If you've never been to Matlock Bath, then take your gran for a day out she'll love it. Its like the seaside sans sea, no onshore breeze of sea fret, no winkles and no sand. But and here's the good bit all the crap bits are still there. Amusement arcades, bingo callers , candy floss and a billion chip shops, add to this bunches of bikey types and the cool kids hanging out and its perfect for old folk. On a slight aside I've been told that Rosie is in the cool kids gang at school, I must have had a shocked look on my face when Jess put me right ' oh dad surely you can tell, she looks like a Wotsit in eye liner' top line. (I'll try and get a photo).
It was more Seaton Carew in the hills than Blackpool although it does have a chair lift...no really a very big one too.
Back to Matlock, I've got pals that live near here and they are the type of pals that would only play football if it was on the field outside their house so their mam could keep an eye on them. (No names no pack drill). So if your pals wont walk anywhere else, walk in their back yard.
What's with the whole 50 year old thing at the moment, everyone I know who hits 50 seems to want to walk everywhere at double pace like one of those dodgy armies with their feet clicking and treble speed arm movements. It was Tim a couple of weeks ago with the 'Brendon Foster' ie no sprint to the finish option, but can run like a knackered Labrador for the whole distance. Mal on the other hand turned out to be more your Steve Cram in 1984 form legging it from the front at a relentless sprint pace from start to finish. I'm sure that Craig gave me a look that said ' you trip him and I'll punch him'.
And having mentioned Steve Cram and this may be a bit showey off and open to interpretation after all this time, but back in the mid 80's we happened to be in Oslo on the day of the Golden Mile athletics meeting. As luck would have it we saw three world records (two real one and a jumpy thing). We also managed to get Sunderland supporting Crammy to run round the track waving a Boro flag having just smashed the mile world record. It was actually a union flag with BORO written on it in gaffa tape or something of the sort, still even to this day i bet he doesn't know. And we were on sportsnight....I bet Craig has still got copies of The Radio Times, Althletics Weekly, monthly and daily, as well as the annual review from that year all showing the flag with Crammy.
Now this is a real aside but I am tempted to tell how a couple of weeks earlier you (Craig) told the old people how you had gone to Spain to die...just so you friends and family didn't get upset!!
And so the Thursday night we met up with a bunch of old pals in one of the remaining not shut pubs in Matlock...its was like a mini recession tidal wave had hit Matlock and MB in the first few weeks of 2009 and everything was closed. So beer it was and I've definitely concluded that the correct order is Walk / beer / gig. If this is reversed you just end up setting off late and feeling crap and it cost me an extra breakfast this time for mal who had turned up on time. Still it did give the rain a chance to clear.
Walking rule page one of the handbook (see druids handbook for different tips) 'start on a gentle incline to ensure a gradule warm up of the body'. Mals option was basically ...climb the cliff face out of Matlock Bath..........I thought Craig was going to waste his breakfast money too. For completeness we passed Gulliver Kingdom and it looked really rubbish even closed.
So up the cliff face we went with our bad hangovers looking longingly at the cable car which wasn't running... damn. By the time we reach the top 2 of us were knackered but the hangover was cured. As we walked along the tops Mal recounted stories of ancient Matlock. (Meanwhile and obviously still in hangover fug I managed to mix up Mals current and ex wives names, Mal, Val and Jan is not easy in that state!!). He did leave home with only a guitar and his underwear so I think he'd pretty much made his mind up where he wanted to spend the rest of his life and I bet he doesn't get the names wrong.
'So this is where the man was trampled to death by cows'...............WHAT! 'No it wasn't I responded' but Mal has since sent a variety of emails about other places where people 'may' have been kicked by the odd cow and I'm still not having it. Craig had a pair of new boots on and was starting to do a bit of a Shad and I think he was relieved as we headed downhill into Matlock. More stories of Matlock Mayhem and boxing day boat deaths. They really should rename the place Midsomer Matlock. Just so Craig didn't get too comfy we started up the other side of the valley to see the castle at the top of the hill which at various times has been
Home for the deaf
depending on which story you fell for, Craig was having none of this. The gates were locked and his foot was smarting a bit. At his point he could have stamped his feet and demanded to return to the car. Instead he did indeed turn into Shad and limp with a wounded soldier face. That was until
I made a complete arse of myself by falling and then sliding down the hill/river/soggy grass bank and bringing a smile to everyones face. I was bloody soaked through as we headed back to the car via more stories of local boys made good. 'old Arkwrights Mule' lived here in the old mill. Arkwright it turned out was also a bit of a druggy (fitted in well with the locals on the non seafront then) and also a bit dodgy on many fronts. I don't remember too many of the details on this but I'm pretty sure Mal can enlighten us.
6 miles and hangover gone, feeling a lot sharper we got back to the car. Its a couple of hours back to home from Matlock so for once and inspired by Mals leave everything approach...I've decided to declutter. The theory goes that I'll get rid off all the stuff i no longer use or need and then be left with loads of time and space to do other stuff.....genius. I'm not going to go for the 2 minutes approach mal did but more of a concerted 6 month ish approach but that by my next birthday I'll have lots less 'stuff'. This blog became an early victim of the declutter but its now an as and when essential reference old nonsense. Anyway I'll post any progress.
I was also going to add some music but you'll just have to hum along
January album review - White Lies....a bit over hyped now but certainly the best I heard in January