Author: rhsalinger


I Am Beeston: Gary Thomas

You may remember last summer, we ran a series of photographs on our Facebook page featuring people who lived, worked or studied in Beeston. This was in response to the dreadful racial attacks that were, and are still taking place post Brexit vote. We wanted to show, and did very successfully, what a peaceful, integrated and generally wonderful place that Beeston is.

So we thought we would bring it back. Our roving photographer Christopher Frost has been out and about around our town and looking for more people to feature and share their views..

Gary Thomas

“People will know me as the owner of Mish Mash at the Creative Corner. They can also see me pottering around the site keeping it neat and tidy”.

“I was born in Beeston, although I have lived in Mapperley and Breaston. I love the feeling that the town is something special, full of enthusiastic people. The Blue Plaque scheme is great”.

“The one thing that does annoy me are people who drop litter. I would like to see more public art and I think the new ‘Beeston’ sign on Lower Road should have been bigger and not just angled in such a way that only the tram passengers can see it”.

Christopher Frost

Tales From The Paperhaus

I ink therefore I am…

I wanted to start this piece with a mysterious journey but a few stops on the IGO didn’t quite fit the bill, although being pensioners’ shopping day it did feel a little bit like a ghost train. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that Long Eaton wasn’t the zombie apocalypse I had been warned about when I alighted at The Green. I was however on the search for none other than the heavily tattooed gentleman whose resemblance to a flat capped Vic Reeves is more than a little uncanny.

If you cross over on Wilko’s corner and saunter down Oxford Road, tucked away in Mayfair Walk you will find a hidden talent who grew up on Imperial Road in Beeston. Daniel Roberts has been filling up sketch books from his wild imagination since he was a nipper and the manifestations from his mind are now finding themselves adorning the bodies of many local characters.

Danny / tea / biscuits

Danny opened his tattoo parlour ‘Paperhaus Tattoo’ back in 2014 after completing a three-year apprenticeship. He is not entirely sure what inspired him to tattoo in the first place other than the simple desire to ‘see his artwork on skin.’ The inspiration for his often dark characters and twisted scenes are born out of a desire to make the ordinary extraordinary, after all why wouldn’t a horse wear a pair of high heels and a rabbit be partial to eating a sandwich? He considers himself as an artist who tattoos, his artwork did come first after all. Some of his designs are currently available on t-shirts and will soon be available as prints.

When I arrived at his studio for a chat and a strong coffee, Danny was working on a piece for guy in Phoenix Arizona that he had hooked up with via Instagram. He was clearly thrilled that this guy had lots of positive things to say about his art but it was their shared love of vinyl that led to this commissioned piece. The design will be printed up on t-shirts to promote a local club night at a tiki-themed bar, a real ‘by the people for the people’ kind of design project. ‘ Afro Waltz’ by John Cameron was playing in the background as he spoke which made for a relaxed if trippy atmosphere.

As I have a gleg round Danny’s studio, a home from home. I cast an eye over the chintzy lampshade balanced on a dark wood standard lamp and eye up a soft squishy sofa underneath the tattoo flash that adorns the back wall of the waiting area, there is a distinct lack of pretention in the air. It definitely not your typical tattoo studio, it could be described hauntingly kitsch, but then Danny is not your typical tattooist. He is very candid about his first forays into art. ‘It was either that or watching black and white regional telly on the portable in our static caravan in Skegness.’ The penny arcades had no lure for the young Daniel, he much preferred ‘sketching on the back of a cornflake packet with a biro.’


As I watch intently as his busy digits sketch, I ask him how he comes up with some of his detailed designs. He picks up his comical coffee mug, in a jaunty fashion, and tells me ‘I clear my mind and it’s like a cosmic internet connection, it’s automatic how things connect and I often look at what I have drawn and ask myself “How did I think of that?” He talks about the urge to draw as that familiar ‘itch you have to scratch’ and likens his inspiration to childhood pastimes like seeing shapes in the clouds or in patterns on the pavements.

