‘It’s very peaceful, it’s relaxing and has done a lot for my health’ – Beeston canal boat owner describes his experience of life on a boat

Normal life revolves around buying a house, creating a family and having a successful career. But for these two men, life wasn’t just about sticking to social norms, they wanted to explore life in a new way; through water. Moored on the Beeston canal, John Dubson, 75, and Jim Goodsin, 64, describe life on board.

Mr Dubson has been part of canal life for 31 years and has had his wide-beam boat, the Neveah, since 2016.

John has had three boats in his life but prefers his dutch-barge styled boat which is bigger than his previous ones with a fitted kitchen and living room area.

He said: “I am limited to where I can go because of the size but I can still go to rivers because they are wide. This’ll be the last boat for me and it is too much for just one person.”

The boater explains how covid has restricted his movement but is now excited for the return to normality.

He added: “We can’t move at the moment. I’ve always been a continual cruiser so you move every 14 days. I’m waiting till later this month to have some repairs done to the boat.”

The Neveah on the Beeston canal

Jim Goodinson has lived in Beeston since the mid-90s and has had canal boats for 23 years.

The Whirligig is a second-hand cruiser stern boat that Jim got back in 2012.

Jim said: “Whirligig was the name on it, some people believe it’s bad luck to change a boat. I rent my house out and live on the boat most of the time.”

Even with the pandemic, Jim explains last year was the busiest year for him as a painter and decorator as he booked lots of jobs but is looking to retire soon.

He adds: “Covid has slowed boating down and the Canal and Riverside Trust has asked us to try not to move if it’s not essential but you can move for things such as fuel.

“99% of boaters have stuck to that rule.”

Jim with the Whirligig all dressed up for D-Day

The boaters have known each other for over eight years and last summer travelled to Lincolnshire together.

Jim said: “I would say there’s a community vibe, majority of people all know each other in Beeston. We look after one another.”

They both enjoy the benefits of nautical living and how it’s given them the opportunity to experience new ways of life.

John said: “It’s a good life. You just relax and chill out.

“I’ve seen some really lovely places and I’ve been all around England. Boating is a fantastic life.”

Jim, like John, agrees with life being more peaceful: “Living on the water you get a lot of chilled out time and there aren’t as many pressures.

“It’s got a lot of nature, I have swans tapping on the windows most mornings, something you don’t always get to see if you live in a house.

“It’s very peaceful, it’s relaxing and has done a lot for my health”.

Jim Goodinson’s boat in the winter where he has decorated it for Christmas day

The canal cruisers explain the importance of understanding boat life before taking the plunge and buying a boat.

John’s advice is to hire one out first and see if you like it as boating life isn’t always easy.

John said: “People have died on their boat from the cold in winter. If you do like boating but are not retired, hire a boat. You’ve really got to be retired to travel.”

Jim said: “Boating is something you either take to or you don’t.

“You get a lot of people walking around in summer and saying how nice it looks.

“When winter comes those boats are for sale. You’ve got to be a certain breed to get through winter.”

The Canal and Riverside Trust have stated that canal boaters can cruise freely and stay overnight on their boat. No indoor mixing on boats is allowed until 17 May, in line with Government restrictions.

Boat travelling suspensions were lifted 12 April 2021 meaning Jim and John can enjoy their freedom of movement across the waters.

ED

Beeston Film Festival returns for it’s seventh edition!

The Beeston film festival is set to return this March for its seventh year to celebrate and showcase international short films in the heart of Beeston.

Festival organiser, John Currie, deliberately associated the festival with Beeston, to give something back to his community, a community of strong artists and performers:

“When we started there was not a Nottingham Film Festival at the time, and we could not call ourselves that. So, we deliberately said ‘we are going to be the Beeston Festival’, this is what we wanted”.

The Festival, which is the biggest international Top 100 Best Reviewed short-film festival, will see a wide range of short-movies competing for the BOscar, the Oscar of Beeston.

