May 14, 2012: Nottingham

Today was our one real tourist day in Nottingham.  We got up on the early side and went exploring.  We went a different direction from where Huw and I had gone last night and headed into the market side of town and walked around for a bit before settling on a little cafe, more like a family diner, on a back street.  It was great.  We did a traditional English breakfast, traditional meaning like normal Brits eat day to day, in a little diner where tourists would be unlikely to ever go.  The food was good and it was nice getting into the local scene right away.

We needed supplies so went to the local grocery store as well and were starting to get our bearings so that we could get around town a little bit.  The big item that we needed was toilet paper since our apartment didn’t come with very much and it was becoming an emergency.   The highlight of our shopping was a package of Fox’s Amber biscuits.  Americans don’t know how to make a good cookie.  The British, who eat far more cookies than we do, really know how to make a delicious cookie!  Liesl and Luciana really liked them too.

We hung out at the apartment for a little bit.  Liesl watched some television and hung out on the balcony.  She is loving being able to just have the balcony door open so that she can go in and out all that she wants.  She loved it when we had that while living in Tuscan Villas in Irving, Texas over a year ago.  (It is so hard to believe that Liesl was only Luciana’s age when we first moved to Texas and that our time living in Irving was nearly a year and a half ago!  I’m sure that Liesl barely remembers that place already.)

We went out to see Nottingham a little later in the morning.  We did some serious walking all over town.  Unfortunately we quickly discovered that almost everything was closed, most notably the castle, because today is a Monday.  That’s not good.  So we got to see town but we did not get to go to any attractions.

We found the local grocery stores, the Sainbury’s and the Tesco, which we checked out trying to find baby supplies.  Then we walked to the castle and walked all the way around the castle grounds to at least get the external experience of it even if the castle itself was closed today.

I took the family to the Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Pub that I had gone to last night so that they could see it too.  We decided to get lunch lunch, fish and chips, and some cask ale while we were there and ate inside sitting in an alcove carved from under the castle in 1189.  Now that is pretty cool.  We walked around the pub too checking the place out and took some pictures and a video too.  I can’t get over what a neat place that pub is.

After that we returned to the apartment and Luciana napped for a while and I worked.  Then in the early evening we set out for a walk up to the north a bit to meet up with the local SpiceWorks users for SpiceCorps Nottingham.  It was a nice enough walk but the rain started while we were walking up there so it turned into a bit of a run.  It wasn’t a hard rain but Liesl was less than thrilled to be being rained on in the stroller.

Our SpiceCorps Nottingham meeting went well.  We met at the Gooseberry Bush.  It was a small turnout but we had a good time.  It was all really active people so it was a very social gathering.  Nearly everyone knew each other from other interactions previously so there were really no introductions or anything.  We had a really good time and I got to try out my first peary (basically cider but made purely from pears.)

We could not stay at the restaurant long because England has child licensing for bars and we were at the end of the evening for children to be allowed in the bar.  We had to all order food too in order to drink due to the bar’s license too.  English licensing is really complex.

Dominica, the girls and I ran back to the apartment where I worked for about two hours until it was the end of my working day.  Then Dominica and the girls stayed in while I ran back out to meet up with the SpiceCorps guys to hang out for the later evening.  It was a quarter till eleven when I got back to them at the Lincolnshire Poacher where they were waiting for me.  Sadly, due to British licensing, it was already last call.  So we had one round of drinks and then it was off to the next place.

So we moved to a late night venue that was open till three.  Our party slowly dwindled through the night.  Everyone’s need to make it out on public transit really limited our options.  Huw and I were the last ones standing when the pub closed down at three.  There were only a few people left in the pub and we were all having a really good time hanging out so we ended up going to the local gas station, grabbing beer and ciders and about eight of us retired to the apartment to hang out.

All of the locals were really amazed by our awesome apartment and its incredible views of the city.  None of them had ever seen the city from above before.  We all hung out on the balcony for a long time.

It was a neat experience hanging out with the Nottingham locals all night.  Not something that you do every day.  As the party dwindled down and there were just a few people left Dominica came out and hung out for a bit too.  Then Luke and Sam, the last ones remaining, and I went to get breakfast at the Tasty Bite and the “night” was over at nine thirty (in the morning.)

I feel much more like a local now.

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