Everyone has heard of Bakewell pies - in Australia it's a brand of meat pies. In England there are Bakewell tarts - my mother used to cook them and serve them with hot custard, a family favourite. Here we can buy Bakewell tarts with thick white icing and a cherry on top - so sweet they sting your throat and you really can't taste the essential almond flavour.
In Derbyshire we found the village where all these tasty treats originate from. A delightful village, full of tourists on the day we chose to visit. Apparently we were lucky to have arrived on one of their special days. There were eight gardens open to the public, and for a mere $4 for each garden (donated to Oxfam) we could explore them - there was even a free shuttle bus to take us from one to another.
However, we chose just to wander around the village instead. The ducks and geese were having a lovely time in the river, and there were some beautiful big (really big) trout swimming around that we fancied catching and couldn't understand why no one else was trying to.
There were, of course, several bakeries taking advantage of the presence of so many tourists to sell what they claimed were the original and the best Bakewell puddings ...
They said, there are no "tarts" in Bakewell. Only puddings.
I remember Bakewell tarts with pastry at the bottom, and a little jam, and filled with almond cake. Crosby and Susanne tried one of the "original" puddings, which was filled with almond flavoured custard.
We noticed on the map a place called "Arbor Low Henge" and another called "Nine Ladies Stone Circle". We had heard nothing about either of them, but decided to go and look for the nine ladies. There were no signposts, we just drove to the hamlet that was marked close to it on the map, and then we had to ask some people we passed. Finally we parked the car in a shady lane, and set off along a public footpath, over a couple of stiles, and through a field of cows.
We weren't the only ones. There were others on the path, and people camping in tents by the circle of dancing ladies. Susanne and I tried to get into the swing of things.
There really wasn't much to see - we found out that the Arbor Low Henge would have been much more spectacular - but the weather was bright and sunny, and the air was clear and cool, and we had a splendid little English adventure.
Just like the famous five ...
Both Susanne and I were avid readers of Enid Blyton's "Famous Five" books when we were children, and so many things we have experienced in the English countryside seem tied to stories we have read.
We have driven along admiring the purple heather on the hills - along with bracken it apparently makes a lovely springy mattress for outdoors sleeping. Finally we found some that was close to the road, and so we had to stop and test it out.
Yep. Definitely springy!