The programme, which will run from Monday 22 to Sunday 28 March, will be online for the second time this year and will present over 150 films from over 80 different countries at 3 local venues:

“It is going to be a totally jam-packed international program with movies from Africa, America, France, all around Europe, China and Australia,” said John.

The festival will also host famous actors, such as local famous BAFTA-winning actress, Vicki McClure, Dame Maureen Lipman and Helen Lederer among new and emerging talents.

A wide range of genre will be presented, going from Horror, Comedy, Drama to Women’s Voices and Pride. Selections were accurately made by a team drawn from the local community of film enthusiasts:

“This year we had over 650 entries to the festival. So, our local team of film lovers have been reviewing them and going through the selection process. This means we had to watch all the films carefully and respectfully to make the right choices” added John.

Helping with the festival organisation are also 10 NTU interns working full and part-time behind the scenes. An opportunity for them to really get involved in the organisation.

“They are great. They are really helpful and really help enable us to do things that we haven’t done before. The interns will be very much involved in creating a preview program. So just before the festival starts”.

The preview of the program will include interviews with the directors of the films which have been shortlisted for the best and festival awards.

Like last year, the festival will go ahead totally online, and John and his team have had to find new ways to engage people in a covid-safe environment:

“Last year we utilised Facebook Live. But, over the past few years there has been a real growth in new platforms so that is why our social media manager Francesca has been working to explore the opportunity of expanding into TikTok, which is taking over the world”.

Excitement and hopes are also high for the opening of the Arc Cinema, which is scheduled to open its doors in the centre of Beeston this summer. The brand-new cinema, which will offer digital

laser projectors, immersive surround sounds and luxury seats, other than a café/bar area, is set to bring new opportunities and changes for Beeston and its Film Festival, to create a real festival atmosphere in the town:

“I am really excited about it, especially because I have spoken with Arc, and they are actually excited about getting involved with the festival but also having short film nights during the year, to give filmmakers additional screenings. When the cinema will open up, we will look into having regular monthly screenings where we can share some of the back catalogue of films that have been submitted earlier because… Let’s have a break from Netflix!”.

Talking about the future of the festival and for the Beeston community, John has really high hopes:

“Once we get the next in-person festival out of the way our inspiration is to move from one week to two weeks of screening. And we will start introducing feature films as well. We really want to move into a space where we have a longer festival. So, I am very excited about the future”.

Tickets are available to purchase here. Costs range from £10 pounds plus booking fee for the whole festival to £2.50 for individual sessions.

IB

The Staggering Optimism of Students

It’s a turbulent time for everyone, none more so than for the thousands of students currently studying at our city’s university who are nowhere near our city.

Most students have gone back home, wherever home might be. It could be abroad, or hundreds of miles down the road to the coastal parts of our country, but they’re still part of this broken and haphazard group we call the student body. As a university student myself, this year has been the most difficult so far, completing all our lectures, seminars and assignments from the dining room table whilst the rest of your family bustle around you and try and find the small piece of normality they still have left.

It’s been hard to remain positive for many, with social interaction with other students confined to a fortnightly Zoom quiz and Netflix party. It’s been a shock to the system and a change that many weren’t prepared for. But there are a few ways that students are keeping their spirits high during these unprecedented times.

Olivia Stock, 21, an English student at the University of Nottingham, has found refuge in her extracurricular opportunities that have found a way to continue throughout the pandemic.

She said: “Student media has been a lifeline for me during the pandemic. When things were unsettled, it offered a real sense of purpose and constancy. Having the time to indulge in creative projects has been brilliant and for students who often feel anxious or overwhelmed by small-group study sessions, the online learning environment has made for a more comfortable and reassuring experience.”

Olivia also noted how moving back in with her parents helped prepare her for her life after she finishes university as she fully expects to have to live with them for a while again whilst searching for a job.

She added: “For me, living at home for periods of time during the pandemic has helped eliminate that irrational student fear about moving back in with parents post-graduating. I think there’s a real stigma about not walking straight into a job after university, so the pandemic has really shown me that it isn’t all bad!”

