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The University of Beestonia / BESTonian / The small Big Screen / Lowe fi all stars / Ladbrokes transforms (a bit) / Horace’s Half Hour / CODEWORD / Onwards & upwards / Labour of laugh / Bow selecta / By ROYA appointment / After Eight’s / Call of nature / The Beest / Au Contraire / Beeston Beats / Famous last words...

Hip to be


Photo: Tamar


magine a building in Beeston, somewhere on the waste ground between the Square and The White Lion, built with the most bleedingedge technologies, and utilising the collective minds of several hundred architects to get it built. A building that will showcase green, sustainable science, drawing in visitors from far afield, and putting Beeston on the map. A town firmly shaping its own future.

Simply popping a Waitrose in and expecting the masses to descend probably won’t cut it when people are feeling a bit ‘post-retail’.

Pie-in-the-sky? Possibly not. The idea was mooted by Professor Martyn Poliakoff at a recent open meeting of the Beeston Continuum group, hosted by Beeston Civic Society. The professor’s suggestion? Running a competition amongst The University of Nottingham’s architecture students to design such a building. It was enthusiastically greeted by attendees, and since the meeting many more endorsements and developments have been expressed.

This is not Sim City, however. We can’t just press a button and voilà! the building is there. We’ll need to find funding to build it, for a start. We reckon the winning building will be a huge draw to potential developers. Rather than developers telling us what we want with little in the way of input from Beestonians, we want to be able to tell developers our wishes and needs. This is true localism.

The idea is to build something iconic; something to get people travelling to Beeston, not just through Beeston. We already have two similar examples of green excellence: Attenborough Nature Reserve and Beeston weir hydroelectric plant. A town centre building would crystallise the Beeston into one which has a visit-worthy USP.

The iconic building could hopefully become an anchor for burgeoning green technology businesses, form stronger and more productive links between Beeston and The University of Nottingham, and give an option to capitalise on our other strengths: heritage and leisure.

The hard work now begins. We need as much local support and input as possible, so look out for our next public meeting and subscribe to the Beestonia blog (see back page for details) to receive regular updates.

Lord Beestonia

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The University of

Beestonia Exams V Coursework? Prof J spills a few beans (and guts) over the issue...

D level.

iscuss the contention that written examinations are an appropriate form of assessment at undergraduate

When planning a coherent and well-structured response to this particular question (although it doesn’t have a question mark, so is it a question?) more questions are raised. Such as, from whose perspective? Does the statement assume that some form of assessment is appropriate; is the emphasis here on the word ‘written’ or on the word ‘examination’? As exam time is in full swing at many universities across the land it’s an interesting thing to think about – or it would be if I didn’t have piles of exam scripts on my desk waiting to be, or having been, marked. It’s not a great time of year for many at the University – I don’t hear many folk, with those who look after the Halls of Residence being one notable exception, enjoying the exam period (it’s the quietest time of year in the halls!).

Most students I’ve come across prefer coursework to exams, most lecturers don’t like marking exams, tight deadlines and the pressure to get results out by the end of term make it one of the busiest times of year for administrators. So why do we bother? Assessment is important certainly, a degree still has to be earned even in a fee-driven higher education “market” (I put that in quotes due to a last bit hope that the reality isn’t so bluntly quote-less), as is factual recollection. Having some background knowledge, immediately to hand, in whatever life you end up living is a handy skill to have, as is the ability to learn that knowledge. So there we go, I guess that’s why we do it! Any more answers on a postcard to: Prof. J, c/o The Beestonian at our usual addresses (now there’s an idea for next year - ‘answers on a postcard’…)

Prof J

BESTonian: Beeston’s finest Sir David Attenborough



ir David Attenborough OM CH CVO CBE FRS FZS FSA and I share a lot in common. The first is that both of us have only minor links to this fair suburb, Beeston. Various friends and family of mine have lived here over the years (some still do), but I never have. Ol’ Davey has a family ancestry that eventually goes back to Attenborough, but he has never lived there or here. Other degrees of separation include the fact his brother Richard made the film Gandhi, and in 1931 Gandhi himself visited Beeston; his nephew

lived on Lyndon Grove. I think most degrees of separation between Sir David and Beeston involve his brother. Richard directed A Bridge Too Far, which starred Michael Caine who was recently in the new Batman trilogy, which featured, as one of its locations, Wollaton Hall (which is near Beeston…). Of course, Sir David himself officially opened the great Attenborough Nature Centre in March 2005, (nearly 50 years after he opened the reserve in 1966), which this year celebrates its 50th year. That doesn’t involve Dickie, but then it barely involves Beeston… Hmm… Another thing Ol’ Davey and I have in common is that we both cheated on Biology tests. He recently admitted that, when he was 17, he cheated on a test which got him a distinction. I didn’t do Biology at 17, but up to GCSE level I religiously cheated on all of my science exams (and scientifically on all my religion ones) – mostly by copying off my friend Peter.

