I hope you've all been enjoying as lovely an Easter weekend as I have! I'm at home for ten days of holiday at the moment, and have been indulging in some festive treats. I was very pleased to make the acquaintance of this little fellow yesterday, who is (almost) too cute to eat:
After a lovely Easter Sunday lunch at home with my mum and grandparents yesterday, today my mum and I made a trip up into the beautiful Peak District. Our destination was the charming estate village of Tissington in Derbyshire, about an hour's drive away, and a favourite place to visit when I'm at home. Crossing over the cattlegrid that marks the village boundary, it feels rather as if one has driven into a picture postcard. Pretty, grey-stoned cottages cluster at the head of the main street...
... a picturesque church perches atop a little hill ...
... and crowning it all is the stunning Tissington Hall, still privately owned by the Fitzherbert family, as it has been since the fifteenth century. The current Hall dates from 1609, and I can just imagine Sir W emerging from the gateway:
As we came into the village, Mum and I were pleased to spy signs directing us to a craft fair, and we wandered along past the duck pond towards the school house, which today was playing host to a variety of stalls selling hand-made gifts and local produce. Although I was tempted by a very cute little pair of turquoise and purple wrist warmers, I didn't actually buy anything, although it was fun to browse the tables and admire the workmanship on display. After exploring this unexpected little distraction, we were starting to feel rather peckish. Happily, the Hall's former coach house has been converted into a wonderful tea room...
... so we wandered back over the road to enjoy a lovely ploughman's lunch -- plates filled with delicious thick-cut ham from the village butcher, and yummy chunks of Stilton and Cheddar with a scrumptious home-made chutney for a bit of extra kick.
The Old Coach House was doing a good business, full of Bank Holiday visitors who were enjoying the Easter sunshine: walkers in their wax jackets and wellies with shiny-eyed dogs at their heels, and parents laughing with their children as they paddled together in the stream that runs through the village. This stream flows down the main street towards the pond, passing through the main well in the village on the way. There are six wells altogether in Tissington, and the village is known for its well dressing ceremony, which takes place every year in May. As you can see from these photos of the well dressing celebrations in 2000, the flower displays are often very intricate:
People come from far and wide to see the well dressing, and I remember going as a little girl, and loving the bright colours and beautiful floral pictures. Although there were no such works of art to admire today, the village was still looking very pretty, with its daffodils and snowdrops creeping through the grass. Sadly I still haven't got round to buying a new camera, so I can't share any photos of today's blooms, nor of the woolly little lambs who were frisking and gamboling in the fields across the wall!
Tissington is home to a couple of great little shops, but unfortunately neither of them was open today, which seemed like a bit of a missed opportunity. Normally I enjoy popping in for a look around the candle workshop, with its displays of beautiful wax creations, although as I have a couple at home already, it's probably no bad thing I couldn't be tempted by any more! I particularly like the hurricane candles, which have beautiful flowers trapped beneath the wax. With a little tea light popped inside, the effect is utterly charming. I have one quite similar to these two sitting just across from me in my bedroom as I type:
The other shop is a wonderful little treasure trove called Acanthus, which sells beautiful homewares, lighting, and gifts. I was rather disappointed not to be able to call in there today, but no doubt there'll be other opportunities!
All in all it was a lovely breath of fresh air, and I always enjoy the drive through Derbyshire, as the countryside starts becoming wilder and hills and peaks start appearing. After a rather hectic end to term, I was more than glad of a chance to blow the cobwebs away. I'll be sharing some more stories from the start of my break before long, but for the moment at least, Sir W may well say of me (to take a few words from his 1601 essay 'Of Natures pollicie') that I have:
'arriued at some good end of her trauailes'.