May 26th – Go home Derbyshire, you’re drunk.
May 5th – In a world of fakery and things not as they appear to be, this really shouldn’t surprise me, but I was stunned.
On a building site near Rosliston, South Derbyshire fake chimneys, ready to go on the roofs of very expensive new build houses, complete with pre assembled pots and flashing.
I feel betrayed.
October 6th – For all my (uncharacteristic) shoe-gazing, there was brightness; in the nasturtiums growing from a pavement fissure near a cellar hatch; in the flowers of the River Gardens and it’s rather cheeky robin, and in the swans and their goose-pal napping where once rowing boats were hired.
The love-lock restriction amused, as you’d need a seriously large one to clamp on the Jubilee Bridge, and the cleverly named coffeeshop made me double take.
It was an afternoon as English as tuppence, really, and I did rather enjoy the self-indulgent introspection of it.
October 6th – For reasons too complicated to go into here, my moaning about the daily routine and the greyness of life and the weather were heeded by fate and I found myself visiting Matlock and Matlock Bath in the afternoon on a work related trip. Having to leave a vehicle behind, I’d taken my bike and had a ride down the A6.
Matlock is a nice enough town, with some great architecture, but could do with a little more variety in the shops. But I have to say on the whole it’s a classic Derbyshire river-valley town; beautiful, unpretentious and charming.
Further south, at Matlock Bath, things were a shade more grim. Matlock Bath seems to have been in steady decline since I first visited the place in the 1980s. A tourist stop off and motorcyclist haunt, this odd little town clings to the Derwent gorge with an air of faded, seedy seaside glamour. There must be eight or more chip shops; several sweet shops selling exactly the same stuff, and more than a handful of jaded amusement arcades and pubs.
The architecture and riverside are beautiful; but there are many closed shops and it’s hard to escape the feeling of something passed from life, if not exactly to death, then to some sort of ghost existence.
But then again, it’s possible that Matlock Bath has been like this ever since it’s heyday in the Victorian years. The place reminded me of one of those lost seaside resorts that were once locally popular but now are only half remembered, like Rhyl or Withernsea.
Perhaps it was the season and the weather, but the sadness of this place was almost enjoyable.
Perhaps on a sunny, summer day it acquaints itself better.