Day Trip 1

Good morning all! It’s time for Rambler5319 to give us a guest post about his recent holiday. Enjoy!


Over the next few weeks I’ll be describing some days out on my holiday a couple of weeks ago.

Today is that day we all look forward to – the first day of our holiday, the journey and hopefully arrival unless it’s a long long way. We’ve been looking forward to it for quite a while and for some it may even have been a whole year since the last one. It’s very exciting but also very stressful. Have we packed everything? Have we got the tickets & passports if we’re flying? If we’re driving, have we checked the car over the night before: fuel, oil, water, windscreen water level (remember it’s illegal to drive with the bottle empty!), brakes, all indicators & lights working, extra air in the tyres for a fully loaded vehicle etc. I actually think it’s a good idea to have a check list for stuff to take. Mine has built up over a number of years and the written version is now a spreadsheet. Occasionally an item gets added as I find there’s something that would be useful. (Previous years have seen me forget things like an alarm clock although nowadays a mobile phone will do, a torch, food containers for sandwiches for days out, bread, some tinned food & vegetables so you don’t have to run to the shops on the first day you arrive at your self-catering place and so on. Of course if you’re flying your list will be very different. Have you got a “holiday list”?

So once the list is checked off I get into the car and go. Suddenly the familiar roads which normally are the ones I travel to work take on a different feel because I’m NOT working and I won’t be coming back along them to go home after a day’s work. No, today they’re different because they’re taking me far away on my holiday!

This year my first stop was 130 miles away for 2 nights in Southwell (Notts). I have friends there and we catch up a bit on what’s been happening over the year: what the kids have been doing, what we’re doing and planning to do etc. The following day, as they were working, I visited Newark, a short drive away. It’s a town with a very long history.

Newark was established in the early 900s AD by King Edward “the Elder”. Remember the king numbering system we know today (Edward I, Edward II, Edward III and so on) didn’t start until after the Norman Conquest so kings were given other adjectival names to distinguish them from those with the same name; another Edward at a slightly later time was called Edward “the Martyr” (half brother of Aethelred “the Unready” who was murdered at Corfe Castle in 978 AD. For those of you who enjoy trivia connections remember Corfe Castle was the inspiration for Kirrin Castle in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books). Anyway Edward “the Elder” was a son of King Alfred the Great and Queen Ealhswith (of Mercia). He had battles with the Danes from Northumbria and East Anglia. Owing to its geographical significance being at the junction of the Great North Road (A1), the Fosse Way (runs NE from Exeter up to Lincoln) and the River Trent Newark became an important place to build defensive fortifications and then erect a castle. Originally built as an earthwork construction of a motte and bailey type it was replaced in stone by Bishop Alexander (the Magnificent, apparently). It took 10 years to build and was completed in 1133.

In Oct 1216 King John (of Magna Carta fame) arrived at Newark Castle but just 2/3 days later he died. A year prior to his death he had been challenged by the barons: men who held land in exchange for providing soldiers to the king and who had to attend the feudal court a kind of early form of parliament. (A nearby barony to me is that of Chester; the first recorded holder – in 1070AD – was a guy called Gherbod the Fleming who it is believed got it as a gift for fighting in the victorious army of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.) The barons wanted certain guarantees and a limiting of the king’s power and this was set down in writing in the document we know today as the Magna Carta. King John is portrayed as a bad king in the Robin Hood stories where Robin – a supporter of Richard the Lionheart (John’s brother) – was usually found holed up in nearby Sherwood Forest with his band of “Merry Men”. (Curiously after Richard’s death, parts of his body were buried at 3 different places in France: his heart in Rouen, his brain in Poitou, his body in Fontvrault and nothing in England!)

Pictures of Newark Castle give the impression of a fully-fledged building but behind the 3 main exterior walls little remains of the original building itself. image

Note the section of repaired wall in this next pic. Apparently at various times in its history, if it was left unprotected, stone robbers would come in and steal the actual blocks which had been used to build the castle walls.image

Then a view over the castle walls looking along the River Trent back towards the locks.image

Here’s one posted by someone on Flickr looking from the locks back towards the castle.

