We awoke this morning to the sound of ducks swimming in a stream about a foot away from our tent! It took some coaxing to stir Tara from her slumber, especially after I told her that today's ride would be about twelve miles longer than I had originally thought. When I had succeeded I shuffled her off to the showers while I managed to tear down our entire camp AND make breakfast (scrambled eggs, oranges and apples) before she returned. Before we left we had a relaxing breakfast together by the stream and watched the ducklings swimming with their mother.
We set out for Pete & Reinette's house under a warm sunny sky with a considerable tailwind. We made record time (for us), covering 35 miles in around 4.5 hours. Along the way we masterfully navigated through Sheffield's insane football match traffic without a single wrong turn. As we turned on to Pete & Reinette's street in Chesterfield, Pete was outside waving and encouraging us up the last little hill. We all exchanged big hugs, and Tara and I felt right at home.
We were immediately treated to scones, cherry cake with lemon drizzle, and a loaf of banana bread! When I hungrily picked up a scone and took a bite out of it, Reinette teased me for not knowing how to eat it properly and quickly set me straight. You're supposed to cut in half, butter both sides, put jam on the butter, and then big dollops of whipped cream on top. THEN you eat it! It was considerably better than way than plain ;)
We had a nice chat about the ride down; they were amazed at how quickly we arrived and frankly, so were we. I showed Pete our gear, set up our tent in the garden, and then we had some time to sit and relax. Afterward we met their daughter Jade, their friendly little Boston terrier, Joni Mitchell, and their (amazingly) 14-year-old goldfish, Milton.
Being no strangers to camping themselves, Pete and Reinette are the perfect hosts. I don't think we'd been there an hour before we had food in our stomachs, showers offered, laundry in the washer and a place to sleep sorted out. We were (and still are) incredibly grateful for their kindness and generosity.
It turns out that they have loads in common with Tara's parents, and so there was plenty to talk about. Dinner was a delicious organic vegetarian lasagna and lots of buttery garlic bread. They would not let us help with cooking or dish-washing, and told us to do nothing but relax. I think I am finally getting a taste for beer as I actually enjoyed a lager with our meal :).
We wound down the night with a wonderful dessert of mandarin orange cheesecake while I worked on our website, modifying our mapping setup a bit. Before we retired to our tent for the evening, I was able to slightly repay Pete & Reinette's generosity by fixing their computer woes. We experience so many new things every day, it is nice to do something familiar once in awhile. :)
Tomorrow we're going to have a relaxing rest day, and maybe visit a famous manor in the area—Chatsworth House. I think I've had my fill of old houses and castles but Tara wants to go and there is supposed to be a really nice garden so I will probably join her.