Saturday, 16 June 2018

Beeston Street Art begins to appear before our very eyes

This is a very up-to-date map showing street art locations being created over this weekend. The map is extracted from my Beeston Speed Map due to be published in time for next month's Beeston Carnival... Click on the map to enlarge.




I spent a couple of hours at the White Lion watching as the street artists began to paint and left before any work was complete. It may be a few days before they are all finished. In meantime regard this post as me capturing 'work in progress'. I will add names tomorrow if I have time. In the meantime enjoy and ponder artists at work, plus Lauren who had a display of her art inside the White Lion. 












Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Street Art weekend just days away and new Beeston Map progresses

Jeanie Barton and her colleagues have been working behind the scenes so to speak preparing to pull off a great artistic venture. Her poster says it all:



A leaflet just emailed to me by Judy Sleath, Chair of Beeston & District Civic Society, lists the eight street art locations around the town you can visit. This has enabled me to mark all the location onto the new maps below.


Feedback on my new look Beeston Map confirmed what I suspected — that including EVERY retail unit on one map A3 size had the potential to be confusing  and so it turned out to be. As a result I have stripped out service providers who you need an appointment to see and all estate and letting agent bar C P Walker & Son, who support the map with by placing an advert.

One problem was the size of The Square, which I have now enlarged in the latest draft version (see below), but that has meant tweaking the map. It is still crowded, but seeing people staring intently at a draft copy, then asking questions, was reward enough.


For the Beeston Festival next month I hope the map will be joined by a vertical banner showing all four sections of the map seamlessly joined together. It is still not too late to comment as I am now parking the map until Monday week (25 June).


The map will also mark all the Beeston Street Art locations, for which I have created a fun marker on the basis that what we are about to see on the streets of Beeston is a visual arts explosion!


You can see street art locations marked on the maps.


PS. I know I have still to mark the new gin place on Chilwell Road and change / add a couple of names (eg. new Hive occupants Mr. Perfect Pets and Trendy Nippers Boutique — who get their own blog post in the next day or two complete with pics).

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Barton's Garage Market — a great event in the making

Sunday morning just gone was my second visit to Barton's Sunday Market in The Garage on Chilwell Road. This time there was a coach parked in the entrance to help draw attention to the market. 



Let me take you on a wander and a quick look at some of the stalls. This is a personal selection. There were more to see. For the record I spent £10 at the second-hand book stall.

















Sunday was hot and there was plenty of competition about — from Wollaton Park and the local Art Trail. The Garage with its collection of vintage buses and coaches makes a great market venue and reminds me of Nottingham's Cattle Market off London Road, only this is much better and much more accessible with The Tram and great bus services (Nottingham City Transport's 36; Your Bus Y5 and Trent-Barton's Indigo and route 20). Plus good car parking. You put all this together and you have a great event in the making.

The next market is on Sunday 1 July 2018 and billed as:


To find out more visit The Garage website's page about the market.

I wish the Barton brothers well. They were all there on Sunday working their socks off, along with their mum — a real family venture.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

About a bus with a wild side...


This bus looks ordinary enough, especially if you live on the south-west side of Nottingham, but the 35 bus is special in many ways — which is why I've been publishing an annual map and leaflet devoted to the 35 route. It also has its own blog at History By Bus.

It isn't strictly Beeston, but I can walk to Priory Island and catch a 35 quite easily. From where I live it's almost as close as The Nurseyman bus stops on Derby Road and the Beeston High Road and Humber Road bus stops by Marlborough Road. All c.10 minutes walk.

Anyway I've done a post to History By Bus today which may be of interest...

Friday, 25 May 2018

Non-NHS care on the NHS and political sloganising

Yesterday afternoon I spent four hours at the QMC Hospital’s privately owned Treatment Centre having a inguinal hernia repaired under a general anaesthetic.

