In Nottingham

The Church of St Mary The Virgin succeeds to High Pavement Chapel. Although High Pavement Chapel morphed into a Pitcher & Piano some years ago. Sneinton Windmill's sails score the treeline. Beyond the taupe sandwich slab of the Arndale car park, six lanes of Collin Street belch around towards the fawn, grey and black chimney of the Eastcroft incinerator.

Nottingham railway station has its terracotta and sandstone clock tower peeking up among the long slanted canalside slate roofs. In the distance above the British Waterways warehouse, you can just pick out the slim floodlight gantries: Trent Bridge, Meadow Lane & City Ground with its ruddy girders round the Trent End warming in this late autumn sun.

New Castle House casts a blue glass fronted slant across the scene. HMRC's tented cafĂ© seems plonked incongruously behind a streak of green thatch along the boulevard. Cars crawl on the A52, leaving a glistening windscreen snail trail away to the right. Beyond, the edges of the Queen's Medical Centre. Beyond that, Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station makes more little fluffy clouds on this cool, breezy, easy-going October afternoon.

I'm drinking cider with the sun in my face. Below me, backpacked tourists ebb and flow through Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem. Behind me, a band play hamfisted rhythm & blues. Around me, several thousand drinkers are enjoying over 1200 different beers and ciders. When the wind blows, auburn leaves and the aroma of tikka masala waft over us.

Roughly speaking, I've been standing by this castle wall on occasion for almost forty years. My Mum used to hoick me up, my hands planted onto the top slabs, so I could peer down to Brewhouse Yard. Lovers courted and lost have been snogged and cried over all along its shadows. My brightest times and darkest days have been played out here. My rock. My castle. My city.

Here with friends and a hundred strangers, all standing south into the raging sunshine by the walls of Nottingham Castle, a beer festival in full flow behind our backs, a glass of cider perched precariously before me, I know this much:

There is no finer time to be alive. Right here. Right now.


  1. A very fine piece of writing.

  2. FFS why are all beer bloggers trying to emulate 6th form English Lit students these days?

  3. Maybe I've never stopped being a sixth-former. Maybe you ought to get less stressed about something else instead. Maybe at least I'm decent enough to put my name to what I write.