Friday 13th: lucky for some

I’ve got a bit of a problem. Living in a small town like Yateley for many years (and I’m not dissing Yateley, it was my home for more than two decades and I loved living there) I sort of got used to there being very little to do.

I mean there is the May Fair, Gig on the Green, the Lions Fireworks Display and the Christmas Market but that equates to one big event per season. Other than that, walking on Yateley Common or around Horseshoe Lake is lovely or frequenting a local pub can be fun and I do love the Morris Dancing, but there isn’t a huge amount else to do.

But now I live in a city and it’s different… very different. There is so much to do, I can’t fit it all in and I want to, I really, really want to experience it all.

There is a long list of events I would love to attend this weekend but unless I can replicate myself several times, I’m not going to make all of them. It’s a great problem to have.

Yesterday was Friday 13th. Unlucky for some but not for me, I had a great day.

I headed into town ostensibly to capture robins: on camera, obviously. There’s a public art trail called Hoodwinked 2018 run by Wild in Art and Nottingham City Council in aid of Nottingham Hospice that is on from now until September. There are 33 decorated Robins around the city to find (I’m up to 20 so far) and more than 50 book benches in libraries and public spaces that I haven’t started on yet. Expect a proper blog post about these some time soon.

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I soon got waylaid by the Nottingham Tourist Office and the sheer volume of information leaflets. I do love a good leaflet. I picked up loads but had to stick mainly to Nottingham itself – there’s so much to discover, experience and write about already that venturing to wider Nottinghamshire just isn’t going to be possible (yet).

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So it looks like I can sign up for everything from ghost walks to jazz events in libraries, talks and lectures, art events, concerts, church visits and carnivals. Oh and Nottingham is a European City of Literature. Seriously, I feel like a kid let loose in a sweet shop at the moment.

I grabbed a coffee and a slice of cheesecake at Patisserie Valerie (I’ve reviewed it here) and had a good flick through my pile of treasure.

One of the leaflets that grabbed my attention was a map of independent retailers. I’d seen Ideas on Paper on both Instagram and Twitter – where, incidentally, I have set up new Nottingham Newbie accounts – it’s in Cobden Chambers.

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Why have I never been here before? One of the things I love about Nottingham is the little twitchels and courtyards that can be found. This one’s a gem I will have to revisit.

Ideas on Paper has a first floor space at the end of the courtyard. Honestly, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It is full, absolutely full, of treasure. Beautiful tomes of wisdom, independently-published magazines, ideas and creativity captured on paper.

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This is Alex, it’s his shop. I have a funny feeling I’m going to be seeing a lot more of Alex. We talked about the beauty of books and how the words and ideas contained within them could change your life. We talked about buying into abstract concepts: how a £5 note is only ‘worth’ £5 if society collectively agrees it is. The physical £5 is not actually ‘worth’ anything but we, as a society, have all signed up to agree that it represents that value. It saves me having to take a pile of gold, an armful of linen or a small pig into town to exchange for the items I want, which is handy.

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I bought these. I’ve started reading all three books already. The Sapiens audio book is for the car on the long journeys between work and home. My purchase were put in a paper bag. I like that.

Dragging myself away from Cobden Chambers, I headed to Hockley – another place to explore further – and then to Sneinton Market. Phill had told me it was the old wholesale market, closed now. Well not any more.

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Now it’s the home of the Creative Quarter and definitely needs further investigation. There’s a lovely shop there selling the beautiful creations of more than 60 artists. I bought this.

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The misuse of apostrophes sends me into a rage.

I sat in the open area of the market (see the Robin photograph above) watching the people go by and being amazed at the skill of a group of skateboarders before exploring some of the street art that is everywhere. I found some very Nottingham-centric works.

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This, for example.

And I loved this one.

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I am a huge fan of street art.

I walked back through the Lace Market, indulged in a milkshake at Dolcino’s, met Phill from work and headed home on the superb public transport.

The only, very slight, downside to my day was the chaos that ensued when we then tried to collect a table and chairs we had purchased from Facebook Market Place. Being an FB Market Place virgin, I had no idea that the address attached to the seller wasn’t accurate (although Phill had told me to check beforehand and I didn’t). It was a very specific address. Number 1 Nearby Street. So we headed to Number 1 and after three attempts at getting the resident to answer the door, she appeared and didn’t want to sell us her table and chairs, in fact she didn’t have one.

So I messaged the seller and asked for her door number. It was number 4. So we went to Number 4 and told the woman sitting in the front garden we had come to collect her table and chairs. “Why?” she said. “I’m not selling them, what do you want them for?”

It then occurred to me Phill may have been correct about the inaccuracies of the address information and I messaged the seller again – this time for her street name too. It wasn’t number 4 Nearby Street, it was Number 4 Round Corner! There are now two residents of Nearby Street who probably think I was casing their joints for later burglaries. Ooops.

The furniture shenanigans almost delayed us for the main event of the day – my first visit to the Royal Concert Hall where we saw the brilliant comedian Sarah Millican and her guest Caimh McDonnell. Can you believe Caimh is pronounced Qweeve? I mean, what is that about? I shall never understand the pronunciation of Irish names. But he was very good.

I loved the Royal Concert Hall and there are so many things coming up there that I would love to see. The acoustics are amazing, the seats spacious and comfortable AND there is air con, which was a blessed relief because it was really hot and sticky last night.

Sarah Millican was hilarious – who’d have though subjects like periods, anxiety, bad body image and irritable bowel syndrome could be so funny? She doesn’t like guinea pigs though. If you get a chance to see her live, just go. Our tickets were spur of the moment. I saw a tweet on Thursday afternoon that there were some available for Friday and when I checked, there were about six seats available, so I nabbed two at the last minute. Social media can be a wonderful thing.

We then took the very excellent Nottingham City Transport bus home – using the same Grouprider ticket we had purchased in the morning. I am a huge fan of Nottingham City Transport. We both went into town in the morning, came back late afternoon, returned early evening, came home about 11pm-ish, ticket price £5. Now if that isn’t a bargain, I don’t know what is. And it enables me to have the occasional tipple should the mood take me.

Friday 13th, thank you. I had a great day. Walked miles, discovered lots of new things about my adopted city, took lots of photographs, saw a fabulous show and generally had a lovely time.

I now have a list of about 72 ideas for blog posts.

You have been warned!

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Traveler, writer, photographer, seeker of knowledge

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