THIS is exactly what we pictured as the quintessential English countryside. The last stop on our world trip was the Peak District of England, an area of wild beauty: rolling green hills, narrow canals through open moorland, hundreds-of-years old stone houses and buildings along narrow lanes. Growing up on Cape Cod (where there are lots of old-for-the-US captain’s houses), I have always been interested in historic homes, and my cousin Gary and his wife just so happen to live in one in Buxworth (originally Bugsworth), in Derbyshire. Theirs is an old manor house dating back to the early 1600s, with exposed beams, some original door hardware and outbuildings including a former stable and piggery! Area hikes are rewarded with gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside, and though we only had time for a short one, it left us wanting more.
A scenic drive took us to the nearby town of Buxton, on the edge of the Peak District National Park. People have inhabited this site since Roman times, probably drawn there by therapeutic hot springs. The famous Crescent (soon to reopen as a luxury hotel) has been a destination since the late 1700s. At nearby St. Ann’s well, you can fill up a water bottle (or whatever you can carry away with you) with fresh, clean spring water for free. This is the source of the popular Buxton Water brand. Other highlights of Buxton are the Opera House, Pavilion Gardens, and the Devonshire Dome, the largest unsupported dome in Britain.
On our walk through the Conservatory, among the colorful exotic flowers, we came upon a koi pond. There we saw what we believed was a small fish floating belly-up, dead on the waters surface. After further examination we noticed this fish’s gills and mouth slowly moving. “He must be on his was out,” we thought. Just then we noticed a sign posted with an explanation of this curious fish. Named Boris, he was abandoned and left in this pond. The sign requested to please not poke Boris if he is floating at the surface: he has buoyancy problems. It also explained that he’s got some form of fish scoliosis, poor guy. As if on cue, Boris dove. As soon as he stopped swimming, however, he turned belly-up and began rising toward the surface. He repeated this a few times before we left his company. We have wondered several times since how ol’ Boris is doing, a truly unique fish.
Photos from this beautiful area can be viewed HERE.