Derby Day 3

The 3rd day started a lot earlier for me than the previous day. As I mentioned, I intended to visit BPM records frlom when they opened, which means i was up and about for about 9:30. Chris was,of course, sound asleep still.

Off I went, to the short walk to the rcord shop. I was there so early, I even turned the lights on for them. That’s not bad going. Here’s a few more photos of the inside, and of course, what I describe as my little heaven. I’m never more happier than when I’m knee deep in records and CDs.

I found some classics, and ones that are a little more… shall we say… obscure.

My time in BPM Records came to an end when an old guy, who was also flicking through the vinyl, let out the most gut-curdling fart you’ve ever heard. The room isn’t particularly big, as it probably comes across on the photos, and if I didn’t get out of there right now, there would be no escape from having to breathe his gut-guff, so I held my breath, grabbed my stash, and headed downstairs. Honestly, he’s probably still scraping that one off the inside of his trousers. Unpleasant.

I headed back to the hotel, trying to get the sound of that out of my head, failing miserably. It’s something that I’ll probably suffer PTSD over.

Anyhoo, Nottingham was to be the entertainment of the day. A place I’ve been to many times, and I have a vague recollection of where the charity and rexord shops are. I was aware of two shops in this little arcade type place. Unfortunately, it seems that one of them has gone, and the other one was just closed…. Grim. Just like the car park.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo, so you’ll have to make do with a Google screenshot. This was the NCP car park on Maid Marian Way, and it’s one of the worst car parks I think I’ve ever had the misfortune to stay in. There’s development going on all the way around it, and it looks like part of it has already been demolished I don’t think it’ll be too long until it’s ripped down. If the passage of time doesn’t rot the concrete, the gallons of urine in the stairwells certainly will.

For charity and record shops, Nottingham was a bust. A shame, as I remember in the first few times we went, there were lots of good ones but they seemed to have dried up or closed down. Overall, not many CDs, but I did come away with this…


A tub of curry.

I’d heard good things about this from someone at work, so I grabbed some. I’ve yet to try it out, but I’ll post my findings when I do. “Bring to the boil, stir and simmer… It’s that easy!” We’ll see about that. I can burn cornflakes, me.

One other thing we did, was to take an updated look at the Grand Central railway that once ran through Nottingham , mainly through a series of tunnels. There’s one section of it that’s still visible, although a car park now stands on part of it. I look a photo of it when I first went to Nottingham in…. whatever year it was, so here’s the two photos however many years later.


For future reference, I was stood on Cairns St when I took this photo, though I’m unlikely to forget that name any time soon. Only difference seems to be that the bushes coming out of the wall have grown, and the lights in the car park have been replaced with LEDs.

We returned from Nottingham, and there was just enough time to have a look around the museum that was next door to the hotel. This was a great place. The star of the attraction has to be the huge airplane engine that they have there. I believe it would have been manufactured local to the area.

Oh yes, and then there’s this guy…

As this would be our last night in Derby, we said goodbye to the establishments that had became our regular spots over the last 3 days. We had one last drink in the Taproom….

And of course, we couldn’t leave without saying goodbye to the Ye Olde Dolphin. Now, I was going to type out the history of the place from this photo, but bugger it, you can just read it yourselves.

For some reason, the one-atmed bandit had been turned off, so that made the place seem ven more olde-wurlde.

They had the Screeching Owl back on, so I enjoyed a pint of that. Not pictured is a creepy guy that came in just sat there, staring out of the window with his bag of crisps. Thankfully, we survived, and our attention turned to food. Now, there was a nice looking place next to the Spice Lounce, the place we’d frequented on the first night, named Okra. (There’s a tilde in there somewhere, but I’m using my bluetooth keyboard amd I don’t know how to type that) . Chris suggested we give that a go, and off we jolly well popped.

I can confirm that the food was absolutely wonderful here too. Can’t believe we’d hit the three-for-three. All places we’d tried, we really liked, and it’s not very often you can say that.

We said one last goodbye to the Old Silk Mill on our way back. Once again, you can read the spiel about the place here…

While our time in Derby was coming to an end, we still had the rest of the day to do stuff… Onto the fourth and final day!

Nottingham! It’s in Nottinghamshire! (Part 2)

So, I awoke on the 2nd day at about 8AM, after a perfectly acceptable nights’ sleep. This was surprising, as I’m not a fan of hotel beds. I seen to recall my sleep was disturbed by a passing police car. Despite being on the 7th floor, and quite a distance from the road, the building next to ours reflected the sound into the room, and by the time the car had headed along Maid Marian Way (no, seriously, that’s that the road was called), I was awake, bright as buttons. Gah.

