A couple of weeks ago we travelled up to North Nottinghamshire to stay for a couple of days with my mother. Setting off mid morning in the heat on the Sunday morning we travelled up the M5 before taking the M42 to get across to the M1. We stopped for a break at the first services on the M42 and feeling a bit peckish we were somehow strangely drawn to KFC.
Scanning down the fare on offer we settled for a couple of ‘meal deals’, which included a large drink for each of us. The drinks were a bit large for us so we shared about half of one of them and took the second drink to the car with us and put it in the drinks holder that was in the centre of the car just behind the front seats.
I don’t know why we bothered as we did not take a sip and then as we left the M1 and went around the roundabout the drink went flying and started to empty in the foot well.
I had to pull in and rescue it quick.
On Monday I thought it would be good to go for a run out (in the car!) into the countryside.
I studied the map and looked for places of interest that were not too far away. I spotted Laxton and I remembered it from my school days in that it was famous for its crop rotation system.
In fact it is more than that as it is the only operating ‘open field’ system in the country.
But first we went to Rufford Abbey http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/enjoying/countryside/countryparks/rufford/
It was FREE to park during the week and we enjoyed a stroll around the lake stopping off at the abbey ruins to look in the shops and have a drink (non alcoholic). It was a pleasant walk around the lake that was used by ducks and Canadian geese. There was a group of 20 or so small children on a school trip, all kitted out with their sun hats, water and sandwiches and we spotted them later having their lunch under the shade of a large tree.
This wooden building demonstrated how photography works by having a lens in the wall and the image of the tree outside appears upside down on the far wall.
We then set off for Laxton first stopping at the Dovecote Inn for a spot of lunch.
The pub had a fine selection of ales and good food, although one of the staff did her best to put us off by knocking a bottle of vinegar all over our table. Nearly ‘pickled’ before we had a drink.
After lunch we walked across the car park to the visitors centre http://www.laxtonvisitorcentre.org.uk
We paid £2 to watch the 20 minute video of the history of the open field and rotation system in the village that is still in place today.
We then had a short walk around the village coming across this ‘Pinfold’.
Historically the pinfold is where the stray animals were rounded up and placed until reunited with their owners. It has now been converted into an outdoor classroom for children on school trips.
A quick scan through my CAMRA Good Beer Guide identified our next stop.
The CROWN at Normanton on Trent http://www.crownnormanton.co.uk was the only pub owned by the Milestone brewery whose beer I had never tried.
When I drove up to the pub and parked outside I panicked as the front door looked shut and when I jumped out of the car and tried to open the door it was closed! I wandered around to the side of the pub and to my relief it was open with a few customers sat inside.
I ordered some drinks for each of us ensuring we had the Milestone brews.
I enquired if they had any of their beers in bottles so I could take home.
The landlord said there were none on site but it was available at the brewery, just down the road. He very kindly phoned the brewery and ten minutes a later I spotted a chap arrive with two ‘beer selection boxes’.
On the Tuesday we ventured to Skegness to catch up with some friends. We had lunch then went for a walk down to the seafront to have a look at the beach that was occupied by holidaymakers and of course the Donkeys. We wandered along the pier and we spied an empty bench right at the very end on which a couple planted themselves on it before we got there!
This sign seems to imply it was safe to jump off other piers!