Saturday, 23 June 2012

Starting out Nottingham

Starting out Nottingham

As with all beginnings, there are doubts and fears to be overcome. Doubts as to what if anything will be achieved in the process of doing the walk and meeting people from many places across the United Kingdom. Fears as to whether I can actually walk 3000+ miles, with a body suffering with Osteo-arthritis.

The day started well, drizzly and overcast but my spirits were high as I said goodbye to my parents in Nottingham city center. They wished me well, I know my mum will be worrying herself all the time as to my safety and such like, but send me off with smiles.

Before I have gone more than 3 minutes out of the square, I am stopped by a lady doing market research. I'm all about helping, so stop to assist with her enquiry. I follow Megan into a place where they are conducting the taste testing for Mashed Potato. I guess the whole test and data gathering takes about 15 minutes, but Megan is curious as to what I am doing carrying a bag with a Union flag hanging from it. So I explain just what I am doing, and that I hope to raise money and awareness whilst walking the entire United Kingdom. As I set off to leave she gives me the £3 that they offer for the research. I had no idea that they were going to cross my palm with silver, I don't only do things for money you see. But I accepted greatfully the cash, as every little contribution is going to be helpful as what I have saved is not going to be anywhere near enough. So  with a warm mashed potato feeling in my stomach and a little extra cash in my pocket, I set out laughing to myself at this good fortune. Out on the street I get stopped briefly by another of the Potato ladys. I explain to Sheila that I have already done the eating thing, so she asks all about the walk instead. It would seem that I might not get out of Nottingham at this rate. We say our farewells, she wishes me every success, and off I go again.
I am amazed at how many people are smiling back as I walk along beaming with joy. Well done Nottingham I think, you really are a city full of nice people. Man woman and child, I seem to get a cheery response from everyone I pass, but is it all in my head or do I create this by smiling first? Well, questions still to be researched, but the mood was high as I set off to climb the hill on Woodborough Rd, and up into Mapperly top. Across the Mapperly plains and out towards Southwell, where I hope to rest for the day.

Then I have to follow the main road for a while as the pavements run out on my way to Calverton. I stop for a bite to eat and set off making good time finding that the road to Calverton is closed to traffic due to road works, so have the tranquility of walking knowing I wont be dodging cars and buses all day. I stop briefly to ask the Lollipop man outside the school on the high st, where I need to go to find the road I need. He is very cheery and helpful and leaves me with a warm feeling as he wishes me well on my adventures, smiling and encouraging. The ideal type of person to be guarding our children whilst crossing roads I muse. (unfortunately I didn't get to ask his name or remember to take a picture, but if you know this man, please pass on my thanks and gratitude)
The section of road to Southwell is long and tiresome, but high on a plain, so views are spectacular on either side of me. I stop a few times to rest and take on water which runs out before I get to the small town. 
I have been given information earlier in the day by Sheila, that the Saracens Head pub is a good place to start in finding accommodation. When I walk into the place I am filled with fear. Not because the place is fear inspiring, but because it is so luxurious that it is going to be way out of any budget I can ever reach. Still, a warrior must not allow fear to deter his actions, so I carried on through the doors. I was greeted at the bar as I set down my rucksack, and asked for and received a pint of water. The young lady was rather attentive and showed me to reception where I had to face the challenge of gaining rest for the night. They were incredibly helpful, as my aquaintance of earlier Sheila had said, however there was no room at the inn, so to speak. They fussed over finding me other contact numbers as I tried to explain, a floor a couch or even a nicely sprung bed would do. Obviously I am not about to beg, my project is hopefully going to bring out the random kindness in people, rather than any due to badgering or shaming or pleading on my part. I expect nothing, hope for very little, that way maybe the experience will supercede the expectaion. And besides, who knows me or what I am about from a very brief encounter, that would automatically allow them to trust inviting me in to their homes?
I found that the prices of accommodation in this town were way too prohibitive for me to seriously consider taking any, so I went and got a packet of chips and a bottle of water and set off to find a seat to enjoy my meal. I smiled to myself as I realised that I was still £1 up on the days
Thank you Megan....!!

With nothing to do but find shelter, I set off toward Newark upon Trent. I soon came to a village called Upton, and light was fading fast, so I knew I had to make some decisions pretty quickly. I won't break into any abandoned or empty houses of course, and the farm gateways, though inviting are too exposed in the present weather scenarios. Basically if I were sure that it wouldn't rain during the night, then I could easily have hunkered down. So I did what Pilgrims of old did when in such a spot. I panicked....!! No I went to church....!!

Sometime at about 10.00pm I presume, a flashlight woke me and I was concerned as to how I would explain that I was using the church doorway as a temporary hostel. The Lady who was equally as surprised by my presence, calmly informed me that she had come to lock the church for the night. I hadn't even realised it was open. I hope that my calm and polite manner reassured her that I wasn't a drug crazed teenager. Sleepy little villages probably don't get this sort of thing though. She left me happily to make use of the shelter, and I slept relatively well, despite the lack of a mattress.

Day 1 over.

No comments:

Post a Comment