We didn’t know when we rented it that the cottage was called Crime View. The estate agent said it was Lake View and all the literature and papers we got said Lake View, but they were printed by the estate agent. I’d lived in Manchester for a while, but had not really travelled out of the city much and certainly hadn’t been to, and in fact not even heard of Crime Lake, nor the village where the cottage was, Odcott. When I say village I guess most people would have the same image as we had, of a group of cottages and houses with maybe a church, maybe a shop, hopefully a pub. It was all very last minute which was why we hadn’t done as much research as we should have, but even if we had, we wouldn’t have learned much.
What we did know was that the cottage was available, it had what we needed, a bedroom for Jaffa and me, another for Frances and a tiny spare, all the usual, bathroom, kitchen, living room, space to park one car – yes, in an emergency it would do, and in fact, it may do very well. We had been unexpectedly let down on the place we had thought we were renting, AirBnB we muttered. Furious, anxious, philosophical, desperate we continued to pack because wherever we ended up staying, it had to be near enough Castleton where Jaffa had his new job, or and Hathersage where Frances had hers. I was finishing my doctorate, so as long as I had a good internet connection I could be anywhere. What with the area being in the national Park and a famous tourist destination, and not that far from Sheffield, there wasn’t – at least now when we desperately needed it, much accommodation.
So when one of the estate agents we had rung/emailed/messaged/Facebooked got in touch offering this cottage in a small village we literally snatched at it and sent back a large deposit. As we began to tidy round, everything packed in the cars, we had time to think that actually, maybe this might be a more interesting option. Who didn’t like the idea of living in a village? It seemed to have all we wanted and needed, the travel might be more awkward, and a bit further, Odcott was well and truly off the beaten track, but it looked over the interesting sounding Crime Lake, perhaps we had been lucky! On the way, driving up, and one of us looked up Crime Lake and Wikipedia told us that it forms part of a country park and resulted from canal works in 1794… the name ‘Crime’ may have come from a local word for “meadow”. Of course, we realised this was a different Crime Lake, near Oldham in a place called Daisy Nook. “Our” Crime Lake was in Derbyshire, and as far as we could find out, that was just its name and wasn’t associated with any particular crime but crime may, like the Oldham lake, very well have just meant ‘meadow by the lake’.
We drove up in tandem, Jaffa and me in our car, Frances following behind in hers and arrived, eventually, in the dark. We found the key in the key safe as promised, let ourselves in and unpacked everything as quickly as we could. The reason for our rushing? Jaffa and Frances both started work the following day. At one point we’d anticipated staying in a B & B, but fortunately here we were, in Crime View, with Crime Lake somewhere nearby. We kipped in sleeping bags, too exhausted to make beds and with early starts the next day. The following morning was an equal rush, black coffee as we had no milk, hasty showers and thankfully, although the bathroom was tiny, the water was hot, and then grabbing their things they left me, with a quick hug and myy best wishes for them in their new work.
And I was alone in Crime View, and slumped in the small but comfortable window seat, with a coffee and a view of what might be a farmhouse, down to trees and the glitter of what might be Crime Lake
Second and final part tomorrow!