Monday, 27 February 2012

blue skies and branches...

Last weekend I hopped on a train and headed up to Derbyshire. My middle son is living and working near Derby at the moment - this is his work placement year before returning to uni for his final year in the autumn. Generally speaking I would drive up there but now I'm living in the city it was just as easy to walk to the train station early on Saturday morning and then enjoy the train ride (I think I may have mentioned in the past the childish pleasure I get from train journeys - although it has to be said this can be a bit dependent on train companions/delays/purpose!). But as this was a purely social trip, with no real time scale (only one change at Nottingham so no real pressure of connections), I was able to just sit and look out of the window, read a bit, knit a bit, crochet a bit...bliss! None of that having to concentrate on the driving and arrive feeling overtired.

Norwich station was pretty deserted at 6.30am, straight onto the train after picking up a large black americano (I rather regretted this 2 1/2 hrs later - I have a bit of a mental block on train toilets!!!) and on with the Rowan silk twist knitting. I will have to show you progress on this at some point soon - haven't had a chance to take any photos in decent light - suffice to say the start that I had previously posted is going to be unravelled! I decided I didn't much like the way the 'do different' pattern (knitted around the body rather than in pieces as is traditional) was looking, so started again with the other free pattern I had found. It's a little experimental as I'm not entirely sure the tension is completely the same...! I know, this is a cardinal sin in knitting terms but I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping it is going to come out the right size! I've made a few adjustments along the way and I think it will be ok... watch this space...

Sorry this is such a long wordy start to this post! I have been a bit lax with taking photos of the stuff I have been working on; note to self - take some pics this weekend when I have some daylight!

But back to the Derbyshire trip! I did take photos there...

Stephen collected me from the station at Burton-upon-Trent and, after the obligatory trip to the supermarket to fill his food cupboards and petrol station to fill his car tank (hang on, am I being done here...!?!), we went for a walk at Donisthorpe Woodland Park. This is a former colliery site in the National Forest and although it was bitterly cold, the sun was shining and it felt good to be out.

The trees looked lovely, lit up against the blue sky...

I did spend quite a bit of time staring upwards and it is entirely possible that I took an unnecessary number of photos of blue sky and branches...I won't bore you with them all!

You can walk alongside part of the Ashby Canal...

Something very restful about waterways, I always think, even manmade ones.

The following day, with the girlfriend along too, we made our way across to Staffordshire to The Trentham Estate, where there are a variety of shops some with some very lovely things... 

The labels on these gorgeous glass baubles said that they were traditionally made by the glassblowers from the odds and ends of coloured glass at the end of the day and taken home to give to family and friends. I loved these!

(not easy to take a decent photo in a crowded shop...oops, clearly a bit of wobbling going on here!)

There was still plenty of evidence of Valentines month in the displays...

Including the edible ones...!

With some reluctance on my part, we progressed to The Monkey Forest (how much???!!! I would have been happy with a walk!) where 150 or so Barbary macaques live in 60 acres of woodland that you can walk through. 

Slightly bizarre to see these creatures running around in a native English woodland, but they certainly had space and were living in family groups and seemed pretty well cared for.

Bit odd to look up and see monkeys in the trees... 

It has to be said, these two looked a bit like I felt by this point! It was soooo cold!!

I'm sure on a warmer day, you'd want to spend a bit longer wandering around and just sitting watching the monkeys but, in the cold, we just managed an hour and a half or so. My plans for a cheap weekend rapidly disintegrating!!!

On Tuesday morning I went with Stephen to work, then walked from there the 9 or 10 miles into Derby to get the train home. The path is called the Cloud Trail and is a national cycle route along disused railway tracks and the canal tow paths from Derby to Worthington, to the site of Cloud Quarry. Apparently this is very beautiful and I suspect heading out of Derby into the lovely countryside is the better way to do it!

I headed towards Derby and the last bit was a bit of a mixture of industrial and suburbia - not quite so picturesque! But I did feel I'd had a good stretch of the legs before the train ride back to Norfolk.

Lots of bridges along the way, and some as you get into Derby with some great paintings brightening them up...

Sadly someone has added some additional decoration to this bit! I didn't even notice it until I put the photos on the laptop!!!

On which note...!

All in all, a lovely trip, good to see Stephen and get out and walk a bit. Quite restorative!

Crafty bits next time!!
Til then...



  1. Wonderful photos Sandra, and this looks like such a beautiful countryside. I smile when I read about your knitting. I cannot get the tension even no matter how hard I try, but I don't suppose it matters all that much since all I know how to knit is a scarf or the like! :-(

    You have a wonderful week ahead!

    lisa. xo

  2. Not being a coffee drinker, I didn't get your comment about the large black americano until you mentioned toilets! I assumed you were just talking to a tourist! By coincidence my partner is a large, black, American. There were some lovely photos of your trip. I'm looking forward to seeing your little cardi when you finish it.
    xXx Helen

    1. This made me laugh out loud Helen! Love the idea that I might have picked up a large black American on the station platform! Actually, am quite amused by the idea I could have picked anyone up...! :-) xx

  3. Lovely " wordy " post & lovely pictures too ! What dear little monkeys. We had fun driving through the monkey enclosure at Longleat but not as much fun as the people in the car behind us watching the " dear little monkeys " strip the rubber off our door seals !!
    I don't know this part of the country at all - love the canal photo.
    Shame someone had to customise that picture - they did it in our local play park too.


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