The Retirees return to Nottingham

Our trip by bus to Nottingham was part of the nostalgia of this entire trip. Whilst living in the UK we travelled the M1 by bus from Nottingham to London frequently even though we had Thistle (our car). For me watching the familiar countryside slip by was a cathartic feeling I had returned to somewhere where we had both been content.

Arriving at Nottingham and we made our way to Attenborough where Cilla and Bob have lived and raised their family. Bob is a retired Professor formerly working at Nottingham University in human genes and biology and Cilla a retired physiotherapist. Cilla has an interest in Leprosy and supports a foundation aiding people afflicted and seeking a cure. Hence upon arrival we had great joy in assisting in setting up a garden party in their back yard in aid of the Leprosy Foundation. Leprosy remains a problem in Niger Africa.

Saturday morning and its all happening. Ladies dropping in the cakes for the cakes stall, Michelle (another gardener from the church) dropping in with masses of plants for the plant stall and Kerry and me assisting where needed (me assisting on the BBQ doing bacon butties) and Kerry aiding in the kitchen. All the neighbours and other people from throughout the village attend with 77 people attending in all (the head count courtesy of a door prize raffle setup by me) and takings from sales raffles etc and donations in excess of 1,000 pounds to be donated to the Leprosy Foundation. This is something they do every year to help.

After assisting cleaning up we made our way by bus into Nottingham to meet up with Martin and Christine our fellow travellers on the Rhine in 2015. Martin is a former MP in the Army and was stationed for a period in Germany and else where and has a deprecating sense of humour and a thirst for a lager (two hands and only one mouth). We have stayed in touch visiting them in Manchester last time we were over that way and they made the trip to Nottingham (we haven’t been here before) to see us. We met at the Ye Ole Trip to Jerusalem a pub claiming to be established in 1172AD and the oldest in Britain ( a claim challenged by Martin who says he has drunk in pubs of much greater age but cannot remember where). It was as usual very busy but we battled through and made “friends” with a bunch of young blokes taking their friend for a buck adventure dressed in a pink chiffon dress and tiara. He got too close to me at one stage.

We moved on from there to another pub up the road and across the canal in brilliant sunshine unusual for Britain and then another pub for an evening meal. Both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire are blessed with narrow boat canals from the Industrial Revolution when all cargo went by canal to the ports. Whilst the meal disappointed the company was grand and we parted promising to catch up again and keep in touch. Since returning home we have pledged to meet again on the Rhine in 2020.

Returning to Attenborough we noticed that one of the marquees remained standing in the back yard. Bob had invited Roger and Joan and Sue around for lunch the following day. We had met Roger, Joan and Sue at the Leprosy fund raiser and they were coming back to help with the leftovers. Not really although the menu included sausages from the BBQ. I am not sure how many bottles of wine (Roger is ex-military also) were consumed but Bob found himself needing a rest after lunch. So we finished cleaning up and packing away the marquee and still the sun shined.

We continued to click with Bob and Cilla and they offered to take us for a country drive to a pub for lunch the next day. They had chosen a remote pub in the Derby dales out past Eyam. The pub a former something converted to its present use sits on a ridge overlooking the valley below. On the way we travelled to Monsal Head where we could see a former rail bridge and line now converted to a bike and walking path through the hills.

We drove from Monsal Head to Tideswell.

In the Middle Ages, Tideswell was a market town known for lead mining. The Tideswell lead miners were renowned for their strength and were much prized by the military authorities. The Domesday Book of 1086 lists TIDESUUELLE as the King’s land in the charge of William Peverel with fewer than five households.

Tideswell is now best known for its 14th-century parish church, the Church of St John the Baptist, known as the “Cathedral of the Peak”, which contains three 15th-century misericords. A sundial lies in the churchyard; it is positioned on steps which local historian Neville T. Sharpe thinks likely to be those of the village’s market cross. A market and two-day fair were granted to the village in 1251. The Foljambe family, later the Foljambe baronets, were the principal landowners from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries. The tomb of Sir Thurstan de Bower and Lady Margaret lie in the chapel.

