Derbyshire 48/ Derby/are we there yet?/ Mr Pickfords house/ A reunion with our Asian travelling friends


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July 17th 2018
Published: July 17th 2018
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"Are we there yet ?"

Morning had barely broken as we heard plaintive cry from our travelling companion Sion . He continued over breakfast

. "Are we there yet? Are we starting out?"

At the best of times he is not the most patient of company when he gets going. Today he was worse than usual . Between each toast mouthful he mumbled

"Isn't it time to go yet?" " We will be late"

How could we break it to him that it was only 45 minutes to Derby city centre and we were not meeting Jo , Zoe and his best friend Woolly Mammoth until 11.00 Plenty of time but we could see he was getting very impatient pacing the floor , tut tutting and looking at his watch. I almost thought to get a sock and stuff it in his mouth to shut him up. We should be used to it by now - he is the same when we go on holiday - he has that impatient look on his face. Pleading little eyes look at us as he stuffs toast down ready for his adventure. He was the same when we met Woolly at Attingham , on the train , in France . He has little patience and had been looking forward to hear all about the adventures Woolly had been through on his mammoth Asian tour. In the end we got very fed up of listening to him and knew if we didn't go soon he would never forgive us.

As we drove down the A38 in the direction of Derby the ever constant little voice in the back - in between eating pistacios and chocolate raisins shouted "Are we there yet? Will we find somewhere to park? Will we find Woolly Mammoth?"

By the time we reached our parking he was getting excited , climbing out of the car shouting "Where is he?" I wonder what the other car park users thought seeing our small friend jumping up and down. He does embarrass us sometimes . I stuffed him in my bag to stifle the noise , only allowing him out when we rounded a corner and I could see Jo. The thought of a galloping Sion heading for Woolly was more than we could cope with. You would swear they hadn't seen each other for years. Hang on - we haven't seen them since last year. So it was understandable him getting very excited . He yelled so loudly I imagine you could hear him in Chesterfield.

We had planned to meet at Pickfords House a small museum run by the City of Derby. First stop a cup of tea and a long long chat catching up on so much news. Sitting the boys down they put their heads together and they discussed holidays. Woolly told Sion stories of tuk tuks, of cancelled trains and crammed buses that would not stop for comfort breaks. Sion told Woolly that he had met a distant relative the elephant at Nantes and that he had come home early.

" I thanked Woolly for my postcards - I loved the one from Everest - how many sheep have cards from Everest ??" He loved the ones from India as well. Whilst they plotted we chatted about each and every country they had visited feeling rather envious.

By now we had finished our drinks , the boys had bent the ears of the ladies working in the museum telling them how they love toilets, search for manholes and Hadrian the roman emperor. "What do you mean ? Bent their ears they told us we would find two toilets and one was a real throne"

We didn't know much about Pickfords house - in fact we had missed it on our earlier trips to Derby. It was set in an affluent part of the city. An area full of elegant Georgian houses No 41 Friar Gate was built by the architect Joseph Pickford in 1770 for his family. It was intended to showcase his work and certainly did that with each beautifully designed room . Each now furnished in the style of the period. The first rooms were the entrance hall leading to a front room, a sumptuous dining room and morning room. The windows looked out onto the pretty garden and into the backyard which once housed Pickfords builders yard . Each room had amazing ceilings and firegrates. Upstairs were the family bedrooms and dressing rooms decorated as they would have been in 1815. For even such a small residence there were servants quarters with bedrooms, kitchens , scullery and laundry rooms all decorated as they would have been in 1830. The cellar fascinated Sion as it was used as the families own air raid shelter.

Upstairs were rooms devoted to model toy theatres and Agatha Christie.

"But what about the toilets?" " The first one was pretty interesting but it was the one on the top floor that Woolly and I liked" "It sat on top of a step like a throne! We had to sit on it and try it out. It had flowers on the outside and flowers on the inside. We loved it"

We couldn't get the boys off it. They sat on it and looked inside it and pronounced what a wonderful day toilet it was. Sadly the time together was over. Jo and Zoe and Woolly headed off to town, We headed for home. Sion as always was sad to leave his best friend but they agreed to meet up again and not wait so long this time.

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