There are recurring symbols that appear in many of his drawings, a favourite being the oven ready chicken

He says he has been influenced by the works of Dali and Woodring and there is most definitely surrealism in his art. There are also recurring symbols that appear in many of his drawings, a favourite being the oven ready chicken, which has been spotted in some very compromising positions. It is the reactions to his work that Danny enjoys the most. Whether they shock, excite, humour or disgust he doesn’t mind as long as they get a response. It would be fair to say there is an innocence and sense of mischief in a lot of his works and this is quite representative of the man himself. He has most certainly got his own style and he recognises that it is not to everyone’s taste and could be considered niche.

Dan likes the idea of his artwork being framed and appreciated, we are not here forever but things like art can be owned and then passed on, keeping the legacy alive. He hopes that by putting it out there people will acknowledge it and someone will buy it and appreciate it, but then they may give it away or die and it’s this idea that you don’t know what might happen to it that intrigues him most. As I glance at the fine example of a 70s cuckoo clock, I am surprised to see that a couple of hours has floated by and I have a notebook full of my own scribbles. Dan can really make you feel right at home, you’ll never want to leave…

You will find Danny in his studio at Boutique 6, Mayfair Walk, Oxford Street, Long Eaton, NG10 1JR

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 10:30am–18:00pm / Saturday 10:30am–18:00

Debra Urbacz

University Of Beestonia

The spires at the University of Beestonia are dreaming; and the dreams are nightmares…

OK, so that’s over-egging it a little bit, but it’s probably fair to say no one’s sleeping particularly soundly, there’s something out there causing a fair degree* of restlessness.

Our brightest and best minds are searching for the cause of this unease, but if you read around there’s much being written about the battle for the soul of our universities at the moment.

T’internet (2017) defines the prefixes super- and para- as something beyond, or apart from, amongst other possible meanings, so when we add these to words like natural or normal what are we discussing?

During my time working in universities I’m not sure that a natural or normal state of things has actually ever existed, so defining what is beyond those is also a little tricky. Time does not stand still, things do change, some we can influence and some we can not, but, and before I turn completely into Baz Luhrmann talking about sunscreen, recently those changes are pushing – probably wrong tense – have pushed universities into a place where logic does appear, at least at times, otherworldly.

When is the tipping point between para- and new-, is it definable?

In our new normal, and that’s a strange term too, given this issue’s focus on the para-normal, and I’ll come back to my point, but if para-normal is some kind of inexplicable parallel type of universe, how long do conditions have to change for before they become the new normal? When is the tipping point between para- and new-, is it definable? I’d be interested to know if anyone’s worked on this…

Back to a point, in our new normal we are too often torn between which policy we are meant to drive for, student fees have been increased again recently in our current, to me at least bizarre, political reality, our democratic system means we will leave the group of nations which provide a substantial amount of our research funding… the list goes on.

Whether these things are normal, or beyond it, I’m not sure but in the mean time mind the seagulls and sleep well my friends…

Prof J

*oh look, unintentional HE pun (Lord B would be proud, or horrified…)

The Hemlock Stone

The Hemlock stone is famously said to have been hurled by the devil from Castleton in Derby because the ringing of the local bells infuriated him. More recently it has been the focal point for many a folklorist happening; bonfires, firework shows and more. But resident historian, nonagenarian and rapper Eugene Cobblers thinks he can shed some light on the true origins of this fabled stone. But he could be wrong.

The clue is in the name. Hemlock. Some scientists will tell you that the stone is a result of natural erosion and the movement of tectonics, but that’s just simply not true. The answer is in local folklore. The devil really did hurl it. At least a devil of sorts. That is, in around 399 BC locals of Beeston, or Beos Tun as it was then known, and indeed all of Nottingham, were woken one balmy summer’s night by a great roar.

