Thursday, 3 October 2013

A cocktail of memories

The old market town of Ashbourne is where I spent many happy days staying with one of my school friend during the school summer holidays. I do have memories of it being a pleasant old town, but had forgotten how little the 21st century has encroached upon it. The high street and square are largely devoid of any modern day intrusions. Every other building seems to be an antique store, interspersed with public houses, restaurants, and interesting boutiques. A shop I do remember, and which I was pleased to see again, is the original Gingerbread Shop - we refrained from the temptation to buy. The gingerbread is not hard and crunchy but more like a ginger shortbread - very moorish.
Founded in 1585, the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, still exists today, albeit in a new building. It was founded following a petition from five local gentlemen headed by the Lord of the Manor, Sir Thomas Cockayne. The arms above are those of the Cockayne family, and are still used by the school.
The street paving appears more suitable to those using a horse and carriage.
We travelled on to the Peak District passing by Tissington Hall - an early 17th century Jacobean mansion Grade ll* listed. 
I am not sure why there are so many houses of distinction in Derbyshire, but every few miles you can guarantee coming across one of them. I can only speculate. Derbyshire was at the centre of the Lunar Society with its host of distinguished members, Erasmus Darwin, Matthew Boulton, John Whitehurst, Josiah Wedgwood, William Small, James Watt, James Keir, Samuel Galton. Derby also had its own Philosophical Society. The area was known for its scientific and industrial innovations, the canals, railways, the Spinning Jenny. The Peak District is rich in mineral deposits, thriving agriculture, and home to many big estates owned by both the aristocracy and the nouveau riche industrialists, mill owners, and manufacturers.
The Pennines runs down what is referred to as the backbone or spine of England. Ashbourne is just a few miles away from the southern gateway to the Peak District.
This is Dovedale my family would spend the day here where we would enjoy a picnic.  H and I hiked here as teenagers.
It is the same River Dove that Izaak Walton fished, 
Joseph Wright of Derby sketched, and I paddled as a child.
think that I must have been a mother's nightmare, not content to mess around at the edge of the river, I would wade off into the middle jumping on and off the stepping stones until finally I would slip into the water right up to my neck.
 
On so many occasions after a family day out I have returned home, my clothes soaking wet, wrapped up in a big towel or blanket in the back of my father's car.
When we went to the seaside I would swim out as far as I could. I had no sense of any danger - I loved watching the sun's rays piercing the water, lighting up the dark green depths below me where I could see the fish darting around.  I would look back at the pale yellow beach forming a crescent shaped bay with it's row of beach huts and tiny stick people playing ball or making sand castles. I could see my poor mother frantically waving to me on the shoreline calling desperately for me to come nearer to the shallow water. 
When H and I hiked here there was just a rough track made by walkers. Now there is an established pathway which follows the dale and the river all the way to Miller's Dale. Next time we come, hopefully, we will arrive early and renew our acquaintance with the complete walk.

68 comments:

  1. That does look like a lovely walk Rosemary. I love all your photos but especially those of the Pennines, they transmit such a sense of tranquility.

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    1. It is a lovely area to take a family break - something for everyone.

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  2. You grew up in a beautiful place Rosemary. You must have a lot of lovely memories from your childhood. Love that picture of you as a little girl.You look so happy, a bit mischievous as well though ;) in a good way ;)
    Marian

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    1. I can remember that photo being taken at school - I was embarrassed - I didn't like my my picture being taken, and I still don't now.

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    2. Your eyes sparkle nevertheless Rosemary. Same here btw, I don't like to have my picture taken, I'm rather the one behind the camera. I remember years ago after returning home from Britanny on vacation, we showed our pictures to our neighbours and they asked: "where were you, were you on that trip as well?" I wasn't on any picture.... just took every picture. The kids then made sure that didn't happen ever again ;)
      Marian

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    3. We are all different - it isn't the same for everyone Marian - some people love having their photo taken.

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  3. Wonderful buildings, wonderful landscapes, wonderful memories!

    Marina

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    1. Thanks Marina - glad that you enjoyed seeing them.

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  4. The county of Derbyshire that you show us is delightfully unspoilt. You have such happy childhood and teenage memories of it. I do hope you and H have the opportunity to walk that path in the Miller's Dale area again in the near future.

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    1. Dear Linda - we usually return once a year for a long weekend. Next year if we pick a fine weekend Miller's Dale will be on the itinerary.

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  5. Dear Rosemary, I love all of your photographs but the most charming photograph of a little girl stole my heart. Your face already has so much to tell. I see the intelligent person you have become.
    Isn't it interesting that as young children we show little fear...good thing that our mothers were not aware of some of the predicaments we got ourselves into.

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    1. Dear Gina - we were much less worldly wise than the children of today - to a certain extent it may have been a good thing, but I also wonder whether our naivety could also have led us into difficult situations without our realising it.

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  6. Great post! Lovely memories of a beautiful place. I love the photo of you.

