Embracing the Derbyshire lifestyle

Using the old fashioned Poste Restante service

Welcome to the first Derbyshire edition of this newsletter! We’ve arrived!


I started writing this from a wonderful apartment overlooking the market square in Ashbourne. A small town known for its Shrovetide football match, with oodles of history, heritage buildings, and which goes by the soubriquet of Gateway to Dovedale.

It took 2 hours for all our possessions (and Chris’ workshop) to be packed by the removal company the Friday before last. Three guys who made short work of emptying the house. It was an education watching them fit everything into the lorry, Tetris-style. They were delighted by how few boxes we had upstairs, after my epic decluttering. They did grimace a bit at the weight of the boxes from my study! Books and notebooks! But they complimented us on our preparation and organisation. After 7 weeks of packing, it was good to see everything finally driven away, destined for a storage facility in Leicester.

Packing the car was something else altogether. Our intended travelling light approach came with Bamber’s two massive 16kg food sacks, clothes for the duration, my iMac, house-related paperwork, a box of plants, an Orchid farewell present, my camera kit, plus far too many coats. It was all crammed in, with Chris rolling his eyes every time I brought something else to the car for packing.

We mostly emptied the car over a couple of days once we arrived in Ashbourne. It gave us the chance to have a rethink and use the space more wisely. We moved to a new holiday let a couple of days ago and the new plan for packing the car was definitely an improvement.


Dieter Randolph is a writer, coach, teacher, podcaster and also a third generation minister. For a while he walked away from his ministry to sell cars and work in IT.

In this episode, Dieter and I talk about travelling the journey of life, what defines us and, of course, we mention the hero's journey! We discuss what happened when Dieter found the pastoral following him in his secular jobs, and how he realised what was calling to him.

I really enjoyed this conversation because we explored how we might all describe church or community as something very different and how, essentially, we're all travelling our own journeys but arriving at the same destination.

We also talked about how we can frame the things we do as what we are called to do each day and how that can change our perspective. I hope this week's episode gives you much to ponder, as it did for me.

Click to listen


Our first week in Derbyshire was relatively quiet although we did visit Biggin Hall, Tagg Lane Dairy (see the cows below), the farm shop in the village we’ll be calling home (eventually), Little Paperie (my local stationery outlet), and the Hartington Cheese Shop.

We’ve sampled the delights of the local bakery (ciabatta and little rascals), the butchers (Wiener Schnitzel) and the cheese monger (Delice de Bourgogne - epic!).

I still had some house move admin to complete. I finally managed to set up the Poste Restante service at the local Post Office after a few false starts. It’s not much used these days but enables you to have mail sent to a Post Office branch for collection. I’ll be retrieving our first batch of Ship to Shore mail on Tuesday which should include a few goodies including these which I will report on next week.

This morning we’re going to visit the new house! It will be interesting to see how things have evolved. We had a sneaky peek last weekend driving up to the perimeter fence. A couple of houses were occupied and the road is progressing nicely. Our potential move in date is directly connected to the progress of the road!

After that we are having Sunday lunch at Biggin Hall, great timing as it’s unlikely we will be able to visit again for over a month following the new England lockdown.

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope you have a good Sunday. Lucky white rabbits too!

Until next time, thank you for reading.

Nicola