Tuesday, 19 May 2015

From Bakewell to Eyam: two museums, new boots and a pudding

The Peak District town of Bakewell has been on our bucket list for years,
Bakewell Pudding! 
mainly due to Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewells being one of Dave's favourite foods - ever! We wanted to see if the genuine article was indeed better so we bought ourselves a traditional pudding and a can of custard today. I'll let you know Dave's Official Decision after our Tamarind Chicken dinner ... (and, while I remember, if you forget to buy fresh tomatoes, it turns out that a tablespoon of tomato puree is a fine substitute.)

In the meantime, it turns out that there's more to Bakewell than pastry confections. The town is the capital of the Peak District and has an abundance of outdoor clothing shops, cute cafes and estate agents. It is very touristy which must have destroyed much of its original charm, but there are still lots of old buildings to admire from street level. The oldest house in town, dating back to 1534, is now the Old House Museum - see what they did there? A little away from the commercial centre and up a hill that's not a patch on Calver Edge, the Museum houses a hotch-potch of domestic and industrial artefacts, tells the stories of local residents, and has an interesting short film about the history of the town. Apparently the name Bakewell is likely derived from Scandinavian language roots with early names being Badeca's Wells in Danelaw times and Badequella in the Domesday Book.

Bakewell's Museum showing its age on the outside 
We spent an hour or so exploring the varied exhibits and I thought it was all good value for the £4 per person admission charge. My particular favourite exhibits were the inlaid table top - want one! - and the massive wooden Tudor cupboard - it will never fit in Bailey! Architectural details are also highlighted such as very early windows and a huge Tudor fireplace that had later been walled in for a pantry. Outside, we could see the sagging walls. On show were also recycled battery cases from a defunct local battery factory, now functioning as planters. They reminded me of this fun planter we saw in Castleton - I should have kept hold of my worn out Karrimor boots!

Recycled planter in Castleton 
We lunched at Bean and Bag, a lovely cafe in Bakewell, before wandering around some shops and then heading to Eyam in time to beat last admissions at the Eyam Museum by fifteen minutes. The ticket seller didn't seem best pleased - apparently we should spend longer than 45 minutes there, but it's quite a compact presentation and we skipped the war section. A little local history includes a great model of a leadmine and some archaeological finds. Eyam is famous for being a village that isolated itself during the Great Plague of 1665 in order not to pass the disease to neighbouring
Present-day Eyam 
villages. The museum doesn't actually say whether their sacrifice worked and hardly mentions the whole isolation and how it worked. However, there is lots of information about the plague year - the volume of deaths, historic plague remedies and preventative measures, most of which are ludicrous by current thinking. I was shocked to learn that bubonic plague is still with us. For some reason, my school teaching that the Great Fire of London's wiping out of the last vestiges of the plague had led me to believe it no longer existed anywhere. Not so. An estimated twelve and a half million people in India died of plague in the fifty years prior to Independence and, in certain areas of the USA, people are warned against coming into contact with local wildlife as rodents there carry bubonic plague. Scary stuff!

Eyam Museum is another great value visit at just £4.50 for both of us. Plus, if you're in the area around the middle of June, there is a production of Roses Of Eyam to commemorate the 350th anniversary of the first plague victim in the village. The play is on from the 17th to the 20th June 2015 and tickets are on sale at Eyam Museum.

On a happier note, let's talk shopping! There's a dangerous shop on the
My new Gabor boots 
way back from Eyam to Hope. It's called the Peaklander Factory Shop and they have lots of outdoorsy shoes and clothing. I popped in hoping they might have some convertible trousers, but instead I bought these Fabulous Boots! I love boots! Dave gets the credit for spotting them and they are by a German brand called Gabor. Super comfy and they look great with black jeans. Oops!

We are doing well for local shopping having walked into Hope twice from the campsite, once even In The Rain although we sweltered on the way back uphill in all our waterproofs. The cheeses below are from the excellent Watson's Farm Shop and, further afield in Castleton, the bakery shop whose name I forgot is Peveril Stores and they also have their own honey and jams.

Buying Local 
You will notice a few petitions creeping into these blog pages from now on as I use a bit of the space to raise awareness of issues that are important to me. My friend Sally Willow commented on Facebook that we're going to be signing for a lot more causes since May 7th. So true! I will be promoting campaigns from SumOfUs, Compassion In World Farming and 38 Degrees. If you agree with any, please click through and sign. If not, just scroll past. It's not like I'll know!

Last month, a SumOfUs petition helped convince Yum! Brands, owner of
Pizza Hut and KFC, to announce a policy to only buy 100% deforestation-free palm oil. However a new report shows that one of Pizza Hut's largest international franchisees, Jardine Matheson, is responsible for massive destruction of rainforests and endangered elephant habitat. Pizza Hut cannot claim to be deforestation-free while its franchisees are cutting down the rainforest. Please sign this new SumOfUs petition to convince Pizza Hut to honour its public commitment.

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