“This third lockdown has been particularly tough, being stuck inside all day during the winter months can be really tolling at times.”

Lewis Tibbs, 22, a Broadcast Journalism student at Nottingham Trent University also admitted that he has found it more difficult to concentrate during the current lockdown but has found small ways to stay motivated.

He said: “This third lockdown has been particularly tough, being stuck inside all day during the winter months can be really tolling at times. But there has been a lot of positivity to come out of it as well. I’ve used lockdown to recuperate and refocus and to really think about what I want to achieve and what I want to do with my life. I’ve thrown myself into my work and tried my best to prepare myself for my life post-graduation. It’s given me a purpose every day and something to wake up for.”

Lewis also added that the changes to his university degree have been significant, but he managed to find the positives in those as well.

He admitted: “University isn’t the same in the slightest, of course, it isn’t how I expected to be finishing my degree at all, but the staff work really hard to provide a good quality learning experience, so it’s been okay. I try and talk to my friends as much as possible because it does help. Despite the obvious challenges, I’m doing good.”

Lilith Hudson, 22, an English and Philosophy student at the University of Nottingham, has also found these last few months more difficult than previous lockdowns. However, she has found spending time outdoors as the key to keeping her spirits high.

She said: “There’s no denying that the last few months have been a struggle. Life has become routinely boring in the absence of any spontaneity. As a final year student, it’s easy to think that because there’s nothing better to do you should spend your time studying, but this approach won’t do you or your grades any favours.”

“As contrived as it may be, I’ve been trying to spice up drab days with impromptu jaunts; mid-mornings spent meandering along the Trent and afternoons plodding along the canal. When exercise doesn’t appeal, I do some impulsive baking or randomly call a friend. It’s the little things like this that help you to find something positive every day.”

She added: “The faint possibility that I’ll actually have a graduation was the motive I needed to keep me going, so I’m holding onto hope!”

FP

“Techno Techno Tech-NO!” – The frustrations with technology

Let me just start by saying the last year has been tough, but I think it was the best era for a pandemic like this to happen.

Netflix, Deliveroo, the internet, can you imagine trying to get through this nightmare twenty years ago?

Sitting there for eight hours a day, with terrestrial television, a box set of Bergerac on DVD and snake on a Nokia 3410, it would have been agony. That’s not a lockdown that’s a wet caravanning holiday to Rhyl.

Technology has helped us keep in touch with family. I’ve been stunned by how quickly my parents have adapted to this new online world.

My father is called “Roy”, which is the perfect name for a working-class, Yorkshire Luddite. You don’t get many baby Roy’s these days, do you? That’s not a baby that’s the name of a sixty-year-old bloke with a moustache and a smokers cough. Babies called Roy would come out of the womb already able to grout a bathroom. I reckon my dad was already a tradesman before he even took his first breath. Apparently, he was born by cesarian section, I imagine he probably used his first words to give his mother a quote for the damage. “We can plaster over that love, no worries, two hundred quid, see you Tuesday.”

He got this iPad so he could Facetime my children. He never got the hang of it, because he used to ring us first, half an hour before, to see if we were “prepared for the Facetime” what did he think it was? Live Aid or something? Just be spontaneous Dad!

He couldn’t use the camera either. For weeks we were being Facetimed by a Fridge Freezer. There was nothing there. Then all of a sudden accompanied by some heavy breathing, this eye would come creeping into view. “Here’s Grandad!” the kids didn’t sleep for weeks!

Now he’s setting up WhatsApp groups, video calls, Skype sessions. He’s learnt new words like, “bandwidth” and “emoji” I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before he goes viral on Tik Tok.

Technology is incredible, but it does make our lives more complicated.

I feel like we have to remember more passwords than an MI5 agent these days. I’m running out of options now. I’ve used the children’s names, birthdays, old teachers. I’ve been through the cast of Neighbours, including Bouncer the dog, I’m really struggling now.

