Friday, November 23, 2007

Nottingham Memories

I took this photo of Wheeler Gate in Nottingham this morning because many years ago I used to work on this street. The building on the left, now a fashion shop was a book shop in the early seventies. I used to work in its offices on the upper floor over the shop. Our little department was responsible for ordering, invoicing and preparing books for local libraries. My particular responsibility was for the children's section and I remember having to type up for invoices and date sheet inserts the titles and authors of many books. Some of the titles that stick in my mind were things like 'Biggles Sweeps the Desert', 'The Eagle of the Ninth', 'Stig of the Dump' and 'The Cat in the Hat'. One of my favourites was 'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' - I got quite good at typing that one up very quickly. I loved working in there, every day was interesting; the people I worked with were a fascinating and stimulating mix of ex librarians and teachers, students and 'resting' actors. I only stayed just over a year but I've never forgotten my time there so when I walk down Wheeler Gate I have vivid memories not only of working at the shop but also of our out of work activities as well; memories of us all queuing to watch the ballet up in the gods at the old Theatre Royal and running up the stairs to get the front seats. Memories of leaning out of those windows over Wheeler Gate to watch the students march by with placards protesting against, amongst other things 'Thatcher the Milk Snatcher'. Of the overpowering smell which pervaded the back stairs for days until workmen uncovered hundreds of dead rats under the floorboards of the old Furrier's shop next door. One of my happiest memories was just before one Christmas when we'd been to a performance at the Playhouse and came out of the theatre to find a winter wonderland of crisp white snow and we walked arm in arm down to a pure white slab square to get taxis home with the snowflakes falling under the twinkling lights, the snow crunching under our feet and the clock on the council house striking eleven.

I heard it strike again today as we went into the upmarket arcade underneath.

Another of my favourite Nottingham streets is Bridlesmith Gate. Along there is one of my favourite shops - The Token House - I can't visit the city centre without going in just to look and sometimes to buy.

We discovered a brand new alleyway we'd never seen before although I'm sure that many years ago we'd been to a restaurant that used to be down there. How things have changed.

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