Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family Holiday – Day 1

Calke Abbey

So, here we are in Ticknall, close to Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. We’re in an enormous property courtesy of the National Trust, and the reason it’s so large is that this is THE family holiday, where we’ve attempted to pull in as many of us as possible over the next seven days.

The grand plan of ‘everyone together for all seven days’ was somewhat scuppered, as after we’d booked it, as in reality, most commented that they couldn’t make it for the whole of the duration. Still, it’s good, at least, to get everyone under the same roof, at approximately the same time!

We had a good journey here – it only took just over the hour, but the frustrating part was the final half mile. As is the case with most NT properties, they tend to be off the beaten track – literally! The map directions said: ‘after three-quarters of a mile, turn right onto a farm-track’. I’m glad we didn’t, as the distance was somewhat optimistic! There was a farm-track, but no farm HOUSE – clearly a disadvantage. Luckily for us there was an inhabited farm opposite, so we pulled in for directions. Ann knocked on the door, but it took ages for anyone to answer. In the meantime, we were ‘greeted’ by the traditional sheep-dogs and the not-so-traditional mutant chickens! Three of the largest beasties I’ve ever seen in my life! I’m sure if this had been a seaside resort, they’d be offering rides on them!!!

Success!, we just needed to drive a little further down the road. Sure enough, another half-mile later, there was the farm-track...and there was the farmhouse.

Once inside, we realised how large the place was. Massive! Seven bedrooms, and more room than you could shake a sheep-dog at! More importantly, there was a sophisticated heating system so we probably won’t need to demonstrate our fire-lighting skills.

Another feature of NT properties is that they seem to source the smallest TVs for their properties – and in the lounge the size of this one, it just looked stupid. Still, maybe we’re not here to watch TV! Another feature is that data and mobile signals are a rarity – hardly their fault, but amazing, how I’ve come to rely on them over the years, when we’re on holiday – 1 to 2 bars on the phone and only GPRS data speeds. Still, maybe I’m not here to do work! Smile

After a thorough exploration of the property, we settled down to scrambled egg on toast and with our binoculars, watch a bit of TV.

As we prepared for bed, we noticed that the mobile signal had dropped to zero, although I was still getting emails – strange! Stranger that Ann was able to use her mobile in the garden

Another day tomorrow – a bit of shopping, explore the local area – and build a phone mast!!!!