I just wasn’t any good at science. I’m still not. I recently thought an Alpaca was an egg-laying mammal. Alas, the similarities between us end there though; I have never been called a ‘national treasure’, I have never been named among the ‘100 Greatest Britons’, and I’ve never won a BAFTA. But, you know, I’m fine with all of this, not just because I’m dramatically younger than him, so there’s still time for me to achieve those things (...), but also because Sir David Attenborough deserves this recognition so very much that, frankly (and I know I’m not alone in thinking) it’s not enough. This is why Lord Beestonia and I decided to bend the rules slightly and make him this Issue’s BESTonian. It’s an honour bestowed usually only on either the deceased or the inanimate. But Sir David is a great man, so let us all welcome him into our extended family. This month’s BESTonian, our beloved, adopted granddad, Davey. CF

in our very own town. I’d better book soon, I think, spotting a woman eyeing my seat as guests begin to fill the room. I have a feeling it’s going to be big. For more details about Beeston Film Festival, and Creative Beeston visit:

The small

Big Screen A

Image: John Currie, Beeston Film Festival Director (courtesy of Hex Productions)

s we wait for the guests to arrive, John Currie attends to some final technical details and takes a few minutes to talk to me. His eyes are half on the computer screen, half on me, but I can forgive his diminished attention. “The theme tonight is ‘home and away’,” he says clicking something. I grimace, but before I can say what is obviously on my mind, John laughs. “What that means is we’ve got some UK shorts and some international shorts. I want to capture a whole range of genres; comedy, horror, drama, sci-fi. Over these seven films there should be a bit of everything.”

“He just last year produced his first short film – Go with God – which premiered here in this very room at The Beestonian Film Club”

Club and is brilliant, and now he wants to make an international film festival. “We’re bringing the world to Beeston,” John says with a wide smile. Ambition, indeed. And tonight marks the launch of the Beeston Film Festival. John is curating this series of short films to announce the competition that will culminate with the first Beeston Film Festival on the 24 – 25 January, 2015. It was shortly after premièring Go with God that John had the idea. He got involved in the film circuit and was at a festival in another city. “I just thought why can’t we have our own festival?” From that the idea was born. Pretty simple in a way, but also massively complicated. The process of collecting submissions and setting up the festival will take, in John’s estimation the better part of eight months. That’s a lot of time. Lord Beestonia pops his head into the cinema. He will be introducing John, but apart from that he’s just here for the great films and delicious food (courtesy of Café ROYA downstairs). Anyway, he’s got a great big smile on his face. “We’re having to turn people away at the door!”

Even so, I think it’s an unfortunate name, but I can’t criticise John for his ambition. He’s trying to take the phrase ‘home and away’ back from the Australians, he just last year produced his first short film – Go with God – which premiered here in this very room at The Beestonian Film

I’d better mark my seat before someone steals it. I place my notebook onto it, then go back to talk to John some more, but he’s focussed on what’s about to begin. What’s about to begin? A night of films, a launch, and then a year down the line the beginning of an international film festival

Every Sunday is SALSA DAY! Second Tuesday of the month: Quiz Night (hosted by The Beestonian) Third Tuesday of the month: Open Mic Night 24 Middle Street, Beeston NG9 1FX


Lowe fi all stars

persuaded Lowe to accept the instruments for himself. The Lawson observatory was set up in 1855 at Lowe’s house in Beeston, about half a mile south of Highfield. Broadgate House had been purpose-built a few years earlier as an observatory, with a rotating cupola roof. Lowe often gave guided walks and tours of his observatory. Edward’s father, Alfred had another observatory built at Beeston, an octagonal tower used mainly for weather recording, but which also housed a telescope. It was built on low-lying ground near to Beeston Railway Station. Like Broadgate House, this tower was also known as the ‘Beeston Observatory’. The same name used for the two observatories became confusing, so the observatory was nicknamed the ‘Beeston Lighthouse’, the ‘Pepperbox Hall’ and the ‘Beeston Fogworks’ by local Beeston residents. In 1864 a penny pamphlet appeared in Nottingham called ‘Prospectus of a New Ass-tronomical Magazine’, wherein to make known the wonderful discoveries of Pepperbox Hall. The verses were thus: “OH, have you heard the news of late! About my master and great! Who built a tower on his estate! He built it with octagonal wall and gave it the name of Pepper Box Hall. What is this tower at Beeston Station,

Beeston Observatory or The Beeston Lighthouse, shortly before it was demolished in 1965- Photo Credit: Picture the Past


n astronomer is often said to research the world beyond earth and that certainly was the case with Edward Joseph Lowe. Edward was born on 11 November 1825 at Highfield House, Lenton. He came from a wealthy family, and his father, Alfred Lowe, was a member of many national and local astronomical societies. Alfred Lowe was particularly interested in meteorology and astronomy. Edward inherited his keen interest in astronomy and many other subjects from his father. Both father and son were founder members of the Meteorological Society, and Edward wrote several books on the subject. He wrote weather reports for The Times for a number of years and also telegraphed his daily observations to Greenwich. Edward Lowe’s first paper, read to the Royal Astronomical Society in April 1849 and published in the Society’s ‘Monthly Notices’ later that year, described how he and other observers had seen the umbra of a sunspot open in the centre and divide into two parts. The Zodiacal light was one of Edward’s favourite subjects, and four of his papers were published in MNRAS. Meteors were also another interest of Lowe’s. In 1846 when only 21, he wrote what was considered to be an important book on the subject: A Treatise on Atmospheric Phenomena. The book for the first time made the distinction between meteorology

and the study of meteorites. Edward was acquainted with many of the leading astronomers and telescope makers of the day, including men such as George Dollond. The two of them wrote a paper together in 1846. The paper explored the possibility of establishing a weather station that would register its findings on a continuous toll of paper, without the need of a human observer. Lowe was keen to establish a public observatory in Nottingham, and after the Great Exhibition of 1851 had led to the funding of such projects around the country. He and Dollond discussed how they might set one up locally. Lowe contacted the Nottingham Corporation with his ideas and plans. Nottingham Corporation agreed to Lowe’s proposals. A site was eventually chosen north of the City, at Coppice Farm in Mapperley. All seemed to be going well, and in 1854 a local directory announced that the observatory would be ready to house the instruments. But this announcement was premature, and behind the scenes a tragedy was unfolding with unhappy consequences. The government had withdrawn its funding, so the subscribers and local council were unable to raise enough cash. After the fiasco, the dying Henry Lawson, the man who offered to donate his collection of meteorological and astronomical instruments for the failed Nottingham observatory

Daily causing such botheration, To many a traveller through the nation, Who vainly as for this explanation? ‘Tis like an overgrown pepper-box, The house we build in lieu of the stocks: or the places where roost young turkey-cocks, ‘ Tis called the Lighthouse to the Ryland locks. But he who understands it must be able, To add a story to this tower of Babel.”