It was the sound of a violent earthquake which tore across the midlands, but was mistaken by the scientifically illiterate folks of the time as the roar of a devilish beast. People ran screaming for their lives, convinced they were about to be devoured by some angry pagan god or monster, and such as it was Pytheas, on his trip around Britain years later heard a great many tales from the locals of when “…the devil made the land tremble.”

Many great stones were thrown upwards from the force. One such was the hemlock stone, which was thus named after landing in a field in which the poisonous plant proliferated. There, that’s it. Simple.

The Chilwell Ghost House

Beeston’s own intrepid historian and occasional paranormal explorer, Alan Dance, tells us about some spooky goings-on on one of Chilwell’s most infamously-named streets….

If you follow the tram lines west of Bramcote Lane, you will shortly cross Ghost House Lane. If you’ve ever wondered how it got its name, it’s because at the bottom of the lane, there once stood an old cottage called the Ash Flat House. Almost 200 years ago the house became the centre of some very strange goings-on, such that many people believed it to be haunted, and thereafter it became known as the Ghost House. Not only was the house alleged to be haunted, but it was also believed that a murder had been committed there. But beyond these few brief facts, little more in the way of detail was recorded, and such written accounts as existed were rather sketchy.

This area was farmland, but in the late 1940s building work began on the Inham Nook housing estate, and the Ghost House was demolished in 1952 as the estate grew. As a child, I was always intrigued by this story of a haunted house and an unsolved murder, but when I tried to find out more details – who was involved, who was murdered and why; who was the murderer, was he ever caught and tried; and when exactly did these events happen, if they really did happen – nobody seemed to know. So, in 1996, I set out to see what I could discover.

After considerable research in old newspapers, parish registers, census returns, wills and other documents in the Nottingham Archives Office and Library, I was able to piece together a fascinating account which shed light on events which took place all those years ago, culminating in the publication in 1998 of my book The Chilwell Ghost – a New Investigation.

People came from many miles around to view the house and, hopefully, witness the strange goings-on

A newspaper report from 1850 stated that John Baguley had just died at Chilwell, confessing on his deathbed that about a quarter of a century earlier he had murdered a pedlar for his money and possessions, and buried the body. Armed with this one name and date, I was able to uncover much more evidence. This showed that the Baguley family lived at the Ash Flat House, owned by local landowner John Pearson, for whom Baguley worked. A pedlar, who regularly visited the area, had indeed gone missing in late 1827 and was never seen again. Witnesses said he intended to spend the night at the Ash Flat House and it was rumoured he was rather friendly with the family’s eldest daughter, Diana.

They were a family with a poor reputation in the village. Diana had produced three illegitimate children and in 1837, along with her sister Jane, was imprisoned for theft from two Nottingham shops. Baguley and his family were then evicted by Mr Pearson, and another family moved in. It was this family who first reported the strange happenings. They refused to stay in the house and were replaced by another family, who moved on just as quickly.

The house had become the centre of a serious outbreak of poltergeist phenomena. Unaccountable banging on the shutters, objects moving, groans and other strange noises alarmed the inhabitants to such an extent that nobody stayed for long. Many local people believed all this was connected with the murder. The story quickly spread, and it is said that people came from many miles around to view the house and, hopefully, witness the strange goings-on.

John Baguley was never brought to trial, for he died shortly after making his deathbed confession. No relatives had reported the pedlar missing, but as an itinerant, his current whereabouts may not have been known. And as he was a Scotsman, he might not have had any family nearby. All in all, he was the perfect murder victim. There was never an investigation, and in any case, the murder was committed before the existence of a police force.

But one mystery still remains, which I hope might one day be solved – what happened to the body of the pedlar? John Baguley himself claimed he buried it. But exactly where?

The above is just a brief outline of what happened, but the book contains much more information and should be of interest for anyone interested in local history, or who just likes a true-life, mystery story. It is illustrated with photographs, sketches, old maps and reproductions of old documents.

