Tuesday, 1 April 2008
A Trip to Buxton (1)
I've had a few days away from bear-making over the holidays ... which usually produces itchy fingers waiting to get back to it ! Last week on a typically mixed "British weather" day I ventured in to Buxton , Derbyshire for a look around .
Buxton nestles in the Peak District ; the vertiginous route winding through the Peak National Park . On one side the fields literally "roll" away from you to amazingly steep dips and clefting hedges , before soaring up again in to another huge hill . The grazing sheep seem unperturbed by what must be challenging terrain to live amongst ! On our way there the cloud-bottom mist was beginning to settle over the high tops , bringing drizzle with it , but not concealing the full glory of the landscape which your eyes cannot help but swoop over in appreciation .
Buxton itself was set up as a spa town going back to Roman times ; a Bath of the Midlands , even boasting its own Regency style Crescent buildings ( on a slightly more modest scale ) . Mary, Queen of Scots , beset by rheumatism , was a frequent visitor to take the beneficial mineral rich waters . There is a public tap source of Buxton spring water ; where anyone can fill their bottles with the same H2O which is marketed around the world .
During a heavy downpour we ducked in to a small shopping arcade (The Cavendish) which has been constructed from the Victorian Thermal Bath rooms . What sheer delight ! Now , I like shopping . A lot . But , I also marvel at architectural endeavour and the inspiring beauty which sometimes appears unexpectedly ; like the sun behind a cloud ! Inside , all the original Victorian tiling had been preserved - the time worn "crazing" of the glaze merely adding to their charm .
My resident ceramics-degree expert (or Hubby) informed me that the plain tiles were a Celadon green glaze ; the hand-glazing producing delightfully uneven nuances of watery hues .There was a wide frieze of Cornucopia and Swags along the top of the walls , banded with what I now know is an "Egg and Dart" border.
The slightly odd perspective is caused by tilting the camera upward in order to capture such wonderful bygone grandeur !
Needless to say many photos were taken , and the time we spent inside was not so much down to the little shops , although I did purchase the sweetest tiny Espresso cups and saucers decorated with butterflies , for displaying bears . Outside one of the shops was a plunge-pool set deep in to the floor , complete with suspended chair ; rather scary looking ! We surmised that the shop units were originally changing rooms , or for various machinery - one tiny unit had a distinctly oddly raised floor .
The three of us had a most enjoyable lunch at the upper floor cafe - an added benefit of which was the chance to "get closer" to the ceiling !! Over-arching the elegant arcade interior is a most impressive modern stained glass ceiling . Apparently the deep blue colours represent the river Wye , and the coloured flecks recall sycamore leaves - which scattered the avenue in front of the Crescent buildings in Georgian times . I think it is a wonderful marriage of the Old and the New .
All in all it was a most serendipitous day !!
T.T.F.N Ruth x