Sunday, 22 April 2012

Flash, Buxton and Ashbourne in the Peak District

Hello Readers,
I'll start out this week's entry by answering a question from our Indy neighbour Hot Rod.  On our trip home we were discussing our experience and I had mentioned that they don't have any "French" things here like french toast (called eggy toast) or french fries (called chips).  So he asked me "what do they call french kissing then?"  After we all finished laughed he told he was serious so I was tasked with bird dogging the answer.  I ended up asking one of the mothers at Kalle's school and after her initial shock wore off (thanks again Hot Rod) she told me they call it french kissing.  Anticlimactic ending but now we know.

The Better Halves Club met this week at Jack Rabbits (link).  I had a tasty ham and cheese panini with a deliciously creamy mocha coffee.  (The English definitely know how to make chocolate btw.)  Our group was seven and a half strong this time.  The half was our youngest member, six week old baby A who is adorable.  She managed to sleep through the lunch which was impressive.  We had a couple of guests also, one of our group had her parents visiting so she brought them along.  The more the merrier! 

We had a guest at the house this week, camera shy Greg from Indy.  We had a fun night plus he donated to my pub glass collection.  Double bonus!  The glass pic is at the end of blog so stay tuned.

This week's Kevin Coleman pic - With Greg over we broke out my pub glass collection.  The Kronenbourg 1664 is a premier French beer that was better than expected.

This week's "Dan Stine extreme self restraint in the face of surmounting adversity moment of the week" is the total lack of communication with the schools.  May 7 is a bank holiday so Lori has it off but the kids schedules didn't show that being an off day so I didn't have anything planned.  After checking with some parents and with the kids it appears that the kids are off also.  So... not wanting to waste any three day weekends I spun the board, tossed the dart, and... bam!  Wales it is.  I actually picked Wales because we can get there without a train or plane and don't want to pay a premium for short notice tickets.  I am almost done with planning the trip and am getting a little excited.  Wales is supposed to have picturesque coast lines and stately castles.  Ex-ci-ting!

Finally another Carol Seppanen book update.  I finished Life and Fate by Visaly Grossman (Wiki link) which tells the story of a Russian family during WWII, specifically during the battle of Stalingrad.  A thick 855 page monster that alternated between scenes of plodding, depressive human nature and painfully realistic Russian life.  Fascinating to read, the book was a grim portrayal of the oppressive Russian life in the early 1900's. 

Borrowing from Steve Frey's blog (thanks Steve) I am including a YouTube link (YouTube link) to an informative clip that explains some of the UK, Britain, Ireland, etc. terminology.  I found it to be entertaining and informative so hopefully you will as well.

Since we spent Saturday doing homework and mostly staying inside I booked a Peak District tour for Sunday.  Lori tried punking us by taking the GPS with her to Indy this week but we persevered!  Instead of guarding the house all weekend I Mapquested our trip and promoted Karl to Assistant to the Regional Navigator.  I did plan a short trip since exploring with a GPS can be frustrating enough already, exploring without one is just foolish.  Plus we didn't want to do anything fun since Lori would miss out.  So armed with a four page Mapquest itinerary and a half tank of gas we started off. 

Unfortunately the on again - off again rainy weather didn't cooperate and I didn't get as many scenery pictures as I was hoping for.  It was cloudy when we departed, rained in the hills, sunny when we returned, and rained again in the evening.  Overall the weather has been very good since we have been here so no complaining from me.
Our trip.  Points A (under E) and E is our house.  Point B is Flash, Point C is Buxton, and Point D is Ashbourne.  The green on the map between Ashbourne and Buxton is the Peak National Park or Peak District.

I picked Flash since it is the highest elevation village in Britain.  Scenic drive on decent roads but the constant rain prevented us from taking many decent pictures.  The village had a small school, church and fifteen houses - bigger than I expected. 

One of the unpredictable parts of travelling here is the folklore you will run into.  I'm not sure how much of the stories are true but I'll fill y'all in anyway.  In Ashbourne's Heritage Centre we were told the "flash in the pan" story origin.  A few years back (remember that a few years to the Brits is slightly different than a few years to us Yanks) there were "some men who should have known better" in Flash who were making counterfeiting coins.  When heating the metals to melt them, the metals would jump or flash which supposedly started the expression.  In researching Flash it was known for its lawlessness, specifically mentioning counterfeiting and cock fighting, so maybe the story is true.