I visited my GP on 9 April (six weeks ago) about a problem first diagnosed in June 2016 but at the time I was waiting to have open heart surgery, so the surgeon wasn't keen, for understandable reasons, to operate on my hernia until 18 months after my heart op. In the event this pushed back the hernia op until August 2018. The solution was to wear a support belt during the day, but most days began with me pushing my inguinal hernia back inside, usually more than once. By the beginning of this year (2018) it had become quite painful at times, so I started to keep a hernia log and decided to visit my GP sooner rather than later on the basis that I wanted to have my hernia op at the first opportunity.

The private Treatment Centre adjacent to the QMC Hospital saw me on 18 April and I had my pre-op assessment the next morning, thanks to the fact that the 8.30 a.m. appointment is difficult to fill. My hernia didn’t stop me walking or exercising, so I walked from Beeston to the Centre each time. At the end of last week I was offered a cancellation for yesterday at 2.30 p.m. which I willingly accepted. So here I am at home 12 hours later recovering, feeling fine and taking it easy, doing this post. Tomorrow I plan to walk into Beeston, then home after a coffee.

The Treatment Centre treated me like royalty from beginning to end, mirroring the heart and lung care and support I have been receiving from Nottingham City Hospital for the past three years. With my hernia fixed I hope I am now at the beginning of a long Indian summer. I’m 74 and never felt better in so many ways, but I am not complacent. I have to stay active and I am enjoying exercise now more than I ever have. I feel more creative. From where I am sitting writing this I can see my runner beans growing and the last of the blue bells, the garden has been awash with them this year.

Now back to the point of this post. Circle Health says of itself if you visit their website: The Circle Nottingham NHS Treatment Centre is the largest day-case centre in Europe. It operates under a Standard Acute Contract, providing a wide range of outpatient, inpatient, diagnostic and therapeutic services. It is the only independent sector facility in the UK to offer teaching and research, including pre- and post-graduate medical, nursing and AHP training. Its surgery has been rated "outstanding" by the Care Quality Commission.

It is also a private company listed at Companies House and has had its moments in the media. I am politically opposed to any public service / utility being in the private or voluntary sector with the exception of mutuals in which users and workers are joint owners. I feel able to say this having worked first as a Family Planning Association (FPA) clinic volunteer over 50 years ago, then 12 years with the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) followed by 21 years with Advance Housing & Support, all charities providing healthcare related services local government and the NHS failed to provide in large swathes of England. All these organisations budgeted to make surpluses but not to pay shareholders directly. However all of them took out bank loans on which they paid interest and, therefore contributes to 'profits'.

Labour politicians have actively encouraged private healthcare so we have to be cautious when condemning private healthcare. At the point of treatment, in my experience, there is no distinction between public, private or private. Many charities are now led by managers paid a 'market-led wage' little different to the private sector.

I have long favoured the issuing of bonds offering a fixed annual return for a fixed period of time as a way of enable small savers to invest in public services and utilities, so that their need to borrow from banks can be minimised.

At the end of the day it is easy to sloganise when it comes to healthcare and public services if you give little thought to the consequences, then there taxes on our income, purchases, property and wealth!

Taken altogether, this is why I believe we need to arrive at a cross-party bipartisan agreement — something I have blogged about before — when it comes to the NHS, welfare and housing (and I'm pleased to say that our MP Anna Soubry agrees with me on the NHS, but struts like a Tory when it comes to housing).

I managed to live 71 years before needing to draw down on 47 years of National Insurance payments (money which was not ring-fenced). It annoys when the media and politicians talk about our 'rising older population' and ignore the fact that as a percentage so is the working age population.

What concerns me is the quality of all lives and this is not simply about age, it is about income and wellbeing, and I know for a fact that even at 74 on a relatively low income I am one of the lucky ones!

Tony Blair had a plan to improve the lot of working people and it failed big time, but I do not doubt his intent.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Enjoying life, ice cream, Dale Abbey, Municipal Dreams and Five leaves Bookshop — what a way to spend a birthday!

