One of the major goals of the project is to assess the archaeological importance of Nottingham’s caves. Some are currently scheduled monuments and are of great local and national importance. Some are pub cellars and may seem less vital to the history of the City. Why should I let you in my house? All Nottingham’s caves are important, not only the famous ones. To know how many there are, what they all do, how far they extend, and whether your cave is a unique example or is representative of a type, it needs to be on the database. Recording your cave will help protect not only that cave but all caves, and help to preserve Nottingham’s unique and fragile resource for future generations.
“I don’t want to live underground!” I wailed. Thick fog swirled outside. I glimpsed the cavernous sides of a rocky tunnel. What seemed like a crack in the earth was actually a road, leading past Nottingham Castle squatting overhead on its sandstone rock, to my grandmother’s equally gloomy house.
Years later, I loved exploring the Castle’s dark and dusty corridors. Its cabinets of mysterious objects with almost indecipherable labels were especially fascinating. Maybe this explains my interest in developing the Museum of Dust ?
A few of the exhibits from my Museum of Dust. Most samples collected by me on my travels, but some kindly donated, e.g. dust from inside Dr Who’s Tardis. Each bottle has a story to tell, evoking a location, a person, or an event. Buckingham Palace declined to answer my dust request btw, despite being sent a stamped addressed envelope.
The other night I was so restless I went for a night walk, and realised I hadn’t been out during the night for ages. Earlier I’d watched a TV programme about Norwegian explorer Nansen trying to get to the North Pole, which added to my restlessness. Didn’t get to the North Pole (neither did Nansen btw), or the moon, but so good to be out, and although the empty streets were quite eerie, the hazy moon was beautiful.
This morning’s glorious weather lured me down to the Thames at low tide, where I stumbled on these clay pipe fragments. Interesting to see the variations in colouring.
My early morning walk was a bit earlier than I intended – I misread my clock, thinking it was 8.30 but it was an hour earlier, the light must have woken me. I walked past the hawthorn grove again, no druids today, it’s one of their meeting places, I may have mentioned. Tiny leaf buds were just showing on the trees, and there was good smell of fresh earth. Here’s a notebook drawing of the last time I saw the druids, last summer.
Today Primrose Hill was already busy with runners, dogs and people stretching themselves on giant rubber bands attached to trees. Y was there with a grab-stick and a carrier bag, busily filling it with litter he’d picked up. His partner of many years died tragically two years ago. ‘I like to get out in the mornings,’ he told me, ‘mornings are still the worst.’ Overheard comment from man gazing intently up into space at the top of Primrose Hill: ‘it’s a harbinger of migration of course.’ What had he seen?
Yesterday, March 3rd, would have been my youngest sister’s birthday. I waited for the Thames to float this paper boat, a sort of ritual to celebrate my sister’s memory. Yellow seemed a good colour to represent a kind, mischievous, generous and beautiful sister. Very few people about, the morning’s river mist cleared and I got chatting with a mudlark. So good to smell and hear the river as the tide came up, and feel connected to the sea as well as to my sister. The river water was exceptionally clear, and everything quiet apart from two chattering Egyptian geese. The friendly mudlark told me, amongst other things, how being by the river had comforted her after her mother’s death a few years ago.
Broadstairs is one of my favourite seaside places to visit, and in the past, before it closed to the public, I often called in at a house once used by Charles Dickens for summer holidays. Here’s my story for the Royal Literary Fund, about the house, and about the many notes written to Dickens by visitors, and left in what is claimed was once his desk.