Chris slept through it, so I amused myself by abusing my phone and uploading all sorts of garbage to Facebook. I gave it until 9PM before I decided to surface and risk waking Chris up. 19 minutes later, while in the middle of a shave, my phone started going nuts, it was Chris’s dad. Amusingly, Chris slept through approximately 20 seconds of my annoying shopping centre yet there were two charity shops in there, a particularly bad YMCA shop that had literally 10 CDs in there, and a much better shop, where I spent under £7 on CDs. I could have spent more, but I didn’t realise the singles were “Buy one Get one Free”…

By this time, Chris’s boredom threshold was being tested to its limits, so we went in search of the now removed railway, and found it entirely by chance…

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The closed tunnel entrance in the centre of the picture, the unmistakable blue brick to the right forming the entrance to what was once a railway tunnel, now a car park.

By this point, the effects of the Greggs Pasty were wearing off. I was hungry, and so was Chris. I had a bag of CDs to drop off at the hotel. It suddenly dawned on us. Where the fuck was the hotel? I knew one thing, we were near this building…

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In hindsight, this building was visible from the hotel window, but we were lost enough for me to break out “the technology” – bring up Google Maps on my phone and make sure we were heading in the right direction. We were! Eventually we returned at the hotel, I dropped my CDs off, and headed in the general direction for something to eat.

Three days consisting of nothing but curry would probably be a bit too much, so we gave the curry houses a miss and headed off back into the town, eventually resorting to going to the Wetherspoons we’d went to the previous night. I settled for the “simple” steak ‘n’ chips, while Chris had some type of Panini thing. I always thought they just made sticker annuals…

Food was consumed, and the day was still young. The only tourist attraction either of us could think of was the castle, as Nottingham, at one point, had a large fortification overlooking the city. It was £5.50 in. Unfortunately, there’s very little remaining of the castle itself, except the walls. Inside, is a large museum and art gallery. There’s also a fair amount of gardens to walk around and admire that thing where they make shapes out of plants… erm… can’t remember its name…

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The highlight, for me was the fact that the museum actually contains the very football shirt Maradonna wore during his infamous “Hand Of God” incident. Now that’s not something you see every day.

We left the grounds just as a horde of foreign students invaded the place. Perfect timing! They all seemed like proper twunts. We made or way to “Ye Olde Pube”. I can’t remember its proper name, but it’s set inside the cliffs that Nottingham Castle stood on. While me and Chris were enjoying a quiet pint in the “beer garden”, the hordes of students had apparently left the castle and headed to our quiet little inn. None of them were over the age to drink, so they just stood outside and took photos of the place. In pure “Jamie is a complete dick” style, I tried to photobomb as many as possible. There’ll be some kid, thousands of miles away, wondering why there’s a bearded guy with a pint glass on his head.

At this point, it started to get cold, and the time for food was fast approaching. We headed off back to the hotel. After remembering how bad the beer was in the free bar the previous night, we stopped off at the Tescos and picked up essential supplies…

Amusingly, there were signs on the hotel entrance that “No food or drink to be consumed in the room”. I’m sure they’d try and stop me.

No food or drink in the hotel....

After a quick change, we headed out of the hotel and, after a quick walk round, decided that our next meal would once again be consumed at “Chutney”. After all, their service and food was superb last time. It was even better. the staff were friendly, and even gave us another discount because we’d been there the day before. Ten, no, eleven points for service.

Once again, we headed back to the hotel and got ready for the night’s festivities. I say festivities, I really mean drinking some of the world’s most watered down lager known to man. It’s not even worthy of the “Making Love in a Canoe” joke…

We returned to the room early, pouched the cans, and I attempted to take some long exposure shots out of the hotel window. I’d show you them, except it would appear that Flickr has eaten them. Grrrr.

Nottingham! It’s in Nottinghamshire! (Part 1)

So, the world and his dog can’t have failed to notice I’ve been out of Hartlepoolland for a few days. I wasn’t meant to be going until a couple of weeks ago, as Daddykins was meant to be going, but he dropped out at the last moment. There was a group of us who attended, 15 in all – members of the club I attend on a Tuesday night (when I’m not at Employment Palace).

I got a taxi at 8AM, picking Chris up on the way (he’s also one of the 15 members), dropping us off at the bus stop outside of the college at about 8:10. The coach wasn’t due until 8:30.

