Aussie Bruce has been busy exploring the UK countryside for the past week and getting accustomed to LIFE ON THE ROAD.!!
After a couple of days in Brighton, he headed north to historic Chester which has the most complete City Walls in Britain dating from the roman occupation 2,000 years ago.
Our Roman tour guide for Chester (Brian) in authentic Roman armour took us back in time to 100 AD with his in-depth knowledge of what life was like in Roman occupied Britain.
Including the Roman Amphitheatre where up to 7,000 spectators enjoyed gladiator fights!!
From our camp, we cycled into Chester along the winding, narrow bike path beside the canal where we were rewarded with delicious Steak and Guinness pie, courtesy of Teresa and Ian – friends that reside in Chester and Sydney.
The ride home after dinner and a visit to the Pub, at around midnight, tested our bike headlights. We didn’t topple into the canal – so all good and was a great adventure and fun.
Where too from here? Bev closed her eyes and put her finger on the map – Buxton it was decided (pronounced BOOKSTUN). It turns out that it is in the Pennines, about half-way between Chester and Nottingham. It is said that when you are getting nearer, if you can see the Pennines, then it is about to rain, and if you can’t see them, then it is raining!! We were warned by Ian. True to form, as we approached, the sunshine turned to wind, then rain, hail, and – you guessed it – snow, with a lovely minus three overnight. This did not stop us from tramping from an old lime quarry on the hill; Bruce’s pitch for the next two nights, down into the township which bears no similarity to the Buxton in Victoria, Australia; fully rugged up with warm wet weather gear.
The architecture is amazing including the Opera House opened in 1903,
one of the finest theatres in the country. That evening, sitting in the dress circle, watching the musical “Beyond the Barricades“, we experienced its beauty first hand. Due to the inclement weather, we prebooked a taxi for the trip down the hill to the Opera House. As we ran towards the taxi when it arrived, another couple were also off to the theatre.
When the driver asked where we are from, in unison we replied “Melbourne”!! Norman and Connie are from Melbourne, Derbyshire and we all laughed at the coincidence. After the show, it was settled over G&T and pints that we should come to the “real” Melbourne near Derby!! Where Lord Melbourne hailed from! Why not?…
So here we are a couple of days latter in a meadow, on the Common in Melbourne, camping in Bruce with a view over a beautiful dam.
Monday night, Julie and Jason (ourtour.co.uk) ventured over to our site. They had not met “Bruce” before, who is “Dave’s” younger brother. As usual, it was fun to discuss their 2 year adventure in Europe and glean words of wisdom for our upcoming travels!! Julie added helpful comments to our Spanish camp site book. We had a great chat and a couple of beers.
We were honoured to have Norman and Connie as private tour guides for exploration of Melbourne and surrounds! It began with a walk through the historic village/town including the parish church which was built in 1120!!
The Name Melbourne means “mill stream” or “mill spring”. Melbourne is in South Derbyshire, 8 miles south of Derby & near the river TRENT. In 1837 a then tiny settlement in Australia was named after William Lamb, Viscount of Melbourne, Queen Victoria’s 1st Prime Minister of England.
Connie has worked in two of the historic castles we visited and was brimming with interesting information. People she worked with showed us to parts of Elvaston Castle not open to the public. We were royal guests indeed!!
Thomas Cook was born in Melbourne in 1808! He started popular travel in England and travel agencies and an airline are still run by the family.
We dropped into the Op Shop that Connie volunteers at – Mark picked up two jumpers, a windcheater and a sheepskin jacket for 20 pound!!
And Bruce is going really well. No surprises with him, but aren’t these lanes narrow through the villages!! Testing Mark’s driving skills for sure. Today, I had a two lane road, with a footpath on either side, with buildings built right up to the footpath. A large truck coming the other way and people on both footpaths (with umbrellas up!). The semi and I approached at about 2kmh, our mirrors went within 2 inches of each other, and the umbrellas too. Just imagine, umbrellas up against the houses on either side, trucks just about touching them, and each other !! Very narrow roads!! On the other hand, the motorways are great – three lanes each way, but the streets in the villages are very narrow!!