I had a 74th birthday last week and chose to begin it at the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory on the edge of Spondon, on the Nottingham side of Derby, in the company of Susan and close friends. I think it fair to say a good time was had by all, especially me.

More cards than a man of my age expects, and all from ladies I love. Susan chose one that I have since turned into my 'Old Age Passport', which will go everywhere with me from now on.


Susan and I met in the summer of 1975 and took off like a rocket. She was then Curator of Mansfield Museum & Art Gallery and I was Chair of the Midlands Area Museum Service. She 24, me 31. We were buying a house together within three weeks. I was also a Birmingham City Councillor working as the records and development officers (yes, two jobs) for a then high profile charity, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, and often found myself being asked to comment on this or that —which I did. Susan soon said of me that I was a typical politician, 'Able to speak with a confidence born of nothing but ignorance'.


She was right. I could happily be outrageous, making friends where I wasn't expected to. Called a 'Maverick' more than once, it remains a branding I am proud off.


Last week's ice cream adventure was fun and delicious — honeycomb, rhubarb and strawberries & cream, all yummy.


I even got to go two laps on a pedal go-kart. I could have done more. It was a great birthday. After this the day slowed down and we all went off to Dale Abbey to look at the ruins and the second smallest parish church in England, now part of a farmhouse which began life as monastic hospital.


Dale Abbey village is set on a road going only to church and a few houses. Off this road is what remains of Dale Abbey. How this much managed to survive is beyond me, set on the edge of a field it is actually the back wall to a small paddock. A public footpath runs through the field. 


It actually looks quite dramatic as my photograph shows.


One of my fellow ice cream eaters, Rosie (who also got me into blogging in 2007), took this pic of me snapping the ruin.


From the footpath you can see down the road to the church and the farmhouse of which it is part.



The church begins by the little door and goes to the left.


Up close the door looks suitably mediaeval. Having said that I'm not sure it is.


On the side elevation is this simple window. The church was locked and the farmhouse doesn't have a key, so we'll have to plan our next visit a little better.


In the small graveyard a friend spotted this gravestone. It mentions someone called Annie 'of Beeston House, Beeston, Notts'.


The wall around the church graveyard is made of blocks of dressed stone. The may well have come from Dale Abbey, but if it did I'm amazed most of it wasn't taken for use in new buildings following the Abbey's destruction.

It's isolation is somewhat illusory given how it sits between Derby and Nottingham, on the edgelands of two conurbations fast becoming one. Dale Abbey's Wikipedia page is a good place to start learning more. We will be going back with a key of that I am certain.

I finished the day in the ballroom of the Mechanics Institute in Nottingham city centre at a fantastic talk organised by Five Leaves Bookshop. 'Municipal Dreams' by John Boughton, who has a blog of the same name, long one of my favourites. The focus of his talk was council housing and it past, present and future. It was a lot to pack into 90 minutes but John did impressively well.


John was on BBC-TV's BookTalk programme a couple of weeks ago promoting his new book, Municipal Dreams (which you can buy in Five Leaves Bookshop, where I bought my copy).




Ross Bradshaw and his colleagues at the Bookshop were fair bursting with pride, having won the Independent Bookshop of the Year Award a couple of nights before. A well deserved honour. It appears on all my Nottingham city centre maps and I buy booksthere regularly.
I sat with Richard, another Beeston blogger who I know well and we came back to Beeston together on a 36 bus, both of us preferring the bus to the tram. His blog, NG and Beyond, is another of my favourites. His prose is close to poetry. He relies almost exclusively on words to describe the land and townscapes he explores in and around Nottingham. His writing is something I want to hold, to feel the page in my hand — he really is that good!

It was a good way to end my birthday.




Beeston Worm Map update

I have it in mind to extend my worm map to include the University and QMC Hospital bus and tram links. As a first step I have updated my original Beeston Worm Map dated 2016. You can see both maps on my Beeston Warm Map page to which you can find a link in the right-hand column.