Regular readers (and I'm sorry that there's not been much to read lately) will know that I'm a bit of a Folkie. I always have been in some shape or form, but it used to be just manifested in the music I listened to and the records and CD's I bought. But over the past few years we've been going to more and more gigs, some local (we're lucky that The Brewery Arts Centre is such a good venue) and some farther away. If we have to travel, we usually stay at a Premier Inn (other budget chains are available), but last week we threw caution and our budget to the winds and stayed in a rather swish hotel in Nottingham. I knew Henry would have been working non stop for three weeks while James was away so it was by way of a bit of a treat for him (and me of course). After hours of searching the Internet and reading reviews I took the plunge and booked two nights at Harts Hotel, I even bought some new luggage to swagger in with. There was only one problem with the hotel - finding it. I had been warned that Nottingham is not the best place to drive round so was prepared. We used a combination of Sat Nav and the hotel's directions and still went round and round the streets till we found it. But once we were parked up and looking out of our room above the treetops of Nottingham all the worry was behind us.
We ate in Harts Restaurant at night - simply presented but amazing tasting food. My favourite dish of our stay was the Morel and Broad Bean Fricassee. I wish I could produce flavours like that.
Next morning after a leisurely Full English we ventured down the hill into Town, As a frequent shopper on the John Lewis website I had a £5 voucher and Coffee & Cake voucher burning a hole in my pocket. But despite wandering past handbags and scarves I kept wallet firmly closed. For once there was not only nothing I needed, but nothing I wanted. I did relent a bit and bought Henry some socks, and then splashed out on a bottle of Elderflower presse while he used my voucher.
By now I had decided I was not meant for City Life and we jumped onto a taxi to take us back up the hill. £3.60 well spent!
After such an exerting time we just relaxed in the afternoon and following a wallow in the full size bath (not as good as the Strickley one, but I could lie down), and another amazing meal, we headed down the hill again (this time in a taxi - £2.80), to the main event. Months earlier I had booked tickets for Bellowhead. I was poised at the keyboard the second booking opened and was lucky to get two front row seats.
I had my phone with me, so I could have taken some amazing photos, being so close to the band, but this is all I'm posting. I took a couple more, but I think it's better to enjoy the moment and not keep looking at the action through a lens. But if you want to see some incredible shots look at these or these
But seeing these images can only give a tiny inkling of the Bellowhead experience. Look them up on their website, buy the CD's or best of all go and see them live! This review is for the Nottingham concert and seems to capture the atmosphere. Even a 66 year old grandmother with dodgy legs and feet was leaping up and down, bouncing, waving and clapping - albeit sometimes holding onto the stage in front.
Worn out but still dancing inside we taxied back up the hill (£10 this time).
And I must mention the support - Kings of the South Seas. Powerful songs of when British ships went whaling. Another CD to stack on my shelf!
Next morning it was a leisurely breakfast and back home to reality. Roll on July 17th when we see Bellowhead again. But this time staying in a Premier Inn. I'm only a poor pensioner!