Cable Cars
caves under UV
Prospect Tower
Matlock Bath Village
River near Over Haddon
Peak District

My sister took me to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire on Thursday. It was something we’d been wanting to do for a while but there never seemed to be the right time. Currently we are both going mad with boredom being stuck at home all day, with all the things we need to do being the kind of dull things we don’t want to do, so a day out seemed a welcome respite. The drive to Matlock was long, we headed into the peak district, going along narrow, meandering, and steep country roads. When we got there it was around 11 and the day had become pleasantly warm. We were both keen to get going, albeit hungry. We followed everyone else to the cable car station and took the cable car up to Abraham Heights. We were in the cable car with a couple and their son and naturally their son was happily wondering out loud what would happen if we were to say, crash, or stall. I wasn’t scared though, just slightly queasy from the rocking movement. My sister was scared, which was slightly hilarious. Once we got to the top we jumped out the cable car (with more grace than we got in on my part- I walked into the door for going up, this time I managed to just stumble slightly) and allowed ourselves to be driven by hunger and immediately headed to the gift shop and cafe. We ate some surprisingly cheap and tasty fast food on the balcony overlooking the village of Matlock Bath. Then we headed to the playground where we decided we would totally go down the giant slides they had, our ages of 20 and 23 be damned. A little girl gave us a weird look and asked us if we were queuing and why yes, yes we were. I went first. I was nervous, a little scared, no longer having the bravery and fearlessness of a six year old. It turned out to be wicked fun. I laughed as I leapt off the end and laughed even harder when my sister came down, arms in the air and cheering. I laughed until I felt breathless, totally forgetting that I had gone down first for the purpose of filming my sisters go. It was exhilarating. Sadly, the second time down was anti climatic and boring. Turns out going down a giant slide when you are 20 is only thrilling the first time around.(Later we saw a middle aged man going down the slide and felt slightly reassured not to be the only adults indulging in reliving our youth, although this guy could likely have been forced by his children…)

After that we made our way through exhibitions before finally we joined the queue for the tour of the old mines there. The caves were cold and damp and the passages were narrow and low, so we had to bend over almost double as we inched our way along. The tour was filled with restless kids and the tour guide was aiming his tour at them, but the caves themselves were interesting. A little gloomy and claustrophobic though and I was not impressed when they turned out the lights (I clung to my sister and prayed for it to be over, whilst staring hard at the flickering candle light that seemed to float in the darkness in a way that was just as unsettling as the darkness itself) When they turned the uv lights on it was impressive though, as the walls around us shifted from pink, to red,to green, blue. Very eerie but cool. I was pretty glad to get out of there though. We went to the prospect tower next, and I took one look at the steps that were no more than a few inches thick, tall too, and said no. So instead I found myself sitting at the bottom, waiting for my sister to appear. She appeared as a waving hand over the wall and through pointing and shouted instructions and a lot of confused looks from passer bys who likely didn’t realise I was talking to my sister at the top of the tower, I managed to get in a position to see her and get a picture. After more shouted, confused attempts at conversation I waited for my sister to come down.

We bought slushies next, because it seems that we had decided the day would be dedicated to being 6 years old again. Our tongues turned purple and our hands froze as we walked through the woodland down to the next set of caves. We ended up sat on a bench finishing our slushies, talking about nothing until the next cave tour. The next tour was much as the first, but the caves were more spacious and less like the walls were pressing down around us. The guide was older and thankfully made none of the lame jokes as the previous. They unfortunately did the whole turn the lights off again and this time was even worse- they decided to stick up a figure of a miner and have him narrate a typical day work for a miner, with added sound and even theatrical smoke at the end. Interesting, but I was too busy staring at the hovering light of the candles again to really care. It dragged on and i was spooked enough to forget to duck in a narrow passageway, ending up hitting my head on the low ceiling. I can imagine people working down there, because they had to, but I find it slightly crazy that these caves became a tourist attraction when they were no longer useful as mines, with rich people paying to be hoisted down there in the dark, with only the light of a candle (so not really any light at all) and no guide. Dressed in their fine clothes, of course, just to complete the strangeness of it all.

We decided to avoid the cable car coming down, I was nauseous at the thought of it and my sister was still scared so instead we climbed down, ending up taking a little walk through Matlock bath village, admiring the beautiful, unique cottages there. We walked along the main street which reminded us both of somewhere like Blackpool, a typical quaint English tourist trap but this one without the seaside. There was mainly cafe after fast food place after eatery. We did make a stop in an amazing chocolate store, where we bought  marshmallows dipped in Belgian chocolate, which we devoured at once. They tasted like sweetie pies, which are  a south african chocolate which is not sold here. :(  With nothing much else to do and feeling pretty tired we went back to the car and started the journey back. We nearly stopped at  Matlock, but there didn’t seem much to do there, and then we nearly stopped at Bakewell, but again, nothing caught our interest and somehow we instead ended up at the tiny village of Over Haddon. Guided by some signs and my sisters shaky memory of going there years ago we walked along  deserted country roads and found ourselves at a river where my sister had the grand idea of us taking our shoes off and taking a walk into the river. It was painfully cold, and the smooth looking river bed was actually pretty sharp and uneven once stood in it. We cursed whilst laughing at our own stupidity. Of course we endured enough to take a picture, with forced, pained smiles. We got our shoes back on and went for a little walk, following a path alongside a river of clear, pure blue water with several waterfalls. It was very quiet, with no one about, and it was growing cooler, but thankfully still warm and no rain. We stopped and took stupid selca, my sister smiling and me pulling weird faces to annoy her. of course time was getting on and we headed back the way we came, slowly, as the way down was fine, but going up hill was another.

We continued on home but ended up stopping again in Buxton to eat, where we found a lovely Italian place with an even lovelier happy hour deal on which meant delicious food for cheap prices- and a free garlic bread! We were hopelessly under dressed in our slacks and loose t-shirts, complete with walking boots and me, my backpack. But hey, whatever. The garlic bread was slightly too garlicy, and the carbonara wasn’t the best I’ve had, and unfortunatly very messy. But I broke my diet of reduced diary to eat it, so it was heavenly. We got back on the road, were my sister enjoyed driving along the twisty, hilly roads (now downhill, so not as laborious as going uphill to get there) after months of motorway driving every day, whilst I stared out the window and tried to take pictures of the passing scenery (and failed, mostly).

it was a ridiculously fun day of laughter and being slightly crazy and immature because why not.I realized that I am really going to miss my sister when I am away in Malaysia. I can say and do things around/to my sister that I could not anyone else. We play fight and insult each other and laugh over lame jokes together. I can call my sister “bitch” as an affectionate pet name, tell her to fuck off and mean something more like I love you, but god you exasperate me, ramble on about tmi things, be totally unfeminine around her with the things we do and say and just, be myself completely because in the end we’ve spent our whole lives together. We’ve seen each other at our best and at our worst and at our most annoying and horrible and we’ve stuck together through it all. I know my sister as I know the back of my own hand.  Being around her is as natural as breathing. I hope my sister will be able to visit me in Malaysia, or we can meet up in another part of Asia. :/ Of course I’ll miss my parents too. My mother is currently driving me crazy,and ruined my lovely day with my sister by fighting with me when I got back, but I know that once she’s not around I’ll want more than anything to see her. I guess that’s family though. When they’re around you can’t wait to get rid of them but when they’re not there you miss them. :/