June 8, 2012
Cousin Alistair meets us at Heathrow. It’s wonderful to see his smiling face and hear his lilting Derbyshire accent again.
We head up the motorway to Sutton-on-the-Hill. No one does place names like the English. No one does weather like the English either. Ashbourne has received a month’s rain in the past two days, there are floods in Wales. I’m so glad we packed big jumpers. We light a fire. Al assures us it’s not usually this cold in June. Right.
The bike can stay in the shed for now. We need to readjust our body clocks and get our heads sorted to English driving practices. They all drive soooo fast, even in these narrow lanes flanked by overgrown hedges. Even the farm tractors. Especially the farm tractors.
In the meantime there are family reunions to be had … Auntie Anne, Janice and Zandra and her family, Andrew, Sallyanne and Maya, Nicola and crew. The Great Badminton Challenge.
It’s a lovely feeling for me to be suddenly surrounded by extended family. I appreciate Graham allowing me this indulgence, but I know he enjoys their company too.
We are especially appreciative of Al and Ann’s hospitality. We have taken over a bedroom and parts of the kitchen, dining and utility rooms, and are making ourselves at home.
In a couple of days, and having sorted a satnav (after Graham’s first mistaken excursion into a Derby residential estate … I’m sure the kids chasing him were just being friendly) … we’re primed for our first ride out together.
The National Motorcycle Museum is full of motorbikes (and a friendly ex-copper now museum attendant named Bob). The Robin Hood cemetery is full of dead people and a funeral service. No discernible link to the Robin Hood story at all that we can see. Whoops. The Cadbury factory is full of chocolate thank goodness. We skip the tour and go straight for afternoon tea.
The next day we strike out to Matlock Bath, a biker-favoured destination, for fish and chips. The countryside is so pretty, and nothing is more than 20 minutes away.