Set off early on Saturday morning to take a holly wreath to put on mother’s grave. As we drove through the grey mist and rain I felt a pang of guilt because this was only the second time this year I had visited her grave. I consoled myself with the thought that when she was alive we would visit quite often and that I wasn’t really letting her down by not visiting the grave more often because she wasn’t really there but here with me in my heart and memory. She is buried in the lovely churchyard of Scarcliffe in Derbyshire the village she and I moved to when she re-married many years ago. It takes about an hour and a half to drive there from here and we took our time and had a pleasant break on the way.
Along the A50 into Derby and then the A38 to junction 28 of the M1 where we stopped at the McArthur Glen Retail Park for coffee and the hope of being inspired into actually starting the Christmas shopping. We had coffee under the twinkling tree and watched whilst Santa and his not so little helpers handed out hats and flags to all the children. Here we did find inspiration to buy three of the 12 presents we have somehow to purchase between now and the 25th. Then it was a quite drive up the M1 to junction 29 and down towards Palterton and Scarcliffe. Then we drove over to Cresswell to see what was happening at the Craggs. The Centre was closed but we were interested to see all the alterations taking place and the diversions going in so that the road which now runs between the caves can be closed and the site preserved.
We headed back to Bolsover where we had a late lunch at the Castle which was in the midst of a Christmas extravaganza of 10% off Christmas stock and a hunt the reindeer game for the children. There was a lively atmosphere in the visitor centre and the food was lovely. We drove back home via Clay Cross, Matlock and Ashbourne arriving back in Stoke just as the last rays of natural light were disappearing and the street lights were taking over. Three hungry cats were awaiting our return.