The Chilwell Ghost  – A New Investigation is published by Arundel Books, price £5.99.

Available at WH Smith in Beeston and most Nottingham bookshops.

Alan Dance

UFOs Over Nottinghamshire

The acronym U.F.O. was created by the United States Air Force in 1952 to describe sightings of flying disc shaped objects previously referred to as ‘flying saucers’

This spate of sightings began in 1947 when aviator and businessman Kenneth Arnold, reported seeing nine such objects flying in formation over Mount Rainier on 24th June of that year. Arnold’s sighting was widely reported in the media and between 1947 and 1952 there followed many thousands of reports of unidentified flying objects of various shapes and sizes from all over the U.S.A. Certainly there was a general consensus of opinion amongst the general public that these were piloted extra-terrestrial craft. Thus was born the modern U.F.O. story.

In Nottingham, a group of ‘Ufologists’ were earnestly studying U.F.O. phenomena. Many of these men had been R.A.F. bomber crew during the War and had been witness to a type of U.F.O. known as ‘Foo-Fighters. These strange balls of red, orange or sometimes white light, first made their reported appearance alongside a squadron of American aircraft in November 1944. From this date onward the crews of Allied aircraft, both American and British witnessed the appearance of Foo-Fighters in both the European and Pacific theatres of war.

It was genuine ambition of one of the founding members of the Nottingham group to persuade George Adamski, starting in Nottingham, to do a lecture tour of the U.K. However, this never came to pass as Adamski died at the age of 74 in 1965.

After working together for several years the Nottingham group broke apart around 1966/67, after the club secretary experienced a more sinister aspect of the U.F.O.  story. As early as 1947, U.F.O. witness Harold Dahl, reported receiving an intimidating and threatening visit from men dressed in black suits who claimed to be government agents. Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s reports of visits by what became known as Men in Black or M.I.B’s, to both U.F.O. witnesses and Ufologist became more frequent. Popular opinion was that M.I.B’s were either genuine government agents or in some cases actual aliens.

The Nottingham club secretary, – a man in his early sixties who had studied the U.F.O. phenomena for a number of years and had amassed a library of books and files, – announced that he had received a visit from M.I.B’s at his home in Wollaton. These two men had told him that unless he gave up his U.F.O. interest, his house would be fire-bombed. Within days of the alleged visit he had sold or given away his entire collection of books, photos and journals and removed every reference to U.F.O’s from his home. Fellow members of the club, even those he had been friends with for many years, never heard from him again.

Slowly the lights drew together and at a point almost directly above our heads stopped and hung side by side in the sky like two bright stars

A mentor of another Nottingham based U.F.O. group (who will remain anonymous here) lived alone in a ‘prefab’ in Aspley decided to advertise for a lodger to help pay the bills. Within a short time of putting a post card in a shop window a young man in his early twenties answered his advert. Giving his profession as a ‘Civil Servant’ the young man stated that he had business in Nottingham and need temporary accommodation. An agreement was made and the man moved in with nothing more than a single small suitcase. Over a few short weeks of his stay, the mentor stated that he demonstrated a good knowledge of Ufology and asked about both U.F.O. groups. At the end of his stay he asked to see members of the group. At the meeting which followed, he claimed to have been an MI6 field agent, one of a number of operatives dispatched by the Government to investigate the threat to National Security posed by U.F.O. groups. Thankfully he announced that they were no threat, packed his bag and they never saw him again.

Another member of the group encountered a siting of a U.F.O. which occurred back in the 1960s:

“On a clear winters evening at around 10 p.m., I was driving my then girlfriend (now my wife) home to Chilwell. Our route took us through Bilborough past Strelley village and south along the Coventry Road. For those who do not know the area, this is a semi-rural road on the extreme western edge of the City of Nottingham. We had reach the cross-roads at Strelley and were turning onto Coventry Road when both of us saw high in the sky, a moving bright star like object approaching us from the south. Making a modern comparison I would say that it was like observing the International Space Station or other artificial satellite. I stop the car a little way past the crossroads and we both got out the vehicle to get a better look.”

