Sunday, 27 March 2011

Out and About with Treacle and Ginge

It's funny how you can go for months without a break, not realising you need one, yet as soon as you have one, you seem to need to need another one even more! Missing our holiday desperately, we decided that Saturday should be a proper day off, for a bit of Treacle and Ginge time. 
We started the day with a drawn-out, late-breakfast at our new favourite coffee shop, Bragazzi's; a lovely little italianesque deli/cafe on Abbeydale Road, in Sheffield. 
My coffee-of-choice is a cappuccino. Common yes, but not always done very well. In my search for the best cup around, I have been working on a set of criteria: size, taste and foam, with bonus points for pretty patterns and the addition of chocolate powder. This one scored very highly with its deliciously rich and fruity coffee, tight-bubbled, almost moussey foam and a lovely swirly top. It was let down slightly by the absence of chocolate, but not enough to stop me ordering another one!
We also had some very tasty grub, in the form of homemade sandwiches: one with emmental, parma ham and tomato and another with salami, artichoke and balsamic onions. We also had a little pot of marinaded courgettes. De-lish! So good, in fact, that we had eaten nearly everything, before I remembered to take a photo for you! 
This is the scarf I knitted Andy, for his birthday. It was sitting on the table, looking so pretty that I just had to take some pictures.  
It was the first thing I ever knitted, so it is quite simple (just garter stitch), but I am extremely proud of it, most particularly because of the little 'made by treacle' label I stitched for it. It is the softest wool, made of Alpaca and Merino and it looks truly lovely on my man! 
Here he is, catching-up on the Heeley City Farm news. Apparently, they have lots of new pigs, so I think we might have to make a visit very soon. 
Anyway, here is Bragazzi's. Yummy food and coffee, in beautifully and simply decorated surroundings. Perfect. 
Once we had eaten our fill, we journeyed to Derbyshire to visit Hardwick Hall, built by a brilliantly clever lady  called Bess of Hardwick; elizabethan courtier and social-climber extraordinaire. 
She was married four times in total, each time to a richer man. I'm not saying I would approve of such behaviour, in this day and age, but back then it was the only way to get anywhere, as a woman. She remodeled and built several highly fashionable houses, she had eight children of her own, plus two that she inherited from one of her husbands and rose from sheep-farmer's daughter to the second richest woman in the country (after Queen Lizzie, herself). What a woman! 
The house has many claims to fame. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned there, Jane Eyre has been filmed there at least twice and when we arrived, I was quickly informed that the house had recently been used as the location for Malfoy Manor, in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'. Being a massive Potterite, I jumped at the chance to do a Harry Potter themed detective trail around the house. 
We had a lovely afternoon, poking and gazing around the incredible house. It was definitely one of the best National Trust houses I have visited to date.  
We even squeezed in a cream tea, before heading back across the Peak District to Sheffield, feeling very pleased with ourselves. 

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