Had a very enjoyable long weekend in a country cottage (actually a barn conversion) near Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, with Martin and Maria and their chums, Peter and Fiona. It’s quite a while since I spent three consecutive nights in the same place, and a good deal longer since I had three consecutive nights in a proper bed.
The cottage was warm and cosy, with a big log fire. We ate lots, drank too much, talked bollocks, played games and watched films. Withnail & I went down particularly well, Spinal Tap less well, and I managed not to blub while watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the umpteenth time.
I left this morning, but it wasn’t plain sailing. The track from the cottage to the road was unmade and steep. Even though I took a run at it, I came to a wheel-spinning halt, scattering gravel, about ten yards from tarmac. Everyone had a push - their handprints are still on the back of the van - but the van was going nowhere, and no-one else could get out while it was blocking the track. It was a relief when the cottage owner wandered down to see what was happening. I couldn’t find the screw-in towing bar (I can’t recall ever seeing one), but the guy returned with one, and, five minutes later, I was on my way. He gave me the towing bar, and wouldn’t take any money for it.
I got stuck in traffic gridlock near Tintwhistle, so turned round. Then I encountered strong side-winds on the road from Woodhead up to Holme Moss, so I turned round again. After the morning’s adventures, I wasn’t in the mood for taking chances…