On the drive to Buxton.

Also on the drive to Buxton, sky is starting to clear now

Our next stop was Buxton, the highest elevation market town in Britain.  Market town is an expression to signify towns large enough to host markets of different varieties.  Once again the weather prevented me from getting decent pictures or exploring Buxton.  Maybe we'll go again on a sunny afternoon and get better pictures.

After Buxton we headed to Ashbourne to eat at George & Dragon.  Monday is an unofficial bank holiday, St. George and the Dragon Day.  My Scandinavian trip readers will remember the Stockholm post (link) where I drooled over the St. George and the Dragon Sculpture in the cathedral.  So with this being the holiday weekend I wanted to do an activity but found all kiddie or adult activities, nothing for teenagers.  So when I found the George & Dragon pub online I figured that was the best I was going to get on short notice.  

When we arrived in Ashbourne the weather had cleared so we could explore the town on foot.  Ashbourne was small so the walking tour was short and sweet.  You can read about St. George and his legend here. 

Relatives Mark?

Maybe get Keith a summer job here to learn the family business?

George & Dragon pub.  Happy St. Georges Day!

 Since it is Sunday we had to have Sunday roast or eat elsewhere.  I wanted to eat here so we chose to stay.  We had two choices: First choice was meat - beef, pork, or lamb.  Second choice was big Yorkshire pudding boat or small Yorkshire puddings on the side.  We all chose the boat option and then each picked a different meat.  After ordering we sat down to wait for our meal and watched some marathon race taking place in London.  I don't know what the race was but thought the overhead shots of Tower Bridge and Tower of London were neat since I've been there.  Definitely one of the many bonuses of travelling - seeing places on TV that I've seen in person.  Within a seemingly few minutes they brought out the food - a huge (6-7 inch diameter) pudding bowl holding mashed potatoes, carrots, cabbage, and cauliflower topped with meat served Dana style - drowning in gravy.  Very good and very, very big.  We were all glad we stayed since it tasted better than we expected.  But then again, what doesn't gravy make better?

My lamb roast.  Look familiar Dana? 

Kalle's pork roast.  She was the only one with stuffing but since she doesn't like it she gave it to KJ and I.

Market Place in Ashbourne, the market centre dates back to 13th century.  The memorial on the right is to Francis Wright, some "prominent figure in Ashbourne".  Never heard of him.

The white building is a 16th century timber framed building.

Shrovetide Football.  Now this was interesting.  You can check out the website here.  It is a two day football game played on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday with a round basketball sized ball filled with shaved cork.  The ball weigh six pounds dry and eleven pounds wet which is common since most of the game is played in the river bed.  The goal posts are three miles apart on opposite ends of the town and the sides have about three thousand players each at the height of the popularity.  The only out of bounds are cemetaries, churches and another place I forget.  The ball is carried like in American football.  Sounded like sand lot football.  

St. Oswald's Parish Church, consecrated in 1241.  We couldn't tour inside since there was a service in session.  To bad because we missed a carved marble effigy, "splendid monuments", and "one of the finest pre-Raphaelite windows in the country".  Sounded pretty good.

The kids in front of St. Oswald's 212 foot single spire.
The lower floor was built in 1610, upper floor was built in 1848.

Bust of Catherine Booth.  Wife of the founder of The Salvation Army and Ashbourne native.

This week's Steve Frey pic - strange looking tufted head ducks.

Shrovetide plinth - start of the shrovetide football game.  Prince Charles "turned up" the ball to start the 2003 game.

One of Kal's travelling window pics on the way home from Ashbourne.

Kojak admiring the new Boddington's glass - thanks Greg!

Thanks for listening,


  1. Nice job, Jay. Looks like you found something decent to see even in the rain. I like the larger picture format which I now realize you've had for a few posts now.

  2. Alright, I have to ask. Does Karl own another sweatshirt? I have seen WAY too much of the red IU one. Get him a Tarheels or Tech one, please! I, too, enjoy the bigger pics. The one above of the Elliott's bright blue shop is so charming! I love it!

  3. Thanks Steve.

    Tammy - yes he does but he is like his unnamed parent who gets something she likes and wears it until it falls apart. I don't understand iy but he does come by it honestly.