Our oldest daughter, Laura, was born just a few hours before Saint Patrick's Day in the beautiful Peak District of Derbyshire in a quiet little hamlet called Two Dales right on edge of the village of Darley Dale. We were studying at the New Tribes Mission Bible school in nearby Matlock Bath at the time. We left the area at the end of 1982 when Laura was only nine months old, and she had never been back to the place where she was born.
Not until today, that is!
Thanks to a special offer from the low-cost airline, Ryanair, Marina and I were able to bring Laura and her husband, Andrew, back to her birthplace for the princely sum of eight pence. That's right, one penny for each flight from Belfast to East Midlands Airport. Mr O'Leary might annoy some folks with his antics, but he definitely knows how to give away genuine bargains.
Anyway, we left Belfast early this morning and rented a car at East Midlands airport. We visited the old Bible school at Cromford Court in Matlock Bath (now moved to North Cotes, Lincs) and then we went in search of Darley Hall, the maternity home where Laura was born. With the help of the folks at the tourist information centre in Matlock and the Darley Dale Town Council, with whom we had corresponded a few weeks ago by email, we were able to locate Darley Hall. It has since been changed to a retirement home, and a new housing development has sprung up in the immediate vicinity of the building, but it is still surrounded by trees and a large grassy area. Laura was thrilled to see it.
We were on a tight schedule so we continued on a few miles down the road to see the splendor of Chatsworth House.
After lunch we hastily made our way back to the airport, just south of Derby City and we arrived back in Belfast this evening just in time to catch the evening rush hour.
We had a great day!