Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My knees hurt!!!

So we finally managed to get up the Twisty Spire church tower. The Builder had taken the vixen into the garage in Chesterfield for them to look at it after Nick our Mechanic had been scathing about their repairs. They didn't argue or anything. Just arranged to get the extra parts to fix it properly. So we were in good time for a Trip into Chesterfield and a mooch about the shops and the market before it was time to go up the tower.

Lindsey bought Harry Potter. She has taken it to Paris. I shall read it when it comes back. I hope she remembers to bring it back!!!

The trip up the tower was fantastic. The verger took us up, amid deep warnings about how many steps there were and how narrow the steps were and how treacherous it all would be. Nearly frightened Lindsey and me out of going (Lindsey's ankle is still bothersome. I do not care for small, dark, enclosed spaces). Still. It was easy enough going up to the bell ringing chamber. Some of us got to play with the bells. Ian tried pulling on a bell rope and nearly got swung away! The verger gave us some of the history of the church and the tower and the twisty-ness of the spire. The spire is just sat on the tower, held there by gravity and magic. They think that the twist is probably deliberate. There are churches in France and Germany which also have spiralled tiles. They, however, have spires which stand up nice and tall. Ours has curved round and sort of under and is now about 9' out of true. They think the spire was added to the tower at the time of the Black Death and that the cause of the curve might be a combination of poor workmanship and lack of understanding or physics and ponder whether it was because the master craftsmen had all or mostly died.

Anyway. Up we went to look at the bells. And while we were there it was noon and the Big Men chimes and the noontime chimes all sounded. Magnificent! Then we went up and looked up into the spire, and looked at the timber struts which have been put up to stabilise the twist and bits of the curve. Then the brave amongst us (the space between the spire and the waist high wall and railing isn't exactly wide) went out onto the tower itself to admire the view. And what a magnificent view. It wasn't sunny but it was very clear. To the south you could clearly see the church tower at North Wingfield, which you can see from our south facing bedroom (it's about a mile and a half from our place). It really was fantastic. There will be photos. But you'll have to nag Ian about putting his photos online. He took all the ones of people going up and down. I took views!

Back on the ground, we went to The Rutland next the church for a not-too-bad pub lunch, then took ourselves into Sheffield for a Nice Cup of Tea with Freyja and Mark and then on to Penny and Steve's for another Nice Cup of Tea and a catch up. Penny was recovering from her final bout of chemo and looked tired and frail but otherwise quite cheerful. Joseph and Imogen were in good form. Lindsey and I came away with pictures they had drawn for us. I also came away with a jar of red currant jelly which Penny had made the previous weekend. She's had a rough time of it lately - she was in hospital a couple of weeks ago with a grumpy heart. They think that might be down to the chemo, stress and having all this going on while there are two small children at home! Anyway. Fingers crossed now for a full, speedy and undramatic recovery.

On Saturday evening we went to what was the Famous Red Lion on the Darley Dale Road. It closed down for refurbishment sometime over the winter and has reopened as the Red Lion, having lost its famousness. It's also transformed itself into what is effectively a seafood bistro, though it does do things other than fishy things. We were greeted by a cheery young girl who was about to escort us to our table when a bumptious, large man interrupted to demand if we had a reservation. We ignored him. I think he might be the maitre d', or perhaps the owner. Anyway. Lindsey and I decided to share a seafood platter. Ian ordered a lobster thermidor. The Builder asked for sea bass. Ian also ordered a bottle of New Zealand wine. Some time later the food arrived. Ian was presented with a lobster aioli. He pointed out that he had asked for a lobster thermidor. The maitre d' (for it was he who had brought the lobster to the table) didn't seem too bothered by this. Ian persisted. The maitre d' sort of sighed and offered to have some thermidor sauce added (thus demonstrating that he had no idea what a lobster thermidor was!). Ian let it go. Off we munched. The Builder's sea bass was the smallest fillet in the world. Our seafood platter was primarily made up of frozen and not well defrosted shellfish. We had to ask for the wine, which eventually turned up, opened, in a cooling bin. We had to ask for glasses! Eventually they turned up. I poured the wine. We all sipped. It was the WRONG wine!!! When a hapless lady turned up later and asked if everything was all right, I told her that it most certainly was not. Oh dear. Off she went and came back with the offer of free desserts. At least she cared! And it must be said that the desserts were magnificent. But at over £100 for the main courses and a bottle of wine, I'd have expected better food, better service and the right wine. You can see why it is no longer famous! Pity. A decent seafood restaurant near us would have been a Fine Thing Indeed. But I don't think we'll be going back there again.

Lindsey and Ian have gone to Paris for the week. The Builder and I went to the Herb Nursery at Hardstoft instead. A considerable improvement on Paris, I'm sure you'll agree

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