The day got off to an unusually slow start for a courier-run day. We had been told that the document would not now leave EC1 until 11:00 and would be sent to us at St Pancras by motorcycle courier. This meant that we might just manage to catch the 11:25 train to Derby. (Note in the picture that the famous St Pancras clock has stopped at 12 noon/midnight.)
We spent some time at home looking up hotels for our next holiday later this month then left at about 9:30 to walk to Kings Cross for breakfast. We breakfasted at the Station Cafe and then walked through the station to St Pancras, where we sat in Starbuck’s awaiting developments.
News eventually came through that there had been a cock-up and the bike courier had somehow been cancelled. Another one was arranged and eventually arrived and handed over the package. It was now 11:25 but we hurried upstairs to the platform in case the train had been delayed. It hadn’t. The next train for Derby was at 12 noon.
The journey was without incident and we reached Derby at 13:56 as timetabled. A late handover had been negotiated by the two companies so we were under no pressure with regard to time. We took one of Derby’s rather splendid yellow cabs to the client address and completed our assignment. The rest of the day was ours. (Derby’s Coat of Arms outside the station.)
We walked back to the city centre and made a brief tour. Among other sights worth visiting, Derby has a beautiful old covered market (see photo). Tigger wanted to go to Buxton and I readily agreed, knowing how lovely the towns and countryside are in that part of the world. We had reckoned, however, without Calamity Kate.
Before leaving Derby, though, here are some more pictures. We really must visit this town again!
The plan was to take the bus to Buxton and the bus duly arrived with Calamity Kate at the wheel. Everything went swimmingly until we arrived at Belper. Kate drove the bus into the bus station and aimed it at the bay. Her aim was off. There was a dreadful crunching and grinding. She reversed and tried again and managed to park the bus but inspection revealed that the front nearside wheel arch and most of the front bumper had been ripped off. This bus was going nowhere.
With admirable aplomb, Kate reported the damage on her mobile and then advised us passengers to take bus 6.1 which was on the point of leaving. Is it a good idea to take advice from someone who has just crashed a bus? Well, we did take it for better or worse, and that is how we arrived at Bakewell, which was as far as that bus was going.
We arrived in Bakewell just as everything was closing. By now, after an hour and a half on buses we were in need of a drink. We found a nice little cafe called Nosh.
“We’re just closing,” said the lady.
“Oh!” we gloomed.
“But we will serve you if you don’t mind sitting outside.”
“Oh!” we said happily. “Any chance of a cream tea…?”
There was every chance. And with proper clotted cream from Cornwall too.
Then we explored Bakewell and I must say it is a most beautiful little town with lovely weathered-stone buildings. Its charm is increased by the fact that it is set in green countryside so that nearly every photo you take shows a background of hills and trees.
We there and then added Bakewell to the list of places to revisit. We will make sure to arrive earlier in the day or even stay overnight in order to see it at its best.
We arrived at the bus stop at 6:31. The bus was scheduled for 6:30. We hoped it was late. It wasn’t: we had missed it. The next bus was scheduled for 7:10. It arrived at 7:20. This is the First Rule of Bus Travel: if you arrive at the stop just in time, the bus will have left early; if you arrive at the stop in plenty of time, the bus will be late. When the bus did arrive, guess who was at the wheel: yes, Calamity Kate! Fortunately, she managed to enter and leave Belper bus station without mishap this time.
It was a pleasant journey through picturesque towns and villages set in beautiful countryside, lit by the magical light of the evening sun. Un pays de rêve.
The bus took us all the way to Derby station and I am writing this on the train as it speeds through a darkling landscape punctuated by occasional lights, hurrying us back to London and to home.
And finally, a few more photos of Bakewell because it is such a beautiful town: