Long Eaton is where it all began for me. Well, at least I began there – I was born there. A small town in the midlands, it’s more-or-less a suburb of the larger city of Nottinghman, which is more-or-less a suburb of the larger city of Birmingham.
We drove through Birmingham and stopped for a quick lunch at the University there. Kesh’s sister, Padma, who we had visited earlier in India, happened to be in town on business, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to say hello and have a quick lunch.
From there, we drove up to Nottingham, home of Nottingham Castle, the sheriff of Nottingham, and of course, his old nemesis, Robin Hood. The castle itself dominates a hillside in the center of town, and after walking around a bit, and admiring the statue of Robin Hood outside, we couldn’t help but stop at “Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn,” purportedly the oldest inn in continuous operation in the UK, having been there since the 1189 AD. I’ve since read that there are number of establishments making the same claim in the UK – regardless of it’s actual age, and who was where first, the inn certainly been there a while.
After spending the night in Nottingham, we drove on to Long Eaton. As we approached the center of town, my sister began to get her bearings. “Pull over here,” she asked. We did, and she immediately said “if we walk down this street, we’ll come to the creepy cemetery Jacqueline and I had to walk through to get to school. And she was right. Not only did we find the cemetery (and it was kind of creepy) but the canal and canal locks we used to have to walk over, the library, and eventually, the old school itself. The school was no longer a schoo, but had been turned into a series of private offices. As we were standing outside, looking at the building, a gentleman came out the door. “Can I help you?,” he asked. “Oh, we were just looking around. I used to go to school here,” my sister replied. “Well, come in then, would you like to have a look around?”
Apparently, he, also, had gone to school there, and when the building became offices, had taken over his former 3rd grade classroom as the office for his architectural firm. And there, on the wall, proudly displayed, was a picture taken of the whole school back in those days. Standing in a row with all the lads at the back was the man we were talking to. And seated somewhere nearer the front row, was, indeed, my sister.
So it was an interesting trip down memory lane for Annelie. As for me, it was also an interesting experience. I can’t say I remembered it, in the sense my sister did of knowing where she was and having some idea what was around the next corner. But it felt deeply familiar to me. Something in the brain or body knew that I had been there before.
After spending the day in Long Eaton we drove back to Hereford, to spend another pleasant evening with Ron and Penny, before heading off to the coast of Wales.