On a foggy Saturday morning, we were on the M69/M1 again. This time to Derby in the East Midlands. I thought it was going to be a very long drive and asked Babe to make a quick stop at the Leicester Forest East Service Area. I bought 3 bars of chocolate and had finished eating one when we turned off the M1 into Derby. Wow..it was that quick. And then we hit the ring road and went round and round, crossing the River Derwent, trying to get to our destination, the Bold Lane car-park, reputed to be one of the ten most secure places in the world. Hmm, I wonder why?
Alas, we didn’t arrived there but managed to get a parking space near the Derby Cathedral. The tower dominated the city skyline and we could see it as we were cruising on the ring road. We were here in Derby to check-out an early birthday present for Babe, a Sigma 300mm F2.8 DG HSM EX lens, from the London Camera Exchange. This shop was located at the Cathedral Quarter, in the older section of the city. Babe tried and tested the lenses and we came out nearly £2k poorer!!! I know, I know but we don’t have any children to shower and pamper. We only have each other. We worked hard and we don’t smoke, drink or have expensive holidays. We always pay our purchases in cash and if we want to get something, we save. We have never used a credit card and never will. And you only turn 50 once.
Then it was time to checkout the area. I really, really love this historical street. It was dotted with arcades, hidden entrances with an ancient pebbled trackway. There was a myriad of specialist stores, independent retailers and coffee shops, which made it a truly unique and exciting place to shop. I was soo busy clicking away, oblivious to my surroundings. Everywhere I looked and turned, there was something that caught my attention. I’m definitely coming here again as I haven’t had time to browse in any of the shops.
As we continued walking back to the car, I continued taking more photographs. Then Cathedral bells were tolling, and I heard a loud wailing cry. What on earth??? Babe called me and when I looked up, there it was, perched on the stone tower, a peregrine falcon. I was grinning from ear-to ear to have seen this beautiful bird. I had read that the tower had been home to a pair of breeding peregrines since 2006. It was amazing and from time-to-time, she will let out another wail. We will definitely come here again especially when they started having chicks. I will be monitoring their progress at www.derbyperegrines.blogspot.com.
Derby Cathedral was the smallest Anglican cathedral in England.The current cathedral dates from the fourteenth century while the tower dates from 1510 to 1530. It was built in the popular perpendicular gothic style of the time.The cathedral contained the oldest ring of ten bells in the United Kingdom. Most of them have been here since 1678 when the number of bells was increased from 6 to 10. The tower was 68.6 metre tall to the tip of the pinnacles. Advance booking were required if anyone fancy to see the breathtaking views of Derby from the towers.
We will check out this Cathedral on our next visit because it contained a wealth of treasures including Bess of Hardwick's ornate tomb, an 18th. century nave with a wrought iron Rood screen by Robert Bakewell and the Cavendish brasses. The Cathedral was also connected to a medieval chapel, St. Mary's on the Bridge. This bridge dates from the 14th Century, and was one of the very few surviving bridge chapels in England.
On Sunday, it was the start of British summer time where the clocks spring forward an hour. Did we loose any sleep? I don’t think so. I’m soo looking forward to longer, brighter and fingers-crossed warmer evenings. We planned another drive to Bradgate Park to play with Babe’s latest new toy. As usual, a pit stop at Groby Pool to checkout the natives. These hybrid ducks weren’t that excited to see us cos they already had many visitors feeding them.
We decided to walk towards the water sluice when suddenly we heard a CRASH. We looked at each other with our hearts in our mouth cos nearly £3k worth of camera laid on Babe’s feet. I better not print what came out of his mouth. I didn’t say anything cos he’d said enough. Just our luck. It didn’t snapped when we were walking on the grass. While Babe checked the camera, I continued snapping a Goldfinch and Dunnock checking us out. So far, only the lens cap was dented and the SD card couldn’t be used. Phew…
We continued our trip to Bradgate Park and it was chaotic. Cars were parked haphazardly and we decided to park on the overflow car-park. Inside the country park, it was heaving. I think nearly half of Leicestershire was there taking advantage of the warm weekend. Suddenly we heard the familiar whistle, “whee-hoo”. I rushed to the river bank and there he was, my favourite widgeon. He was safe and noisy as usual. It was lovely to see him.
We continued walking and spotted herds of fallow deer feeding by the hillside. Red deer was seen higher up the hills. Due to the large number of people, dogs and bicycles, we know that we won’t be getting near them. We heard the cries of the peacock and the drumming of a wood-pecker from the closed grounds of Lady Jane Grey house. We walked towards the field and photographed these young fallows enjoying their lunch.
The sun came out as we were leaving the park. We couldn’t wait to get home so that Babe can check his camera properly again. I spent the evening just chilling out and pottering in the garden. I’ve sowed 12 pencil pod black wax dwarf French beans in my tiny plastic greenhouse. CC had an extra packet and gave it to me. I’ve no idea what they looked like so I’m looking forward to what will emerged. I must get more composts because I’m planning to grow the usual tomatoes, courgettes, pak choi, chard, chives, pumpkin, leeks and cucumbers. My compost heap were rotting nicely but it was not enough. I’m also planning to grow my usual 11 pots of sunflowers, sweet peas and marigolds. Bring on summer.
I’ve also seen the white cherry trees in full bloom around campus. I was quite surprised to see this sign of spring so early in the year. But the pink blossom tree outside my office window was still bare. I hoped it would wait a little bit longer because cherry blossoms are usually associated with Easter and normally flowers in late April or Early May. I guess the run of warm weather had coaxed these delicate flowers out of its buds.
"Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough."
~ A. E. Houseman, Shropshire Lad~