Long Time

We were going to stay a longer time in Nottingham as our postal vote letters turned out to be just information about when the ballot papers were coming, and not the vote itself. We let Nye know that if they arrived promptly then Nottingham Post Office would be fine, otherwise he should let us know and we could find a new place. We were not supposed to stay very long on these moorings either, though the signage was not actually clear and it seemed they were not checked. There were certainly boats that had been around a while.

Over the few days here we did in fact move several times, apart from turning to paint, we also moved forward twice to let another boat manoeuvre to the marina more easily and again to catch more sun on the panels. None of these moves really counted as despite mooring on different rings or bollards each time, we were still in the same section.

We took advantage of the annual pass and leisurely stay to take in the castle and found they served a fast lunch too. We had been recommended to take in a cave tour. We had time before the start of the next tour to look round the Robin Hood displays and a little about Medieval Nottingham.

There were galleries above of various other eras, starting a long time ago, over a century after Robin Hood is reputed to have been active, with the Black Death. Successive tableaux of tumultuous times, from the English civil war, the Luddites and riots around demands for parliamentary reform. I liked the way the videoed commentators in period dress, brought the stories to life and then became subsumed into the their background animation at the end of their piece.

Mary a stocking maker complaining about the cheaply made stockings and lace, ruining her family’s living

I didn’t have time to see it all before it was time to go to the tour. I liked the guide’s presentation, informative and funny, and we were surprised that the group had a back marker as well as a leader. The type of stone was ideally suited to howking like a neep (not the guide’s words). It was possible to carve through it but with enough structural integrity to hold its shape despite excavation. The passages were wide enough to allow beasts of burden as well as people to walk through.

He told animated stories of key historical turning points and events in Nottingham castle that changed history. The last talk was outside the caves and we were led to The Trip To Jerusalem which claims to be the oldest inn in England, though this is a popular claim and predates Robin Hood. Inside is the same hewn sandstone as the caves which certainly gives it an ancient and unique feel.

Shane was not tempted by a quaff in ye olde inn, so we returned to the castle and had a closer look at the historical galleries of the museum and the art gallery. I am not sure we have ever spent such a long time in one set of galleries, they were very varied exhibitions. The history of lace making in Nottingham fascinated me more than it did Shane. It has been a major industry in Nottingham for a long time.

There was some art from the present (one was a tapestry, on the topic of climate change, that was to be viewed through cinema style 3D specs) but most was from more than a century ago but the subjects sometimes looked so fresh they seemed more modern to me and one showed that couples were capable of ignoring each other a long time before smart phones and screens were invented.

We even went back the next day to take in the military exhibition of heroism from the Robin Hood regiments and their predecessors Captain Albert Ball, flying Ace. We had missed this mezzanine floor before but had been told about it on our first visit looking at Albert’s statue.

Contrary to my usual activity, we had a go at the medieval/robin hood fighting skill computer games. We both did archery and then I tried the quarterstaff activity but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the set I chose was faulty. I got to chase sheep but not fight Little John.

Shane has remarked at how many things were named after Robin Hood here, even things unrelated in any way to tourism or history. The legendary hero even gives his name to the Baked Potato stall, unless perchance the owner is called Robin Hood. Nobody in legendary Robin Hood’s England had ever had a potato. It was a long time later that the first one arrived!