From Tideswell we moved onto The Barrel Inn, a traditional Derbyshire country inn, dating back to 1597 and stands at the head of Bretton Clough, in the heart of the Peak District.

Being one of only five properties in this small hamlet, on a table of land some 1300 feet above sea level, The Barrel Inn claims to be the highest pub in Derbyshire. It has panoramic views of the majestic Hope Valley and the Peak District National Park. Old worldly charm – peaceful oak-beamed bar, real log fires, flagstone floors, studded doors in low doorways, beamed ceilings and polished copper and brass – have all been retained to enhance the overall charm and friendliness of the Inn.

Lunch was very pleasant and again Kerry and I found it difficult to resist the draw to once again return to live in Derbyshire.

Kerry had been trying to find some 3 ply wool for a shawl she had started and she had been unable to obtain it in Brisbane or at the wool shop at Chillwell nor at John Lewis in Nottingham so Bob made his way through the Dales to Buxton where Kerry had purchased the wool some 2 and 1/2 years ago. Buxton is an old Victorian spa town and often very busy with traffic. So whilst Bob and I caused a traffic jam Kerry and Cilla ran to the wool shop and purchased the necessary wool. An excellent day.

We also had time to visit Long Eaton and our old neighbour Pam Fowler. One of the memorable things about Long Eaton was the public gardens throughout the village. Here the Union Jack is proudly displayed in flowers and garden beds blooming line the streets and roundabouts.

Our time with Bob and Cilla was coming to an end but we had to visit the church. It was Tuesday the coffee morning at the Church, but the old crowd was not there. Trevor master of the kettle has passed on and Sue his widow (at the garden party) continues to work at the church but apart from Cilla, Sue and Michelle none of the old crowd were there. We visited the new memorial to the victims of the Chillwell munitions explosion from WW1 something that is still raw with some members of the community.

We had wanted to catch the bus to East Midlands Airport but Bob and Cilla would not have it and drove us to the drop off at the newly refurbished airport. Regretfully our nostalgic return had come to an end and who knows if we will ever have the opportunity to return.

The Retirees Celebrate 30 years – Nottingham, Cesi and Rome

We don’t often decide to embark on a journey with such speed and decision as on this occasion. We had barely returned from our Mississippi trip that was over 12 months in planning than we were off again to celebrate 30 years of marriage. In truth we had celebrated at year ten then forgotten about anniversaries often finding ourselves remembering on the day but with no other particular thought or preparation.

Over dinner on the American Queen outside of Memphis and after a bottle of wine I said words to the effect that we should celebrate this 30th year with a trip to Rome. I don’t know why. Why Rome? Why this particular year/milestone. But Kerry didn’t miss the slip (if it be a slip) and the planning began in earnest upon our return to Brisbane.

The final itinerary;

Travel to London overnight and then catch the National Express bus to Nottingham and catch up with Cilla and Bob and meet with Martin and Christine visit the Rotary Club of Nottingham members, visit St Mary of the Virgin church in Attenborough where we tended the gardens and graves.

Travel to East Midlands Airport for the flight to Rome by RyanAir landing at Ciampino Airport travel into Rome and overnight at the Dreamstation Hotel before catching a train at Terminii out to Terni then the taxi up to Cesi in the hills overlooking Terni to visit Roberto and whilst there to visit Splato, Portaria and Kerry to visit Purugia (I was resting my injured tendon and doing the washing).

Travel to Rome by train and find our accommodation at the Maittise B&B in Via Nationalize to enjoy 5 romantic days in a stinking hot and humid Rome,

Then travel back to Australia.

That’s it – two weeks and we return home. Most unusual for us to take such a short trip. So settle back whilst I take on the trip across the world and back again.

 

The Retirees return to Nottingham – Old Neighbours

One of the things we wanted to do was catch up with our old Long Eaton neighbour, Pam Fowler. Pam and her husband John lived across the hall from our flat 41 and we regularly met and they shared their knowledge of the counties with us to help our explorations. Just before we departed Long Eaton we took John for his last walk around the lake at the University of Nottingham. John was determined despite his ill health to do the circuit and enjoyed the outing very much. We returned to Australia and learned that shortly after John had died. Now we wanted to catch up with Pam and see how she was getting on.

