Museums and Castles

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

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wednesday 19th July
After breakfast today we are out and about early as we have a lot to do. Went to Pickfords House Museum first which was built between 1769 and 1770. It was a family home and workplace for Joseph Pickford an architect. He lived there with his wife, 2 sons and their 4 servants. It was bought by the Derby City Council in 1982 and opened as a museum in 1988. It has been refurbished as to how it might have looked when the family lived there almost 250 years ago. It is 3 stories tall plus a basement and we spent quite a few hours there drinking in the old world charm. We bought some lunch and had it in the garden which was lovely.
After that we had a complete change as just down the street is the old Derby Goal. It is not very well advertised and if we didn't know it was there we would never have found it. It was built in the 1700s and the history is incredible, and they apparently have quite a few ghosts there. Some of the things that happened there were quite horrific. The guy that owns it is the commentator on the show 'Britain's Most Haunted' and he spent an hour just talking to dad and me and telling us some of the history. I'm sure most people don't get this sort of guided tour and it was great! They do a night ghost tour which I will do while we are here, and as I'm not sure if Brian will come I may have to drag Alan along with me.
Then off for coffee before going to the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. We only saw a little bit of the museum because there is just so much to see we ran out of time. The most impressive was a 10 meter long boat which was only found a few years ago under the silt in the Trent River right here in Derby. It has been carbon dated to 3500 years ago, can you imagine that! It is over 10 meters long and was made from the hollowed out trunk of one single tree. It was found with some of its cargo still intact which was some sandstone used for building. Brian got a great photo and we were just in awe. We spent a long time just reading about how they found rescued and restored it, absolutely fascinating.
We left home at 10.30 this morning and got home at 6.30, 8 hours and we don't feel like we have seen hardly anything yet. Lucky we are not in a hurry and we have plenty of time to look around the area.

Thursday 20th July
Today we were having a very lazy day; we went for a run and then just hung around the house for the rest of the day.

Friday 21st July
Today we bought what they call a wayfarer ticket which will take us to all the districts in Derbyshire and we can get on and off the bus anywhere we want for the whole day. We decided to go to a small country village which is 22 miles away called Matlock. It doesn't sound far to us from Australia but we passed about 6 little villages to get there. The ride on the bus was brilliant as the villages we drove through were amazing, they were a lot different from the big city of Derby, all picture postcards.
In Matlock on top of the hill is an old derelict castle called Riber Castle, and we decide to have lunch before we attempt the hill as it is a long way up. It looks amazing from afar but when you get up close you can see that it has just been left to fall apart, which is a shame for people like us from Australia because we don't have anything like this at home. Apparently years ago it was used as an animal sanctuary but since then it has just been left. As you can see by the photos there are no internal wall, floors windows and ceilings. We spent a few hours just wandering around it, and we didn't see anyone else while we were there as it is all closed up and we had to jump a fence to get in. The path going up was very steep so unless you were fit you wouldn't have got to the top. You also had to walk through a few fields where the cows were grazing, we didn't mind that so much but on the way back down we encountered a bull with huge horns which was a little daunting. I got Brian to take a photo; we don't have bulls like this at home.
After the castle we visited Matlock Parish Church, which while only a small church is very pretty. There has been a church on this spot since the 12th century! Can you imagine that! Those of you who have read the book 'Cross-Stitch' will, and it really is like the book. The priests of the parish have been traced back to the 1300's. The foundation is ancient but the rest has apparently been rebuilt more than once. The font that is in the church was dug up in the 18th century and had been buried for about 600 years, they don't know how old it is exactly all they know is it is from the 12th century or earlier. Amazing! After an hour or so here we decided to visit another village or 2 before heading home.
We hopped on the bus and went to the next village which was called Matlock Bath, however most things were closing as it was around 5 o'clock here and they don't stay open late on a Friday like we do in Australia. So we went to the local pub and had a drink, tea for me and beer for Brian before getting back on the bus. Next stop Belper and it was a very pretty small village. It is still very hot here around 30degrees and we saw a bunch of kids walking along the dam wall. Brian took some great photos; it looked like a brilliant way to spend a very hot evening. Had fish and chips for tea in an old English pub and a few mandatory drinks then back on the bus and home. We got home about 9o'clock and we had been on the go exploring since we left home at 9.30am almost 12 hours ago! Glad to get home and relax for the evening.

PS For those of you that don't know, Alan went to Spain just before we got to England. He booked a tour to run with the bulls in Pamplona and said it was the scariest thing he has ever done, but very exciting. Just to let everyone back home know he got out with only a few bruises, but some of his friends that were running just next to him were badly injured but are recovering. I'm so glad Alan wasn't hurt and his girlfriend Jordy told him he is not allowed to do it again, so thanks Jordy he would have never have listened to me. After Pamplona he went to Tuscany in Italy and was there watching on a giant screen in the town square when they won the World Cup. Alan says the place went ballistic! He has a heap of photos of his time so far in England and other places he has traveled to (Amsterdam, Scotland, Spain, Italy) so if you would like to see them go to his photo web site (you may have to copy and paste into addtess):
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