Simon Hughes may have his famous yellow taxi supporting his campaign in London, but up here in Mid Derbyshire I’m pleased to announce that Adam Wain is being supported by the Liberal Demo-Cat.
Here’s a short cine film of the British Celanese Motor Club’s treasure hunt, held on 21st March 1965.
This was one of an annual programme of motoring events that also included paced drives (rallies).
As the club was affiliated to the RAC and the events had to be notified to the local police, it all seemed to be taken pretty seriously. There was an intricate scoring system that made allowances for participants being unable to take part in some events due to work commitments.
This treasure hunt started from the Manor Road Service Station on the A5111 ring road in Derby. I think the garage has long since vanished, but looking at the stills it would seem to have been somewhere near where the Argosy is today.
We next see the competitors in Kirk Langley turning right onto Flagshaw Lane. Except – the turning doesn’t look anything like that as far as I can work out. Unless I’m in the wrong place, of course … in which case I’m only going to score one point for a non-finish! The scenes get progressively snowier and more ‘interesting’ to drive, with the competitors finally reaching Tansley in the Peak District. Scotland Nurseries is still going strong today.
The treasure hunt finishes at the Celanese Sports & Social Club on Borrowash road, having first turned right across the A52 from Derby to get there. That’s not been legally possible (thankfully) for many, many years!
Unfortunately I can’t find a record of the winner of this particular event in my father’s BCMC files, which are in good order up until the end of 1964. I suspect that my recent arrival may have distracted him somewhat.
As the weather was better than expected today, an excursion to Bolsover resulted. The castle, managed by English Heritage, is fascinating. Sir William Cavendish’s riding school, dating from the 1600s, is possibly one of the reasons why Great Britain is so good at the Olympic sport of
dressage horse dancing today. The little castle is beautifully preserved, and its wall paintings are unique survivors from the pre civil war era.
I can’t recommend a visit heartily enough, especially as since the last time I went sometime in the 1990s they’ve opened a visitor centre and cafe. The cherry scone was great and the coffee will definitely put hairs on your chest. Which is perhaps just as well. For at the bottom of the Venus fountain lurks a shocking sight. The Beast of Bolsover, no less. Please look away now if you’re of a nervous disposition.
Two to three hours is plenty of time to walk around the castle and grounds at a reasonable pace. An excellent video guide is provided as part of the £10.20 (adult) / £6.10 (child) entrance fee. Grown-up and family friendly commentaries are available.
While Italy were busy losing at rugby, I decided to take Gnu out for a run around the Derbyshire countryside. The day was overcast, but warm enough for me to manage with just a fleece, scarf and the heating. This was the most enjoyable stretch of the route – three and a half minutes of B road twistyness between Duffield and Cowers Lane.
I didn’t even bother to stop for the bargain bacon …
Here’s an enjoyable driving route around Mid Derbyshire. Especially on a cold but sunny Saturday in February in a Caterham 7. What other way is there to travel?
My route map is below, just in case anyone is interested in replicating the experience. I can recommend Kedleston Hall, Carsington Water’s Visitor Centre and Middleton Top as places to visit on this route if you’re not in a hurry …
Towards the end of August, I realised a long-held ambition of becoming a Caterham 7 owner. Six months earlier, I’d walked into the Bookatrack dealership at Donington Park, specified a yellow 270S (series V, as I’m too big to fit comfortably in an S3), paid my deposit and walked away, hoping to forget all about it until I’d safely completed my MSc. I couldn’t, naturally. Time that I should have devoted to my research was spent clearing out the garage and building a shed.
By the time I take the 7 back for its 3 month checkup this weekend, I will have covered a little over 600 miles, mostly on short trips in and around Derbyshire. It will then stay tucked up in its hutch over the winter as I’m led to believe that road salt and aluminium don’t mix all that well. I’ll be counting the days off on the calendar until it’s safe to emerge again.
After I’d ordered the car, I decided to splash out on a personalised registration for it. This is something I’ve always sworn that I’d never do, primarily because people who buy them and then deliberately misrepresent the mark are one of my pet hates. But, in for a penny, in for a pound I suppose. The C7 part of the registration chose itself, but the letters – GNU – go back to my very first car. A yellow Skoda S110L.
