Protests in Nottingham

5 December 2009

12:45

Stumbling on a demonstration (protest) today on the way to work in Nottingham, I couldn’t resist running in to borrow the office site camera and running back out again to play journalist.

The English Defence League (EDL) scheduled something for today (5th) and the Nottinghamshire Stop the BNP (NSBNP) has responded with a counter demonstration.

NP1

Against the EDF and BNP

The commotion is taking place in Market Square (in the centre of Nottingham) as I write this: no plans to move that I am aware of. Police presence is very noticeable as two opposing demonstrations face off. I say face off, but the whole affair is pretty composed for now—and the crowd isn’t huge. In fact, right now there are probably more photographers and curious Christmas shoppers than anyone else. Still, it’s my first protest, and I enjoyed the experience.

NP2

Police Presence

NP3

Reflections

As I left the scene, I overheard an announcement on the NET PA system that all trams into and out of Nottingham have been cancelled owing to the crowds. I am sure the rail network will suffer proportionately (if the huge BTP presence means anything). Christmas shopping is already a nightmare by this week—it’s probably a jungle now.

Apparently, an army battalion with ties to Nottinghamshire is also planning a parade. The mix up should be interesting—assuming I haven’t missed it!

EDIT:  1630

After hearing sirens all day as I sat in the office, as well as occasional yelling and a helicopter, I decided to check out the latest before leaving for home. A quick glance at the BBC’s coverage showed me things had taken a turn for the worse. Still, I had no choice but to make my way through the city centre. I managed to avoid the worst parts, but experienced a share of angry, hooded protestors. At one point I was cycling alongside a running mob, feeling slightly nervous in my high-vis jacket. Thankfully, no one thought I looked too much like a police officer!

(EDIT: It was the Mercian Regiment that paraded through Nottingham, and it was before all the kerfuffle.)

Advertisements

The Night is Alive with the Living Dead! (in Nottingham)

2 November 2008

Anyone wandering around Nottingham (Market Square) between 1600 and 1730 this last Friday would have seen an unusual sight indeed. For those of us who are easily frightened, the sight of over a thousand zombies gathered in one place – and performing coordinated dances no less – might have been a bit much. For some insane reason, Nottingham decided to attempt (successfully) the world record for the greatest number of zombies in one place.

How did that one come about?

Anyway, the make-up and zombie training  were both free; and coupled with two universities full of eager students, we got a considerable crowd (gaggle?) of zombies.

Only one guy in our office took part – gore and everything –  much to the dismay of his manager. Since we are based just off Market Square, the  occasional instructions-cum-screams of the choreographer were hard to ignore. And so I eventually popped down to see what was happening; in time to watch preparations for Thriller – obviously.

Perhaps one day they’ll go for a crowd of Elvises (Elvisi?) or something. Until then I’ll continue to pay my council tax with eager anticipation.


Cycling to Work – A Personal Challenge

22 October 2008

Well, I couldn’t put it off forever! When I first left university and started to commute every day, I figured that I’d end up cycling. But a fair amount of laziness had me wind up on public transport.

My first mode was the old faithful Rainbow 5 from Beeston to Nottingham. I reckon this bus service is one of the best, and I’ve been on plenty. The interiors are quite modern, don’t usually smell of urine, and the drivers give change. And the passengers even seem quite human.

But the very nature of bus travel lets ‘the 5’ down. The vagaries of traffic, the constant stop-start and jerky motion (buses are buses – not comfy Jags), and the retention of water and steam when it rains, can make a journey uncomfortable and long. Door to door can be from 30 to 50 minutes.

Upon discovering that the local train service is quicker and cheaper, I converted immediately to rail. I have no complaints at all about commuting by train, it beats ‘busing it’ hands down. The ride is smooth and short (6 min) and the train is almost always on time. On top of that, waiting at a platform beats a bus shelter any day. Door to door by train is about 30 min.

But I wasn’t to ride in plush trains for long. Our office received its usual fresh batch of engineering graduates this last September. Along with them came a friend and former housemate. He is an avid cyclist, and evangelises (cycling) to anyone who’ll listen. I threw him just about every excuse I could find, but he rebuffed every one. Having conceded my excuses, I decided to give cycling a go. What else could I do?

I planned everything that evening. It wasn’t going to be easy: our office lacks a few facilities that I would like (changing rooms, showers, and clothing storage). I figure I’ll change at work in the disabled loo, and try to wear thin layers on the way to avoid getting sweaty. I’ll bring in a week’s clothing train on Monday, and store it all in the PPE closet and my desk drawer. I will then leave by train on Friday with all the dirty clothing.

I’ve now cycled to work once. I’m not in very good shape, so I was exhausted by the end of it. There is a considerably steep hill at the end, and my legs felt like jelly for an hour or so! However, I felt refreshed and more awake than usual later on. Unfortunately, that evening I sprained my knee whilst swimming, so I haven’t cycled again for a week. Oh well!

Now that I’ve been on my bike again, I have a hunger to use it again. So I’ve made a new commitment: I will cycle to work until Christmas. I can only hope I’ll remain this keen until then.

I’ll keep this space open for anything useful or interesting I see or learn; and I welcome your comments and advice. In addition, I extend my challenge to you: give cycling a go for at least a week. Let me know how it goes if you do.