Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I was loitering with intent outside the Adsetts Centre on Friday evening, idly contemplating the rain, when what should I espy – but an Ian, wandering along Fargate dragging a travel bag behind him. I quickly grabbed my Ian-net and captured him. Shortly after, The Builder arrived to help me escort my captive back to Tupton. A quick stop in Waitrose for basic essentials such as bread, milk and wine, and off we went. The captive was subdued that evening by the application of gin, wine and rump steak.

On Saturday it was not, actually, raining! The Builder went to the Van Gemeren garden centre to see if he could get a part for his brush cutter, having decided to take it in his van. No luck. The bloke has never heard of the make. He thought it might be one of those products that has fallen off the shelf at a Chinese sweat factory, though it appears it is in fact German. The Builder has since been searching on the internet to see if he can find a spare part. So far, no joy. The grass in the orchard is beginning to resemble a suitable hiding place for tigers and giraffes! To cheer ourselves up we took ourselves and the Ian Captive to Chesterfield, partly to collect a parcel at the Sorting Office and partly for a potter about. I think Ian quite liked the Chesterfield Town Centre. It missed the worst of both the German and the Planning Office depredations that have beset most other northern conurbations and still has an interesting mix of old, middle and new buildings all jostling together. The market square and indoor market were saved by a vigorous public protest some years ago when the planners were intending to knock it all down and build another shopping complex, or car park or something. Would have been quite some loss. The market square is lovely. We were briefly tempted by the prospect of a tour of the twisty spire at mid-day – but had failed to bring our cameras. We are planning to go on next Saturday’s tour (11:30, nota bene) bringing cameras and Lindsey!

Time for tea. And quite coincidentally, a brand new coffee shop has opened in Tupton. It opened on Wednesday, so we don’t know anything about it. We headed back to the village and went to investigate. It’s not bad. Not bad at all. It does a fair hot chocolate, and all right coffees. It has a little menu that we didn’t investigate, having had scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and tomato on toasted muffins at 10:00. But it looks good. And most importantly, it smells like a proper coffee shop when you go in. Thus fortified, we went home with the intention of doing a little domestic organising and then going out. I put the washing on. The Builder put the laptop on. Ian picked up his book and promptly went to sleep, Marlo ensconced on his lap. I hung the washing out and made a cake. I think it was the cake fumes that eventually stirred Ian! Off we went on the wetlands walk, in the sunshine. It was rather nice. You could see where the floods had got to during the Great Floods of 2007! We met a collie with a ball and its walker. We saw the highland cows (but not the Hebridean sheep which have gone away for sheering; there is a little flock of ordinary sheep in there at the moment). Then we came home and sat outside with cake until it was time to make an early dinner. For Ian was heading into Sheffield with his GPS Katy in the Vixen to go to the cinema with Freyja and Mark. A 21:30 screening. I was in bed and completely out to it before the film had finished, I would reckon.

On Sunday, normal service was resumed and it was raining! We met Freyja at the Chesterfield station at 12:00 and all repaired to the Three Horseshoes at Spitewinter for Sunday lunch. I had pre-checked that they did veggie options. They did not, however, do a veggie option for starters that tempted Freyja. Prawn cocktail tempted me. Salmon and dill fishcake tempted The Builder and Ian. We had roast beef and Yorkshire puds and all the usual stuff (Freyja had a feta and Mediterranean vegetables pie with all the usual stuff. They even specially made veggie gravy for her!) Then we were viciously and meanly assaulted by chocolate. Two desserts amongst the four of us. Profiteroles covered in chocolate mousse and a chocolate junkyard, which was a chocolate cream type thing, covered in lots of different bits of chocolate and chocolate sweeties. Was amazing! This was all washed down with a remarkably nice bottle of red wine. I do like the Three Horseshoes. It has an absolutely amazing view, looking straight out over Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Not yesterday, however. I think The Nothing had gobbled it up. It was all shrouded in cloud and mist and fog! I’ll have to take photos the next time I’m there in the sunshine!

Ian has escaped!!!!!!! Aided and abetted by Freyja. They forced us to drive them to the station where Freyja departed back to Sheffield and Ian escaped down to London. We went back home and devised a cunning trap in the front door to catch him the next time he’s about. It’s disguised with fairy lights, so he’ll never notice.

We had a kerfuffle last week. The Builder went downstairs to make the morning cup of tea, as is his weekday wont, at about 5:30 (yes, I know, but we leave quite early and I do like a nice cup of tea before I have to get up). Gazing idly out the window, he was. When suddenly a heron glided gracefully in and perched on the back fence, gazing thoughtfully into the fishpond. Now I like herons. I think they are a very elegant, beautiful bird. But I’m also quite fond of the fish. The Builder is very fond of the fish and isn’t that fussed by herons. He made a commotion inside the window, the heron took fright and flapped away. The Builder went down to the shed (after the tea!!!) to look for netting. All we had was some bright green pea netting. That is now draped not-so-elegantly over the pond so small things can get in and out, but herons can’t! We still have six fish (three disappeared in the spring, followed several days later by another one. I do not suspect the heron of that – the heron would have scoffed the lot!)

We have insured the car for Ian and Lindsey to drive it while they’re here. In anticipation of many miles being driven over the next few weeks, we also sent it to the village mechanic for servicing. The Builder rang me up that lunchtime to inform me there was bad news about the car. It needed two new tyres and the front wheel tracking was buggered. Oh. What a pity. Oh well. “You don’t sound very concerned”, said he. That’s cos I’ve got no idea what you just said. He explained it. I was none the wiser but gathered it wasn’t very good and might be expensive. I commiserated. Then I looked it up on trusty old Google. And discovered that what he’d been telling me was that the wheel alignment was buggered. Oops. Not good. Not good at all. No wonder he was anxious. As it happened, Nick the mechanic managed to repair it not terribly expensively. But it seems that there were several things that needed repairing after the Great Snow Event (we seem to have had a lot of Great Meteorological events this year) that in his opinion either hadn’t been done or had been done badly. Hard to know if the alignment was one of them – Fiats do have alignment problems. But unfinished repairs are definitely amongst them! Now that the alignment has been fixed, the car is handling very much better. Strange to say!!

Lindsey is on her way!
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