The building was eventually abandoned to the elements and was demolished in the 1960s. The third observatory was at Highfield House itself. Edward’s grandfather Joseph Lowe had built the house in 1797 and the observatory on the roof of the building was added by his father. Edward moved back here (the place of his birth) after the death of his mother in 1866, and eventually all the instruments from both the Beeston observatories came back to Highfield House. In 1882, Edward Lowe and his family moved to Shirenewton Hall in Monmouthshire, southeast Wales, where he died in 1900.


References: The Antiquarian Astronomer, in, The Journal of the Society for the History of Astronomy. No1, 2004. (image)

Ladbrokes HORACE’S transforms O

ver the last few issues we have followed the story of Teresa Cullen and the charity Transform. You may remember The Beestonian sent an open letter to Ladbrokes suggesting that they donate a substantial sum of money to the charity, as they were partly responsible for the charity losing its lease on a property on the High Street. Last issue, we reported that the CEO of Ladbrokes himself emailed us a reply, saying he was going to donate. We weren’t going to hold our breath, though; expecting perhaps years of faffing and empty promises. Well, this month we heard that Ladbrokes is going to donate £5,000 to Transform. This is wonderful news, and means that Teresa and the charity can get back on their feet. We’re want to congratulate Teresa and Transform, and say thank you to everyone who has supported Teresa and her brilliant charity. CF Keep up the great work!

Do you like what you see here? If you would like to sponsor us, donate, post an advert or become a stockist of The Beestonian, please email us at: If you’d like to receive future issues in the post, please send a SAE (one per issue) to: The Beestonian, c/o 106 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1ES and we’ll send the next issue(s) direct to your door!



1) What was the name of the father of Ham, Shem and Japheth in the Bible?

7) In astronomy, what is a ‘bolide’?

2) According to Bauhaus, and Science, who’s dead?

9) A Sophophobiac is afraid of what?

3) What is the collective noun for Rhinoceros?

10) John Lahr’s Prick Up Your Ears told the story of which playwright?

4) What was actor Peter Sellers’ real first name?

11) Where are the Nazca Lines?

5) How did the great escapologist Harry Houdini die?

8) What is/was a ‘costermonger’?

12) What did Walter Raleigh’s wife carry in her bag for 29 years after his execution?

6) Whose famous last words were “Aw, there ain’t gonna be anybody shooting at me, you’re just being melodramatic”?


(a bit)

WIN!!! Contact us (see back page for how) with the winning codeword to enter a draw to win a pair of tickets for a night out at Just The Tonic, Nottingham’s Original Comedy Club. (Closing date: 28 June)

s d r a w p Onwards & u

Photo by Poolie.


y mate Mark and I are like a lot of Beeston-dwellers – we were born and brought up elsewhere, and moved here many years ago. We also both grew up in the same town in north-east England, and go back to visit frequently, so we often compare our original home with our adopted one. Usually over a pint or two in one of the many excellent pubs Beeston has to offer.

There has been much written in these pages about what Beeston can become when the tram is up and rolling. It’s clear that there is a wealth of potential here, and the task in hand is getting this into the minds of the good folk living within Beeston itself and farther afield. In short, without wanting to sound like too much of a ‘Newspeaker’, Beeston needs to develop a strong brand, and there is a lot of scope for it to reinvent itself. You could say that we are overly optimistic, but we believe that Beeston is a great place to live, and it is possible for it to get even better. Before I settled here, I worked in Beeston for a couple of years, living on the other side of Nottingham. I really didn’t appreciate all it had to offer until I moved, and there must be a lot of commuters in the same boat I was, whether they live in Stapleford, Sneinton, or Stoke. Soon we’re going to have thousands of people passing through on rails without setting foot in the place, and there is a massive opportunity to get them to come and spend money here. So how can Beeston communicate what it is? If you think about what is likely to appeal to people looking for a more laid-back alternative to the hustle and bustle of Nottingham, there is plenty to draw them in. Mainly lots of excellent restaurants/cafes, loads of superb pubs, and

a significant number of very good independent retailers who could greatly expand in numbers if the conditions were more favourable. Therefore, I would build the Beeston ‘brand’ around drinking, eating, and shopping. When discussing regeneration it is easy to dismiss the night-time economy, but I can see it being the primary driver in enticing folk into the heart of NG9. Nottingham is rightly renowned as a great place for Real Ale – you can’t move for pubs full of handpumps in and around the city centre, and Beeston boasts a high concentration of places to imbibe proper beer. Discerning drinkers are usually fond of good food too, and they are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat. If they see lots of nice shop window displays whilst on a crawl, then the job is being done. In order to tempt people away from the city, Beeston first needs to define the physical boundaries, or at least the centre of where the action is. If the trams on the new route are to function in the same way as the existing one, commuters will be made aware of their location thanks to a slightly aliensounding recorded voice when approaching a stop. This won’t really do the place justice, so I reckon some simple signage should do the trick. Placed in highly visible spots on all the major roads in (not just the tram routes), a ‘Welcome to Beeston town centre’ with a short strapline about the place being great for eating, drinking and shopping is all that is required. On the reverse of these signs, ‘Thank you for visiting Beeston town centre’ and the strapline repeated will reinforce the message. This is not a groundbreaking approach – places all over the country employ this technique.