We walked from the Novotel to Oxford St (about an hour walk) past one of the many garden beds full of spring flowers and there was Pam waiting at the gate for us to arrive. Pam had planned that we have lunch at Bennett’s Hotel, a site which had been under redevelopment for the whole of the time we were living in Long Eaton. The hotel has been renovated internally in a modern style and it has a simple menu for seniors like us. Lunch was very pleasant. We returned to Pam’s flat, flat 40 a very familiar scene for us from the myriad of visits we made to John and Pam. Over coffee we reminisced about John and Pam spoke of life after John. It appears that Pam has come to terms with John’s passing and is now comfortable living on her own. We will continue to keep in touch.

Monday evening is Rotary at Nottingham. Still meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, we turned up for their AGM and surprised many of them despite having given notice to the Club Secretary. It was a great reunion and reminded us how supportive they were when we lived at Long Eaton. A surprise visitor (apart from us) was Eve Conway the RIBI President (Britain is the only country in the world where Rotary is administered outside of Chicago as a result of war time communication between Chicago and the UK being difficult during WWI). We posed for a photo with the Club dignitaries Paul Jones the President Elect on the left and Chris Spencer on the right the current President and Eve and it is posted on our Rotary website.

Tuesday, we visited Nick Smith at Direct Trimmings our former associate in the Glitter and Dance experiment in the UK. Nick’s business is on the 4th floor of an old spinning mill in Leopold St and site of the first G&D shop. Kerry had always complained that the stairs were killing her without knowing that she had a “wart” inside her heart. This time having undergone open heart surgery to remove the wart she climbed the stairs grinning about the change the surgery had made. The chimney in the yard of the mill, (formerly served the steam boilers of the old factory both now heritage listed) was undergoing some repair whilst we are there and we stared in awe at the blokes climbing the various ladders tied to the chimney to do the repair.

After chatting to Nick regarding business trends and changes around Long Eaton, we jump onto the tram at Toton and headed into the city for lunch with Geoff and Diana Bosworth from the Rotary Club. Diana is a Kiwi who lived in Australia after meeting Geoff and then in Canada with Geoff ultimately moving to Nottingham. Coming from the Antipodes we had a connection. Diana selected the restaurant in a part of Nottingham that is new to us just to show us that we have not been everywhere. Typical Kiwi always trying to out do an Aussie. Not really but we keep the rivalry going.

 

The Retirees go Abroad – Greg’s Visit to Nottingham – 18 holes at Sherwood Forest Golf Club

Being a passionate golfer, Greg has organised two golf days: a competition game at Sherwood Forest Club and a game with me at The Belfry in Warwickshire. Today it’s Sherwood Forest and tee time is 9.20am. The weather has decided to turn wet and cold. I fish out my corduroy trousers and shower proof jacket and Greg looks for anything warm, in his summer wardrobe.

We arrive with time to spare despite Tommy’s best efforts to get lost – I’m certain I have set the machine for the most convoluted way. I even get to hold a putter and pretend I know what to do whilst Greg warms up in the driving nets then on the putting pitch and even tries a few chips (with the pitching iron not hot chips). I must have looked professional enough to draw a comment from a course official. This chap wandered up to me and commented that I did not comply with the course dress code and did I intend to play in that coat. After correcting his misapprehension and informing him that I was there to photograph that famous Australian golfer Greg Young, he apologized exchanged some pleasantries and then slunk away.

Shortly we were in the hands of the starter and met the other two players David and Martin. David was a member and quite well to do – his Bentley sports car said so. Martin was from the north – Huddersfield I think he said but I could rarely understand his accent.

The Club was formed in 1895 and has a wonderful clubhouse with the first tee sitting directly in front. Now follows a series of photos of Greg in every predicament that golf can throw at you. They gave him a 10 handicap when his club handicap is 12 – an extra incentive to play with dedication. At the end of the day Greg had carded with his handicap 83 – not bad on an unknown course in difficult conditions of rain and wind. As Oscar Wilde said of golf – a good walk spoiled. So with the golf finished and our cards handed in we tucked into the smorgasbord – well Greg and I shared particularly as I had not paid anything for the privilege.