At approximately 8:45, the coach finally turned up. We boarded, and headed off around the North East, picking up other eager tourists ready for the trip. As soon as the last one got one board, the driver finally introduced himself via the microphone. After the formalities were dealt with, he said something like “So, you’re off to Nottingham… may I ask… why?”

I can’t remember his name, but he shall, from now on, he known as “Happy Harry”. Considering we were only technically there for a night and a full day, it wasn’t exactly heartwarming to have a bus driven by a cynic…

He announced there would be a stop-off in Derby. I won’t bore you with the details of the journey there (or how Chris almost got charged £89 for a bottle of drink, two sausage rolls and a copy of Viz), as most of it was spent, drifting out of consciousness whilst chuckling at the articles in Chris’s afore-mentioned adult comic.

So, we approached Derby. Imagine the scene, as we head along the road, only to be faced with red traffic lights, and a bloke peering out of his flat, stark bollock naked. I don’t think he quite planned to be waved at by a group of “tourists” laughing their heads off. Of course, he backed away pretty sheepishly after this. Classy, Derby. Very classy.

Of course, Happy Harry then managed to take a wrong turning, meaning we got to see more of the centre of Derby than we needed to. He then dropped us off at what appeared to be a random bus stop, and said he would pick us up there. You want to know how random the bus stop was? Here you go… Linkage

Hardly suitable for buses, never mind coaches. It’s pointing at the Babington Arms, which is a pub, just in case you’re thick and didn’t realise it from that link. Either way, it would appear that not only did we have a cynic driving the bus, it was a cynic with no sense of direction. Joy.

It was a Wetherspoons, so you know what to expect. It was also the place where the first photo of me got taken, shamelessly stolen from Facebook…

After two hours we were all ready to go and get set up at the hotel. Happy Harry had other ideas, as we arrived in Nottingham, circled the hotel, and then went in completely the wrong direction to find the entrance. His apology once again, came over the coach tannoy system… “What a bloody stupid place to put a hotel”…

After what seemed like an eternity sorting out the keycards, we made our way up to the hotel room. Thanks to some name juggling, according to their system I was called Barry. It shall stay this way for the entire time I was there.

Upon first impression, the room was excellent. 7th floor, two double beds. It even had two bathrooms which means two toilets. Therefore, any outfall caused by excessive vindaloo consumption could be kept to a bare minimum. Bonus. I recorded another stupid “wish You Were Here” style video, but it needs editing badly. The view wasn’t the best. A call centre (complete with Aspect telephones) to the left, a car park to the centre, and other modern buildings to the right…

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After dumping the bags, and getting a bit of a cleanup, we headed off looking for a bite to eat. Close friends and relatives will know that I scoured Google Maps to see if there was an indian nearby. Not one, not two. Not even four. there were SIX within spitting distance of the hotel. Unfortunately, most were expensive, and were shut. We were inspecting the menu of one of the couple of open ones, a place called “Chutney”. One of the waiters came out and thrust a 20% voucher into my paw. This was looking tempting. Actually, I lie. With that little piece of paper in my hand, my mind was already made up…

We went there!

It was exceptional. Food was great, staff were friendly and yeah, the discount stuck. Happy days.

The same, however, can’t be said for the hotel bar. The Blackpool trip featured entertainment in a root big enough to be used as a conference centre. Fair enough, it wasn’t top notch entertainment, but it kept us sane, and the beer was acceptable for hotel standards.

That was Blackpool. This hotel’s night facilities consisted of a tiny room, Entertainment came in the form of (wait for it) 6 games of bingo, should you choose to pay for it. If you didn’t, you just had to sit there and drink your “free bar”. That is, if you like watered down beer. I had a bit of toothache, and was on a full stomach, so I thought it was just me who thought it was as weak as kittens. Thankfully it wasn’t.

Disappointed with the free bar, we headed out into the city, eventually settling in the Roebuck Inn. It seemed pretty quiet, and that name “Wetherspoons” cropped up again. I introduced Chris to Jaegerbombs, which he didn’t enjoy. He introduced me to something stunning. Don’t ask me what they call it. It was apple juice and some newly available cinnamon liqueur. I DID enjoy this. I have no idea how he found it, but he knows of my love for apple and cinnamon. Therefore, the two combined in some kind of alcoholic beverage was out of this world. Towards the end of the night I remember having a good crack on with the bar staff. It was this place that made me really begin to like Nottingham.

Day 2 was only a sleep away…