How else would so many people passing through learn that County Durham is the Land of the Prince Bishops, East Kilbride is a Fairtrade Town, or that Warwickshire is Shakespeare’s County? It’s all well and good that the Borough of Broxtowe is twinned with Gutersloh, but I’d sooner any signage sold the town to potential visitors a wee bit more. And then there is the question of what to do with the newly-created, great big space in the middle. If I had my way, I would leave it as a great big space, simply landscaped with turf and trees, a nice place to breathe out and let your eyes focus on something in the distance. Possibly set up a small playground, a bandstand, and whatever else gives cause for people to gather and linger. We are already blessed with two excellent green spaces in Broadgate and Dovecote Parks, but you can never have too many as far as I’m concerned. If anything is built in the area near to the bus/ tram stops, then it has to be an eatery/bar/café type place, along the lines of Belle & Jerome. Facing the open space, with plenty of outdoor seating which can easily be covered to keep the weather at bay, it would ideally be the sort of place which will make commuters want to come back on Saturdays. Whatever is constructed/tarted up/left to rot, Mark and I are in no doubt that good things are on the way. If nothing else, the collective sigh of relief when everything is put back together will raise the spirits, and all the creativity and talent abundant in Beeston will at least be able to make its way from one end of town to the other without barriers and one-way lights in the way. Poolie

Labour of laugh Photo:


ometime in the very early noughties, I missed a bus. Stranded in Stapleford, and with an hour to kill before the next bus, I did what any sensible human would do at such a loose end: I went to the pub. Not on my own, though. I had been chatting to a fellow traveller at the bus stop, and as it dawned on us that the bus wasn’t coming, we decided on the pub excursion. We ended up missing the next bus as well, after having such a good time over a pint: the guy was very funny, and with a knowledge of politics much deeper than my own hazy beliefs, due to his work with Paddy Tipping and Broxtowe’s own Nick Palmer. I eventually made it to Derby and my then girlfriend, who was rather miffed by my tardiness. I forgot all about that afternoon until I was doing some research on comedian Matt Forde, who I was due to interview. A comedian, from round here, who worked with both Tipping and Palmer? It was that stranger who I spent an entertaining afternoon sipping cider with. Bizarre. He told me then he was torn between stand-up comedy and politics. Over the many years since then, he’s successfully combined both, working as a political advisor for Labour before taking the absurdities of politics and weaving them into a fresh form of political comedy: not the usual hectoring, arch satire; but a fond, skewed take on the bizarre system that govern us. Forde, who used to live near The Sherwin Arms in Bramcote but is now living in Surbiton, is sort of an anti-Russell Brand with his confessions of a nerdish obsession with politics, it’s a puppyish enthusiasm he hopes will prove contagious and encourage the apathetic to change their ways.

Appearances on ‘Eight Out of Ten Cats’, ‘Russell Howard’s Good News’, ‘Have I Got News For You’ and many more have followed, as well as running a popular live politics interview show, where he verbally grilled Alistair Campbell, George Galloway and Nigel Farage, amongst others. Who is the funniest politician he has ever chatted to? “First, I would never, ever vote for him but Michael Fabricant [recently-sacked, toupe-ed Tory Boris clone] is so far gone, so eccentric, so indiscreet you can’t help but laugh. Farage is self-deprecating; likes to laugh. Paddy Tipping is hugely funny: though I did work for him so maybe I saw a different side.” And least funny? “Sarah Teather [former Lib Dem minister, who attempted a stand-up routine at the Lib Dem conference, to the creak of thousands of toes curling] – though it’s almost cruel to mention her now. Nick Clegg seems empty of humour: I knew him when he was the local MEP here. Might be a Lib Dem thing; I mean, right now they have nothing to laugh about. “ What projects do you have on right now? “I’m looking at ways of getting stuff I’ve been doing live on radio up onto TV. It’s been mooted so I can’t say too much now, but it would be good to get a proper comedy politics show on TV, get them showing a different side to the dry, public one they are forced to show. We’ll see.” Would you rather be headlining Wembley or at the despatch box, as the premier at PMQ? “Ha! I’d relish both. Depends on my mood. Wembley... no, Westminster. Could I combine them both? That really is an ambition, isn’t it?”

You’re a Blairite, still, despite New Labour being now seen as defunct even by those on the left. Why? “Blair really got me into politics, showed me change could happen. No, it’s not fashionable, I believe in the free-market – but with rights for workers. Iraq? Could have been followed up better, we went in without knowing how to get out, but I still hold that Iraqis have greater prospects and better leadership than they did 11 years ago.” I fear the interview is getting serious, and Matt is soon to go on stage (we’ve met at Beeston’s Victory club where he’s headlining a fundraiser for the local Labour party. He goes on to hilariously annoy what should be an easy audience of Labourites by attacking Ed Miliband and trumpeting Blair’s legacy: Forde is no homecrowd sop), so decide to ask a lighter question to wrap up: remember a Sunday afternoon, 11 years ago, when we met as strangers and had a chat? You told me you were working in politics and moving into stand-up, and I told you I was looking for writing jobs in Nottingham, and you said “Well, one day you might even write about me?’”Well, that’s happened! How weird? Remember? He first adopts the politicians look and language “Yes, most probably... maybe, yes” while evidently believing I’m akin to a constituent who reckons the FBI talks to them through their telly. “A lot’s happened over the last few years, so my memory is hazy… and cider doesn’t help with memories.” A grin, a nod, and Matt Forde, comedian, heads for the stage.