We left Sherwood Forest golf Club with happy memories of some holes and forgot about those we did not like. Friday we would challenge the Belfry.

The Retirees go Abroad – Greg’s Visit to Nottingham – Attenborough Wildlife Reserve, Nottingham Galleries of Justice and D H Lawrence Centre

The next day, Tuesday, was again bright and sunny with a touch of coldness in the air. A good time to go to Attenborough Reserve and Attenborough church. I drove over to the Reserve and we took the path to the church where I showed Greg where we laboured of a Wednesday (sometimes when not travelling) and made our way back to the Wildlife Centre for a cup of coffee followed by a walk through the reserve spotting different birds as we walked.

Refreshed from our walk we travelled into Nottingham city centre and visited the Galleries of Justice. I had been here before also but again the tour had been changed. Into the Courtroom and the court orderly passed on the evidence concerning the recent violent death of a local member of the aristocracy. Greg was called upon to give evidence in the matter and took the stand. After this we all reassembled in the cells below where we met one of the suspects being held for questioning and she showed us around the place – not much had changed it was still dark damp and horrible. We then made our way to the infirmary and heard from the doctor the results of the autopsy and then into the Sherriff’s dungeon where we met an explorer who was also being held in relation to the investigation and she showed us the rest of the cells including the gallows where the convicted person might swing.

We received the remaining witness statements in the streets below the jail concluding the visit to the cells and allowing us to solve the mystery. As we made our way to the street we passed through the prison museum learning about the reformers and the reforms to the prison system throughout England. Solving crime gives you an appetite, so a bite to eat and then across to the castle. We past Robin Hood on our way to the Castle. It is not really a castle and has not been so since the Civil War in 1642 to 1646, when Parliament ordered the demolition of the castle following the beheading of Charles I. The Palace constructed by the Duke of Newcastle was built on the old castle site only to be set alight by rioters following a vote against greater voting rights for all men (women would have a further fight to win). The Palace has been restored and is now a Museum of both art and some folk history and stuff. Still interesting to visit and complete with a stroll through the gardens. Statutes to the great writers of Nottingham – Lord Byron and D H Lawrence greet you at the front door.

We have golf tomorrow so we head home for dinner and a restful night.

The Retirees go Abroad –  2 Nights three days in Liverpool

Since returning to Nottingham we have taken it easy. David and Veronica have arranged to visit friends Anne and Dave in Preston and before too long Kerry has planned another trip – this time to Liverpool. Now Liverpool is not very far away provided that there is no road work on the M6, and no delays at the Manchester Airport turnoff. Of course we encountered both. Fortunately the hot weather has finished (we decided to fit a new air con pump to the car and so the weather goes from sub-tropical heat and humidity to chilling gale force winds).

On arriving at Liverpool we have some fun and games finding our apartment so David and Veronica head off for Lime Street Station and a train to Preston while we try to find our apartment. Soon we work out that it is a doorway off the mall with reception on the 1st floor. Tidy apartment but there was little natural air flow and the apartment was somewhat stifling. After dumping the suitcase we head off for Albert docks the restored dock area of Liverpool. We quickly spotted some pretty startling buildings and some canal boats. The weather was treating us kindly. Although there was a strong breeze it was delightful in the sun.

We found the tourist information centre by accident. I wanted a hot dog and Kerry was not prepared to wait while one attendant tried to serve too many people. That brought us to the Tuk tuks and that in turn lead us to the Tour Centre. We learned that Liverpool was celebrating 175 years of Cunard history with a visit from the QM2 (RMS Queen Mary 2) and there would be all sorts of entertainment food and people including 2000+ from the ship wanting the attractions of Liverpool. This made us decide very quickly to take the 4.00pm Magical Mystery Tour of the history of the Beatles with free entry to the Cavern Club at the end of the tour. Perfect we will do the tour and have dinner at the Cavern club and walk home.

