Wednesday, 11 August 2010
This is a PS except it appears to be at the beginning and won't move down.
This is Sue's lovely painting mentioned below and I forgot to give you all a link to her art and her B&B both of which you are all going to want to see : www.beechenhill.co.uk
Sue (pictured here with lovely husband Terry) and I were agreeing that so many visitors to our B&Bs and holiday cottages say they wish they'd come for longer - people snatch a couple of days here and there and try to "squeeze in" a rest. Yes, we agreed people really should take the time to seriously slow down and enjoy the new area they've discovered : Take it easy, breath in the country air, read some books on a picnic blanket or just sit and stare. They shouldn't screech into the driveway, unpack, screech out again, tick off the sights, tear back, shower, whizz down to the pub - it's all too like their normal lives.
But I didn't have time to linger and chat because we had only booked to stay two nights and there was much to do.
From pretty little Ilam - which looks like a model village but bigger (er, so a village I guess) you drive up over the moor towards Beechenhill Farm. Driving along you can spot the house away up on a hill and immediately know you are going to get great views once you're there - and indeed there are great views on the way there and in fact all around: it is a truly beautiful place, The Peak District.
I needed rest. For weeks I had been becoming more and more jealous of my own guests and I wanted someone to look after me for a change! You remember when you were in your teens and you were always being told off for "Treating This House Like A Hotel" - I think that is what a good B&B should feel like: Somewhere you will feel immediately cosy and welcome, where someone will cook for you and do the washing up and tidy your room, but with the added bonus that you don't actually have to have a conversation with them if you don't want to. This is precisely how it feels at Beechenhill Farm.
In fact we did have several conversations with Sue and her family - mostly because they are very interesting, funny and kind people.
We had chosen to stay at Beechenhill Farm partly because we wanted to visit The Peaks, but also because Sue and I had been chatting on Twitter and I had mentioned an old saying that inspired Sue to paint one of her lovely swedish style folk paintings. I was very keen to see the painting and even hopeful that we might be able to buy it at her exhibition that week. And while we were staying we were able to see more of these gorgeous paintings and learn all about their history and how Sue is using the style to tell stories of the countryside and engage people in thinking about food production, farming and the environment. The pictures tell complex stories in a simple way and are especially a hit with schoolchildren visiting the exhibition. Hopefully they will hang on to the messages long into their adult lives.
So we did a little bit of sight seeing and a little bit of reading and quite a bit of sleeping and an awful lot of "Wow that's so beautiful"ing. And then it was time to go. Too soon. Should've stayed longer. We are so right about that Sue.