Pushing on to Derby

July 29, 2016 - Derby, United Kingdom

This morning's breakfast was a bit better, perhaps because we were earlier and ready to move on. The car was mostly packed apart from Margaret's suitcase and it looked like we should be able to shoehorn in Olly and his luggage as well.

By the time we were ready to check-out there was no sign of Olly so we drove over to Will and Bex's where we found him still in his makeshift bed on the loungeroom floor. Sigh! But he is feeling poorly with a bit of a cold so we could forgive him. A bit of Lemsip later and Olly and his luggage were in our car an on our way to Derby.

With the help of Miss Direct we found Jurys Inn - twice. The first time when we were stopped at a traffic light where we could have taken a right turn feeder lane into the car park entry and barrier. The second time we came past but found no reception entry and passed the car park entry without blinking. On the first pass Miss Direct was asking us to continue and come back on the correct side of the median strip. That makes sense for a reception entry. The second time I couldn't believe there was no reception entry and dismissed the car park entry out of hand. Now we were committed to completing a circle of the hotel and part of the one way system where we ended up so far out of sight of Jurys Inn that I had to stop and ask Miss Direct to take us there again. This time we turned into the car park and after we discovered that the gate was malfunctioning we had to go in through the out gate anyway.

We managed to squee .. eeze the Mercedes into a parking place after a couple of attempts. There was no way going forwards but in reverse it was fine, if a little tight and less than parallel. Margaret and I took some bags up to see if we could check in early or leave all the luggage there until check in time. Luckily our room was available so I went back to the car park for Olly and the rest of the luggage which the three of us dragged up to the room.

Margaret and I left Olly at the bar. I know it was early, just after 10:30am, but he was just looking for something to eat. We had dragged him out with only his Lemsip to keep him going so I guess that was fair enough. We took the car and carried on to the Europcar Depot. We had seen it on the way into town and Miss Direct led us enerringly to the spot. So quickly, in fact, that we forgot to find a service station to fill the tank. While we were deciding if it was worth the effort of finding one nearby, or accepting the extravagant fuel cost of car rental companies we came to our senses and realised there was a service station on the opposite corner. So back in the car and drive another 50 yards to the service station where we put 25.69 litres in to fill the tank. (This time we had covered 515 miles, so 3.10 litres/100km, which is incredibly good fuel consumption - mainly 7th gear motorway driving.) Back to the depot we went and dropped off the car after a bit of a wait while one customer complained about the cost of a tyre repair he was being charged for and another needed to consult her friend about the insurance excess waiver and generally dither about. Eventually ours was inspected, checked, measured and deemed worthy and we were on our way back to Jurys Inn in a taxi.

We found Olly and walked up to the cathedral for a look around. From the outside appearance we expected a medieval cathedral but in fact the tower is the only remaining part of the medieval church which was demolished in 1723 and rebuilt by 1725 in neo classical style. There is a tomb effigy of Bess of Hardwick who I remember reading about in the Philippa Gregory novel 'The Other Queen'. There were also memorials to officers and men of the Sherwood Foresters who died in Crimea, in India, in WWI and WWII, and one to Florence Nightingale who was born at Holloway in Derbyshire. There were many other memorials to local people from the 18th Century onwards but none that meant much to us.

We gathered back at the hotel with David, Sarah, Lucie, Zack and Rosie who had driven over from Nottingham and were now booked into the Jurys Inn as well. Our contingent then walked around the Friar Gate to meet a small crowd of 40 that Will and Bex had invited for lunch at a local restaurant. All the siblings were there ... eventually, as Sam, Lucy, Alfie and Mabel were held up on the motorway and made a much applauded entry well after the main course had been served. As families go this group is much fractured with siblings and half-siblings and step-siblings, parents and step-parents and yet now collected together as a very happy and easy group. Margaret and I spoke briefly to Sarah, Will's mother and to Emily, Caroline, Matthew and Rachel before sitting to lunch where we talked a lot with Anna, Bex's mother, but also made ourselves known to David and Carol, her father and stepmother, met with Will her stepbrother. Mike, Bex's stepfather introduced himself after the meal and pointed out that he and I are embarked on similar WWI research projects from our respective local areas.

This was a wonderful chance for Sarah to finally meet Matthew and Sam and for the six siblings to all meet together at last. I think Margaret feels justifiably proud to have encouraged the communication that has got them to this point and pleased that they all get along so well together. Will and Emily should also be praised for following up the connection with Matt and Sam. The invitation from Will and Bex has meant the opportunity for them all to meet up and now they all went on from lunch for a walk around Derby and to find somewhere to drink and eat a little more while Margaret and I returned to the hotel for the evening.


Lunch in Le Bistrot Pierre, Derby
Lunch in Le Bistrot Pierre, Derby
Lunch in Le Bistrot Pierre, Derby
Lunch in Le Bistrot Pierre, Derby
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