Oot & Aboot – Leicester & Beyond

This post is a series of adventures occurring over the last several months. Let’s start chronologically, because that is logical & organized.

1: Wollaton Hall & Park – Nottingham

Back at the end of January, we were in the vicinity for my large work function / party, staying in a hotel across from the park. It is also a deer park, but I didn’t see any except in the distance. Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house from the 1580s & now acts as Nottingham Natural History Museum.

How I coaxed Adham into spending the afternoon here: also on the property is an Industrial Museum & it was steam day – meaning the engines were a-movin’. It was actually pretty cool because the museum wasn’t just about steam engines & it was neat to see them all powered up. Still, there is only so much steam engine I can handle in one day.

Outside the Industrial Museum was a train engine or something…I don’t even know. The point being for like 10 pence you could pull a cord & make the whistle sound. Pretty sure this was meant for kids, but Adham insisted on have a go. Twice. And made me film it. The man operating this thing, started cooking sausages inside the little fire door. Literally put sausages in a small frying pan, stuck the pan inside the engine & occasionally turned them with a fork. Highlight of my day.

 

2: The Queen Visits – Leicester

This past Easter, the Queen came to Leicester for Maundy Thursday. And I had no idea that this was occurring until the day before, when I happened to notice a bunch of road closure notices in town & thought to look into it. Say whaaaat? I had the day off & was 100% down for this. Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper & in the UK the service dates back to the days of yore wherein the Monarch would give money to the poor & wash their feet. In more modern times, this now involves the Queen giving ‘alms’ to deserving senior citizens, one man & one woman for each year of her age. A red purse contains regular money in lieu of food & clothes; a white purse contains Maundy coins which are specially minted pennies, one penny for each year of her age.

In order to get a good view I stood against a barrier in town for an hour & a half before she was due to arrive. Her procession route began at the train station & was marked off through the city centre to the Cathedral, where the service would take place. Precisely on time, she rolled through in her car, with Phillip beside her. It happened so fast. The papers kept calling it the Royal Parade Route. That was not parade speed! That was an I’m-driving-slowly-through-a-school-zone speed! As quick as it was, it was still really exciting. I was trying to clap & wave my flag & take pictures at the same time, which didn’t work very well. The pictures don’t do any justice, but I had clear view & she just looked so happy. I couldn’t believe how close I was! Like there was literally 6 feet between me and the Queen. It was amazing.

 

3: Bradgate Park – Charnwood Forest, Leicestershire

I coaxed Adham to come to Bradgate Park with me. And by coaxed, I mean I constantly prodded him until he relented. It was a really warm day, to the point where I had to take off my coat & roll up my shirt sleeves. Bradgate Park is a natural deer park, home to over 300 deer & man alive were there ever deer! They were everywhere in little groups, just chilling or running across the fields. I also discovered a muster of peacocks behind an old, crumbling enclosure. The park is filled with various walking paths, along the river, across fields, over hills. We headed for Old John Tower up on a distant hill. It’s meant to look like an upside-down beer stein.

Bradgate Park was once home to Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen for 9 days when she was nominated by Edward Tudor (King Henry VIII’s son) as his successor; she was later killed – no surprise there.

 

 

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