DSC06583

The tour started on a bus with the guide proclaiming a connection to the lead singer of Frankie Goes to Hollywood – he is his brother. So he says this makes him well qualified to guide the tour. We will see.

Throughout the tour we had music by the Beatles of course and the groups that inspired them and a track by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. So it was a swinging time. First we hear about the unfortunate Pete Best and how Ringo got the gig, Ringo’s life growing up and see the derelict housing estate in which he grew up (still preserved whilst people fight about one of them – Ringo’s house.).

Next is Penny Lane. The Beatles wrote about where they lived and came from so Penny Lane is a story of the community the different occupations and buildings.

After Penny Lane we visit the house where George grew up. He was the youngest Beatle and probably from the poorest background. His house still exists but it is one of a number of unremarkable house down an alley called Arnold Grove fronted by a car repair shop. By the way “Unadopted” on the street sign means the Council did not have responsibility to maintain any of the services. That has changed to day but it shows the impoverished circumstances from which George became famous.

 

From there we went to the hall where the Beatles first started to perform as the Beatles and the graveyard containing the grave of Eleanor Rigby. Down the road we stop at the gate of Strawberry Fields which in the early sixties was a girls’ orphanage which John used to visit to spy on the girls from a tree. The orphanage has closed now of course but the song reminds us of the boyhood adventures for John.

We move to John’s house where he lived with his Aunt. It now has a blue plaque as John has died and it is deemed to be a significant site. Paul’s house is nearby as the crow flies and has been bought by the National Trust and can be visited by appointment. It is said that Paul returns there each year for Xmas to remember his mother Mary.

On the way back to the city now we pass the art school in Hope St attended by Paul and John which Paul has purchased and established a trust to run the school for future students. Nearby is the Liverpool Philharmonic, the Anglican Cathedral and the RC Cathedral.

As promised we were dropped at the Cavern Club and given free admission. It is 3 stories below Matthew St and it is where the Beatles played 274 times before stardom. The Club continues to promote new talent and of course the Mersey sound. The night we were there a Kinks tribute band was playing so for £10 each we stayed for the entertainment and entertained we were.

Although after midnight we had no trouble walking back to our apartment and sleep.

The next morning we ventured off to see the QM2. It was only 10 minutes walk away and we became celebrities posing for the Liverpool Echo taking a selfy in front of the ship. We also met David Fawkner one of the official artists for the Festival doing a water colour of the ship. David spoke freely about his life in the Merchant Marines before trying his hand late in life at maritime drawing and painting. He said he had some little success and mainly did it for his own enjoyment. He allowed us a photo and told us of his family connection with Australia. The Fawkner’s were one of the early settlers in Melbourne (which I remembered from my grade 6 Social Studies) and later Harry Hawker (another of the Fawkner family he said) returned to the UK to work as chief design engineer at Sopwith and when that company failed and the owners reformed to design the Hurricane for the Brits during WW2, they named it and the company after Harry – Hawker Hurricane by Hawker De Havilland.

We continued our walk and some days later we followed the QM2 out to sea and watched the fireworks farewell.

 

We saw the three Graces – three buildings of note one of which was once the Cunard HQ and visited the food festival the antiques festival and the Museum of Liverpool.

It was a full on 3 days and we finished by picking up David and Veronica and driving them back to Long Eaton through the Derby Dales.

The Retirees go Abroad – Rod and Kerry come for a stay

It is Monday and we travel to Nottingham Bus station to pick up Rod and Kerry Hayes. They are on their way to Norway and are visiting for 4 days. As expected they step from the coach and we collect their luggage.

We have planned a tour of Nottingham and like most plans it gets changed. We walk to Upper Pavement into the Pitcher and Piano – a de sanctified church turned into a hotel.  Lunch and a beer is on the menu. The hotel is a great use of a grand building.

Nearby is the Galleries of Justice. This is a museum in the old Town Hall where court rooms and a prison were once housed. In fact hangings were done on the front steps of the building. Inside the first thing confronting you is a gibbet. Hanging from the ceiling is an iron cage in the shape of a person. Once hung the body was placed in the gibbet for public display. On entering the museum you are given a convict number. From there you proceed into the court room with the orderly who tells you about the proceedings in the court circa 1780 and then down the stairs in the dock to the cells.