Selecta Tim Pollard, Nottingham’s Official Robin Hood, on the benefits of putting one foot in front of the other.


ntirely understandably, people in Beeston are obsessed with transport at the moment. And not just how to get somewhere, or even how quickly they can do it but how they can do it too, or even if it’s worth trying. The tram (sorry for using four-letter words so early on) has buggered up the routes through and around the town wonderfully and because of the multitude of road works, changed routes, traffic control and allegedly unexploded bombs(!). Everywhere the traffic itself is at pretty much of a standstill or in vast tailbacks most of the time. It’s quicker to walk.

and then we’ll walk between participating local schools in Beeston, our home town. At each school we’ll join a class (or more) of children to walk with them around their own school playgrounds before telling them some Robin Hood stories, talking to them, answering questions and hopefully collecting donations for Childline, who do a fantastic and sadly muchneeded job in the county – and country. If the weather’s good it’ll be a distinct bonus (and of course I hope we can raise a decent amount) but the best thing is even if it’s raining we’ll still get around Beeston quicker on foot than by car! TP For more details or to donate please visit:

Call of


I was never much of a one for walking for fun and it’s only relatively recently I’ve even contemplated it as an enjoyable form of exercise. But maybe now I’m over fifty and the offers of a free ‘Well Man’ check-up have started from my GP (as well as having a five-month old daughter) the idea of something fun and sensible that Sal, baby Scarlett and I can do together is much more appealing. Scarlett can snuggle into her baby carrier (which disappointingly is nothing like an aircraft carrier) and we can wander down Wollaton Road gazing into static cars like visitors to a zoo staring into the enclosures (although to be fair the drivers and passengers may well be thinking they’re driving through a safari park full of chimps too, so maybe we’re even). Obviously I don’t want to do too much exercise, the sad story of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ author Douglas Adams – a happily middle-aged Brit who went over to the US, decided to get fit and then upped and died in his gym – remains to me a salutary story but, as my GP notes, any exercise is generally healthier than none. So on Thursday, 26 June, Sal and I are combining walking, exercise, children and doing some good in our roles as Robin Hood and Maid Marian. We’re organising and taking part in the UK part of the ‘PIED PIPER CHALLENGE’, a global event organised by our friend the Pied Piper of Hamelin to commemorate his story’s 730th anniversary and raise money for local childrens’ charities, in our case for the fabulous and dedicated people at Nottingham Childline. Hamelin’s official Piper has organised a series of 10km ‘Pied Piper Walks’ in Germany, Japan, Moravia, the USA and here in Nottingham. Ours aims to set off from Nottingham Castle

engrossed I nearly forget to pay for my cheese and onion pasty. We watch a feeding, then head outside into the sunshine. It’s a gorgeous day today, but Pete’s flagging by the time we’ve crossed the bridge. By Attenborough village he’s looking for a shop. Myself, on the other hand, I’m loving every second. Given the chance, I’d walk to Beeston Marina. There’s a wonderful café to recharge the batteries before heading on to the Rylands. Alternatively, in the exact opposite direction – Trent Lock is a lovely little place to visit. So much wildlife has been spotted here. You can check on the board by the car park: Dunlin, Sandpiper, Spoonbill, Redshank, Red Crested Pochard… I see a bee, a squirrel, and eleven swans (I counted), but then I am no ornithologist. I’m not any kind of ‘ist’. But here we are at Attenborough village. Pete’s tired. He’s asking passers-by for the nearest shop. I have to think quickly. A favourite thing to do – it’s not in the guide, but it’s a game I always love to play – once you reach Attenborough village, why not go into the church grounds and play a macabre game of Oldest Grave? It certainly rallies Pete’s spirits and he wins today with an early spotting; 1760. He only wins though because he can read Roman numerals, and I swear blind the last time I was here I found one dated 14 something, but today it is mysteriously nowhere to be found. Ah well. It’s a beautiful church, especially on a sunny day like today. A woman is laid out on a grassy spot between some graves, reading a book. A younger woman is sat on a bench, again reading. I read up on some of the church’s local events, on 5 September the church is organising a day trip to the Flower Festival in Hereford Cathedral. Just imagine how old the graves will be there!

Photo: Tamar


’m taking a day out to do something that I haven’t been able to do in a long time; walk around Attenborough Nature Reserve. Established in 1966, it was opened by Sir David Attenborough – this month’s BESTonian (such things are no coincidence). He’s even popped back – to open the Centre in 2005. The famed naturalist’s picture is everywhere, alongside quotes from him stating the place’s importance. Before the day is over I’ll see why. Today I’m with my good friend Pete – he’s the Stephen Katz to my Bill Bryson, the Hobbes to my Calvin. First we pop into the visitors’ centre. It’s busy as always. At the moment the video feed is set on a nest of freshly hatched blue tits. I’m so

Walking back, buoyed by victory Pete spots a teacher out with a group of children. They’re dipping buckets into one of the ponds and seeing what life can they find. One particular child looks immensely pleased. I glance into the bucket and see it’s thronging with tadpoles. She smiles down into the bucket, swirls her finger in the water, then releases the tiny beings back into the pond. And it reminds me that there are always events going on here. A cursory look through the Wildlife What’s On booklet and I see charcoalmaking classes (1,15 June), a photography class (1 June), nature walks of all kinds (1, 7, 17, 21 June), a hurdle making course (7– 8 June), a painting class (28 June) and a children’s event (7 June). Pretty soon Pete and I are back at the car. He’s eyeing another walker’s water bottle with the ferocity of a wild dog. I think our time here may have come to an end, so I take him back to civilisation. I’ve never seen someone so happy to see a Wetherspoons, but I know Pete enjoyed himself. And I did too. There’s so much to do. I could have stayed longer, and I should go more often. I’m putting a date or two in my calendar, CF that’s for certain.