“Almost immediately we saw that there was a second identical object approaching from the north. The two seemed to be on a collision cause, becoming larger and brighter as they approached. Slowly the lights drew together and at a point almost directly above our heads stopped and hung side by side in the sky like two bright stars. We continued to observe them in silence for what must have been 3 or 4 minutes.

Suddenly the northern light again began to move. At this stage it became apparent that this object was lower in the sky than its companion, which now seemed even brighter. Moving a little faster than its original approach, it continued south and appeared to pass bellow its still stationary companion, which now shone with the intensity of Venus, (certainly, the brightest object in the sky). After several minutes the moving object was lost to view leaving our attention fixed on the bright object above our heads.”

“It was at this point that something dramatic happened. A small pale blue, star-like light dropped from bellow the bright object. For a few seconds it appeared to free-fall and it shot off at great speed to the west. Seconds later a second identical light dropped and shot off to the east. This was repeated twice more with one light going south and the second north.

The bright object now began to move and continued its original course north. The cold night air had gotten to us at this point and we realised that we had been observing the phenomena for over half an hour. Once back in the car we continued our journey back to Chilwell. I got a telling off from my future father-in-law for bringing his daughter home late. We did not tell him the reason why”.

Wollaton Gnomes

Strange Phenome-gnomes…

Okay so it isn’t technically Beeston but did you really think we’d do a supernatural feature without mentioning this gem of local(ish) folklore? September 1979. The largest indoor shopping centre in Britain has just been opened in sunny Milton Keynes, Gary Numan has beaten off Cliff Richard from the number one spot, and in Nottingham a strange event has gripped the populace.

At the far end of Wollaton park on a balmy evening in late September a group of children were playing together when quite suddenly they began to hear bells. Paranormal enthusiasts will know that the sounding of bells often announces the start of some kind of magical encounter. All at once the children were surrounded by sixty gnomes, around two feet tall with long white beards and nightcaps with bells on the end, driving in tiny cars. For fifteen minutes the children watched agog as the gnomes drove happily around (the cars weren’t steered but guided with a handle), their cars gliding across the grass and over logs. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the gnomes were gone.

The Nottingham Post (then called The Evening Post) reported the story aided by interviews performed by the children’s headmaster who wanted to record the event for posterity. He also had them draw pictures of the bantam phantoms. Despite wide disbelief (by their parents, teachers, friends and the media) the children maintained that it was all true and with such voracity that the headmaster apparently was led to believe them. This sceptical reporter can’t help but see similarities between the children’s descriptions and a popular children’s television programme of the time; Noddy.

But then I was always a gnomic agnostic.

There have apparently been other such sightings before and after.

Dear reader, have you ever had such an encounter, and not when you were half tippled trying to find a shortcut home from the city centre in the middle of the night?


Beeston Memories

I haven’t lived in Beeston for many years although I was born and raised here.

I was born in Chilwell, just across the road from the Charlton Arms and in 1936 or ’37 (I don’t exactly remember, I was about 4 years old) my parents moved into a new house on Queens Rd West, close to Chilwell Manor Golf Course and across the road from the field at the rear of Barton’s garage where I and my mates played among the piles of old tyres left there.

In Sept 1937 I started school at Church St School just behind Beeston Parish Church. Now, I am left handed and every time I picked up a pencil in my left hand, I was rapped over the knuckles. After three months of that I developed a severe stammer so I was removed from there and went to Park Lodge, a primary school on Park Rd just along from the Hop Pole on Chilwell Rd Beeston – or High St Chilwell, as the pub marks the change of name. It was only a few minutes’ walk from home up what I see is now called Wilmot Lane but all the time I was there was called Factory Lane. Myford’s Lathes were made in the semi derelict buildings at the top of the lane and opposite the Hop Pole.

