It was Saturday morning, nearly a week since we arrived in England. Our hosts M and P gave us a break from driving by giving us a brief guided tour of Sheffield and the nearby Peak District. First we headed into the centre of Sheffield. The city suffered, I am told, from the downturn of the steel industry, and was very run-down in the 1980s. Since then it has had a revival and there are some wonderful modern buildings.
This is the Winter Gardens, a huge glasshouse, with free public entry:
and the interior:
We found that there was a display of wood carvings.
Adjacent to the winter gardens is an art gallery. I did manage to take this photo, before being informed photography was not allowed in the gallery.
Which was a shame, as I would like to have taken a photo of the very amusing statue of a horse-like creature, made entirely of cutlery - knives, forks and spoons - and able to move in various ways at the push of a button. It must delight countless streams of small children.
Exploring a bit further afield, we came to the magnificent Town Hall with gardens and a fountain outside - this is also apparently, the delight of small children, as each jet of water shoots up and dies down, while children jump about trying to dodge them (possibly not trying too hard!). The group at the left of the photo is a wedding party, complete with groom in kilt, who were having their photos taken.
We left the city and drove out to the nearest part of the Peak District National Park. This was a surprise to me, as it looked very different from the other side of the Peak District that we had driven through almost a week previously. The area near Sheffield is known as the "Dark Peak", consisting of peaty high moorlands with some impressive rock outcrops, while the limestone "White Peak" further west has dales, woodlands and farm country.
P and I (the two women) went for a walk along the top of the hill while the men stayed behind in the area near the carpark, exploring more slowly.
With about 10 sheep for every person in New Zealand, you would think I wouldn't be too impressed by sheep - however, the sheep in England seem to be different from those in New Zealand, with black face sheep being very common - in New Zealand sheep are mostly white (or grubby cream).
We headed back to town where P packed us sandwiches for lunch and we were on our way south. It should have been a relatively short trip, but we made a couple of diversions - first to friends N and S near Melton Mowbray, and then into Leicester to see a genealogy contact of P's (Two P's is getting confusing - you will have to figure out which is my husband and which is my cousin's wife!)
Then it was off to Barnsdale on the shores of Rutland Water, which was to be our home for the next week. Barnsdale Lodge is a timeshare resort based on a grand house, with units in the old stables and also in these chalets:
The interior of our two bedroomed chalet:
and the view from our front deck.
It was getting late and we hadn't eaten dinner, so we headed into Oakham, the nearest settlement, to look for a restaurant. Instead we found a number of takeaway places, so bought burgers and then headed back to the resort.
Next: Sunday is a quiet day, and on Monday we start exploring Leicestershire.