Inside the cells you find your number which informs you as to the crime you have committed and the sentence that has been passed upon you. In the cells you meet the warder. She would live on the site and work in this airless cell extorting money from the prisoners for food water and other necessities.

We then went through various cells to the Sheriff’s cells and into the exercise yard where a warder barked commands about the exercise you were to take otherwise you met the gallows, solitary confinement in the dark or were thrown into the pit where you were forgotten about unless your family came and paid for your release. But hang on my sentence was transportation. Initially this may have been to the American colonies but after the American War of Independence many prisoners were transported to Australia. So I was shown through a different door from which I was transported to a hulk on the Thames and later to Australia.

I was glad when we found our way out of there. We then strolled through the streets of Nottingham back to our car and home to Long Eaton to prepare for tomorrow.

The Retirees go Abroad – Newark and the Civil War Centre

Newark is north east of Nottingham and during the Civil War (1642 -1646) was a Royalist stronghold surrounded by Parliamentary strongholds in Nottingham, Lincoln, and Hull. The New Model Army besieged Newark on three occasions during the Civil War and it was ultimately captured because Charles I surrendered and ordered the garrison at Newark to surrender. Therefore Newark more than any other city can claim the right to be the National Civil War Centre.

The centre opened on May 2nd and we visited a few days later. It is in a very early stage of development and the displays do not cover the civil war period but rather Newark during that period and how Prince Rupert brought the plague to Newark when relieving the city from Parliaments siege. It also had displays on the effects of civil wars in the 20th century. In my opinion it is not yet the centre for civil war history but it has made a good start.

After visiting the centre we walked through the old town, visiting the cathedral and looking at some of the Tudor heritage preserved in the buildings in the city. One of the oldest buildings now houses a business called “Charles I Coffee Shop”

During a visit to the High St in Long Eaton we found a book on Canal and River Walks in Nottinghamshire and one of those walks was along the River Trent in Newark. We moved the car so that we could take that walk and visit the castle. As soon as we saw the ruins of the castle both of us recognised that we had been to that park some time ago in summer. So we had lunch and then walked along the banks up to the locks and along the heritage trail.

After our walk we decided we would go back to Nottingham through Southwell. As we drove through the villages we came upon Kelham. This is where the Scots held Charles after he approached them to change sides. Kelham House still exists today but it is now used as Council offices. After the family who built the house sold it to pay debts it became a monastery and then it was purchased by the Council. The monks added a domed extension for their prayers and now this chamber is the council chamber. The council also added an extension for all of its administration staff. When we visited the staff were counting votes in the recent election in which we voted. Now the council is selling the property to a hotel chain and the council will move into purpose built premises.

DSC03974

After Kelham we made it to Southwell and the Admiral Rodney Hotel. It had been threatening rain all day and now it was pouring so time to have an afternoon tipple and wait for the shower to finish before going home at the end of a long day.

Retirees Go Abroad – Ordinary Lives living in the UK – Charter Night and the Irish Guards

As most of our friends know we are members of the Rotary Club of Woolloongabba and during our visits to the UK we have made a point of attending meetings here in Nottingham and elsewhere like Whitby and Saffron Waldron. The members of Nottingham Rotary Club have been very welcoming and where possible we have participated in their club functions.

On Friday February 6, the club celebrated its 98th anniversary of its charter as a club by its mother club Edinburgh. This charter night was celebrated at the Senate Room of the University of Nottingham with the Vice Chancellor of the university the keynote speaker and after dinner the President of the Students Association spoke on the way in which the students organised themselves to raise over £1.7m last year.

The evening started with a reception in the council rooms above the senate and then proceeded to the dinner in the senate. After dinner the Quiz (entitled Universeally Challenged) was circulated and thanks to a team effort on our table we won 1st prize with 14 points out of 20. The challenge was to share 4 bottles of wine amongst ten people.

The function was well attended with the District Governor Steve Lawes, our Assistant Governor, and Presidents and members from other clubs including our own Long Eaton Sunrise Club. Cannot avoid it now – we have to go to an early morning meeting at Long Eaton.