We played in Barton’s field, in the golf course and around the Attenborough Nature Reserve which we knew just as ‘The Gravel Pits’

Because of my stammer I had several years of speech therapy and elocution lessons which eventually ‘killed’ the stammer. They also changed my accent somewhat so these days no one can tell exactly where I am from, it is what a friend described as a ‘generic Northern accent, could be from anywhere north of a line from Bristol to the Wash.’

During the war, it is surprising how much freedom we kids had after school. There were relatively few people around, most men were in the Forces unless they were in essential industries, Police and emergency services. We would wander for miles and as long as we were home for dinner, no one seemed to worry. We played in Barton’s field, in the golf course and around the Attenborough Nature Reserve which we knew just as ‘The Gravel Pits’. Certainly in the early part of the war we had plenty of air raids when we had to leave home and go to the shelters which were erected all over the place. The nearest shelter to home was about 100 metres along the road towards Beeston. The warning was warbling sirens from all the factories and the All Clear after the raid was a steady note from them. Even after all these years, if I hear a warbling factory siren, my stomach does a little flip!

In 1943, there was a severe scarlet fever epidemic and hospital buildings kept for a possible smallpox epidemic were opened to isolate those with scarlet fever. I got it and was put in hospital somewhere near the old City Hospital. My parents visited me twice a week: they were not allowed to actually enter the ward but stood at the closed door and we talked through the glass. I was always given a big bundle of comics and magazines which my dad collected from his workmates. He was one of the managers at Ericsson Telephones factory. I had ‘complications’ so spent 13 weeks in the hospital. They were Impetigo, scabies, ringworm etc, all skin diseases caused by poor hygiene in the ward and as a result I was unable to take the 11 Plus school exams. Nothing from the hospital ward was allowed out while we were ill and for that 13 weeks, 7 days a week, dinner was Irish Stew and Rice Pudding. It was years before I could face either of those dishes again!

The 11 Plus decided whether you went to a Grammar School or a very basic Comprehensive School. As I couldn’t take the exam, that would have meant the Comprehensive School so my parents sent me to West Bridgford High School on Musters Rd, a private school owned and run by Mr and Mrs Caro. I don’t know what happened to the school after I left but I found it had been closed some time when I was in Nottingham some 16 years or so ago.

I well remember the big floods of 1946 and ’47. The school was closed for a month on both occasions. The 1947 floods were the worst, Ericsson’s factory was surrounded by water, there was a wall round the site which with pups running all the time, kept the water out of the factory. To get people to work, double deck buses would run through the floods with extensions to lift the exhaust pipe out of the water and the workers would ride on the upper deck. My dad told me later that when the waters had receded enough to turn the pumps off, there was sufficient fuel left for around another 12 hours or so.


The Yorkshireman Speaks… on pets, audience etiquette, noise and sneaky toddlers

A new addition to the family

As a family of four my wife and I thought that two children would be enough. Our house is already jammed to the rafters with mountains of soft toys and plastic landfill; I had to circumnavigate a course of Duplo blocks this very morning just to relieve my bladder. This all changed however, when last week my wife told me she wanted another, and this time we decided to adopt.

It was a big decision but last week I found myself getting ready to welcome the latest addition to the family. We fell in love with him straight away, he’s from Beeston, he’s called “Squidger” and he’s a goldfish. My daughter desperately wanted a pet so naturally we started with Dog then gradually worked backwards until we compromised with a goldfish; it was either that or a worm from the garden. When I was a lad I remember getting a goldfish, I say getting I actually mean “winning.”

Whenever the fair came to town, I’d go out with a fiver, lose a filling on a toffee apple, throw up my burger on the waltzers and come home with a live pet in a plastic bag. No one really knew what they were doing; you just got it home, stuck it in a Tupperware, called it Alan and left it on the windowsill to die. Dad would then have to go out and replace him with Alan MK2, who looked identical and then pretended that nothing was wrong.