Two of the best kitchens in Beeston share a recipe for absolute deliciousness, perfect for al fresco dining or – if this rain keeps up – a TV dinner...


appointment Arancini with Smoky Tomato Dip Make and chill the risotto for at least 5 hours in advance, or even the day before.The risotto balls can be cooked in advance and re-heated at 200 degrees for 10-15 mins in the oven. Makes around 30 arancini. 1 litre home-made vegetable stock or bouillon 60g unsalted butter 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped 300g carnaroli or Arborio risotto rice 50g vegetarian parmesan, freshly grated 2 large free range eggs 1 × pack natural breadcrumbs 250g vegetarian mozzarella, cut into 30 cubed pieces Vegetable oil for frying Method: Heat the stock in a pan and keep at a gentle simmer. In a large pan, melt half the butter and fry the onion for 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes before stirring in the rice and cooking for another 3 minutes. Then add a ladleful of stock, mix well and cook over a medium heat until all the stock has been absorbed. Add another ladleful and go on cooking in this way until the rice is al dente (around 20 minutes). Season well and mix in the remaining butter and parmesan, cover and leave for 10 minutes, stir and leave to cool. When cold, beat one of the eggs and mix into the rice, then chill until ready for use. Pour breadcrumbs into a bowl, and beat the egg in a separate bowl. Pick up a tablespoon of the risotto mixture and shape into a ball. Push a piece of mozzarella into the centre, close the hole and shape into a round (I find it easier to do this if my hands are slightly wet – fill the sink with cold water and dip your hands in when they get sticky). Dip the balls first into the egg, and then roll in the breadcrumbs till evenly covered. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Chill the balls in the fridge for a couple of hours if you have time, they are easier to fry when cold. Heat the oil in a frying pan to frying hot. Fry the balls in batches for about 4-5 minutes until golden. Drain on kitchen roll. Meanwhile, put 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 20 baby tomatoes (halved), ½

tsp. smoked paprika, 1tbsp. tomato ketchup and plenty of salt and pepper in a sauce-pan. Cover and cook over a medium heat for about 15 mins, the tomatoes will soften and you will have a tasty sauce to serve your arancini with which you can leave as is or blend if you prefer it smoother. RB Cafē Roya (@CafeRoya) see their website or Facebook page for this month’s seasonal menu: or Modern Vegetarian Cuisine 130 Wollaton Road, Beeston, NG9 2PE. 0115 922 1902.

... After Eight’s Monkfish with Roasted Tomatoes and Onions and Sauce Vierge (for 4) For the tomatoes and onions Olive oil 1 thinly sliced onion Pinch of caster sugar Pinch of salt Balsamic vinegar 4 plum tomatoes Small glass of white wine For the monkfish 4 * 200g pieces of boneless monkfish 12 garlic cloves 5 sprigs of rosemary 1 glass of dry white wine For the sauce vierge 100ml virgin olive oil 2 garlic cloves 3 shallots – finely chopped 2 tomatoes – skinned, seeded and diced 1 tbsp each of basil, coriander and chive leaves – finely chopped 25 ml fresh lemon juice Method: Heat the oven to GM 8 (230c), add a splash of oil to a hot oven-proof pan. Add the onion and sugar. Season, and cook until caramelised and tender. In another hot pan, sear the tomatoes, deglaze with white wine and a teaspoon of balsamic. Season and roast for 5 minutes then set aside. Turn the oven down to GM 6 (200c). Cook the garlic cloves in boiling water for 2-3mins, and drain. Heat the olive oil and fry the monkfish pieces with the garlic until golden. Add the wine, 1 rosemary sprig, and season. Cook in a moderate/high oven for 6-8mins. Meanwhile, heat the oil and add the garlic and shallots, and simmer until soft. Add the lemon juice, tomatoes and herbs. Fill a metal ring or pastry cutter with the tomatoes and onions. Remove the ring, place the monkfish on top. Spoon the sauce around and place 3 garlic gloves per plate. Dress the dish by spearing each monkfish with a sprig of Rosemary. Table 8 are offering a Steak Special* at the moment 2 Rump Steaks and a bottle of the House wine for £25.00. (*on certain nights, see their website for details:

Au contraire… picnics This month, Nora has something to say about poor old Al fresco eating on a blanket. Tamar puts down her frisbee to shoot back.


Against: Nora

had a picnic once and it ended in tears. I can’t quite recall why since I was rather young and it’s one of my earliest memories, but it may have had something to do with the fact that hundreds of ants had crawled into my Capri Sun and then subsequently into my mouth as I tried to take a sip. In case anyone has ever wondered what ants taste like, I recall them being quite citrusy with a hint of orange. The second time I indulged in eating on a floor I had the good sense to bring bottled water to avoid repeating the past but did make the mistake of feeding some of my apple to a passing duck. The duck expressed its gratitude by exposing its butt and doing its peeps and poops in plain sight. Now, I’m not a psychic but I have a feeling that had I gone to a restaurant, or even McDonalds, I would not have been subjected to such sights. Coincidentally, this was also around the time I began eating duck... . Ever the optimist, I thought I’d give this picnic thing another go a year or so later. I baked some brownies, packed lunch and the water; located, and then settled in, a spot as far from ducks as could be. Sandwiches and crisps on paper plates kept the ants away but no one could have guessed that my one failing would be my own baking, and a chipped tooth later, I vowed to never picnic again. I mean, what’s so great about it anyway? Half the time you end up being ambushed by insects, and if they fail to attack hard enough, their feathery cousins will finish the job of bringing the misery. Using a paper plate to feel more human, are we? Well, I hope you enjoy chasing after it once the wind picks up! I like eating at a table, like an adult, and I find the fact that most picnics take place on the floor rather insulting – as just the act of sitting on a floor alone reminds me of the disgusting primary school assemblies I had to endure as a child, and the hideous songs I was forced to sing along to. No, all things are not bright and beautiful, especially ants and spiders.

