Two more days this week looking after little William. It’s challenging at times, yes, but he’s a lovely little chap and a delight to spend time with. Martha’s at nursery now three full days a week which is great, but she comes home very tired.
William loves the zoo and this time, I let him off the leash, let him go wherever he wanted and I just tried to keep up with the buggy. Not a real leash, that wouldn’t be very nice, he’s not a dog. But it’s so liberating not having to say “no, this way” over and over again. The monorail is now out of operation, but William was more disappointed that the dinosaurs are no longer on show. So, overall, a little less scary for this Grandad.
The exotic animals are all out of reach of course, but William enjoyed making friends with the ducks. By ‘making friends’, I mean, chasing round a bit and then expressing surprise when they took flight.
He briefly got his leg stuck in a fence so I’m now looking forward to the day he gets his head stuck in some railings.
His language acquisition is coming on leaps and bounds. He was slightly confused by the fact that both elephants and trees have trunks, though. I didn’t dare tell him that I too have trunks, for swimming in. And other people keep their luggage in trunks.
Then, at the end of the day, after dinner, unprompted, as we were saying goodbye, he said to me “Thank you for coming over” and I think we all went a little bit.
Our second day out was to Brookside Garden Centre but this has nothing to do with the only soap that I’ve watched and enjoyed on TV.
We had a ride on the miniature railway but he was really taken by the shop, full of Thomas the Tank Engine models and books. I say taken, because he literally took one book outside, “to read on the train” so of course I had to pay for it before he was arrested for shoplifting.
There were only little fishes in the aquarium, but the coins in the wishing well caught his attention too. We played hide and seek in and around the willow tree.
And again, at the end of the day, I was thanked for my services.
Liesel has missed out on all this fun but, on the other hand, she has been celebrating a significant birthday in Alaska with family and friends.
Last time I went to Buxton, I cycled from Reddish and took the train back. This time, I drove, mainly because I would be coming back home very late at night. The Peak District is very pretty but I found nowhere to stop on the way to have a good look.
I went into the tropical pavilion and when my glasses demisted, I could admire the tropical plants, ferns and a spider plant nearly as big as the one we had growing on our landing and down the stairs in Chessington.
I like Buxton but it’s a hilly place: I’d forgotten just how hilly. The Slopes is a green space, with slopes, yes, but with stairs too and very wlcome park benches spread liberally around.
I did find a fantastic place to eat, vegetarian and vegan food at The Herb Garden, just off the main road. Highly recommended!
Many years ago, Liesel and I were on a cycling holiday in the Peaks: we stayed at a b&b in Buxton. One day, we cycled, via Eyam, to Bakewell. We had been misinformed at the Tourist Information place: our plan was to catch a bus back to Buxton, with the bikes on a rack on the front. Only no such buses exist. So, late in the afternoon, we realised we’d have to ride back to Buxton, in a hurry, as we had a show to see at the Opera House. Riding along the A6 as it gets dark with fast moving traffic is not fun. Liesel threw her bike into the bushes at one point, saying “never again”.
Back in Buxton, we dropped the bikes off at the b&b, walked and ran to the Opera House and I think we had a bag of crisps for supper.
The concert was a Pink Floyd tribute band and while I enjoyed the music, I would prefer to have arrived in a better state, physically and mentally. Happy days, as they say!
Well, two things happened today and I’m not entirely sure they’re unrelated. First, Liesel has opted to stay a little longer in Alaska while the opportunity for work presents itself. Second, I found this poster in Buxton.
I have a theory that Liesel just doesn’t want a repeat of the Pink Floyd Tribute act at Buxton Opera House incident: it would just bring back too many bad memories!
On the other hand, I now have an extra few days in which to tidy up our luxury apartment before she comes home.
I spent an interesting couple of hours at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery. Many of the exhibits celebrate the wider Peak District, the geology, the history. At one point, Derbyshire was hundreds of metres below sea level, south of the equator. Plenty of fossilised sea creatures to be found in the Peaks, if you know where to look.
The photos by Steve Gresty of a limestone quarry are very unusual and, for me, another prompt that I really should use my real camera more often. “Limescape – The Shrouded Aersthetic” is the name of the exhibition, and visitors to Buxton are hereby encouraged to visit.
Spring Gardens is pedestrianised, very quiet and pleasant and full of charity shops. I recognised the figure walking towards me. “Steve?” I tentatively suggested. He stopped and confirmed it was he. Steve Delaney, the alter ego of Count Arthur Strong. I said I was seeing his show this evening at the Opera House and he said he hoped I’d enjoy it. I didn’t ask for his autograph nor a photo. But then, he didn’t ask for mine either, so we’re quits.
All this wandering around aimlessly and I suddenly realised that my bag had spontaneously become disorganised. All I needed was a nice space to spread out and rearrange the contents. Huh.
The Crescent is a beautiful area, currently being refurbished and we might just go and buy one of the 80 apartments up for sale, even if they have put too many zeroes on the price tag by mistake.
And so it came to pass, I found my way back to Buxton Opera House for this evening’s performance of Count Arthur Strong‘s one-man show “Is there anybody out there?” By coincidence, this is also the title of a Pink Floyd song. It’s almost as if there is somebody out there putting this all together in some weird and wonderful way.
No spoilers here, but the Count is a genius, an absolute star, very funny and the show includes, at no extra cost, a couple of wonderful tributes to those we have loved and lost. Science and music, a wonderful combination.
I met Steve again after the show for a quick chat and, of course, a photo opp.
The drive home was ok, I was surprised at how little traffic there was.
While Liesel’s been away working hard and having fun in Anchorage, I’ve been catching up on a couple of TV series that we missed because we were travelling. I saw the Tweets at the time about Line of Duty, mainly saying ‘wow’ so I’m glad to finally be catching up on that. And yes, with one episode to go, absolutely, wow.
But the one I’ve been looking forward to most is Doctor Who, the first series with Jodie Whittaker. Last year in Alaska, I got up early on a Sunday morning to watch the first episode which was, I believe, broadcast at exactly the same time across the universe. I’m limiting myself to one episode a day otherwise, as my Mum would say, I’ll get square eyes.
Appropriately, twice this week, I’ve encountered Whovian artefacts in real life, which is terrific.
It’s the weekend of the Autumnal Equinox. Here in Manchester, we have some typical Mancunian rain although it’s still pleasantly warm. Meanwhile, over there in Alaska, the snow level is slowly moving down the mountains. “Termination dust”, it’s called, a sign that Summer is over. It looks as though Liesel might experience snow in the city before she comes home.
Martha and William excelled at swimming again this morning: it’s quite nice hearing William yell “Grandad” from the pool in such an echo-y space!