Although not in Nottingham, we did drop in on Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire. The landscaped grounds are quite beautiful and they provide a perfect backdrop to a Palladian bridge. By all accounts the interior of the house is stunning too. After a spell in prison for insurance fraud, the latest in the line of the Brockets has leased the pile to a Hong Kong corporation for use as a hotel.
As an antidote to all the culture I attended a robot party. All guests had to dress up in home-made robot costumes. The evening proved the following formula true:
Robot costumes + alcohol + Wii games = cardboard carnage
I have been trying to sketch ideas as much as I can of late. This is my favorite way to pass time in coffee shops.
I was kindly shown around the Nottingham Hackspace. I have previously blogged about the Shoreditch Hackspace and was pleased to see the Midlands' sister is equally well equipped and well-run. It also has the most amazing toilets on earth. Fact.
Nottingham is built on soft sandstone. Consequently we have a multitude of natural and man-made caves here. Many buildings have basements which connect to the cave system, providing plenty of opportunities for my favorite pastime - dungeon crawling.The Hand on Heart pub is no exception. The walls of its lower rooms give way to bare rock, and their restaurant is an admirably quirky place to eat.
As in the rest of the world, the death rate in Nottingham is still hovering at a reassuring 100%. The city has its own neighborhoods especially designed for dead people. These developments are called cemeteries. The General Cemetery is located just north of the centre of town and features attractive surroundings for its residents to enjoy until the Last Judgement.
St Mary the Virgin church sits atop a hill in the attractive Lacemarket district of the city. It is a Grade I listed building and is a fine example of English Perpendicular style Gothic architecture. The Wiki lists the restorations made over the years, although I am not sure the addition of new toilet facilities in 2008 should be given equal prominence to the building of a Lady Chapel.
The hilariously named Spanky van Dykes hosted a blues and rock evening featuring Dollar Bill and his one man band. Not only was the music great, the crowd was fascinating. The fifties rockabilly scene is one I have bumped into now and again, but never really engaged with. I was quite taken by the outfits. It was interesting to see how disparate the men appeared to be from the women - the boys wore workwear denim while the girls were much more formal with amazing hair and beautiful dresses.
Another trip took me further afield to Aintree for the annual Grand National horse racing event. It proved to be a wonderful people-watching opportunity. The northern girls (known colloquially as 'lasses') are a hardy bunch. While I was equipped with hat, scarf and boots to fend off the spitting rain, they looked fabulous in their evening dresses and heels. And fake tans.