Thursday, 12 January 2012

Reflections on Nottingham

River Trent, Nottingham
In a few days time I will have been living in Nottingham for two years. Family issues and other interests have meant that I haven't blogged for over a month, and my loyal reader has probably passed on to pastures new. However, I thought that I'd return to the blog with some reflections on Nottingham.

I moved here in January 2010 following early retirement from a job on the South Coast. After twenty years there, I needed to get away, and Nottingham was ideally placed to be nearer my children. I don't see me spending the rest of my life here, as I feel that there's perhaps one more move left in me. When and where that move will be is anyone's guess, and I'm certainly not in any hurry.

For those who don't know this area, technically I live in the Borough of Rushcliffe, in the County of Nottinghamshire, as the River Trent separates us from the City of Nottingham. The County Council is controlled by the Conservatives, who though having 20 seats more than the next largest party, have a small overall majority of 3. The City Council is quite different, in that out of 55 seats, 50 of them are Labour members, which means that they have total control. Being a political sceptic, the policy differences between the parties are not easy to detect. Long gone are the days of ideological battles over state ownership, welfare, health, employment and education. Previous Labour Government wooing of 'middle England' and 'big business', saw an end to all of that. Now it's not about ideology, but packaging and presentation. This is one of the reasons, where apart from doing one's duty with a cross at the ballot box, I have little interest in politics.

A month away from blogging has obviously not cured my tendency to meander towards a point. So here's my reflections on the last two years. I love Nottingham. There is so much of beauty and interest here. Where I live in West Bridgford is a few minutes away from Trent Bridge, which I have to go over every time I go into the City. From the bridge you can almost touch Nottinghamshire County Hall, Rushcliffe Civic Centre, Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, Nottingham Forest Football Ground, Notts County Football Ground, and the 'world renowned' Trent Bridge Inn, which was recently bought, and beautifully restored by Wetherspoons. I have spent many hours walking in both directions along the River Trent, and I never tire of doing so. Also close to the Trent Bridge is the entrance to the Nottingham canal, which makes its way through the City centre, a mile away. I have often walked along its path, which is made even more interesting by the boats and fishermen.

St Mary's Rest Garden
Being a country boy at heart, the open green spaces in the City have been a particular joy. The Embankment along the river, and the Memorial Gardens just off it are always a delight, particularly in the Spring and Summer.

My local park is Bridgford Park just behind our shopping street, and while not big, has been a solace in the early evening Summer sunshine. In the built up Victoria area I found St Mary's Rest Garden, next to the Victoria Park. I take a longish walk from home to get to it (it's obviously quicker by bus), but I have found it to be so peaceful, which some might find a bit strange given its location. And of course to top it all is my favourite green space of all, the Nottingham Arboretum, which I have mentioned many times in my blogs. In addition is the University Park where the main campus is of the University of Nottingham, and which is open to the public. And there is much more. I have often thought that there is more access to green spaces in many Cities than there is living in the country, because so much there is privately owned. So, I love Nottingham because of its waterways and green spaces, but there's more.

Nottingham High School
Being someone who loves beautiful and historic buildings, I have been in my element these last two years.  Among the favourites that I've visited have been Nottingham High School, Bromley House subscription library, the Arkwright and Newton buildings, Council House, and the beautiful buildings on the divide between King Street and Queen Street.

The Lace Market area is particularly rich in heritage, with St Mary's Church, the Galleries of Justice and the former lace making building owned by Thomas Adams, which backs on to Lace Market Square. There's many more that I have enjoyed looking at, and looking around. Of course, no mention of buildings would be complete without mentioning Nottingham Castle. I wonder if this building comes as a bit of a disappointment to some visitors, as the reality of the building is far from what visitors would expect a castle to look like. It may be now more a palace than a castle, but it's still a magnificent building, and a very fine museum.

On the arts side, I have made regular visits to Nottingham Contemporary, New Art Exchange and very recently the Djanogly Arts Centre at the University of Nottingham. There is also much to do with Theatre, Cinema and the live music scene. Nottingham undoubtedly has its problems, and no doubt that this blog comes over as a bit of a love-in, but this is how I genuinely feel about the City and the surrounding area. I hope that 2012 will be as enjoyable as 2010 and 2011.

And from the film Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves,

Sheriff of Nottingham: Wait a minute. Robin Hood steals money from my pocket, forcing me to hurt the public, and they love him for it?
[Scribe nods]
Sheriff of Nottingham: That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. Hi dad - lovely post on Nottingham - couldn't agree more with you about the city, especially the parks...