This courier run, as you may have guessed, was to Nottingham. We travelled up separately, so that I could buy a cheap ticket, but of course returned together.
By the time we met up at Nottingham station, Tigger had made the drop and the day was ours. We caught a bus to the Old Market Square, today the site of the splendid Council House, seen here reflected in an extensive water feature.
We stopped off for coffee at the Costa coffee shop on the square and then set off up Hounds Gate. This long and narrow road leads resolutely uphill to the elegant square called Castle Gate.
You may be able to spot a plaque next to the red door. This tells us that Marshall Tallard, commander of the French army taken prisoner after the battle of Blenheim (1704), lived here from 1705 to 1711.
Castle Gate leads to Nottingham Castle. First built by the Normans and subsequently modified and enlarged a number of times by successive monarchs, the Castle became a ducal house and is now a museum. It is set in beautiful gardens.
Spectacular views are by be gained from the top of Castle Rock. Our visit to the Castle was a little disappointing because, although it is a beautiful place, most traces of the old castle have been swept away and can only be seen in pictures and models.
Before visiting the castle, we had lunch in the nearby pub, also called The Castle. One of its windows contains this stained-glass image of Robin Hood and Maid Marion.
In the afternoon, we took a bus to Wollaton to meet a friend. Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country mansion, built in the 1580s, set in a beautiful deer park, today open to the public. We saw at least two species of deer, sharing the territory with visitors and golfers.
As you walk up through the park, the hall comes into view, floating above the trees like an enchanted palace. Even so it as yet gives no indication of the magnificence that will be seen when you approach.
The Hall is a remarkable building not only in overall design but also in the luxuriant spread of decoration all over the surface. Faces, heads and portraits abound. It has to be seen to appreciate it fully.
Even the dependencies are beautifully designed and decorated, like this courtyard, perhaps once the stables, with a fine clock and carvings over the entrance.
We walked down to Wollaton village and had a drink in the pub, the Admiral Rodney, in front of which still stands the old village pump. All in all, our visit to Wollaton was enjoyable and it is a beautiful place in which to spend time.
It was beginning to become late, and we had to be sure we didn’t miss the last train back to London. We took the bus back to Nottingham. The evening sunlight was a warm gold, showing off the city’s buildings to best advantage. It was impossible to walk through the streets without stopping again and again to take photos.
There are gems at every turn, such as this old pub, now an amusements centre, and it is not possible to give even a representative sample here.
I couldn’t resist taking another photo of an old friend, one of the Council House lions. The evening light created a strange effect: the lion seemed to have closed his eyes as though dozing in the warm sun like a domestic cat.
We now had to return to the station, as there were only two more trains going back to London today.
It had been a very busy day but a very enjoyable one that, moreover, left us with the pleasant sensation that even though we had put our time to good use, there were still plenty of treasures in Nottingham for us to discover on future visits.