Denby frog, factory tour,
A Nyonya in UK, Culture, Review, Travel

What I Did This Summer of 2018


nyonya, recipe, easy, Chinese, Straits born

I recently took a brief break with my daughter. She will be leaving for Uni soon, and I have made it a point to spend as much time as possible and to have mother-daughter bonding. 

We decide to take a long weekend off to do sight-seeing. We have been in the UK for some time now and I have not visited many places due to caring responsibilities. So out of the blue, we decide to visit Derbyshire, which is near to Leicestershire.

On Sunday we leave our house for Denby Pottery Village. We book a factory tour and then we check out the village. There are many shops –  the Denby Store, with the latest collection; and  there is the cook shop where one can get cooking utensils and kitchen gadgets. There is a motor home show room. There is also a gift shop and a farm shop. There is a factory outlet store, too. 

Before wondering into the various stores, we have important things to do, have lunch. The Bourne’s Restaurant serves hot food and is a cafe as well, serving pastries and has a take-away window. The restaurant opens at 12 noon and we are a tad early, but we are served anyway. I decide to be careful of my food, so I order nicoise salad and a soup. Daughter orders Cesar salad.  The soup is ok, and the salad is ok, too. The ceasar salad  is such a big portion that she cannot finish it. I have to help her to finish, being careful to have most of the chicken breast, and not the dressing. 

A big plate of Caesar salad
The big Caesar Salad with all the bits.
healthy nicoise salad, coriander carrot soup served with a bread roll.
Carrot and coriander soup and Nicoise Salad. Making the right choices to keep the weight down.

After lunch we go for the factory tour. The guide takes us to the factory. On the way we pass by the pottery painting place where one can book a place to paint some pottery. In the factory, we are shown how the pottery is made. It is not in the factory floor itself but more of like an area where there are tables showing the various steps and the types of apparatus/machines that are used in the pottery making. The guide explains to us the history of the pottery works and also demonstrates the various steps and processes involved in the production. We also get to touch and feel some of the pieces. We are also given a hand in making the iconic Denby  Frog, which we get to take home. Included in the tour is a pottery painting session. If you did not take the tour, you will need to pay for this. 

We have a great time having our hands dirty, painting the plates. We can choose any plate, bowl, or mug to decorate. They also can fire your work and post your master pieces to you. All this for extra cost.

The guide explains to us the painting process and we get to use the wheel for painting. There are templates, brushes,various paints, mugs, plates and bowls. We have a great time trying out the templates and trying to make our pieces outstanding works of art! It is fool proof as the paint wipes off with a damp cloth or sponge. Painting with the wheel is the most challenging as one has to get the thickness of the line constant. So, paint, wipe away, paint again, wipe away,…. Finally  after many tries, we are sort of satisfied with our master pieces. Actually, we take too long and we need to pack up! We got our pieces to be fired and post to us.

pottery painting, Denby,
Artist at work, having a free-hand drawing on a plate.
Denby Poterry, potters wheel, painting with brush.
Putting the final finish to the mug on the wheel. Her idea of a dripping cup.

Unfortunately we did not get to see the factory proper as it was a Sunday. Within the  premise, there is the Denby Museum, which show showcases the long history of the pottery company, and the influence it has in the local community, history and the world wars.

Denby frog, factory tour,
The Denby Frog fresh from the mould. We can take this home, let it dry and paint it.

After the painting, we return to the shop to get our purchases. We than have a look around all the shops and head to the B&B.

Denby frog, clay frog after being dropped.
Oops… I dropped the frog! My master piece is gone!! I hope it won’t turn into an ugly prince. Well, I need to reshape it.

Our B&B is The Wheel House in Ashbourne. It is a nice cottage, very clean, and comfortable. The owners are  polite and welcoming. After having a rest, we go to the next door pub, which, according to the B&B owner, serves good food. Too bad, it is a Sunday and the pub does not serve food on Sundays,. We have a drink and have a chat with some of the customers. We decide to drive to town to look for food. Most of the Restaurants are closed by now or do not serve food on Sundays. We drive on for a while and we end up in the the Railway Inn, Belper.

The restaurant serves Sunday lunch and it is still available when we arrive. We have the Sunday Lunch and there is the usual roast beef, turkey as well as curry and chilli. The Yorkshire pudding is really big! The price is reasonable. Having filled our stomach, we head back to the B&B to rest and plan what to do tomorrow.

Railway Inn, Belper, buffet dinner on a Sunday evening, Sunday roast all day, big Yorkshire pudding.
Sunday Roast or sausages here with big Yorkshire pudding. the Yorkie is crunchy, really nice.
Railway Inn, Belper, buffet dinner on a Sunday evening, Sunday roast all day,
Buffet all you can eat dinner. Turkey breast with lots of vegetables. A healthy option, indeed.

For breakfast, there are some specials on the board. I  order salmon on toast and my daughter, poached eggs on crumpet. The jams and yogurt are home made. There are a few varieties of jam and there are also strawberries from their garden.

Breakfast with home grown strawverries and home-made jams.
Breakfast jams and yogurts are all home-made. The strawberries are from their garden.
Breakfast of scrambled eggs with salmon, on toast, at the cottage wheel BNB
Scrambled eggs with salmon served with toast. A bit of luxe, here.
Breakfast poached eggs on crumpets.
Poached eggs on crumpets. A healthy option as well. Nicely prepared.

We then head out to the Heights of Abraham’s. It has a cable car and it is near other attractions in the peak district. There is ample parking. We then head to the cable car and got to the top. We take the tour in the mines as well. Within the vicinity, there is the Treetops Visitor Centre, and the High Falls, which is some what like a wooden via duct. There is also a mine shaft and the Victoria Prospect Tower and amphitheatre. 

We book the tour in the mine, the Great Masson Cavern. It is an interesting tour and the guide is quite witty. The mine is big and some parts it are quite pretty, with the lighting. It is worth going to the tour.

After that we have a walk around and have lunch in the Vista Bar and Restaurant. The food is good and interesting as I am trying to watch what I eat. We then went down by the cable car.

Heights of Abraham, Vista Restataurant Lunch.
Sea bass on a falafel base with ratatouille . Good combination of flavours and the fish is pan-fried and is crispy at the edges.
Burger, Heights of Abraham, Vista Restaurant Lunch.
Burger with all the trimmings. A tasty, juicy burger. It is a bit too much to finish.

We take a walk by the river, which is the promenade. There are many shops. Somehow, it reminds me of Penang, where there are touristy shops around the Island. One side of  road faces the sea in Penang, while here, the shops face the river. It was terribly hot and after walking around, we call it a day as, according to my daughter, I was walking slower and slower by the minute. Huh, age is catching up! Then we head for the B&B. Along the way, I am a bit ambitious and try to see where else we can visit. Unfortunately all of them a approaching closing time.

We reach the B&B, rest, and have dinner in the restaurant next door. The Black Horse Inn. We have a light dinner, a salad for me and tempura prawns for my daughter. We then go back to the B&B.  We look though the various  pamphlets again to decide what we want to do.

Then it is shut eyes time. Tomorrow will be another day of sightseeing. 

That is for now. If you find this post interesting, do like and share the post.

Until the next post, wishing you happy summer holidays, and share your stories, too.


Penang Lassie

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