Continuing Our Mini Break in the Peaks.

The forecast looked bad, so we left home at 8am for our morning walk. Beautiful sunshine, with dark clouds looming over the hills. We went down into Lower Bradfield, where there’s a Post Office selling coffees, and several smart-looking modern buildings, including a public toilet. There are not many public loos in the Peak District. There was also a small commemorative plaque, above what looked like a toilet, in memory of Mary Ann Smith, who was ‘God’s Gift to Man.’ Not quite sure how to read that—was she incredibly beautiful, or was it written ironically by the angry wives of Lower Bradfield? I feel there’s a story here, but not one I managed to find.*

We then followed a footpath up the hillside, and walked across the moors. We didn’t see any other people, but there were grumpy sheep sleeping on the heather in sheltered places near the stone walls. Lovely windy walk.

As we walked down the lane, towards the cottage, we saw a dead ewe, with a tiny lamb shivering next to her. Another lamb, marked with the same red number 10, was attempting to follow a ewe who looked completely disinterested. I assumed the mother of the twins had died. When we got to the cottage, we went to the owner, to ask him to phone the farmer. It’s too cold for a tiny lamb to survive for long on its own.

We had brunch at The Schoolhouse. I am assuming this was once the school, now turned into a busy cafe, with a smarter area upstairs for meals. We had Eggs Benedict, which was absolutely perfect—freshly baked bread lightly toasted, a generous slice of moist bacon, poached eggs covered in hollandaise sauce. When you’ve been on a long walk, it’s perfect food. Life doesn’t get much better than this.

In the evening we ate more delicious food. There’s a restaurant on the edge of Sheffield: Rafters, which serves taster menus. We had a six-course meal (the courses were tiny, beautiful, and delicious.) It’s an unusual place, as usually restaurants selling ‘posh food’ have ‘posh staff’ and you worry that you might make a mistake—and I always feel that really, they would prefer someone posher than me to be eating the food. But Rafters had normal people, wearing jeans and white shirts, who were efficient and friendly. The other guests all wore casual clothes too, so it was another perfect dining experience. And the seats were comfy—I do like a comfortable seat!

This morning we left home slightly later—I was tired. The weather wasn’t as good—not terrible, but cold with a slight drizzle. We walked from the cottage, up into the hills behind the farm. There’s a ridge of rock sticking up over the hill, and streams bubbling out from the ground. It was a pretty walk, through fields of cows (who ignored us) and past sheep, who watched us suspiciously. We saw the sheep farmer, and asked about the dead ewe we saw yesterday. He said the number 10 twins were fine, it wasn’t their mother who died. The dead ewe probably had lambs inside her. He said most of the ewes in the field were lambing, and he checks each day to see what has been born. Apparently it’s healthier than lambing inside because you don’t have as many germs, but more risky when the weather is as cold as it is at the moment. But his sheds are full, so the remaining lambs will have to take their chances. Farming is difficult; hard work with brutal results if the weather goes wrong. I love seeing lambs in the fields, but I’m not sure I could cope with the loses.

As we arrived at the cottage, I noticed some eggs by the road, and an honesty box. Next to the cottage are beautiful white geese, and I rather fancy trying to raise a few in the garden. The eggs were a mixture—brown ones which were obviously chicken eggs, and some large white ones, which I am really hoping are goose eggs. I bought six and will incubate them when I get home. Really, really hoping they are goose eggs. (Or dragon eggs, that would also be fun, but I understand that is unlikely!)

Hope you have some excellent food today. Thanks for reading.

Take care.

Love, Anne x

Thank you for reading.

*I later discovered that the water fountain originally had ‘WATER’ written above ‘GODS GIFT TO MEN’ but a naughty person had removed it. Made me laugh.


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