and kids present, old timers chatting away in the corner, a couple of dogs sleeping under a table, some pool and darts being played, a "foosball" table in the lounge, and every one very relaxed and friendly. It is these sorts of places where you can get a real feel for the English culture.
After a walk home and a bath it was time for "spagbog" with fresh crusty bread washed down with a wonderful French Shiraz. Lovely Jubely!
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