Friday, 29 June 2018

Planning for Timber Festival

There's only a week to go till Timber Festival, so I was very excited to receive my programme through the post this week.

Admittedly it's possible to go along to a festival without any planning, just heading for whatever catches your attention on the day, but, particularly this time as I won't be going along for all three days, I like to know what's on. and when, so I can organise my time a little, and not miss something or someone that I really wanted to see. So, it's time for the highlighter pen ...

I've posted a general sort of round up for the festival before, but now it's time for the nitty gritty  - checking which things clash, which things are repeated over the weekend - and I'm finding my emphasis has changed a little.

Top of my list is Seek, Find, Speak; a conjuring told in gold a spoken word adaptation of  the Robert Macfarlane/Jackie Morris book, The Lost Words. The sound trail will be open each day with several theatrical performances taking place over the weekend.

Another all-weekend installation I really want to see is the Museum of the Moon. I was out in the garden last night trying to see the Moon through binoculars, but this will no doubt be an easier way to see its details - and I'll be able to see the 'dark side'.

Working my way through the musical line up, there are a lot of new-to-me artists so I've spent time on Youtube listening to snippets of their music trying to get a feel for who I most want to watch (see, I really DO plan ahead). So far my list includes (in no particular order), Ewan McLennan, You Are Wolf, Emma Gatrill, Alice Jemima, Siv Jakobsen, Hope and Social, Westerman, and Jane Weaver. I'd almost be tempted to just find a good spot by the stage and stay there for the whole festival but I think that would be missing out on such a lot of other things.

I want to watch aerial acrobatics, and horses pulling logs, have a go at stone-balancing, or whittling wood, help create a maze and join in a foraging walk; maybe learn to Think like a Tree, (though I'll skip the tree climbing) or brush up on outdoor survival skills. I'm tempted by a Bollywood dance workshop or a Laughing Yoga session (there are other more 'normal yoga activities, but I don't think I'm bendy enough for those)

This festival isn't just about being entertained though. I want to come away feeling I've been informed, learned something about forest life, or the possible future for woods and forests in a world where every square foot of ground has to 'pay' for its keep, so there are various talks and discussions I'd like to catch - From Field to Fork (about the journey our food makes to the table), Adam Weymouth talking about his four month journey down the Yukon River, John Everitt of the National Forest Company discussing the ongoing regeneration and transformation from post-industrial landscape to forest in Trees Transform, Lizzie Daly on the importance of maintaining natural spaces for wildlife, Living with Trees, Creative Solutions for a Greener Future, and more - the choice of green, tree-themed topics seems endless and all fascinating.

Fortunately, the programme, besides the details of all events, contains a handy day by day planner of what's on when, so I can get to work with my highlighter, plan each day meticulously - and then probably get sidetracked by the first thing I see through the entry gate.

See how it went here

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Haddon Hall - film set and rose gardens

 You've probably seen Haddon Hall on film or TV in Jane Eyre or The Princess Bride, and either side of last weekend filming was taking place there again, with some of the props and sets being left in place when the hall was open to the public, so I wanted to see what could be seen.

Well, firstly the car park was full of pantechnicons, trailers, caravans, on-location catering ... this was obviously a much bigger project than I'd imagined. At the hall itself, the changes were more subtle - hiding modern fittings and making sure no damage came to original stone and woodwork - except in one room which had had its furniture changed, giving it a totally different feel. (No photography allowed in that room, so you'll have to wait to see it on screen)

We timed our visit to clash with an England football match, so there were less visitors than I'd expect on a glorious summer's day, and it's easier to imagine Tudor lords and ladies in residence. A harpist, playing in the Long Gallery, helped add to the ambiance, but the sunshine soon drew us outside to the terraced gardens.      


They weren't the only flowers in the gardens, but roses seemed to be climbing up every wall, and at the peak of their flowering.

With a slight breeze coming from the river below, it's a wonderful spot to spend a sunny afternoon.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Another day, another canal

We seem to have our fair share, if not more, of industrial heritage in Derbyshire, and so often industry goes hand-in-hand with canals, so here I am again walking alongside another - an old favourite at Cromford.

