Jack Rabbit’s Ashbourne

St Oswald's Church, AshbourneAshbourne is a very delightful small market town although since it lost its cattle market the actual market side has dwindled somewhat. Its charms are still many…

…’The Gateway to the Peak District’, elegant Georgian buildings, Shrovetide Football, a magnificent parish church, lots of top quality independently owned businesses. It also its share of estate agents and charity shops. For centuries the historic Green Man and Black’s Head was the undisputed heart of the town where everything important seemed to take place and when it closed there was a great sense of loss.

Green Man and Black's Head sign, AshbourneFor several years the building sat there in the middle of the town – unseen here, but on the near right corner of this photo – increasingly and depressingly desolate. The heavy trucks thundered and rattled past (unfortunately the ‘Gateway to the Peak’ doesn’t have a full ring road) narrowly missing the famous and by then redundant Green Man and Black’s Head sign across the road and many foretold the demise of Ashbourne as a town of any note.

However, thanks to the enthusiasm and commitment and really had work of a band of local people determined to restore Ashbourne’s pride things are distinctly on the up again. The Green Man has been bought, and is slowly being restored to a new existence. Posh dress shops and other businesses are moving in and there are plenty of exciting plans for future developments within the site.

Jack Rabbit's external viewYesterday saw us savouring the delights of the latest of these. We had trudged – so to speak – somewhat grudgingly into Ashbourne, with a long list of rather boring things to do on a horribly blustery and wet day. Of course on the list was a trip to the Recycling Centre. Incidentally, they are so pleasant and helpful there it is almost a pleasurable task, except when the weather is foul, as it was yesterday morning.

Jack Rabbit's Ashbourne - opening dayWe needed our spirits reviving. Fortunately, I remembered just in time that Jack Rabbit’s, Ashbourne’s latest coffee shop/teashop/restaurant was opening on March 1st at the back of the Green Man, so before returning home we decided to pay a visit. We have friends involved in the project and we knew, knowing them, that we would be in for a (well-deserved, we felt) treat.

And as we approached, the sun came out. From the outside the very modern building – lots of unexpected shapes, glass and light – looked most inviting; inside it lives up to its promise.

Jack Rabbit's - view looking outAnd what a warm welcome we received. The coffee was delicious, John’s scone, still warm and freshly baked – I ended up sharing. There is an attractive looking menu, for brunches and lunches as well as coffee time treats, so we shall certainly return.

There are several really excellent cafes and restaurants in Ashbourne and Jack Rabbit’s looks as if it will quickly join the ranks of the best. Fortunately we still have many trips on the horizon to the Recycling Centre, otherwise John and I would be hard pushed to keep supporting all our old favourites, and this our newest favourite.

Perhaps I ought to remind one and all that my blog is entirely independent and non commercial – my thoughts, my opinions, my blog… I don’t benefit financially in any way, nor will it ever cost you anything (other than your time or perhaps boredom).

Henry V Live!

Live on the screen that is…

You may remember we went to see Henry V at Stratford last month, and found it most compelling. So compelling in fact that when we had to the chance to see it again, not live but on the screen in the Showcase Cinema de Lux in Derby, we jumped at the chance.

Sadly, only about a dozen other people either knew about it, or were tempted to come, so our friends Gill and David, and John and I sat almost alone, surrounded by empty seats. Continue reading Henry V Live!

Parwich Bake-Off Final Results!!

Judging is serious businessThere were many more judges than entrants for the Great Parwich Bake-off, which was disappointing, but a very jolly and satisfying time was had by all that attended, young and old, as we conscientiously tasted… and tasted again… just to be sure.

Marion's Almond and Coconut CakeI am relieved to tell you that presentation did not come into the judging, which was purely on taste. I also feel a bit sheepish telling you that my gluten-free entry was the only one in that section, so inevitably it won 1st Prize; however, in my defence the cake was all but finished by the judges,  some of whom were seen returning for more and more helpings – and I did receive some very nice comments afterwards, although of course at the time no one knew who had cooked what. (Recipe on its way to the marionfs blog in a day or two.)

The Finished Roulade - 1st Prize!I also received 1st prize for my roulade but there were only two entries, so that was more by luck than the officially required technical skill. As it is I feel quite ashamed about the final toffee sauce whirls that are meant to be the finishing touch to decorate the roulade.

The ultimate winner overall was Linda Keyworth who more or less swept the board, and received many admiring comments for her presentation cake.

The winning presentation cakeSo busy chatting to all and sundry I’m afraid I missed it – so you will have to look on the Parwich blog to see  for yourself – who won the children’s section, and the many very beautiful cupcakes and lots more pics, many of them John’s.

Sandra judging the Cup CakesI think everyone is hoping that this event might be held again next year. It was a  lot of fun, and nobody need feel in the slightest overawed. The judges, all of us, were far more concerned with chatting together and enjoying the delicious tastes than having any concern over method or technical skill.

It was a great way for young and old to enjoy themselves together, and at the same time raising over £100 for the Memorial Hall and the TearFund’s No Child Taken Campaign. Cheryl Woolley and her crew deserve our warmest thanks for organising it all.