Retirees Go Abroad – Ordinary Lives living in the UK – Svein’s Day Tour

Our day started completely differently to yesterday. Yesterday was very wintery but today the sun is shining and although the air is cool it is comfortable. I was determined to show Svein the grand tour of Long Eaton. So scarves on and beanies pulled over our ears, we strolled off to the High St.

Long Eaton has been invaded by a Tesco Extra, and an equally big ASDA store. Beside Tesco is a large Aldi Store. All of these stores have been constructed on the fringe of the central business district so it should come as no surprise to learn that the Long Eaton High St has been decimated. The High St, once the centre of commercial activity in the town, is now a ghostly mall with mostly charities and vacant shops. But there is one unlikely survivor, Rowells, a 19th century haberdashery shop. On entering the shop I am reminded of the haberdashery shops my mother visited in Stones Corner and Bay St Wynnum in the early 60’s. Perhaps because of Tesco and ASDA, Rowells continues to survive offering old time service and selections.

At the end of the High St where it joins Main St. we turn right and proceed to an abandoned building which must have once been the tallest in town with its clock tower above. Pasted on the grime and dirt covering the building is a hopeful notice of a planned renovation. I have no idea whether this is current or past history. We walk along Main St passed Bank St where once Glitter and Dance had its warehouse. The street is largely unpaved and derelict. Access to the warehouse was from the car park of another merchandise shop. It looks sad without the colourful posters inviting customers to drop in. We walk around past the Duchess Theatre which always looks closed but the advertising assures that a local theatre group will be putting on a show soon. Then past the “antiques shop” which apart from its contents is advertised for sale or lease. We walked on to the library and into Tamworth Rd. We followed the road around through Market Place back into Regent St and home. I have included photos of two icons of Long Eaton – Rowells, and the “antiques” shop.

Our next stop was the Attenborough wildlife centre. There are some new visitors, a flock of black and white tufted ducks (these are here all year round apparently but I don’t recall seeing them) and a porchard duck – all on his own. Some Canada Geese goslings were there in their teenage plumage. I showed Svein the bird hide but with everything else we wanted to achieve we could not go walking through the wetlands.

We drive into Nottingham stopping at the DH Lawrence centre in the grounds of the University of Nottingham where we have morning tea and check out the ice on the lake and how the birds are handling the cold weather. I had hoped to show Svein the George Green display but it has finished so we must go to the windmill.

On to Nottingham which sits on top of a sandstone shelf which has given the people of Nottingham the resource for caverns and tunnels under the city. We find a park below the place where Nottingham Castle once stood and park the car. Some of the tunnels and caverns are immediately apparent but the best thing we could do to show Svein how this rock shelf has been used was to visit the UK’s oldest pub – Ye Olde Trip to Jeruselum said to have been founded in 1187. We could not pass the Olde Trip and its rooms in the base of the Castle rock. A glass of mulled wine and an inspection of the pubs interior gives you a clear idea of how the locals used the sandstone shelf.  Pictures of the excavated sandstone and some of the caverns follow.

We head off to Sneiton and the windmill. This is the windmill where George Green Nottingham’s famous but almost forgotten mathematician started life and raised his family. Uneducated beyond primary school Green developed theories on physics and magnetism that are still in use today.

 

Then onto Southwell Minster and Arch Bishops Palace. A magnificent cathedral it has seen some of England’s more tumultuous events. From the tiles for the former Roman villa to the Saxon foundations the Norman nave and transepts with its gothic extensions it really is extraordinary. Some different photos of the Minster are set out below.

To end the day we went to Thoresby Abbey where Warner Hotels has brought the old Abbey back to life as part of one of its leisure hotels. Some different photos of the Abbey are below. The sun has now set as we warm ourselves in front of the fire with a beer in hand. It will take us an hour to drive back home but we have had a pleasant day.

Bishops Visit – Thoresby Hall – Ingrid Pears MBE

In July 2013, we visited Nottingham to manage the business for a couple of weeks and in that time we met Ingrid who was then a member of and then President of the Rotary Club of Nottingham. On the night of our visit to the Club, they conducted a raffle for a piece of Ingrid’s work; a modern styled glass vase, and of course we won it. It is a delight piece and with this introduction we felt compelled to visit Ingrid at her studio. Her studio is located at Thoresby Hall, a former Abbey taken over by Warner Hotels and renovated into a luxury hotel. The former stables form a commercial area in which Ingrid has developed her studio. Her web site is worth a visit: http://www.ingridpears.com/

We had visited her again in February and now with Doug and Nerida in tow we visited again. On arriving we found Ingrid in the middle of prepare new stock for her showroom. She is preparing glass balls for the Xmas trees of England and this particular ball has golden specks.