Note the lock keeper’s “cottage” is a nice modern two storey brick building. I left the castle and crossed the river by that “cottage”. I carried on along the path to where there was a boat repair yard. Here’s the sign on the gate.


Then I passed the Trent Navigation Wharf Warehouse


Next was where I turned left back over the river but this narrow stone bridge, in the next pic, carried on to the SE. There is a weir to the right of the pic with the usual warning sign that if you decide to go over it in a canoe (or anything else) the waterways authority will not be responsible for any injuries incurred. Of course, I threw away the piece of driftwood I’d been hoping to use as a surfboard down the near 90 deg slope!


Back along the road towards the town centre and over what looks like originally was a passage way between houses is this sign saying Cottam’s Yard.


Originally it would have led to a yard in which a number of dwellings would have been found. Often places like these would become slum areas owing to them generally housing the poorest classes of society. Check out this old map of the area at

Towards the top right you can see Simnitt’s Yard which was renamed as Cottam’s Yard. Look at the number of dwellings opening into the alleyway: I count 10 plus the two facing out on the main street! (The next yard down – Taylor’s Yard – is not quite so cramped with only two buildings along one side.)

I continued along the road and decided to draw some money out at the bank. I reached into my pocket, pulled out my card wallet and flicked through the pockets to where I always keep the bank card. It was at this point I had one of those panic moments – the plastic pocket which should have contained my bank card was EMPTY!! I hunted in both my trouser pockets. I rummaged through once, twice, three times but it was not there. I emptied the rucksack and repacked it TWICE! Nothing. At this point I reached for the wall to stop myself falling over in shock. Oh no! First day of my holiday and the card was gone. (Unless you’ve ever lost a card and had all the hassle associated with it I don’t expect you know how this sort of thing feels. Worse by far is of course losing the whole wallet or purse with ALL the different cards in. It’s a feeling you can definitely do without!) Had I been robbed? Had I put the bag down somewhere? No, I was sure it had been with me the whole time. Where had it gone? How could it possibly be lost? I’m always so careful. I have a routine: after each use it goes back into the wallet pocket, the same pocket every time. Ok, so sharp intake of breath. I have to get back to where I’m staying to see if somehow it’s there and if not get onto the phone to cancel it ASAP. The rest of my leisurely afternoon wander around Newark is now cancelled. I hot foot it back to the car. I reach the car park where I’ve used less than 2 hours of my all day ticket. Newark made money out of me that day! All the way back I’m reliving the previous 24 hours trying to think of everything I’ve done. Suddenly I remember that on the journey down I had stopped at a motorway service area and used the card to buy some stuff. I will ring them to see if it’s been handed in. However, I think I remember putting it in my pocket after buying the stuff and yet it’s not there now. I’m thinking perhaps I dropped it when I’d been putting into my pocket. You wouldn’t hear a plastic card drop with all the noise in places like that. Mind still racing I charge upstairs to my room. My overnight bag was searched. Nothing. As I was about to pick up the phone I saw my Youth Hostel card by the side of the bed. Now this is not just a plastic card on its own – it is held on the back page of a small cardboard covered booklet with a few paper pages inside on which you can collect the rubber stamps issued by each hostel when you stay overnight. It is just slightly larger than a plastic card. For some unknown reason I picked it up and out fell my bank card! Yippee! – heart rate slowed. Of course I remembered that I’d put it in my pocket to go away with in case I needed to use a hostel at any time. When I’d made my purchases at the service station I had indeed put the bank card back in my pocket but it had slipped right between the pages of my little YHA booklet and stuck there. Before going out to Newark I’d thought – no need to take the YHA card with me as I’m back here for tonight. I’d placed it carefully on the bedside table and driven off. Day 1 of the holiday was over – and what a drama filled one at that. I could do without any more scares like that.  

One response to this post.

  1. […] Wednesday, Rambler5319 told us about one of his day trips from a recent holiday and today he’s back to tell us about another of his […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: