Last week we went to Nottinghamshire to collect a retro cotton canvas frame tent. We had also arranged to collect an old seagull engine on route. Near to Newark on the A1, the ancient highway to the north, otherwise known as Ermine Street or the Great North Road we stumbled upon a small tin roofed cafe. The place resembled the ghost ship Marie Celeste, left open and abandoned. The range of wood and metal buildings are in remarkably good condition, sensibly raised up on concrete piles, presumably in case of flooding from the nearby River Trent. Facing south, the main cafe cabin with its neat front with little windows, porch and raised verandah wouldn't have been out of place in Broadland and is similar to those built in Norwich by Boulton & Paul. An old, former railway signal box had been creatively attached to the main structure. We were saddened to learn that the building is awaiting demolition. It is sacrilege to demolish such a characteristic building.
Nottinghamshire is laced with canals and rivers and is a vibrant place of contrasting rolling countryside and a busy, multicultural city. At our pit stop in Nottingham, we meandered around the area that was once the defensive moat of the castle. Perched aloft of the the large city, above rugged sandstone cliffs, it has witnessed major events. One fabled resident was one Sheriff of Nottingham, enemy of Robin Hood, a charitable outlaw (or one of several outlaws) in the forests and byeways of the Midlands and Yorkshire. Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, reputedly one of the longest established taverns in the UK was a highlight. A short walk from the castle is the Nottingham Canal, where coots nested next to patches of green scrub and new housing developments. Along the towpath were a number of varied residential boats, whose masters had the luxury to berth for up to fourteen days at a time.
Finally we stopped off at Edwinstowe and looked around a remaining portion of Sherwood Forest, which is a major tourist attraction. The promotion of Nottinghamshire was very impressive ~ an holistic approach is taken to make the most of local attractions. Not least, the personalities of the area are highly celebrated such as George, Lord Byron the Pilgrim Fathers and DH Lawrence. Equally, enchanting Norfolk has much for international visitors to see and do, from the coast to wooded heaths and charming towns and villages. Characters looming large from the leaves of history books were born and raised in Norfolk, including Anna Sewell, Boudica, Rider Haggard, Admiral Lord Nelson, Elizabeth Fry, Howard Carter and Princess Diana....