Sunday, October 24, 2010

Want a relaxing weekend in England?

There is nothing more relaxing than a walk through The Peak District (The Midlands, UK). Unfortunately, it was raining most of the time we were there last weekend, so we did the next best thing: We went to the pub, where we discovered that a little rain doesn’t keep the Brits from a relaxing walk. Dozens of walkers came in while we were reading our Sunday paper.

Leave your muddy boots at the door! a sign read as we entered the pub in the tiny village of Harrington. I felt a bit embarrassed that I didn’t have any. I love walking. I am a walker—a dedicated one, which is just another expression for an obsessed one!

“I usually have muddy boots,” I said to the waiter who brought me my cider. “It’s just, well, this weekend, they’re in the shop.”

“Fair enough,” he said, because I’m sure he didn’t know what to do with me.

“I’ll try the pear cider this time,” I said and scooted my clean shoes under the table out of sight of the walkers at the next table.

Torrential rain finally caught up with us on Sunday in the picturesque village of Tissington. I wish I had been able to take a photo of Tissington, but it was literally a puddle on the side of the road when we swam through it.

It didn’t rain the entire weekend, though. Backing up to Saturday. It was dry enough for us to enjoy an unexpected bit of fun at the Crich Tramway Museum Village. The hefty entrance charge of 12 pounds each was almost worth it. We amused ourselves like kiddies for a few hours, riding the renovated streetcars from all over the world. George the flea circus stall cleaner’s mother even found a tram that used to drive by her home in Budapest. Great fun, especially for children who are still biologically, um, children. With a woodland trail and sculpture garden and a picnic area overlooking the valley, the Crich Tramway Village is a fun-for-the-whole-family sort of place.

On Saturday we also went to The Attic Sale at Chatsworth (Sotheby’s Auction) and laughed our heads off at the utter crap they were auctioning off. Moth-eaten paintings of questionable worth even if the moths hadn’t got to them, chair frames, dishes, moth-eaten butterfly collections and a seemingly endless supply of teacups. What’s with all the teacups?

Chatsworth Castle

The gem of the East Midlands, however, is Kayal, a South Indian Restaurant in Leicester. George the flea circus stall cleaner and I roamed Leicester for almost an hour before stumbling upon this wonderful, packed, restaurant. If you live anywhere within a hundred-mile radius of Leicester, you have to stop by for one of their out-of-the-ordinary curries and rice breads.
Nottingham, on the other hand, was a bit of a bust. As British cities go, Nottingham is fairly indistinguishable, but for the Castle Hill, which hasn’t actually had a castle on it in several centuries. There are lots of Robin Hood statues, though, so knock yourself out.

I must be off,


Christopher Allen is the author of the absurdist satire Conversations with S. Teri O'Type