Cressbrook Hall (front)
Cressbrook Hall (back)
Cressbrook Hall (side)
Martyn & Gina in the garden
Cressbrook Hall (back)
Carriage Cottage (garden)
Carriage Cottage (front)
Gina, Sue, Dai & Neil
With 'James Harland' and his family
Bee & Dai
Martyn on our walk
Neil & Martyn at Litton Mill (walk)
Martyn, Neil & Dai (walk)
This year's meet was held at Cressbrook Hall, near Bakewell & Buxton in
Derbyshire. To read about our interview with writer James Harland, click
Perfect weather and we joined the throngs of bank holiday travellers
northwards into Derbyshire. Stopped off in Bakewell for tarts as we were a bit
early. Arrived at Cressbrook Hall at
3.30pm. See their website
here. Fantastic place - started feeling quite smug at making such a find!
Saw a tall guy lurking who suddenly asked Martyn if he was Martyn -
didn't recognise me any more than I had recognised him - it was Lee, who I'd
invited at short notice as Loki had been unable to attend due to transport
problems. Lee and Vanessa had decided to call in to say hello to us all. The
Fairy Hedgehogs then arrived (Gina & Neil) and we were all served tea in
the conservatory while we waited for Carriage Cottage to be made ready for us.
Some inconsiderate people had refused to leave on time. Admired the house,
gardens and tremendous views. Still feeling smug ;-)) Lee & Vanessa went
off for a wander.
Went off up to the cottage to find Bee there - she'd filled the fridge so Neil
was appointed fridge monitor to enable the rest of us to store our donations.
Explored the cottage - 2 double rooms and 4 singles, 3 showers, 3 loos & a
bath, kitchen diner, lounge & small garden. Lanisse (Dai) arrived - more
fridge problems with her tiramasu competing with my tart & summer pudding
for fridge space! Martyn & Neil put the world to rights while we four
'official' Bookworms gossiped and talked books. Lee & Vanessa popped in to
meet Bee & Dai and I did the estate agent thing and showed them around.
They then left for home to celebrate Lee's birthday.
At 6.30 on the dot, our guest speaker arrived. He is Matthew Lynn, pen-name
James Harland, whose lastest book (& first under that pseudonym) is The
Month of the Leopard, a financial thriller. He brought his wife and delightful
18month old daughter with him. We retired to the garden and proceeded to
interrogate him about himself, his book and writing in general. Click on the
icon above to read the interview. It was
fascinating and very useful, also providing an insight into the circumstances
of that particular book - some of which were quite surprising.
Bee was chef for the night having volunteered to cook Cow Pie so after a
couple of hours, we went back in and feasted on Cow Pie, rice salad, sweetcorn
and tiramisu. And wine, of course.
After dinner the Lynns went off to Buxton where they were spending the
weekend and Neil got out his guitar - I don't think the two were connected....
One or two people drifted off to bed but they missed out because it was
lovely. We chatted for ages before the rest of us finally flaked out too.
A lovely day but it seemed a shame that there weren't one or two more of us.
Felt pretty yuck this morning due to having slept for a couple of hours at the
most - but the sun was shining again so just got on with it. We discovered the
trampoline and playground so were determined to have a go. Gina is a
trampolinist anyway (as is evident in the photos!) so it was up to Neil and me to
provide the laughs and we did that in abundance. No-one else was brave enough.
After that bit of limbering up, we were ready for a walk. Bee had cleverly
packed only her velvet slippers, thus rendering walking impossible so she
stayed behind. The rest of us set off down the steep hill towards Cressbrook
Mill (which is now being converted to apartments - wouldn't mind one of those)
and began a lovely walk. After a while Gina decided to return and the 4 of us
continued. It was quite hard work in places, being very hilly but we all loved
it. The scenery is beautiful and you can see some of the photos we took on the
above-mentioned web page. I'm not sure how far we walked but we were out for
about 3½ hours and were grateful for the ice creams Neil bought us by Litton
Mill. We finally made it back at about 2pm, ready for a late lunch of salami &
egg salad with blue cheese dressing and summer pud.
Most people succumbed to a doze but I managed to stay awake - how, I really
don't know. Still on a high, I guess.
Gina & Neil had to leave early in the evening due to work commitments so
it was a much quieter evening meal with just me, Martyn, Bee & Dai left.
Dai went down to the Hall to see if we could borrow some games and game back
with Scrabble, Jenga & Trivial Pursuit. We decided to play Scrabble but on
opening the box found there were only 2 letters - so that didn't take long
;-)) So we chose TP - - no dice! There were a number of silly
suggestions but in the end we wrote the numbers on bits of paper and put
them in a bowl which we then used instead of a dice. We were all a bit tired
and probably not at our intellectual best and by 10pm still hadn't finished
so we packed up and went to bed. Another lovely day.
Were all up quite early, got packed up and left. Martyn & I stopped off at
Monsal Heads just up the road and admired the view. I sat on a bench and found that it had been a particularly dewy morning. I had a very wet bum
& legs! We set off for Chatsworth House but luckily I had more or less
dried out by the time we arrived. We spent several wonderful hours there
before continuing our journey on to Lincolnshire to visit my in-laws.
It was a lovely meet and I think everyone really enjoyed it. It's a shame that
some of our longest-serving bookworms weren't able to join us but finding a
suitable date and venue for everyone is near impossible. It seems that
self-catering is an excellent way to arrange such a meeting but I doubt we'll
ever find anywhere else as suitable as the cottages at Cressbrook Hall.
Fingers crossed for some more successful meets in the future:-)