Civil War

We arrived at our mooring at one o’clock. Ready to eat, but short of bread. I didn’t fancy wandering round town finding food so I went to the nearby supermarket. It was easy to see where it was but less clear what the best route was. A zigzag ramp took me to a road, on the right it soon dwindled to a footpath with tall grasses and the side lane had a gate marked on my map that might be locked. Where would the actual entrance to the supermarket might be was not obvious. I followed the road to the left where the route was clear and I thought there may be some cut throughs. There weren’t but I found my way in. I ended up walking right round the building and into the car park. All the other doors I saw were fire exits.

I found some nice bread and headed back out by a pedestrian exit and saw that I was not far from the gated cut through, but from here I could see the gate was only to prevent cars driving into the residents’ car park. We were moored on the other side of the building called the Kiln. So I got back quickly and had a swift lunch.

Shane had a phonecall to make so embarked on that while I was still finishing eating, as he wanted to deal with it before his retired colleagues video chat. While he was trying to speak two helicopters went over and we could hear sirens, not as peaceful a mooring as we thought and not optimal listening conditions on the phone.

I wondered if the helicopter might be landing in the park.Then we saw paramedics running round with someone local showing the way. They were carrying large packs with blood bank written on them. They looked they were being directed round that short cut to the pedestrian access that I had just used.

After the video chat was done, a quick internet search found that two pedestrians had been hit by a car in the car park.of the nearby supermarket. A woman in her 70s was in hospital with multiple broken bones and a woman in her 60s had died of her injuries there. It was disquieting when I had basically been in that exact area less than half an hour before we heard the sirens arriving. I could have been that “woman in her 60s”.

We were heading into town anyway and saw on the way and saw the pedestrian access was taped off and a small area of the carpark nearby. There were still two ambulances, fire engines, several police vehicles and forensics vans there. The supermarket was open for business.

We carried on into town, and a stroll around up to the market square. There were lots of 15th and 16th century buildings around and we went down a little lane to find place for a drink then decided to return to the boat to eat our dinner and visit the main tourist attractions the next day.

Bar near the river, not fish related despite the adornment

The next day we went into town and looked round the castle gardens, originally it was a bishop’s fortified residence. It had various extensions in later ages. A moat was filled from the river and supplies arrived that way too. Cromwell’s destruction of it was interrupted so it is better preserved. This picture suggested how it looked in the 15tth century, in its heyday perhaps.

Information board by the castle in Newark

At the square the market was in full swing. We could see some tasty food we might come back to later. I spotted a person in costume, incongruously queuing for some Asian street food. He saw me taking a picture and waved (his hand isn’t rising to say no like the soldiers I met in Rome, but to wave a greeting). I said I expected anyone dressed like that didn’t mind being noticed and photographed. He invited us over to explain his outfit and offered me his sword to hold. He was a a Parliamentarian from ‘the new model army’, the first to have a uniform. The colour red was not chosen to disguise blood but because it was the cheapest dye at the time. He encouraged us to go to The Civil War museum. We intended doing that anyway. Then his lunch was ready.

Soldier in the new model army, a leveller.

After speaking to him we heard music and were surprised to find a steel band playing. We enjoyed hearing “we’re jamming” and they played another medley after.

Steel band in the market square

We made our way to the museum and found more friendly staff willing to share information and a very varied set of information about the war. A man in costume was demonstrating a cannon. I was taken by the first exhibit, even before the canon. The wheelchair belonging to Sir Thomas Fairfax, parliamentary commander – in – chief who led many battles getting injured many times in battle. The wheelchair was self propelled with two wheels at the front and one at the back and rotating handles to move the wheels. Turning only one handle made it steer.

17th century self propelled wheelchair owned by Sir Thomas Fairfax.

As expected there were many muskets, armour, cannonballs, musketballs and civil war timelines. There was some information on the plague and even more gruesomely the battle field surgeons toolkit. It was a particularly hard tie to live with war tearing towns and families apart. Further up the building, an old grammar school, boys had carved their names in the dormitory walls. There was a reflective section on warfare, refugees, crime and punishment. In the stairwell civil war hats became lampshades, mixing parliamentarians and cavaliers.

Hats off and light the way.

We went to find lunch and the cafe there was closed for the day but you could get back in on the ticket. We went back to a cafe in a Tudor house to see our Leveller holding a pike that went higher than the second floor with a musketeer beside him. We promised him we weren’t following him and he recommended the cafe. Who would argue with a man bearing such a formidable weapon.

Musketeer and pike staffer

After our tasty lunch, we had another foray into the Civil War Museum. One area was just about Newark history and another about other wars. The second world war section held two exhiibts of particular interest to us, knitting patterns and a folding bike with the same saddle as Shane uses, and which he recently repaired in Nottingham. The design of the front of the saddle is unchanged. Shane’s saddle is not sprung.

It was certainly an interesting museum. I had thought the chap at the start suggesting we try on the dressing up clothes, was joking but I found some of them actually fitted me.

Clare The Parliamentarian

When we came back we had tea then had a very quick run round the supermarket before it closed. The emergency vehicles had gone by then and the pedestrian access was usable again. Everything was back to normal, except for those affected. Tragedies happen but life goes on.