“I mean, what’s so great about it anyway? Half the time you end up being ambushed by insects, and if they fail to attack hard enough, their feathery cousins will finish the job of bringing the misery.”

I’d be lying if I said that I don’t sometimes have an urge to buy a picnic basket with fancy little forks, grab a blanket and sun hat and stuff my face with cucumber sandwiches and wine well into sunset. But those seem like images created by clever marketing folk to get us to buy their baskets and their blankets, only to realise that nothing good comes out of dining on the floor like an animal. I’ll go sit at a table indoors thank you, at least then the only ducks I meet would be crispy and on a plate. ND


For: Tamar

he sun’s high, the grass is pool table green and clipped to perfection; on a huge blanket there are sandwiches, cakes, ice-cold beers, sausages on sticks, the odd stick strewn from a sucker; your friends lounge about while you and some other folk who’ve been in the sun too long are chucking a frisbee at each other as the soft, crackling buzz of a wireless half-buried in the grass brings soundtrack to the afternoon. There are no clouds. There are no wasps. There is no work tomorrow. An idyll maybe. But also totally achievable. So long as you have friends, a blanket and a job to not go to tomorrow. It’s a British idyll. We’re good at grass, we’re good at making the most of the one-of-ten days of sunshine we might enjoy all month. Brief is the breath our summer exhales, so we should make the most of it. Put simply, picnics are great. Some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten were eaten while sat on a rug, or a coat, or just my grass-stained arse. Dolmades and really bad wine in Corfu while watching the sun setting and having deep and meaningful conversation about god or something; I was sat on some old woman’s lawn the first time I ever had cheesecake (“ ‘cheese’ in a ‘cake’?...Yuk.” boy, was I wrong); a continental breakfast to end all continental breakfasts in the grounds of the Schloss in Heidelberg, with Germans looking at us jealously/incredulously (you never can tell...). Once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much have a picnic anywhere. However, people who drive somewhere gorgeous and then eat their picnic beside their car in the car park baffle me – to a degree I find difficult to contain (“IT’S JUST THERE!! THE FUCKING VALLEY IS JUST THERE...”). Though really, whether it’s kids, dogs, loud people, wasps, ducks, ants or sand in your sarnies - you can always move elsewhere. Just move. A blanket can even just be dragged, if you’re desperate enough. The only fly in the ointment (or in your Chardonnay) I’ll grant you is our inclement weather. There’s not a lot that can be done about that. That said, who hasn’t enjoyed standing thoroughly sodden, eating fish and chips in a bus stop; or sat with a flask of hot chocolate with your feet on the dashboard listening to the rain battering on the roof of the car? Technically, BOTH still picnics. There will come a day, dear Noroar, when you won’t be able to sit on the floor and eat. Best enjoy it while it lasts. Some cultures only eat sat on the floor, so watch you don’t get slapped oopsupsideyourhead by some of our floor-eating neighbours, most of whom have much better food than either Britain or Bulgaria - yeah, you heard me - so would probably trounce us in the ‘dining like animals’ stakes (steaks also). Plus (and I can’t believe it’s taken me thus far to point this out) most floors are bigger than the biggest table – so the pure surface area quotient would probably dictate that a meal on the floor is better than a meal on a table, being, as it would be, a total M2 FEAST. And, as it takes one to know one, I should know. Apart from anything else, if we don’t use our parks and open spaces, we stand likely to lose them eventually - either to joggers and dog walkers, or to history altogether. There’s no marketing folly there. Picnics, like most things, are what you make them. And while I like nothing less than sitting around a camp-fire listening to some bearded Mumford wannabe strumming his geetar while I’m trying to eat a pork pie from a soggy, bendy plate, there’s nothing I like more than al fresco loveliness with friends, food and new freckles forming. So you should buy that picnic basket with the fancy crockery, and take a blanket somewhere nice. Practice makes picnic. TF

s t a e B n o t Bees awful performance, worst than the worst of the comedian John Bishop, come out with “It worked for John Lee Hooker.” Yeah but he sounded good and you don’t). So play in time and in tune is a good start.


ne of the things you can be sure of as a musician is the fact that you and your little boy scout idea of what you do and all your passion etc. mean NOTHING when you put yourself in the public eye. Even if it is a gig in Beeston. Beeston has loads of good live music stuff going on – be it Saturday Open Mic Night at The Hop Pole, the very new Friday ‘live music night’ at The White Lion (a blues night with my protégé) and various other live music goings on (THERE IS SOMETHING ON AT EVERY PUB IN THE AREA ALL WEEK). You live in a town where there is a strong heritage of live music and open mics, why not dive in? Here are a couple of hints for the would-be performer, by someone who just wanted to be Howlin’ Wolf and then met real life (I still maintain this delusion, but let’s keep this practical). Even your local pub audience is tough. Many moons ago when I was skinny, young and idealistic – I played in a blues band with a front man who, quite frankly, talked and carried on like Les Dawson – he once did a ten minute monologue whilst we backed him, with no idea when he was gonna start the number. From what I recall he used to get so tied up in this shit he would sometimes sing in the wrong key. Later in the toilets a large beast of a man told me in no uncertain terms “I like hard rock myself. Having a good gig? Personally I thought you were shit.” First point: you are either in tune or out; you can play in time or can’t. There may be other ideas floating about during more cerebral moments and listening to avant garde jazz and John Lee Hooker (the amount of times I have heard a musician after an effing