 

We can never visit Ingrid’s showroom without purchasing a piece of her exquisite glass. But as this is my Xmas present there is no peeking until after Santa has been.

Sherwood Forest, Thoresby Abbey, Rufford Country Park and Wellsby Abbey

 

August 13, 2014
Sherwood Forest, Thoresby Abbey, Rufford Abbey Country Park and Wellsby Abbey
It is Wednesday our wedding anniversary so we have planned to catch up with Ingrid and John Pears plus revisit Thoresby Abbey. Ingrid is a world renowned glass blower with her furnace and shop at Thoresby courtyard and past President of the Nottingham Rotary Club. Thoresby is now a Warner Hotel but Warner has restored the Abbey magnificently. It is about 55 minutes north of Long Eaton.
On the way (as usually happens) we were distracted with a sign to Newstead Abbey but the Abbey building is closed during the week. This diversion meant that we approached Thoresby from a different direction and we ran into Rufford Abbey Country Park. Rufford is now a ruin but has an interesting history. The Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in 1147. Henry VIII closed the Abbey and it ended up in the hands of the 4th Earl of Shrewsbury and converted to a country house. Now remember Bess of Hardwick. One of her husbands was the Earl of Shrewsbury so the Abbey might have ended up in the hands of the Cavendish family except that it passed along the female line and ended up in the hands of the Saville Family until sold to Nottingham County Council in 1952 and became England’s first country park. It is 150 acres in size and regularly frequented by families.
Below you will see photos of the Abbey as is today showing
• The interior ground floor of the monks quarters
• The base of a corbel (support for the upper floor) and its grotesque
• One part of the under croft with displays of abbey furniture and
• The other part showing the lay monks quarters and
• What is now called the Orangeries but started life as a bath house with a swimming pool (in 1740 this was quite unique) and the view from the Orangeries to the grounds.

You can read more at website: http://www.Nottinghamshire.gov.uk/ruffordcp

We then moved on to the only remnant of Sherwood Forest remaining. Mining and logging over the years has decimated the forest and the Brits are desperately trying to hold on to this little bit. It is near the village of Edwinstowe and includes a visitor centre and various walks in the forest. We took the walk to Major Oak said to be the tree Robin Hood and men used as a hiding spot because the trunk has a cavity which can hold 13 men. All of the good oak trees have been cut out leaving the stunted and diseased but even these have grown to enormous proportions over 800 years. In Robin’s time the forest was a Royal Hunting Forest made up of villages open heath woodland sunny glades and farmland. I was surprised to learn that the ecology of the forest is quite unique and includes 200 different species of spider and 1500 species of beetle.
I have given you below photos of
• The entrance to the visitors centre
• Major Oak (11m in circumference and longest limbs being 28m)
• An eagle and a hawk at the visitors centre

• The Robin Hood supply wagon

• and us enjoying a cuppa

You can read more at website: http://www.Nottinghamshire.gov.uk/sherwoodcp

Finally we made our way to Thoresby. Having been there before we went straight to the Courtyard (the former stables turned into a retail centre for the hotel) in the hope of catching up with Ingrid and John. We had heard that Ingrid had been ill so it came as no real surprise that her studio was closed. So we went to the hotel to have lunch but ended up visiting the restored abbey because it is so outstanding. I have attached photos of the:
• the entrance to the courtyard
• the abbey in the distance
• the grand hall
• the blue room restaurant and the hand-made silk wall paper costing 500 pound per metre
• a carving of “major oak” and
• examples of towel art


You can read more at website: http://www.warnerleisurehotels.co.uk
There is reference in the tourist guides to the “the Dukeries” which is a reference to the 4 great ducal estates in the region south of Worksop. The Duke of Newcastle (Clumber House – no longer there) Duke of Portland (Welbeck Abbey – questionably there) the Duke of Kingston (Thoresby Hall) and the Duke of Norfolk (Worksop Manor). To find out more about the Dukeries and to get some lunch we went to Welbeck Abbey. We were puzzled by the crowds of people visiting this former abbey which is now just a group of shops selling plants to produce. Not worth the visit unfortunately and no photos.