Cold snowy day in Lincoln

Last night it was snowing. I awoke to the ground covered in snow. I set off for the bus. Luckily an earlier bus was a running a few minutes late, not long to wait for a bus.

On the bus journey, into Lincoln, the countryside white with snow, the roads though clear.

Very quiet, not a lot of people about.

I had a chat with the lady running the whole food stall in the Central Market. I commented on flyers for Pimento Tea Rooms and the evening with Karl Svarc, for the lady to tell me it was her husband and she had his CDs on sale. I was talking to a man running her stall a few weeks back, but did not recognise him. She dug a handful of CDs out of a drawer. I asked did she know what automatically played on his website as it was very good, but no, she did not. I took a chance and bought one of his CDs, Strong Foundation. I suggested he uploaded his music to bandcamp. I did wonder, why hide the CDs in a drawer, not going to lead to many sales.

I went down the stone steps in the narrow alley at the side of Stokes on High Bridge. Very cold walking along side the River Witham to Brayford.

The Brayford is unbelievably ugly. One side is lined with ugly office blocks and high rise apartments. Another side is lined with ugly tacky fast food joints. Across the water, ugly university buildings.

Up until the 1960s, the Brayford was lined with old warehouses and mills. A council with vision would have these restored and made a very attractive area, somewhere to be proud off just off the High Street. Instead, the council allowed their demolition.

There used to be a lovely view across the water of the hills of South Common. Now obscured by ugly university buildings.

Jamie Crofts is composing 5 Diurnes, subtitled the Brayford Pool by day. This is a counterpoint to 5 Nocturnes, a refection on Foss Dyke at Night. It will have to be very very brash, loud and discordant if it is to reflect the ugliness of the Brayford.

Excellent pea and mint soup at County Restaurant I should have stayed and had the beef, but decided to have main course at Olibers Coffee Shop.

I go on a detour. I decide to check out The Joiners Arms, which I had spotted last week a little way up a narrow street of Victorian terraced houses. It is closed! I look through the windows. Old oak panelling (or what I think is oak), old wooden seats, not dissimilar to the dining floors at Stokes on High Bridge. I wonder has it closed down? I note it a a Free House, free of greedy pubcos that are putting so many pubs out of businesses. I ask a passer by. I am told no, they keep strange hours. He points to writing on the wall, 1.30 to 12am.

I decide to carry on up the street a steep climb as it is literally straight up the hill. I get to the top, a dead end, then I notice an alley to the right. It intercepts a path that literally goes straight up the hill. It curves around and turns into a lane that slowly widens. I find myself at the foot of Lincoln Castle in a part of town I am unfamiliar with.

I follow the lane around and find I will either come out at the top of Steep Hill in Castle Hill, or part way down opposite a Norman building now housing Imperial Teas.

Now I have to walk all the way back down to Olibers for lunch.

Last week I enjoyed gammon steak at Olibers, Not today. Nothing wrong with it, just too much and when a meal is too big, it is oppressive.

Long chat with the owner. She used to have ten staff working, now down to three. Everyone is struggling, many have gone under, losing their house, some days not worth opening.

I am curious about the stone steps, well worn with age. She tells me it is a listed building, with a 16th century cellar. I resist the temptation to seek a guided tour of the cellar.

On leaving, I bump into the owner of the building who I have known for many years. He has the deeds lodged in a bank and will check the history of the building. He tells me he knows there was a gunsmith sometime in the 1800s.

I wander to The Collection. Last week I inquired about a Tennyson exhibition that no one is aware of. I drop off a cutting from the Lincolnshire Echo that mentions the exhibition. They are not aware either of an art exhibition that was mentioned on BBC Look North last Friday. Unseen Art, Hull and Lincoln but no mention of the location. The Usher Art Gallery is the obvious location, and yet no one at The Collection is aware of it, let alone knows of its location.

A mystery. Two exhibitions mentioned in the media the last couple of weeks, and yet no one knows anything about them.

I walk up The Strait and Steep Hill. My second trip up the hill today.

I look in the Harlequin bookshop. I am interested in antique maps. I wait and wait. Eventually I rudely interrupt, state what I am looking for, and that I will pop back.

On and up Steep Hill. I had no intention of stopping in Pimento Tea Rooms, or at least I had if I had the time, but I have no time, but their tea is so good, I stop anyway for afternoon tea in Pimento Tea Rooms.

I had wanted to go on up to Lincoln cathedral. I wanted some information on wooden sculptures, stations of the cross, but no time.

Around five to five, I have to go all the way down the hill, to the bus station and catch a bus at ten past five.

Harlequin now closed, virtually everywhere closed, but no time.

I make it to the bus station at ten past five. Luckily passengers are still getting on the bus, I catch it in time.

Travelling out of Lincoln in the gathering dusk, I notice all the snow has gone. Alighting from the bus, the first time it has not been pitch black, still not yet dark.

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