Open Thinkering


Weeknote 32/2023

Elvaston Castle Country Park

I write this from the sofa in my lounge while the ice-cream maker works its magic on a non-dairy mixture my daughter and I have concocted. As I mentioned last week, my son and I aren’t walking the second half of The Pennine Way. I’m glad we’d already decided not to, actually, as he’s fully of cold and the rib injury I sustained coming off a mountain bike hasn’t fully healed.

Team Belshaw has spent this week in Devon at my in-laws. We had a great time hanging out with them, going bowling, having a beach barbeque, messing about in the garden with their dog, and playing lots of video games. We’ve also been watching the Women’s World Cup.

It was because England got through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup that we didn’t stop off on our way home. We’d managed to find two reasonably-priced rooms at a decent hotel for Friday night, but this would have put us in an awkward position to watch an 11:00 kick-off. Moving the stop over to Saturday almost doubled the price of the rooms, so I reluctantly agreed to do the entire journey in one day.

Schadenfreude is an emotion experienced about other people, so it literally brings me no pleasure to be proved right and inform you that travelling home from Devon to Northumberland on Friday was pretty horrendous. There’s no need to rehearse the details, but suffice to say it took 11 hours to get home, and due to accidents and road closures, there was one bit where we were literally driving in circles.

At least the experience allowed us to find an absolute gem of a place to stop off the motorway. We were looking for National Trust properties, but came across Elvaston Castle Country Park which is owned and operated by Derbyshire Council. It’s a wonderful place, and we had a rejuvenating time.

Now we’re back home, we’re gearing up for the house move. Our solicitors have done nothing, of course, and we haven’t yet received the flood report we’ve paid after an inspection a couple of weeks ago. Most things about moving house in England are broken. But then so is everything else in this country, to be honest.

I’ve now got a week off with nothing planned. Which is extremely unlike me. My son is delighted as, despite having a cold, I think he’s of the opinion that he’s going to be able to play on (my!) PS5 until his eyes bleed. I will be disabusing him of that notion. My daughter’s toe has healed enough for her to do some light exercise. My wife, Hannah, is back to work tomorrow but is thinking of doing three-day weeks until the end of August.

Photo taken at Elvaston Castle Country Park.

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