Homeless (well Vanless anyway) in the High Peak

So here we are, back in the Shire to catch up with friends and family and get a few minor issues with Dolly’s Tour Bus sorted by our Dealers. The weather took a turn for the worse on the day we arrived. Quelle surprise! ! It has literally never stopped sodding raining since we crossed the Derbyshire border until today. Such a relief to wake up to blue skies and sunshine this morning.

We arrived back in our hometown of Bakewell in the Peak District on Sunday evening. We couldn’t get on our usual little site as it was still busy with weekenders. We parked up in Bakes to pick up groceries and dog food and rather dubiously left the van parked in the company of the local Gypsy Community who had set up camp in the Carpark by the river. It’s an annual occurrence. They don’t seem to be a troublesome bunch to be fair. We don’t get a lot of choice in our small town when it comes to parking a 9 meter bus. Its hardly a stealth vehicle! We normally park up and leave the van while we stay with family but in the circumstances we felt it safer to stay with it. I’d forgotten how early our lovely farmer friends start arriving for market with their sheep and cattle trucks on a Monday morning So a 5am start it was! We didn’t really mind, this is Bakewell Market Monday after all and their territory. Blimey, was it chilly though. Out came the thermals, not needed those in a while! You don’t realise what a bustling place Bakewell is on Mondays and Bank Holidays. The sleepy little town is suddenly transformed into crazyville! Even in our past life before travelling I rarely saw town on a Monday as I was always at work. I quite enjoyed it. We got our dental check ups out of the way. All good for another 6 months. Just another consideration if you’re travelling for extended periods, whether to bother with a retainer or Den-plan. I still do but Sod’s law says, if you’re going to get a problem, you will be out of the Country. Take an emergency dental repair kit. Readily available from any larger Chemists. My good mate Carol is the new Receptionist at our Surgery so it was great to see her smiley face and catch up with a bit of goss. So nice to bump into familiar faces as we went about our business. I do miss Bakewell it’s a great base. Everyone was very kindly asking about our adventures, it took us all afternoon just to get back to the Carpark!

Next day was my trip to the Hairdressers. I was beginning to look like Cousin It. I have managed to trim my own fringe and pull a few highlights through while we’ve been away but I didn’t dare brave a foreign hair salon. I am very fussy about my mop! Michelle at Velu in Buxton did a sterling job as per usual. I feel human again. Nipped into the office to see my former colleagues. Great bunch, I do miss them and if I’m honest I’m starting to feel like I should be doing a bit. I could quite happily have sat at my old desk and cracked on for a few hours. Something to consider. Met a few of my old team for lunch. Always good to catch up.

Friday came around and time to get the van into Timberland for a few issues to be sorted. Small, annoying, warranty jobs and we also need a quote for the Insurance Company to fix the vandalism damage from Portugal (see previous posts for details). There are a lot of things to go wrong on a high spec bus like ours. Luckily for us, Timberland in Chesterfield have always come good. I do hope this continues as we are obviously dependent on the van to continue our travels. Please, if you are considering investing in a Motorhome, do your homework on aftersales service as well as brand and layout. There are ALWAYS teething problems, no matter how much money you spend. If you don’t get the support you need after purchase, Motorhoming can be very tedious and frustrating rather than enjoyable. Our underfloor heating has stopped working. We haven’t needed it much over Winter but we sure as hell do now. The Dometic Techtower oven is renowned for having problematic hinges. Our door won’t open and close properly. The fridge is a bit temperamental too. The electric step is not playing and our passenger door is peeing in water when it rains i.e. a very lot!! Time to move back into bricks and mortar for a spell. Fingers crossed our mates at Timberland get the job done expediently and the required parts arrive without delay from Burstner. Why do I have that sinking feeling?! We are only supposed to be back for a couple of weeks. I am trying to be optimistic.

It’s just great to see everyone. Our family gave us a very warm welcome as always. The kids have all grown so much in 6 months!

I can’t wait to get a few of my favourite walks in whilst we’re home. The Peak District is a beautiful place, particularly in Spring. Everything is green and buds and blossom cover the trees. The bluebells are starting to come out. By next weekend the woods above our house will have a carpet of blue. Just gorgeous.

Chatsworth Park is looking particularly splendid. The Duke has done a grand job of touching up his window frames with pure gold! No wonder the parking fees have increased. Seriously though, the house and gardens are spectacular and well worth a visit. They are prepping the Park for the upcoming Horse Trials. Edensor Tea Rooms do amazing breakfasts and a brilliant range of homemade cakes. Don’t leave without a trip to the Farm Shop to stock up on goodies! It’s at nearby Pilsley. The Devonshire Arms in the village does the best steak and kidney pudding ever, served with mushy peas (Kev and Annie Porter, my favourites!!) and thick cut chips. Delish!

Next we have a drive over to Conksbury Bridge. The boys want to paddle in the river and I am desperate to see Lathkill Dale. It is an old picnic haunt of ours, five minutes out of Bakewell.

Such a pretty walk along the river. It’s a good circular, just far enough for little legs, calling for lunch and a pint at the Lathkill Hotel! The lambs are frolicking in the fields. It certainly makes you glad to be alive!

If you are considered bringing your Motorhome to the Bakewell Area, there are a few choices of places to stay. Greenhills is a fairly big site, walkable into Bakewell and Ashford in the Water. Beech Croft Farm is between Bakewell and Buxton and is excellent. Very well run by nice people. It’s on a good bus route. Chatsworth has the Caravan and Motorhome Club site in Baslow on the edge of the Park. Grouse and Claret is just outside Bakewell behind the pub. There are great walks from there. There are numerous places to stay if you are coming without a van. I can recommend The Manners in Bakewell. The food there is great too. Not your average pub grub. Fern Bank in Rowsley is a smashing, doggie friendly B and B, the girls who run it are lovely. If you want to posh it up a bit, the Peacock at Rowsley is a characterful olde worlde country house hotel. The restaurant is excellent, I love it. If it’s good enough for Keira Knightly!!

So, finally, I shall get my proper Sunday Lunch! Our little clan will be gathering around our Parents table once again. You can’t beat your Mother’s Yorkshire Puddings!

More from the Peaks in my next post! Happy weekend one and all ❤️

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