My ‘little one’ is off to university this autumn which is incredibly exciting but also feeling very real with him anticipating probably not coming back for weekends during term time. On the one hand, yikes! I’m gonna miss him badly, more than he could know. But, on the other hand, he’s setting out into the world and has the confidence to do that, even if it’s miles, miles and miles away from home……possibly even in another country – Scotland!
This weekend, he was at an ‘offer holder day’ at the University of Sheffield which is in South Yorkshire (England) to decide if it’s one of his top two shortlisted universities. It’s up to the students if they want to bring a parent with them to the talks, lectures, etc. He’s very independent and said he didn’t need me there…….but “Hey Mum, please can I have a lift?” Of course! So, after a 5 1/2 hour drive up, staying in Chesterfield overnight and dropping him off at 9am, I set off to see what I could find in just a few hours.
Bakewell is a small market town in Derbyshire on the River Wye which has an oldy-worldly feel to it. All the buildings appear to be made from the same stone and there’s just something very characterful about the place. There’s probably a good chance that you won’t have heard of the town but have you heard of a Bakewell pudding? Well, if you have, you now know from where it originates! Bakewell pudding was first made in the 19th century and is basically flaky pastry, jam, almond paste and egg. It’s seriously tasty! There’s even the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop and, yes, I couldn’t resist…..we now have one sitting in our kitchen. The shop is charming with every conceivable type of jam and chutney as well as cookware and gifts.
When I travel, I have a natural attraction to anything watery and so how I could resist heading up to Ladybower and Derwent Reservoirs. As I headed there, I was just bowled over by the spectacular landscape. There were so many views where I just wish I could briefly pull over and take a photo but if you google the Peak District, you’ll get a good idea about what I was lucky to see. Back in the Second World War, pilots from 617 Squadron (known as the Dambusters) used Derwent Reservoir for its low-level practice base to then carry out attacks on German dams. Today, the area is busy with hoards of ramblers ready to take in the stunning atmosphere.
Winter Garden, Sheffield
Knowing that little one would be phoning me at some point asking for his chauffeur, I headed back into Sheffield. I made an absolute fool of myself trying to use one of the car parks! It’s one of those car parks with a long spiral entry ramp so I eventually got up to the barrier, drove round the corner, thought I was going the wrong way, turned around thinking it’d take me the right direction and I found myself heading back down that very, very long ramp! A quick turnaround and I was back up in the car park and ready to explore part of the city. I’d spotted the Winter Gardens online a few days ago and it completely lived up to my expectations. It’s a huge greenhouse with exotic plants, art installations, cafes and lots of benches. It’s even attached to amazing art galleries, one of which is currently showing twelve drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. It’s an incredible public space that’s totally free and clearly popular. I wandered out of the Winter Gardens and found myself in a a wonderful open space with fountains, etc. known as the Peace Gardens. Sometimes in cities, it can feel rather claustrophobic and packed with buildings towering above but I got the impression from Sheffield that it retains a feeling of a very large town with a huge dose of friendliness!
Hope you all have a good week ahead, xx