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    1. Thanks Marie - one of the pleasant things about revisiting places from your past are the memories - as long as they are happy ones.

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  7. What a beautiful place!!! Gorgeous photos combined with fond memories! Excellent post, dear Rosemary!!
    I wish you a lovely month of October!!!!

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    1. Dear Marie-Anne - thank you for your visit and kind comment - sending happy October greetings to you in return.

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  8. I long to take The Great Dane back to Derbyshire with me. It's a landscape that called me, oddly, in much the same way as the mountains and sea do. Ashbourne is beautiful, and I looked long and hard at each photo, wishing for a piece of gingerbread, soft or crunchy!

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    1. I am pleased that you enjoyed the last of my Derbyshire posts Pondside - I hope you can persuade the Great Dane to return with you sometime. Apart from seeing the sights you could both eat Pork Pie, Bakewell Pudding, and Ashbourne Gingerbread, but be warned, you would both return home a few pounds heavier.

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  9. Lovely memories you have of your childhood. You looked a lovely little girl in the photo.
    The path/road, not good for small high heeled shoes either :)

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    1. Definitely not suitable for high heeled shoes - a good stout pair of walking shoes or boots.

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  10. Dear Rosemary,

    Ashbourne is a charming town, and your photographs brought my architect father to mind. He had a great love of English chimney pots, which one seldom sees here in the U.S.

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    1. Dear Mark - I will be watching out for interesting chimney pots now!!!

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  11. Given the beauty of the landscape I'm not surprised so many large houses were built. It still looks a beautiful place to live and would perhaps have been even better in simpler times. I've never been one for water, it was climbing trees that got me into trouble more often than not!

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    1. My brothers were the tree climbers - my mother used to buy me Clarks sandals and within no time of their being purchased I would end up with them wet courtesy of some stream, brook, or river. I am quite the reverse now.

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  12. That certainly was a cocktail, it was definitely bubbling over with some wonderful memories. The photos say it all Rosemary, all of which are beautiful.
    Patricia x

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    1. Dear Patricia - sometimes it is quite nice to revisit old haunts and remember past times.

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  13. A great cocktail of words and images. The one of you as that daring little girl is wonderful. I trust your visits to such dangerous places are a little more sedate these days ! Great post Rosemary. J.

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    1. Dear Janice - I think that I have learnt my lesson, in fact I do wonder what happened to that little girl - I am not like her now.

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  14. What a beautiful place too grown up.
    I love youre photo´s.

    Greetings,
    Inge, my choice

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    1. Thank you Inge - it is surprising how so much of it still looks the same.

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  15. Hi Rosemary,

    One of the things I like about your blog is that by reading it I learn a lot of your beautiful country! Your photographs are beautiful. I especially like the ones taken in the Peak district with the river and the green hills and the one of you! Such a lovely photo!!

    Happy evening,

    Madelief x

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    1. Hello Madelief - thank you for your very nice comment - next time you travel over may be you might consider visiting the Derbyshire area - it does have lots of lovely gardens you would enjoy too.

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  16. I loved the title your pictures and words brought back a cocktail of memories for me too. We rented in a cottage in Ashbourne for a weeks summer holiday when the children were younger and visited where you paddled as a child. The children were attracted to the water too, but luckily not as adventurous as you! It was fun reading about your memories, such a beautiful location to grow up in. Sarah x

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    1. Dear Sarah - it is so lovely to think that you have spent time in the Peak District with your family too. I didn't start the post with the intention of sharing memories - they just happened spontaneously. I am glad that you had fun reading them, thank you.

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  17. I really love your posts, always so interesting and something to learn . Ashbourne is amazing, really like stepping hundreds of years back ! And what a sweet little face of yours , so sweet :-))

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    1. Thank you very much Jane that is a really lovely comment which I appreciate very much.

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  18. What a lovely post, Rosemary. And what a beautiful place. I love fast flowing streams and rivers - we don't get many in my part of the world and I do miss seeing them. How wonderful to have a gingerbread shop. I do love the photo of you, too - you do look ready to run off and play!

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    1. I was certainly ready to run off Wendy - the photo was taken at my village school - I was one of those children who disliked having their photo taken.
      I was so pleased when I visited Dovedale to find that it had not been spoilt after all of these years.

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  19. Ashbourne is an interesting town to visit. The buildings are pretty and historical. I would love to try those gingerbread for sure.

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    1. I had to resist the gingerbread although it looked so tempting - we were staying in an hotel that gave us very big evening meals! You would like Ashbourne, it has plenty of interesting little shops selling unique things.

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  20. Dear Rosemary,
    what an interesting post!
    Full of beautiful memories!!!
    Ashbourne is a very beautiful town!!
    Wonderful pictures!!!
    What a cute little girl you were!!!!Happy face!!
    Thank you for sharing!!!
    Have a lovely weekend!!!
    Dimi...

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    1. Dear Dimi - thank you and pleased that you enjoyed seeing Ashbourne and its surroundings. Hope that your weekend is lovely too.

