The boyfriend and I escaped to the Peak District for the weekend. We stayed at Cotesfield Farm, Parlsey Hay, a working farm managed by Andy, a welcoming bloke from Scotland. From our window, we could peek at the dairy cows in the barn. Andy's only advice before we set out to explore the farm was to avoid the bulls who would "not mind if you were dead, like."
On Sunday, we cycled over 20 miles (or just over 32 km) from Parlsey Hay Cycle Hire, where we picked up our fancy mountain bikes (and stood out because we were not wearing any lycra) to Tissington and back again.
How magnificent are the dry stone walls? I cycled for the most part with my face at right-angles; the views were dreamy. This meant riding through many limestone potholes and happily copping mud spray all over my back.
I said to my boyfriend that this is surely England at its most beautiful. He agreed. I asked him where he thought Mr Darcy might have proposed to Elizabeth Bennett, even though I knew in my heart that our bearings were a little off. This kind of romantic absorption reminded me of my mother who is deeply attached to English landscapes (her father having been English) and I recalled how, in my early teens, my dad said, in relation to a converstion about our (Australian) home renovations, something to the effect that my mum still thinks she is "in some English novel where she can go and sit on a large swing set up in a rose garden."
By the time we reached Tissington, we had transformed. We felt as though the wind had blown blocks of stress off our bodies. Everything around us seemed perfectly lovely and I started to think about poetry and vowed to read more of it.
Tissington itself is a very proud, untouched village that has been managed by the FitzHerbert family for over 400 years.
Can you see the sweet little cats in the window? They've been there for 150 years.
Our half-time reward was cream tea in the Old Coach House across from St Mary's Church (built in the early 12th century, heavily restored in the 19th century). There was a bunch of very senior ramblers also enjoying the spot. Good on them, I say.
(We were far too famished to take a pre-scoffing pic.)
The scones gave us enough of a boost to make it back (uphill!) to Parsley Hay, although my boyfriend commented that perhaps I could have done with a low-GI lunch as I became a bit scrappy two-thirds of the way. Of course, once the end was in sight, I began doing mental wheelies and in fact did a skid-style brake outside the hire shop. Happy times.