Saturday, October 20, 2007

Day 14: Loughborough and Matlock

I'm taking a break from gardening to add another day to my account of our trip. Contrary to what some of my blog visitors thought, we are not actually touring round the UK any more. I'm writing it up in retrospect, after a month away in September.

I enjoyed Burghley House so much, and was disappointed enough at not having time for the gardens, that I contemplated returning on the Friday which was the last day we were staying in the area. I thought that perhaps P could drop me off and I could figure out the local bus service enough to get back to our resort, after walking the mile or two from Burghley into Stamford. But then I found out that Burghley is closed on Fridays, so that plan was off.

The attractive parish church at Loughborough, however, was open to the public only on Friday mornings, so we had left it until the end of the week.

This was another of the towns where P's ancestors had lived before coming to New Zealand. I was getting a little bored with churches, to be honest, and was glad to discover they had a patchwork quilt on display in a side room, which a volunteer gladly took me to see. The central block is "Tree of Life" and all the other blocks have names with biblical references. A leaflet is available giving all the verses.

The church also has a very fine stained glass window:

and gilded angels:

This photo is a little blurry owing to the slow shutter speed in the low light (I didn't have a tripod). It's only now that I've returned that I've discovered the miracles of Photoshop. In some places I deliberately set the shutter speed faster and underexposed my indoor shots, but they looked way to dark on the camera, and I gave up. P has a very fancy digital SLR which seemed to be able to set a faster shutter speed than mine on indoor shots and still have enough light. What's more, it has better compensation for camera movement. So I left much of the indoor photography to him. But I am now discovering that a few simple adjustments in Photoshop do an amazing job of bringing out those apparently underexposed photos.

We scrutinised many of the gravestones in the Loughborough churchyard without finding any names we recognized. I was surprised to discover that they were using many of the old gravestones for paving. It's better than discarding them altogether, I suppose, but being walked on is inevitably going to wear away the inscriptions, which I find rather sad, and disrespectful. I did try to avoid walking on any of them.

We left Loughborough to head up to Matlock which is where the Derbyshire records are held. The name that P is researching is found in areas straddling the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border. Matlock is in the Derbyshire Dales on the fringes of the Peak District National Park. We seemed to keep heading back to this park - this time it was the "White Peak" - the part which has limestone, and rolling wooded farmland.

P had one film reader booked, and I quickly exhausted the records that were available in printed volumes, and couldn't help him much further, so I went for a walk around the town:

and even found a needlework shop to look at:

This is Riber castle, seen from a distance and photographed with a zoom lens:

It wasn't mentioned in the guide book, and when I looked it up on the internet I found that it was actually built in 1862 as a Victorian folly, and is now in a ruinous state.

I was interested in birds around the UK. I assume this is a crow:

(though I mentally named all black birds of a similar size "crows" and I have no idea what the difference is between crows, rooks, ravens and jackdaws). In New Zealand we have quite a few introduced birds brought by the early settlers from Britain. The commonest here are blackbirds, sparrows, starlings and thrushes, and I expected them to be just as common in the UK, so I was surprised to spot far more crows and doves. Of course they are bigger and so more easily spotted from a moving car.


Anonymous said...

I love the pictures. I can almost feel the history seeping through the pixels. I also noticed your button for Poetry Thursdays! I started a Poetry Thursday thing on my blog, however I did not realize it was already being done else where. Hmmmph... I suppose I will have to go check it out now.

Michele sent me!

Anonymous said...

Yes. Yes, that is a crow. My favorite bird ever.

craziequeen said...

Hi Catherine, Michele sent me to catch up on your UK trip.

We get more thrushes and sparrows in Spring. Starlings have moved into towns ands cities and are now considered a nuisance.


Zeborah said...

One of my sets of aliens cremates people then buries their ashes under an inscribed paving stone in the streets. That the inscription wears away over time is a feature rather than a bug for them: a time to mourn, a time to get on and think about the living.

chiefbiscuit said...

Love the trip memoirs - must keep it fresh in your mind too ...

Shameless said...

Wow, you squeezed in so much! You must have been up at the crack of dawn every day! Nice shots here and explanations of things. And yes, isn't Photoshop brilliant!

David said...

i call them all crows, and they never seems to mind
here from the old crow herself, Michele

honestyrain said...

the shot of Riber Castle is my favorite. My goodness, how lucky to have been where you've been. I envy you the opportunity to photograph these lovely locations.

here via michele's weekend party :)

Anne said...

Hi, Michele sent me, nice pictures! I'd love to go on a trip like that. I espcially like the quilt, I haven't been quilting lately and that's beautiful inspiration.

Sara said...

Hello, Catherine, Michele sent me to say that I am enjoying your trip via your blog. The quilt is gorgeous as is the stained glass window.

Have a nice week-end...

Queen of Light and Joy said...

My brother just got accepted to Oxford and we are already planning my "visit" trip to see him next year. You've given me some super ideas about things I will want to do. :)