6 October 2009--There are two couples in the B&B, one from London, the other from Suffolk. We enjoy a long and
amiable breakfast with our host, Janet, who is South African. When I arrived yesterday, I thought her a bit prickly,
but her sense of humor emerges this morning, and I find I'm warming up to her. She's not above telling tales on herself.
I'm amused to hear the southerners complaining about the roads and signage in this part of the country--vindication!--
and I tell them how I nearly ended up spending the rest of my life in a car park in some nameless town.
It's not a very nice morning, and I hang around town, keeping an eye on the sky in hopes of a break. A glimpse of blue now and then gives false encouragement. Poke around in St Edmund's Church. Think about walking up to Peveril Castle, perched on the hillside above town, or visiting one of the several show caves nearby. The closest one, just back of town and below the castle, is Peaks Cave; its opening is known as the Devil's Arse. I've seen posters around town advertising a concert:
TIDESWELL MALE VOICE CHOIR
14 November 2009
IN THE DEVIL'S ARSE!
In the end (so to speak), I do neither of those, but go for a drive as the weather worsens. There is heavy rain at times. I am idly searching for three things. One is an ATM. Another is a pub with free wi-fi. The third is a stone circle, marked by a speck on the Ordnance Survey Travelmaster map.
The first is easy. The second is a challenge. I have a list provided by the tourist office, and have picked a hotel nearby. But it's an upscale-looking place with no proper bar, just a little one right in its posh lobby. The wi-fi requires a key, and I am loathe to ask. Actually, I'm surprised that I haven't been asked to leave, scruffy as I look.
The stone circle is a wild goose chase, as I figured it would be. I'd hoped it would be visible from the road, or signposted. No such luck. Obviously, it isn't Stonehenge, so I'm not missing much. Actually, it was just a hook to get me out and moving. Along the way, I pass through Eyam, a town famous for quarantining itself during one of the medieval plagues. It had come to them with a rat hidden in a bolt of cloth sent from London, and their decision prevented its spread through the countryside. There is supposed to be a good museum in the town, but I just have a look about as I drive through.
Dinner and pints at the George in Castleton this evening. What do you know, they have free wi-fi. The barmaid calls me (and everyone else) "m'love". "G'night, m'love," she says as I'm leaving. "G'night, m'dear," I answer. "Same time tomorrow?"