I’m hoping that the colour will be the only thing they share, as gnu I was temperamental, to say the least. I remember the pain of the breakdowns (usually in really inconvenient places, like the hard shoulder of the M1 at 1am or in the middle of the Severn Bridge), the first time someone ran into me and the police coming to see me when something unsavoury had been stuck onto his rear window. But I also remember him with a great deal of affection – something I’ve not really felt about a car until gnu II arrived.
Gnu II has so far proved to be reliable, even if I’ve been slow in learning to use a clutch properly again, causing much hilarity at traffic lights. The lack of driver aids and the occasional feeling of being ever so slightly out of control at times definitely adds to the fun – and reminds me, in a good way, of gnu I. Anyway, I’m sure you’re more likely to be interested in pictures of gnu II than gnu I, so here are some from our recent adventures
Gnu II has been a great introduction to Caterham 7 ownership. I grin stupidly every time I get behind the wheel and start him up. I’m looking forward to continuing our adventures in 2017 – which will hopefully include the North Coast 500.
Yesterday was a beautiful day in Derbyshire. So Jane and I took a quick hop up the M1 to Hardwick Hall – one of my favourite National Trust properties. You can spend a whole day here, as there’s the Hall, Old Hall, gardens, walks around the estate and the tea rooms to keep you busy. Especially the tea rooms. We decided to do the Sculpture Trail (in blue) – around 2.5 miles. While the walks are all well signposted, the free leaflet is helpful too.
Followed by a walk around the Hall’s gardens.
And a doze in a thoughtfully provided deckchair.
I recorded over 16,000 steps even with the deckchair interlude, not to mention a quick blat in
brum gnu later.
If you’d like to sponsor me to walk all over cancer during September, my donations page is here. Thank you!
As a follow-up to the 1962 Spondon village centre photographs I posted here last weekend, these are the remaining images from the same film that were taken elsewhere in the village.
The first is the junction of Willowcroft Road with South Avenue.
Willowcroft Road sweeps round to the left. At the top of the hill is the junction with Sitwell Street. Two photographs were taken here, the first looking to the left. The spire of St Werburgh’s church is visible to the right of the large tree in the grounds of The Homestead.
The second is taken from approximately the same place, but looking to the right of the junction. The Co-op (which I remember as a supermarket from my childhood, but is now a funeral parlour) is visible in the background.
The next photograph is taken slightly further along Sitwell Street. The building immediately on the left is still there today. However, the buildings next to it have been replaced by houses and, I think, Spondon Village Hall.
Turning right here leads onto a lane that brings you to Moult Avenue. The houses shown in this photograph are there today, but the surrounding area on South Avenue was later developed for housing, so it all looks rather different now.
The final photograph is of Potter Street. This is facing away from Hall Dyke, with the Malt Shovel Inn just out of sight on the right. The houses in the background were demolished and replaced some years ago.
These photographs of Spondon were taken by my father in 1962. Most of the village centre remains recognisable today, albeit that the businesses have mostly changed.
The first photograph is a view of the village centre looking towards Chapel Street. The edge of the White Swan pub is just visible on the right hand side. The halt markings have long since gone, replaced today by a mini-roundabout.
The second photograph is another view of the centre, looking directly towards the White Swan. The House Agent is now a fish and chip shop (and has been so for as long as I can remember). The zebra crossing and its Belisha beacons belongs to a bygone age, replaced by a pelican crossing more suited to today’s traffic conditions.
While the first two photographs remain largely recognisable today, the next shows significantly greater change. This is Chapel Street, looking towards the location that the first photograph was taken from. The buildings on the left hand side were demolished and replaced with a shopping precinct sometime during the late 1960s or early 1970s. The buildings near the lamp-post and bus stop on the right hand side have been replaced by Chapel Street Medical Centre, a chemist and other shops.
The final photograph is of Moor Street and Spondon Liberal Club. The Liberal Club is still flourishing today. However the buildings to the side of it were demolished to make way for a car park and extension.