But then you have to deal with other band members. Let’s face it, most musos are hard work. I dunno why. They are either transportless drummers (how were you going to get that kit there then, Animal?), guitarists who have suddenly been possessed by the spirit of Hendrix at the worst possible moment, or front men who could give Van Morrison’s strangeness and Bono’s ego a run for their money (hint: in reality you are playing in a pub). I once played with a drumkitless drummer – case closed. Lastly, the harmonica. Yeah it’s small. Oh, yes, you can put one in your pocket wherever you go. Doesn’t mean most musos playing in a pub for 40 quid need

your unrehearsed and, let’s face it, unwanted accompaniment. So get out and enjoy the new folk music; live music of any kind locally that is there to make you dance, sing and forget about your mortality… but not so much you chance at joining in. I might even try it myself some time.


Jimmy can be found selling all things guitar, and teaching Blues guitar, at The Guitar Spot,Chilwell Road, Beeston (and either The Crown or The Hop Pole of an evening. His is a lime & soda, though please...) theboozeworldofjimmywiggins.

Famous last words…

The Beestonian is…

Facebook us, tweet us, email us or even scribble us a proper, handwritten letter (we love those the most). We’ll publish it here.

Absent Editor / Lead Writer / Founder – Lord Beestonia

Last issue, Nottingham Hidden History’s article on Beeston Lads’ Club had the end of its last paragraph missing on some editions. Big apologies to Joe Earpe for the mistake. You can read it – with its glorious ending in tact – here: beestonian_issue_26/1 and on Nottingham Hidden History’s website here:

But the other message was clear: People of Beeston: make sure you badger your council and make it clear we do not want a cop-out to big business. Let’s have some imagination. Let’s have a town centre that is vibrant 24/7 with good architecture and proper amenities that will make Beeston an exciting place to come to. – Killie Pie (via carrier pigeon)

– Editor

Dear Beestonian, When the Beeston Express first arrived, the proposal to bring a tram service to our town dominated its pages for several years with enough column inches to decorate a house. Why was it forced upon the people of this town when the townspeople themselves were not wholly in favour of it? I was not strongly in favour or against it. I just wanted it to work well. But when the tram is here how is it going to persuade people to come here? We have been sold this project on the basis that it will be good for Beeston. Why should people getting on at Toton get off in Beeston when another 10 minutes will take them into the city centre? Why should people living in Bulwell or the city centre feel like coming to Beeston? I am rightly hearing lots about our pubs and our heritage, our marina, Attenborough nature reserve, etc, but is this enough? I think not. I would like to see an amenity in Beeston Town centre that will make us stand out. Perhaps a cinema or a family swimming pool or ice rink. Good places to eat in a revolutionised centre where trees and greenery have been re-introduced. Right now our town centre is being redeveloped and yet we are still uncertain of what exactly is coming in. Do Beeston people have a say in this? They didn’t when it came to Tesco and neither did the Council. And my fear now is that we are going to have more big corporations coming in that nobody asked for. Again, how much say do we have? So when I attended the Beeston Civic Society’s open meeting at John Clifford School on 9 May I did so with scepticism. How wrong I was! Nick Palmer was there with the good Lord Beestonia and Professor Martyn Poliakoff. Not only has the Professor got terrific ideas for creating a special town centre, but also he spoke with great wit and enthusiasm about Beeston and showed he has a real passion for the town. One of the best ideas to come out of the meeting was that the University’s architecture students could design a new town centre. It could be a competition.

Co-founder / Resident Don – Prof J Design / subbing – Tamar Acting Editor – Chris Fox Top-notch contributors this issue: Nora, Jimmy, Joe Earp, Poolie, Chris Fox, Christopher Frost, Tamar, Tim Pollard, Prof J, Deman, Roya Bishop, Table 8. Printed by Pixels & Graphics, Beeston.

Stockists: Belle & Jerome , The Hop Pole, The Crown, The White Lion, The Star, The Greyhound, Flying Goose, Mish Mash Gallery, Attik, The Guitar Spot, Relish, Broadgate Laundrette, Bubba Tea, The Bean, Beeston Library, Cafe ROYA, Newsagent on Chilwell Road, Metro, Beeston Marina Bar and cafe.

Photo: © Christopher Frost

Lordy, he’ll kill us for this...

Huge thanks to all of our contributors, sponsors, stockists, regular readers and anyone who has picked this up for the first time. Scan QR code & subscribe to Lord Beestonia’s blog:

Congratulations once again to the Lord and Doctor Lady Beestonia who were married on Friday, 16 May.


t was a lovely ceremony and a happy day for all concerned. I wanted to do a whole issue on the wedding, a kind of parody of the Royal Wedding coverage – excessive notes about every tiny detail to cover up the fact that I haven’t much to actually write about; needless and frankly disrespectful speculation about whether the bride might be pregnant, countless photos of a bridesmaid’s ankles and commentary on how they overshadowed the bride’s ankles. I even wanted one whole page to have a cut-out commemorative paper plate... . Alas, I lacked the ambition, so you’ll have to make do with this photo of the lovely couple. Congratulations Matt & Ellie! CF

Contact us: (all our editions online) The Beestonian, c/o 106 Chilwell Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 1ES

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