EUROPE 2019

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07 October- Off to Nottingham. After two of the best days of the trip I had to farewell Manchester, Gaz and "Kiwi", real name Vaira Luis-Bacon, who was a waitress at the hotel. She made me a really good coffee and a chicken sandwich - sans surplus foliage and sauces- while I was waiting to check in at the Double Tree Manchester. She liked talking to me and any other Aussie or Kiwi who was staying, because she was feeling a bit homesick after living in Manchester for quite a few years. She told me about the Federal Cafe, who know what a real flat white is (although a "wet latte" will get you a flat white here), where to get my laundry done, where a 2nd hand bookshop was, etc. In return I have promised to send her a care package containing dark chocolate and caramel Tim Tams (the British "Penguin" only resembles a Tim Tam, apparently- having never really liked Tim Tams I haven't tried them) and a party pack, or whatever they're called, with picnics, etc, in it.

So I got to Nottingham in about 1.5 hours, checked in and then caught the bus to Eastwood. Minor mistake- it was 1500 and all the school kids wanted bus rides home. Fought my way off, walked up a lane and found Caliver Books. beside the far end. I'd offered to pick up some books and miniatures that Tim had ordered and, while I was there, also picked up Young's (BRIG Peter Young, DSO*, MC**) book on Marston More and a couple of Diane Sutherland's books on making terrain. I could have bought more, but the weight of my suitcase is not necessarily decreasing.The hotel isn't bad and, as a novelty, has a river running across the front. Well, it's called a river...

My bus mate from Ireland has uploaded his photo's to his website. Craig's a great bloke and we had a ball on the trip. He's a far better photographer than I am, and got to a lot of places I didn't bother to go. His site is here: LINK .

08 October- Off to Thoresby Hall. Once again a museum had decided to close, rather than admit me. In this case the regimental Museum of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters was closed- along with the rest of Nottingham castle, which I thought was quite excessive. However, the museum of the Queen's Royal Lancers was open, just a few kay's up the track. So I walked up to Bulwell station (finding a small shop that did an excellent egg and bacon roll, so I did have breakfast) and hopped a train to Mansfield Woodhouse, where I debarked, eventually found a cab and got to the Hall. What a find that was. Although small in comparison to the other museums I visited, this one is chokkers with artefacts and also had the deputy curator present. Oz (real name Robert) was ex-Scots Guards and had done Long Look at  Canungra, in the WO and SNCO wing. We talked about mutual friends/acquaintences, the museum and he had me minding the shop while he took a small group on a tour.


All the photographs of the museum are copyrighted by the Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths' Own) Museum Trust and may be viewed at the Queen's Royal Lancers Museum, Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire, UK.

Kronoskaf- we have full permission to use whatever images we choose on the web, however we will need to correctly identify the owners of the images as the Museum Trust, as noted above (I transfer any copyright I may have to the Trust with no conditions whatsoever). The grenadier mitre from the 5th Royal Irish Dragoons dates from 1745, but is the same pattern as worn until the new regulations of 1768. The jacket dates from 1780, but the general design of the buttonholes on the front, and the cuffs, remained the sameas the 1742 model jacket. Only the addition of the collar and shoulder chains is different to the SYW, from what I can see.

10 October- Train via Newark to Edinburgh. This trip rates a close 2nd to the trip from Zürich to Innsbruck. Except for the Newark bit.
TIP: Don't go from Nottingham to Edinburgh. Go back to London and then go up.

The train from Nottingham will drop you off at Newark Castle, about 1.5km (over railway lines and the river Trent) from Newark Northgate. And the taxi drivers aren't interested in picking you up, they're all "busy for at least an hour". Covering 1.5km on narrow footpaths, while dragging luggage, ain't fun, especially if you have a train to catch. Especially when you arrive at Newark Northgate and find six cabs (three from companies I'd called) sitting there, with the drivers chatting and stufffing their faces. Really busy lads.... Not one of the drivers grinned or tried to be funny, at least. And the station doesn't even have dunnies.

TiIP- Give the shithole a miss.

Yes, the train trip did sort of make up for it, but I've had my first and last trip to Newark on Trent. On to the piccies:


11 October- Edinburgh Castle: Truly impressive, even when it's over-run with tourists. Getting photo's inside the museums was difficult, to say the least. Outside the sun was shining, the breeze was a bit gusty and it was nice enough to take off my coat and enjoy the sun. The views were spectacular. The Royal Mile is a huge tourist trap, with dozens of souvenir shops, tartan makers, cashmere shops, etc. I got a cab up there (ankles not happy today) and had the good fortune to get a cricket-mad driver who had been to Australia. We chatted on the way up and he told me that anything I could get on the Royal Mile would be cheaper down in the main town. As all I bought was a couple of fridge magnets (yes, Garth, one for you), an RSDG mug (mine, mine, mine) and another tea spoon for Mum, it didn't worry me much. I walked back, it's just a couple of miles, and took my time- until I walked past the Waterstones (eventually- I had a biot of a browse). I managed not to buy anything there and got back to my apartment before the gathering clouds opened up again. The photo's below are more military stuff, which you can skip if you want to.

 

The Royaume Ecossaise, along with Ogilvie's and FitzJame's Horse, were Scottish regiments in French service. Their mitre, and the 2nd (North British) Dragoons (later known as the Scots Greys) officer's, are surviving artefacts and about 260 years old. The grenadier mitre of the 1st or Royal Regiment of Foot (later the Royal Scots, until amalgamation with the other Scottish regiments) is a reconstruction from a surviving artefact.

 

12 October- Rugby via Carlisle. I get to meet another "internet mate", David Morfitt, who is also a very good artist and is also a vexillophile, like myself, and his wife Vanessa. We'll bore her silly talking history, flags and why I probably won't write that book. But now it's off to book hotels in Bedford and Duxford, and then work out the best way to get to those places (especially Bedford on a Sunday....).


13 October- Rugby to Cambridge via London. Raining again today. Had a great vegetarian curry at a Rugby pub with David and Vanessa last night. David gave me a guided tour around Rugby and, as expected, we spent a lot of time discussing flags, museums and history. Vanessa's eyes didn't quite glaze over, but at times it was close. Plans were to get to Bedford, to see the Shuttleworth Collection. However the difficulties involved in getting there on a Sunday, and the bloody rain (the aircraft collection will be in hangars, only some of which will be open), means I'll go with Plan B- get to Cambridge (the advertised price on the hotel at Duxford magically increased from 80 quid a day to £145 when I got to the pay section, so I cancelled out and booked into a Premier Inn in Cambridge, instead). Tomorrow, rain or shine (rain or flood more likely) I'll get the bus to Duxford and spend the day (easily) there. On Tuesday, if it's not pissing down, I'll look at the bus to Biggleswade and a cab to Shuttleworth. If it's raining too hard then I'll go feet up in the hotel and have a day off- Shuttleworth can wait. More to follow, wait out.

15 October: I've just spent two days at Duxford and, for the first time, managed to have a good look at nearly everything. Rain yesterday and the threat of rain today meant Shuttleworth stays in the bucket list. Before we get on to Duxford, though, here's the photo's I took when touring Rugby with David. Also a couple left on my phone from when I was waiting for trains in Edinburgh and Carlisle. A special thanks, too, to the young lady who allowed us into the church (shut up- no, it didn't fall down or even tremble when I entered) as well. It was a privilege.


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