It was 12:45am when the courier rang the doorbell, bringing the package that we have to deliver today. There had even been talk of bringing it to us at the station prior to our departure but now it was in our possession, we could relax and get some sleep.
The day has started dark and wet, not too happy a prospect, but conditions may improve as we travel northwards to our destination.
Leaving the house, I saw the 214 at the lower stop, so we ran and caught it at the next stop but only because the driver saw us and waited for us. People think London is all hurry-hurry but I see such kind acts daily.
At St Pancras, we went upstairs to the Camden Food Company and had our porridge with fruits of the forest. We had been looking forward to this since we first tried it on Monday!
The CFC cafe is quite a pleasant place to await the train. The only annoyance is that you have to go outside to check whether the train is ready for boarding. It was be nice if they had a repeater board in the cafe as they do on some other stations.
The platform for our train was announced 15 minutes before departure so we had plenty of time to find our reserved seats and then look for seats we preferred.
On this service, all the reserved seats are crammed into one carriage, leaving the rest of the train free. If you go to another carriage, you are likely to find fewer people and to have more room to spread out.
Our train left on the dot of 9:15 and we are now heading north again as on Monday, but today’s destination is in Robin Hood country: Nottingham.
It is another overcast day with a grey sky threatening rain.
After Bedford the sky cleared somewhat, revealing blue patches, and then sun came out. Now, will this hold all the way to Nottingham?
By the time we reached Nottingham, the sun was shining pleasantly. We took a taxi at the station entrance and set off to deliver our package. The drive took about 25 minutes, though it seemed a lot longer. We seemed to be heading towards Derby and a sign indicated that it was only 10 miles further on.
“Maybe we should have gone to Derby instead,” I suggested, half seriously. Tigger was looking at her watch as time ticked away.
Fortunately, the driver knew where to go and we completed the job at 11:25, well before to noon deadline.
We had asked the taxi to wait and now requested to be taken to the Castle, rather than back to the station. The whole journey cost a few pence less than £30 – that will give some idea of the distance.
For lunch, we went to Antalya, a Turkish restaurant in Forman Street. We had come here for a meal before but this time we were disappointed with the food. We won’t be going there again.
By now the sun had disappeared and it had become a little chilly. In view of this we decided to visit the Museum of Nottingham Life. This is situated at the base of Castle Rock and includes the caves. These man-made caves were dug out of the sandstone which is soft and easy to work. There was a school here and the building still exists, perched part way up the rock, and can be visited. The caves have been used as dwellings, as a brewery, and, during WWII, as an air raid shelter.
The museum extends over three floors of its building as well as the caves, and the objects exhibited were almost all manufactured in Nottingham. There are mock-ups of house rooms and shops and visitors are free to take as many photographs as they wish.
The museum isn’t very big but is well laid out and, in my view, well worth the small entry fee.
By the time we returned to the town centre, it was 3pm and the train we are booked on leaves at 17:27, so we have come to Costa, where Tigger is reading Matt Beaumont’s E Squared and I am writing this. If it were a nicer day we would probably be tempted to do some more exploring but for now we are taking it easy.
Nottingham seems a pleasant enough town, not as bustling as Sheffield, but I haven’t yet got a sense of it as a unit. For that reason, it feels rather shapeless to me, an impression that I am sure will change with further acquaintance.
Having to wait until nearly 1am for the document possibly also has something to do with it as I was up this morning at just after 6am and despite dozing on the train feel a little tired. Perhaps the next visit will take place in better circumstances.
With an hour or so to go, we left the coffee bar and looked for a bus to take us to the station. The one we found went there by a slightly circuitous route but that did not matter as we were in no hurry.
We went to the advertised platform half an hour before our train was due to leave and found it entering the station from London. They would not let us board because, they said, they first had to “prepare” the train for service.
They kept us waiting until about 5 minutes before departure time, meaning that there was a scramble for seats. We got window seats at a table where we can stretch out our legs under one another’s seats.
The train was quite busy to Derby and Market Harborough and we had companions at our table. After Market Harborough the train was less crowded and we had empty seats beside us.
The train is an old design with fixed arm rests that cannot be lifted and this means you don’t have much freedom to change position during a long journey.
It has not rained though the sky is overcast. The light is fading and looking out at the countryside from a lighted carriage makes it seem darker still. More and more lights appear—scattered in the country, in lines and clumps in built-up areas—as the sky darkens.
The train made good time and arrived early at St Pancras, though we had to wait quite a while for a 214 to complete our journey home.