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  21. Beautiful places and beautiful memories. Such a rich heritage and history.

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    1. Dear Karen - when I visited I wasn't expecting so many half forgotten memories to pop into my head. However, it was lovely to visit my childhood haunts.

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  22. It's good to go back to a town in which you have had happy times as a child. Ashbourne looks like a town that has kept it's essential character over the years. So many charming old buildings. The photos of the countryside are delightful. How nice it would be to visit England every few years, to explore the wealth of beautiful small towns and go for country walks. Oh well, I am happy that I have had a small but lovely taste of these delights this year.

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    1. I don't think you could have done a better trip Betty - the bottom of England right up to the top of Scotland was quite a feat.

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  23. Amazing post! Love it... Hugs from Portugal! Manuela

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    1. Thank you for your visit and kind comment Manuela.

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  24. Your photos embody England to me! The atmosphere is lovely and magic! Just where I would like to be now! I definitely would buy those gingerbreads - no way to resist! Being able to enjoy all this as a little girl and to have such wonderful memories now is so valuable and can't be bought with all the money in this world! No wonder you look so happy as little Rosemary! CHrista

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    1. Lovely to hear from you Christa and so pleased that you have enjoyed a good family summer.
      It is very strange how unexpectedly memories can suddenly come flooding back when you revisit locations from a previous time in your life. When we decided to visit Dovedale I had no preconceived idea that I would remember much, but wandering down the Dale so much that happened as a child returned.

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  25. That lovely little girl on the photo that is you, I can see her jumping on the stepping stones over the water and of course slipping off (like I always did and now even do) and swimming too far in the sea, what can be really dangerous. When I read your post I want to visit Derbyshire definitely and the Peak District too, I think we better move to England. Thank you for your always interesting posts about the heritage of England.

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    1. Dear Janneke - I think that you would enjoy a trip to Derbyshire - interesting that you were a little girl who enjoyed getting wet too - it was dangerous to swim our too far but I didn't have any fear about that, however, of course my poor mother did.

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  26. A lovely post Rosemary :-) I enjoyed the insight into some of your early years and love the photo of you as a beautiful little girl.

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    1. It is strange how memories crop up when you least expect them - so many were triggered by my trip to Derbyshire last month.

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  27. A lovely post and a beautiful place to grow up - and I envy your fearlessness!

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    1. Wish I was still like that Nilly - that quality flew out of the window with childhood.

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  28. So lovely. I've never been to Derbyshire, but have always wanted to go - since Elizabeth Bennet's aunt Gardiner (my favourite of her relatives) is from there ... and of course that's where Pemberley is! But I hadn't imagined it was so beautiful.

    Philippa

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    1. Dear Philippa - you are right - Chatsworth House was the inspiration for Pemberley, and in fact Chatsworth was used in the 2005 film version of P{ride and Predjudice starring Keira Knightley.

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  29. Beautiful pictures and a beautiful place.
    greetings from japan.

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    1. Dear hid-aka - thank you for your visit and your very kind comment.

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  30. Love the journeys you take us on dear Rosemary and this lunchtime you have whisked me away to rushing rivers and the gingerbread of all gingerbread shops, yum! I especially like the photo of Tissington Hall taken through the eye of the gate, smashing stuff!
    Happy weekend!
    Paul:)

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    1. Dear Paul - you are too kind - but glad that you enjoyed the journey. Many commenters have mentioned the Gingerbread and it is now making me wish that I had tried some after all - next time perhaps.

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  31. Dear Rosemary,
    what a lovely portrait of that old town (and, reading of canals, I just think: Maybe... a boat trip...next year...).
    I can imagine how your mother felt - it is always such a difference, when one does something oneself (joyously), or is the person who carries the burden of responsibility. You look so charming on the photograph (both of course, on the one of these days too). Thank you for those photos, and I'll take a note about Ashbourne - definitely worth to visit, you showed us that.

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    1. Dear Britta - Derbyshire is a very nice county to visit - lots of lovely houses to visit and gardens, and beautiful countryside to walk in.
      Sadly the photo that you think is me today is not - that was when I was a teenager, remember I am now a grandmother.

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  32. You've been such a sweet little girl! You have grown in a lovely environment. I love those pictures, great old buildings and beautiful landscapes. Happy weekend, Rosemary!

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  33. Thank you Satu - it was very nice to return to my childhood haunts again.

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  34. Super photos and memories, which really make me want to improve my acquaintance with Derbyshire, Rosemary. I think it was a desirable place to live for the rich and aristocratic as it wasn't too far from London or the major industrial cities, yet had a great deal of the picturesqueness of the Lake District.

    I love the photo of you as a girl and remember having very similar hairslides and pigtails too. However my mother never had to worry about my swimming out to far as i was and remain a very poor swimmer.

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  35. Hi Rosemary,
    I LOVE the ginger bread shop picture. I love eating ginger bread as well.
    From: Bea Cupcake

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