We had one for years, he was like some sort of aquatic Bruce Forstyth and he grew to a huge size. Frankly he was too big for the tank; it was like a human trying to swim in a foot spa. I half expected to come home one day to find Alan kicking back with his fins out of the tank, wearing a dressing gown, swigging brandy and smoking a cigar. Thankfully this has all changed; you now have to be assessed to see if you are responsible enough to allow Alan into your home.

I thought it was ironic that the human I was buying this fish for was less well planned than the fish itself, but that’s just the way it is. We set up the tank a week before Squidgers arrival. Gravel had to be washed thoroughly, the water treated and a sample taken back to the garden centre to be tested in the lab. We were asked questions about where we were putting the tank and told what meals to give Squidger and how often. I’m pleased to say we passed with flying colours and Squidger is settling in well. They’ve said we need to go back in a month to assess how he is “getting on with everything” but so far so good.

He’s not sleeping because he’s a goldfish, so the bedtime story drags on a bit, but apart from that he’s great. He loves the film Finding Nemo and has already got his 50M swimming badge after only one lesson. Sometimes it can get awkward however, last night we had fish and chips and had to eat them in the shed, it just didn’t feel right.

But I’m on the phone

As a performer I love being on stage, there in the moment, connecting with the audience. However over the years I’ve started to notice something, people are utterly ruled by their mobile phones.

It’s getting to the point where you have to make a decision as an act to stop and deal with it or ignore it completely. I will often look out into the crowd and you’ll see that one person, face lit up like a low budget E.T, as they paw at their screens in the darkness. If you do confront them, they can often look at you as if to say, “but I’m on my phone?” It’s a strange phenomenon.

I’ve been at the theatre and someone in the audience has facetimed a friend to do a live video. I doubt that Shakespeare ever dreamt that one day the majesty of the line “to be or not to be” would be punctuated by the beep of an iPhone and a tiny voice from Wigan asking someone to angle the screen so they could see Prince Hamlets Jacobean ruff. I watched some you tube videos of concerts from 1995 the other night, yes the sound and picture quality was poor but the crowd certainly wasn’t. They were all facing forwards, all united in that moment and not a mobile phone to be seen; pure nostalgic bliss.


As I sit and type this article I am working my way through my evening bowl of cereal, a regular night time treat and my wife is scowling at me. It’s not the fact that I’m using all the milk, it’s because the chomping and tinkling noises I’m making are getting on her nerves.

I am considering suspending myself from the rafters, on wires like a scene from mission impossible just to make a brew

Since the arrival of the new baby, noise, or should I say, and I’m whispering as I do, the reduction of it, has become the number one priority at Bennett towers. We always argue about it, which we have to do via sign language of course, which often looks like two angry mime artists facing off in an argument over territory in Covent Garden.

I can’t eat an apple after 7pm, because I sound like a racehorse having its breakfast, I get told to turn the television down before I’ve even switched it on which is frankly impossible and all the creaky floorboards in the house have been marked out like a chalk line around a murder victim. It’s getting to the point where I am considering suspending myself from the rafters, on wires like a scene from mission impossible just to make a brew.

I’ve tethered cushions to my feet using the belts from my trousers and if I ever need to cough or sneeze I have two options, run into the garden and unload into the wheelie bin or reduce the outburst by plunging my head into the fish tank and letting it out underwater. The medical term for this is called Misophonia, which literally translated means “hatred of sounds.”

There really should be more awareness of this condition but probably no one would be allowed to talk about it. Interestingly my wife has no issue with our one year old playing a drum or the six year old stomping round the house in tap shoes blowing a kazoo and wearing a skirt made from bubble wrap, so I can’t help wondering if it’s just me.