Below are a series of photos of the evening.

The following evening we attended a band concert by the Band of the Irish Guards at the cathedral for St Mary the Virgin, High Pavement Nottingham. The concert was in aid of ABF the soldiers’ charity. We attended as much out of curiosity as a love of military band music but rather to support a worthy cause.

We pulled up and parked right outside the church and behind the Lord Mayor’s car – we recognised him and his wife from having met them at the club. The Church is huge in the way that cathedrals are always huge but this one was quite austere and severe in its plain finishes. However it was a perfect setting for the band in their red jackets and shining brass instruments. It was a true military band – the conductor was a Lieutenant Colonel, the Band master a Warrant Officer 1st class and the instruments played by warrant officers, sergeants, corporals, and lance corporals.

Their repertoire included classical (Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld) folk (Danny Boy) marches (Colonel Bogey) Theatre (Lord of the Dance) and songs (What a Wonderful World). Unfortunately the audience was quite small for such a professional show so I don’t think they made much profit. However that is the story with fund raising – it is always a hard slog. Here are some of my photos from the evening.

Bishops Visit – Arrival in Long Eaton

Our first Australian a visitors arrive today. Doug and Nerida have been friends for over twenty five years and we have done trips down the Volga, up the coast of Norway and through Paris with them but this is the first time we have lived together and travelled. They are flying into Manchester International Airport and we have driven over to collect them. Their arrival is on time and Manchester is much easier to navigate than Heathrow.

After greetings and the short walk to the car, we decide to avoid the motorway on the return journey and by the time we get into Long Eaton it is already dark but their journey through the

villages of the Peaks District gives them a taste of what is to come including unexpected users of the road.

Conscious of the effect of jet lag, we don’t plan much for the next day. Our neighbours John and Pam have told us that Shardlow (a nearby village) has had a glorious history during the great industrial canal era. I don’t need any more than that to make me curious as to what it looks like today.

So I looked on Wikipedia to find the history of the village and it says: “An important late 18th century river port for the trans-shipment of goods to and from the River Trent to the Trent and Mersey Canal, during its heyday from the 1770s to the 1840s it became referred to as “Rural Rotterdam” and “Little Liverpool”. Today Shardlow is considered Britain’s most complete surviving example of a canal village, with over 50 Grade II listed buildings and a large number of surviving public houses within the designated Shardlow Wharf Conservation Area.”

The trip over to Shardlow took little more than 10 minutes and we did not find anything of the past glory. It is cute in some ways but nothing of a “Rural Rotterdam” remains. The most interesting bit was the canal house caught between the canal and the lock

 

The next day we showed them around Long Eaton and then a trip was into Nottingham to the caves under the city.

“Nottingham sits upon a soft sandstone ridge which can easily be dug with simple hand tools to create artificial cave dwellings. Indeed Nottingham was once known as Tigguo Cobauc meaning Place of Caves and was referred to as such by the Bishop of Sherborne Asser in The Life of King Alfred (893AD). The caves here are some of the oldest remaining in the city, with pottery finds dating them to 1270-1300, and were inhabited from at least the 17th century until 1845 when the St. Mary’s Inclosure Act banned the renting of cellars and caves as homes for the poor. None of the caves are natural, they were all cut into the sandstone for use as houses, cellars and place of work by the inhabitants of the city.

As of 2014 more than 500 caves in the city have been catalogued, including 100 that were only rediscovered in the last four years. Construction of the Broadmarsh Shopping Centre began in the late 1960s, but the opening up of the caves to vandals and plans to fill them in with concrete caused a public outcry. A detailed study by The Nottingham Historical Arts Society led to the caves being scheduled as an ancient monument and the development plans were subsequently changed to preserve most of the caves. The caves were cleared by volunteers from the 2418 Sherwood Squadron Air Training Corps and Rushcliffe School and opened to public tours by the Friends of Nottingham Museum in 1978.”(source Wikipedia)

After visiting the caves we took a walk through part of the city and stumbled onto the city square set up as a Christmas wonderland.