Before another word, please follow this link and vote for Beeston's very own Local not Global Deli in the national Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2015 (NOTE. Voting has closed and the results will be announced in a few months).
Yesterday morning (Thursday) I took myself off early to Beeston and walked down to Chilwell Road, which has been in the news almost daily since work began on The Tram. 'Nearly complete' the Nottingham Post says today. I don't think so.
My destination was the Local not Global Deli, which I have blogged about beforeand is my favourite coffee shop and eatery. It's seven weeks since I was last there, but with no writing class John White and I decided to meet up, as old men do, and talk about our work over cake and coffee for a couple of hours before Susan came to join me for lunch. In the end it turned out to be a most perfect three-and-a-half hours. I will let my photographs tell the story.
10.30am when I arrived and Jo Thomson, the owner, had been hard at work since 6.30am. She does all her own baking and cooking. Cakes to die for, and more about the best small lunch ever in a bit (well it does have one rival, but since the competition is in Derby, I won't mention it). I should have photographed the large slice of poppy seed cake I had with the first of three cups of coffee (believe me it was goood, really gooood!).
Local not Global was empty when I arrived, so I took this pic. Within minutes, with John first, a steady stream of customers came in and out. Once it emptied right down to John and me again. Chairs were moved about and folk squeezed around tables, elbows touching, eating cake and lunches. It really is that kind of place. I love its atmosphere and everyone loves Jo. When Susan and I left at 2pm, it was empty again. Not for long I'm sure.
From my table I had these view straight down Imperial Road, one of Beeston's finest roads, and once upon time Nottingham City Transport buses terminated here, then waited for passengers to carry back to town. In the late-sixties, Susan would have been one of them. Her first two years at Nottingham University were spent sharing a room in the Chilwell vicarage just a few minutes walk away. This was where Bartonland began and, as if to mark their claim, Barton Transport had their HQ and a large garage just yards to the left. Today the Barton family no longer own the bus company, but they have created the popular Barton Gallery close by.
I have been visiting Beeston and Chilwell Road regularly since the mid-1990s when our shopping habits changed and we began using the Caritas Clinic over Manor Pharmacy, plus the exodus of friends began from Lenton into Beeston and Chilwell. We hope to follow, after nearly six months of prolonged waiting, by the end of October (there, I have said it, but friends have heard all this before, as other moving dates have come and gone. This time though, I really hope it's true).
I enjoy John's company and he is a great poet, who can get verses to rhyme, and I am helping him to compile a collection of his work for friends and family, but he does deserve a wider audience, so here are a couple of his short poems to whet your appetite:
From Toton down to Chilwell
Through Beeston on to city
They're digging holes and laying pipes
Without remorse or pity
Drivers and their passengers
In buses, cars and vans
Sit fuming in their vehicles
Stuck in traffic jams
Two more years of chaos
And when the workers win their battle
We'll enjoy the doubtful privilege
Of travelling like cattle
Herded on at park and ride
With seating for the few
Standing for the many
Who pay the trams their due
It will never make a profit
And is bound to end in tears
When ratepayers have to cough up
To cover the arrears.
As we grow older, our parents grow wiser
Grandparents turn positive sages
It's been ever thus since Adam and Eve
And carried on down through the ages
It really is amazing, without any fuss
How much the old folk learn from us.
When John left, he took with him one of Jo's apple pies. Never leaves without one if he gets the chance. Next time I will have apple pie too.
This is me, almost a year to the day, eating Jo's goulash. I weighed 14 stone then and with Markiza, our cat having died a few days before, we had just decided to put our house up for sale. It took six weeks cleaning top to bottom before we put it was first advertised, and it was Easter before we got a buyer. It's been a long slow process and very stressful, with the result that I have put 20lbs on since Susan took this photograph. I want to be 14 stone again by the time I'm 71, so I have 34 weeks to do it in!
This final photograph of Jo is bit of a cheat. I took it in 2013 when I posted a blog about Beeston cafés and teashops, but nothing has changed. Whilst not intended as a boast, I do think this blog shows that I am generous soul, true to my belief that we should have the chance to enjoy the best of life, so how could I not share the Localnot global Deli and Jo on Chilwell Road with you?
Finally, if you ignored me the first time, Please don't do it twice. Before another word. Just follow this link and vote for Jo's Local not Global Deli in the national Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2015.