Sneaky toddler

Our one year old is on the move now, bounding round the house like a borrower on speed. Every day is like a baby version of the film Final Destination, corners of coffee tables are missed by a whisker, and an open stair gate is pounced upon like a prisoner looking to breakout. Frankly it’s an achievement that we get her through a day unscathed.

The latest hobby she has is to take our essential items, house and car keys, watches, jewelry and scatter them throughout the house. We’ve found remote controls in the bin this week and I couldn’t get my trainers on today as they were full of loose change a wallet and a angrily chewed Duplo brick.

It’s like having a tiny gangster living with us who has been tipped off last minute about a raid from the drug squad and desperately shedding their stash of gear.

If I see my daughter passing small parcels rolled up in a bib at the next “tiny feet” play session, I’ll know something is going down.

Scott Bennett

Beeston Ceilidh


Here at Beeston Beats we don’t do things by halves, (usually pints are the weapon of choice). Me and fellow Beatsonite,  Miss Donna Bentley, relentlessly trawled through  the Beeston entertainment listings before finally homing in on an upcoming event at Attenborough’s village hall.

For those not in the know, a ceilidh (celi or Highland fling), pronounced Kay-Lee is a sort of barn dance and not the 1984 song by Marillion, All together now…“Kayleigh is it too late to say I’m sorry? And Kayleigh could we get it together again?”  Nope? Ask ya mum.

The premise is simple: a social event with Scottish or Irish folk music with traditional dancing (grab ya partner, dosey doe and all that malarkey).  Sounds straight forward enough. Having never been to an event at the hall and still having my ceilidh virgin plates firmly attached, decisions were made and tickets were booked, Priced at a reasonable fiver – bring a bottle and including supper – while profits went towards St Mary’s Church fund, the evening was a bargain.

Wearing a silly hat I got free at a bar, I was feeling all ready to take on the shindig.

The night in question was St Patrick’s; after spending the day in Nottingham watching the parade and wearing a silly hat I got free at a bar, I was feeling all ready to take on the shindig. On arrival the hall was packed to the rafters  with only space in the room at the back to find a seat, adamant that a few  drops of alkimihol was needed before my pins hit the dance floor. Which leads me nicely to a quick confession: I struggle with choreographed dancing. You name it – the cha cha slide, time warp, Macarena, and even the ponytailed Whigfield’s simplistic dance for Saturday night – it leaves me quite honestly puddled, exhausted and confused.  Mixing up mi lefts with mi rights I usually tend to copy the person closest to me just to survive the incident without huge embarrassment. If that person is like me I dread to think about the outcome…

Luckily enough, the night catered for people with dancing dyslexia like me, with slow and clear instructions from the “caller” tactfully adapting to those more skilled in the dance and those with the grace and etiquette of a merry moose. Merry being the operative word as I had awkwardly supped away through a bottle of the nearest garage’s finest wine (on offer at a bargain of two for a fiver of course), a taste sensation, with nutty hints of paint stripper, methylated spirits and an oaky musk of dank cellar.

Providing the musical accompaniment for the night were south Nottingham band ‘Fiddle Factor’, a group of family and friends  dedicated to enhancing the experience through a back drop of fiddly  Irish folky tunes through the medium of violin, flutes and even on occasion bagpipes.

After checking out some dance routines on Scottish dance net previously, I was relieved more advance moves such as the Virginia reel, Swedish masquerade, or the sausage machine, were left out:  the mind boggles, as me mam would say.

The main objective of the ceilidh is to have fun and not fall on ya bum which I managed to achieve in both parts. Would I go again? Of course, good friends and helping a good cause while having a laugh is what it’s all about.  Also there was cake, chocolate cake and  a supper of a yummy filled roll and coleslaw side.(It really was all about the cake though.)

Next issue, Donna takes the helm of the good ship Beeston Beats as I am off to become a pirate keeping the look out at Beeston Marina Company as we sip rum and fight seagulls for our supper. Ooooo arrrrr!


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