Viva Darbados Day 2: Some Loughborough Steamers

So, day 2 commenced with me waking up as “fresh” as a “daisy”. Maybe it was the beer, maybe it was the curry, but I felt like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards. I suspect the beer. I decided to just lay in bed for a few hours staring at my phone. You may recall that I mentioned that the room windows didn’t open. I suspect that I actually partially cooked in my own juices during the night. It was extremely warm, and it turned out the air conditioning didn’t work either.

It got to 10:30 and I decided I wanted to do some exploring, so I nipped out for an hour.

As I mentioned in “yesterday’s” post, there’s a river near the taproom, with a nice little path going down the side of it, so I thought I’d have a leisurely stroll down there. And very nice it was too. Nice to see a bit of greenery in a city.

I also just have to post this for posterity. I was stood under a road bridge that went over the river, and I mentioned there was a distinct lack of amusing cartoon graffiti. Not even so much as a badly drawn set of male genitalia. Seconds after I thought that, I spied this beautiful sticker stuck to a lamp post.

I don’t know if there’s a story behind it. I don’t really care. I just know this was the greatest thing I’d seen in my current time down there.

After my merry jaunt along the water, I had a bit of a wander around near the hotel, and found a couple of charity shops. I picked up a couple of things. Not really anything I’d heard of, but that’s half the fun. There was also a Greggs, where I picked up a sausage roll. The way my stomach felt would confirm if I was hungover, or hungry. I can confirm I was hungover. Somehow, I forced it down, rather like that scene on the Vicar Of Dibley where Geraldine has to eat all those sprouts and had to physically force them in there. That’s what I was like with that sausage roll.

By this time, Chris was ready, so I headed back to the hotel. Today’s plan was to go to Loughborough. For once, there was something there for both of us. Chris wanted to see the trains that are there, and I… well, of course, had the charity shops. Beforehand, we had another small walk around the Derby City Centre. Chris wanted some brekky, and I settled for a bottle of coke. The slice of lemon that came with it would be enough to keep me going all day.

We had enough time for a brief walk around Derby city centre before we went. We had became aware of the Derby Computer Museum, so tried to find it. Unfortunately, we couldn’t. It was on the 2nd floor of another building and Google Maps didn’t appear to signpost it very well, but it turns out it would have cost £7 to get in, and you had to book in advance. Oh well. To be honest, it looked to have been geared more towards kids and school groups anyway, so I’m not sure if there’d have been anything interesting for me. One thing that I happened to see out of the corner of my eye, that was even better than a computer museum, was a sign for a record shop, namely BPM Records. I go in and… Oh my. The new / sealed vinyl was downstairs, which didn’t really spark much interest for me, but upstairs… wow. Boxes and boxes of singles, an entire room dedicated to CDs, and even a couple of boxes of CD singles dotted about.

It was getting on at this point, so I grabbed a couple of CD Singles, the best one being “Flavor of the Month” by The Posies, a single that I’d bought back in 1993 on purple vinyl.

I vowed to come back the following day, so confirmed the opening times, and off we went to Loughborough. The first stop would be to get a photo of a building…

Apparently, they used to make parts of locomotives, or something, Chris did tell me, but seeing as it’s been a few weeks since the trip, I’ve entirely forgotten. I’m sure he’ll help out in the comments! The building is used for something else.

Next stop was to the Great Central Railway. I genuinely think we spent more time trying to get parked than actually being there. Considering this was a well-established tourist attraction (a lot of people apparently still like steam trains), there’s very little parking available, except for residential streets. I guess the locals must love that.

So, trains, then…

I took up most of my phone’s memory trying to get a decent photo of the station cat, who was happily wandering about, gathering atention from myself and other people hanging about. Of course, I don’t know if it was the station cat or not, but I liked to think he was employed as head mouse catcher, and to his credit, I didn’t see a single rodent.

We waved goodbye to the trains, and headed into Loughborough town centre. I’m happy to say I really liked it. We stopped off for a drink, and I was happy to see an old US streetlight still in use..

They were originally made by General Electric in the US, but the ‘moulds’ were bought by Phosco in the early 2000s so they could be manufactured over here. If you ever get close to one, you can see where the GE badge used to be…. cough, erm.

And so, off onto the major part of the day, for me at least… the charity shops. I’m happy to report that Loughborough does have its fair share of them, most of which are located in Biggin Street. One Age UK shop had a large amount of CD singles in there, so I filled my boots. I picked up other bits along the way too. I might elaborate on this if I can be bothered. It did have its fair share of nice old buildings, all appear to still be well maintained. Overall, yes, I can happily say, looking back, I liked Loughborough a lot.

Unfortunately, Chris got lost on the way back. It did give me a photo of what I’d consider to be the worst street I’ve seen. A passing interest of mine is to go around Google Maps and look at streets that have the worst possible view from the residents’ front window. This one is certainly up there….

I wonder what the going rate for lung / bronchial conditions is there..

We got back to the hotel dropped off our things, and then headed out. Of course, we wanted to see if that taproom was actually going to be open. Success! it was! We had a couple in there, and then went back to Ye Olde Dolphin inne. We got chatting to a couple of regulars while we were in there, who wondered what we were doing in Derby… I think they were more surprised than anything. I don’t think they get many tourists around those parts.

We got chatting about food, as you do, and where the best Indians were. A place called ‘Himalayan’ was highly recommended to us.

It was a Gurkha restaurant, admittedly not something I’d tried before. Always the ambitious type of guy, I went for something completely different on the menu… This time, I went for the…. chicken vindaloo.

It goes without saying that the food was incredibly nice, and the beer was also excellent too… again.

Not a brand I’d seen before, but I’d definitely get it again. On the way back, we nipped back to the Old Silk Mill for one more, and then back to the hotel. Great beer, great food. Now, ono the 2nd half of the trip! and because they didn’t really fit in anywhere, he’s a couple of arty shots of the cathedral…