There's lots to be seen and explored at Cromford - Arkwright's mill complex which started the industrial revolution, and the village built to house the workers, the workshops at High Peak Junction,  the surrounding hills which in Spring are carpeted with bluebells or take a leisurely cruise in a restored barge - but this was a lazy day, with our grandson along in his buggy, so we settled for lunch at the Wharf, a gentle stroll from Cromford to High Peak Junction, and a gentler one back for cake.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Another new walk - Erewash canal

My determination to thoroughly explore the area I grew up in continues ... this time with a canal-side walk. I've passed over the Erewash canal countless times driving back and forth to my parents, but never stopped to look.

 So, with the promise of a pleasant evening, we parked up and walked.

Canal-sides always make for good walking - they're flat, apart from near locks, generally well surfaced, and you can't get lost. Just walk half the distance you feel up to, or have time for, then retrace your steps.

Erewash canal runs alongside the river of the same name, more or less on the border between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. We started our walk just south of Langley Mill, heading 'downstream' towards Shipley Boat, and actually passing over the river Erewash at one point.

It isn't maybe quite as tranquil as it appears, as we could hear the noise of traffic on the A610, but it was a pleasant walk nonetheless, with lots of wild roses, irises, elderflowers, and a swan who seemed ready to pose for a picture.

Passing over the River Erewash

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Woodside Festival

Saturday afternoon saw us in a field, sitting on bales of hay, listening to live music, while huge soapy bubbles drifted past on the breeze. Yep, festival season has started!

We were at a new event - Woodside Festival - organised by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, and held at their farm in Shipley Country Park, with profits going to the Trust. I heard about it when researching for my local festivals post, and knew it fitted many of my criteria - local, suitable for older folks like myself rather than just teens and twenty somethings, and dog-friendly - so when I stumbled across a half price offer, I decided we should go.

It was primarily a children's event with lots of pond-dipping, den building, and such outdoors activities, theatre (we saw part of this, with children joining in a dance, and it looked great fun), but there were things for adults too - yoga, a drumming exercise class, chainsaw carving demonstrations, fab food and drink, and of course the bands on stage, which were our main interest. Some were musicians we've seen before, others I knew by name, some were complete unknowns, but we enjoyed all the acts.

Things kicked off at 12 noon, and ran till 9:30, but we'd aimed to arrive to hear Scribble Victory playing at quarter to three. Well, we did get to HEAR them, but unfortunately not SEE all of their set because of the unexpectedly long walk from the car park. The organisers were making use (very sensibly) of the old tarmac carparks left from the days of the American Adventure theme park, but they were quite a way from the event site, and I hadn't spotted any warning about this. Still, it got us into the 'wild' mood as we spotted dragonflies and buzzards along the way, and it let Dylan the dog get some exercise before having to sit more or less quietly for much of the day. It's always nice to be able to take him along to events. After all he's part of the family, and it's not really feasible to leave him home alone all day. I was surprised though that no one seemed to have thought about providing water for dogs (the Badger Baristas were happy to fill his bowl though, which was a relief)

Poutine - fries, cheese curd,
gravy, maple-smoked
bacon, chicken, sour cream.
Good stuff!

I'd been anxiously watching the weather forecast all week because sandwiched in between two weeks of lovely sunny weather was a seemingly damp weekend, but on Saturday morning it showed no rain. They were wrong, of course. Late afternoon the heavens opened, just as I was tucking in to Canadian poutine from The Gravy Train, and I had to put up my brolly to keep rain out of my food (luckily none fell in my lovely Pinkster gin)

A lot of folk dashed for the exit, but we stuck things out, in the hope that the sun would return. And it did. My belief is that thin clothes are best if you're going to get wet - they soak through easily, but dry off quickly too - so my linen trousers were soon dry -ish, while hubby's jeans stayed wet.

The music acts were timed with ten to fifteen minute change-over gaps in which we wandered round the site visiting the various stalls, saw the chainsaw carver at work creating a Viking warrior, watched the huge art mural taking shape, and checked out the food and drink, including some of the best carrot cake ever from the Badger Baristas.

mural by Faunagraphic
mural detail

As the sun set, the lights on the stage went up for headliners, The Tin Pigeons, performing a mix of their own music and covers. We didn't stay till the end of their set but started to make our way back to the car, singing along to their cover of The Proclaimers' 500 miles.

It wasn't heavily attended, but the organisers say it will be back next year. For me, it's on to the similarly outdoorsy themed Timber festival, held on the first weekend in July in the National Forest.