Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Saturday 19 April 2014

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder...

... At least I hope it does.

Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind, and I’m in trouble.

I have been absent... for a week! That’s not like me! It really isn’t.

Just for once, and for the first time in fifteen years, the husband and I actually took a bit of a break. It was lovely! We went away and didn't take any work with us not a thing!

We went off to Derbyshire. As it happens, the husband had some meetings in Nottingham, so we decided rather than rush about or stay in mediocre hotels we’d take some time and stay in what we call a Landmark.

You might have read posts about the Landmark Trust before. It owns a couple of hundred small historic buildings and runs them as holiday lets. They are lovely... at least the ones we’ve stayed in so far have been. I would recommend them highly, except that they’re already popular, and we often have to book our favourites well in advance. If they get any more popular we might struggle to get the places we want when we want them, so don’t go and look at their website. Stay away! We want to keep them for ourselves.

Last week, we stayed at Cromford, a little village in Derbyshire, among the peaks and dales, and the fabulous countryside. The weather was perfect and the people were friendly. 

Holiday at North Street Cromford
10 North Street is a terraced cottage, and the other houses in the street all appear to be privately owned, so we actually lived in a community for a few days. The other Landmarks we’ve stayed in generally haven’t had near neighbours, so this was a new experience for us, but it was all rather cosy. The house was small, but perfectly formed and a wonderful example of planned industrial housing, built by a mill owner for his workforce in 1771. We live in a house of a similar age, so it really was a home from home for us.

It had everything we needed and was, as with all Landmarks, comfortably furnished with old wood tables and dressers and comfortable sofas and beds. There was also the now familiar blue and white crockery, le Creuset cookware and big white towels.

The bookcases and log books are almost my favourite things about these lovely buildings. Whether we stay in castles, abbeys, great halls or this little cottage, there is always a fascinating selection of books that relate to the house, the surroundings and any local writers of note, and there are often several volumes of visitor logs. North Street’s logs dated back to 1978 and were full of tales of adventures on the impressively steep staircase to the second floor, of recommendations for walks, pubs and restaurants, and of horror stories of being snowed in. There was even a ghost tale or two, and several people had added sketches and poems.

With no televisions or wi-fi set up in any of the Landmarks, the log book is the go-to medium for entertainment... and it hasn’t let me down yet.

Cromford does have good pubs, an incredibly cheap restaurant that does a good roast with Yorkshire puddings they can be rightly proud of, a recently opened art gallery that kept the husband and I happy for an hour, and from which we brought back souvenirs. It also has the fantastic Scarthin bookshop that sells both new and second hand books. There’s a pond with a mill, and it’s all very picturesque.

We’ll be going back... soon, I hope.

In the meantime, I am rested and content, which probably means there’s a snark just around the corner, so watch this space.

BTW, don’t forget Britain’s Got Talent tonight at 7-00pm. Who knows, the dort and her dance crew might be on. Look out for them.

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