Derbyshire 9 - Finally a home, a touch of normality and a very cold walk round Hardwick

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December 29th 2013
Published: January 1st 2014
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Finally after five weeks of moving from site to site Suzy is happy sitting in her new home. She just needs her umbilical cord plugging into the mains to keep her batteries topped up but what with moving that has been sadly forgotten about. It feels strange to see her on the drive finally and in her proper home. She wont be sitting there for long though as its only about five weeks until the nights start to draw out again, spring might have sprung and we may get on the road again.

Such a lot of hopes of plans as 2013 drew to a close and 2014 dawned. Who would have thought this time last year that we would have packed up lock, stock and barrel and moved?. Not me nor Sion who felt at home in his beloved Wales. Still life is supposed to be an adventure and we are starting on yet another phase of that adventure.

The last few days have been spent digging out a plot for the new shed and concreting the base. That is in between the rain which has been falling in shedloads. The old shed is fit for nothing but the skip. Funny how vendors selling property think that they are doing you a favour leaving a falling down shed which has seen better days. And not only that but leaving an entire contents which comprised of old and useless gardening implements, a couple of decrepit white garden chairs and some fertiliser which had passed its sell by date. Of course that's not the lot. There is the contents of the garage. Old breeze blocks which served as benches when old lengths of wood were stretched across them. They should have been resigned to the skip a long time ago. A mirror and an old tapestry picture. Cupboards which are falling apart with age. The last time they saw a kitchen was when the house was built forty years ago. Behind the garage an old and rickety wheelbarrow, its metal rusting and its wheel fallen off . And we have not started on the loft yet. Still its nice to have spent Christmas in a house with a christmas tree and presents and the slight sense that life was perhaps returning to something akin to normal.

The weather has been reasonably kind. A touch of rain heavy at times , some wind but nothing like the floods down South. We have been blessed really although I still find myself looking lovingly at photographs of Tuscany and thinking about a winter in the sun. Oh to while away the winter in the sun.

Sion has been reading his friend Woollys blog and is green with envy at the thought of him sitting on the balcony without his hat or scarf in the mid- day sun. Woolly has given his thoughts on 2013 and Sion is pondering on his thoughts - his eyes glazed over as he thinks of where he has been and where he might go to next.

Sunday we had our first trip out walking off all that Christmas dinner stodge and inactivity. A meeting with the family at Hardwick Hall. Unlike last time we called in the Autumn the hall was closed but the shop, the restaurant and the gardens were open. We took along our national trust cards and got in for free. We were surprised just how many families were out walking on what was a fairly chilly but dry day. Despite wearing thick cardigans and jumpers the wind cut through coats, scarves and hats chilling us to the bone. What was needed was a warming cup of coffee before bracing ourselves for the walk we had in mind. The cafe was only partially opened and it was difficult to find a table big enough for all of us. We sat awhile warming up before setting off for the mind blowingly cold walk to the gardens.

The trust had put up christmas trees decorated outside and sprayed cut down trees silver . They took on a magical appearance. It was still cold though even inside the walled gardens. The bitter wind found its way inside coats, under hats and scarves and we shivered. There were no flowers or shrubs out in the gardens. The only colour the green of the coniferous leaves. Not a hint of spring anywhere. The Old Hall was open but without our Cadw cards we gave it a miss and just walked quickly around the borders, onto the grass and then beat a hasty retreat back into the restaurant for lunch.

This time upstairs and the lower cafe were open. There was an excellent selection of food on the main menu, a few specials on the boards and a huge queue waiting to be served. Much like the last time we came I thought. Dinner when we got it comprised of three very large pots of steaming tea, mushroom soup and a ham sandwich. Lovely it was too.

Sadly then it was time to call into the shop to buy the greengage jam that mother in law likes, a quick look round the goods on sale many reduced after Christmas and a muddy walk back to the cars. Goodbyes said to family who were heading north to Durham for a few days and home to ponder on what job needs doing next on the house.

What is planned next? Getting the central heating boiler moved from the kitchen to the back bedroom and getting a system that works. Ordering the new bathroom suite and getting it fitted and ordering the new kitchen. A phone call to ACSI to find out what has happened to our ACSI book and perhaps having to order a new one and pay for it again. Plans can then start on working out where we will stay in our May holiday on our way to Spain. 2014 bring on the holiday
The old and the new The old and the new The old and the new

The hall in the sunlight with the airplane on its way to somewhere warm


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