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UK visit September 2009

We spent a week visiting William's grandparents in the UK. We stayed at a rental cottage in Derbyshire, between Bakewell and Monyash.

Friday (September 18): Drove to Toronto airport for a direct flight to Manchester, UK.

Saturday: Arrived in Manchester and picked up the rental car. Had an excellent breakfast/lunch at the Aisseford tea room in Ashford in the Water. We were confused about which meal we were having after the time zone change. Found the cottage nearby, and the owners' two dogs gave us a close examination.

Rode the Peak Rail steam train from Rowsley to Matlock and back again. William tested the snack service.

Sunday: A pub lunch, then walked around Monsal Head. Later, we walked around the fields surrounding the cottage. William liked the idea of hiking. He was impressed by stiles, climbing backwards and forwards over one several times.

Monday: Rode a trolley at the Crich Tramway Museum. Spent a very long time at the playroom, and visited a candy store. Looked at the ducks floating along the river in Bakewell.

Tuesday: William's favorite trip out - the cable car at the Heights of Abraham. He enjoyed how it swayed in the wind. At the top, we walked through an old lead mine.

Matlock Bath
Heights of Abraham

Wednesday: Family pub lunch at the Rose and Crown, Zouch, Leicestershire. Afterwards, we went on boat trip along the canal behind the pub. The boat was called Le Mardi Gras and was covered in plastic flowers (incongruous on a gray September afternoon). William briefly captained the boat along the River Soar while wearing a pirate hat.

Le Mardi Gras
Captain William

Later, we walked through Sherwood Forest to the Major Oak. The tree looked like a construction project, with numerous metal poles holding up various branches.

Thursday: Lunch at Chatsworth House, more specifically at the self-serve cafe. Spent a long time at the playground, and admired the piglets. Chatsworth is a reverse Robin Hood experience, with the rich owners hoovering money out the pockets of the visiting masses.

That evening, the cottage windows allowed a good view of local wildlife.

Cows study the new human exhibit.

Below is William's favorite vacation photo, showing the driveway to the cottages.

Cows sullenly resentful of the cattle grate

Night of the Cow: Every hour or so, a strange loud squeak came from the cottage window, sounding like a large squeegee. This went on throughout the evening and night and was a constant source of great mystery. Pulling back the curtains revealed nothing, except a cow staring back at us from close range through glass smeared liberally with bovine nasal product.

Friday: Saw Peak Cavern in Castleton. After a rope-making demonstration in the cave entrance, William was given a length of hand-made hemp rope scented with pig droppings. Unfortunately, we left the rope behind in the cave. It would have been fun to discuss hemp products with customs agents on the way back.

Saturday: Lunch at the Pavilion Gardens cafe in Buxton. Rode the miniature railroad around the actual gardens.

Successfully located Manchester Airport, which lurks within a confusing maze of winding roads.

Arrived in Toronto in the evening. Headed back to Rochester through continuous light rain. We were very fortunate with the weather in England, as this was the first encounter with cold drizzle during the trip.

Sunday (Sept 27): Arrived in Rochester in the early morning.

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