This last weekend we had a flat trip on Saturday to two villages in the Peak District, Eyam and Crich. It was a long day but definitely worth it! Eyam is a quaint little place, most notable because its population was devastated by the Plague in 1665-1666. The Plague came from fleas in cloth sent to the tailor in Eyam from London, and wiped out huge numbers. It is simply a beautiful area to be in—green pastures, rolling hills, totally England. There are great walking paths in Eyam (and in the Peak District in general), and one of the ones I went on was to see the Riley grave site. It was away from the village up on a hill, in order to contain the infection, and the time we went it was so foggy you could barely see! It made for a great walk.
I visited Eyam's church, which was beautiful and had that quaint village feel about it. Classic small town, it even had a sign that said “Welcome to Eyam Church, money for purchases from the bookshop can be left in the box in the wall to the right of the door.” It was super cute. After I went through the church I decided I needed to get some more walking in, so I followed the path to Mompesson's Well, up and away from the village, where during the Plague people from neighboring villages would leave food and medicine, and pick up money (disinfected by vinegar) from people living in Eyam. It was a really hard walk! I was a little pressed for time (we were leaving to go to Crich in about an hour) so I was going pretty fast, but it was absolutely beautiful. And I made it!
Once we got back on the coach, we headed to Crich. The Crich Tramway Museum is the most notable tourist attraction there. The museum is more geared towards younger kids, I think, but I rode the tram once and it was cool. The area is simply stunning—the Peak District is unbelievably beautiful, I could spend all day walking (“rambling” as the Brits say) there. I went up to a memorial tower and the views were amazing. Probably the best view I've had in England so far.
We got a delicious dinner at a great pub (Bob treated us to our first round!) and then saw a show in the village. It was a one-woman performance of Nell Gwyn, performed by Lesley Smith, the curator of Tutbury Castle. She was simply fabulous. Her performance was amazing—she's a terrific actress and really seems to understand the characters she portrays. After the show she opened it up for questions and then had time where you could go up and talk to her, so of course I did. I gushed about Tudor history (as a historian, her specialty is women's gyneacology and contraception in the 1580s—fascinating!) and said she'd be happy to send me any of her papers that she's written. Thanks to my enthusiasm, she also invited the group to spend the night at Tutbury Castle, which would normally cost £85 per person, but for us she said £5 each. Amazing!!!!!!!! It was such a thrill to talk to someone in my field who is essentially doing what I want to do. (Not totally sure about the acting part, but the historian/curator part for sure.) She was so friendly and such a delight.
Nothing too exciting has happened this week, just back to the regular routine of classes etc. I've been busy working on my travel plans, both for winter break and before then! I've officially booked my trips between now and winter break, so I'll be heading to Edinburgh the third weekend of November. And then today (!!!!!) I booked my plane ticket and I'm heading to Latvia the last weekend of November/first weekend of December!!! Ryanair flies to Riga from the East Midlands Airport here in Notts, when else am I going to go to Latvia?! I'm nervous and scared but really excited. One more day of class and then we have another flat day trip this Saturday!