Everything is encrypted now too, which just causes more stress. I hate the person who invented that Captcha system. I think we should find them and take them hostage, and only let them go if they manage to spot three fire hydrants a zebra crossing and seven bicycles out of a window. I’m obviously not a robot. As if a robot would be online at two in the morning, googling “What is MC Hammer’s real name?”

I’ve signed up for so much stuff online and I can say with some confidence that I’ve never read those terms and conditions either. Who has time for that?

No one knows what is written in that small print.

I could have just agreed to donate a kidney if I miss a payment, but I want that phone more than I want to be thorough, so I’ll instantly click accept.

During lockdown, I’ve been in a toxic relationship too.

With my inkjet printer.

It’s the year 2021, we’ve put people on the moon and yet we still can’t design a printer that isn’t an absolute arsehole.

“Sometimes our baby monitor would pick up the radio from the local taxi rank. Either that or our youngest was trying to book a minibus to the airport.”

I know they’ll be people reading this who have an inkjet printer, I just want to ask how many times, today alone, have you sworn at it and threatened to sling it through the window? I bet it’s at least fifty.

Mine is possessed. HP, which stands for “Higher Power” I swear it’s trying to break me down.

Once, I got so angry with it, I pulled the power cord out of the back, the light stayed on, that defies physics. There is only one thing powering that, resentment.

Having that printer is like having a teenage boy in the house. This thing just sits in the corner all day, just grunting, there’s a light on but nothing’s happening, I’m always feeding it and it’s costing me a fortune.

I got that printer for thirty quid, an absolute bargain. I remember having to do a double-take in the shop. “They must be making a loss; they couldn’t manufacture it for that price?” This is because they know that they will get you on the ink. That’s not a printer, that’s a gateway drug!

That printer cost me thirty pounds; the ink is costing me over six hundred pounds a year!

That’s like someone selling you a car for five hundred quid and you then find out that it only runs on Unicorn pee!

It’s a scandal, people would march against these companies, but they can’t afford to print the placards.

I’ve got an idea for a new Terminator film; I’m going to email James Cameron this week. It’s the perfect concept, something that pitches man against machine in the ultimate battle to the death. But they’ll be no guns, no gadgets, no time travel, it’d just be one man trying to print a Ryan Air boarding pass for three hours!

We are obsessed with putting technology into things now too. Everything has to be internet ready and it’s getting out of hand.

I got bought a video doorbell for Christmas, it connects to the internet and you can tell you who is at your door when you’re away from home. When you’ve been in lockdown for over a year that’s just what you need. They may as well have got me vouchers for British Airways.

I’ve had a cheaper version of this gadget that has been working well for over fifteen years now, it’s called the front room window. It’s cheap, it’s low maintenance and doesn’t text me like a needy girlfriend every time some stranger looks through it.

I have enough stress to deal with in my life without my doorbell being able to contact me. I’ve got two kids, a cat and a mortgage, now I’ve got a doorbell to look after, I can’t deal with that!

If you’re already an anxious person, this is the last you need in your life. Imagine being sat on a beach in Greece (when we are allowed) on your holidays, trying to relax. Then your phone flags up a notification and you have to watch in real-time, someone trying to burgle your house, whilst you’re sat on a sun lounger, powerless and panicking, holding a Cornetto

“I swear sometimes, in the early hours, I’ve actually heard that poor smart speaker sobbing.”

You can buy a slow cooker that connects to the internet now. Just in case you want to monitor a casserole remotely. How boring is your life if part of your day is to check in on your slow cooker?!

“Everything okay Pete, you’ve gone pale”

“I’ve had an emergency at home”

“Oh no, is it the kids are they okay?”

“It’s worse than that, the slow cooker has got stuck on simmer!”

You can buy a Pepper Spray with a Bluetooth connection, camera and 4G. So, you can spray the assailant whilst sending a photo of them to the police. Imagine trying to do that?

“Mate, I know I’m terrified and you’ve got a knife, but can we do another one, I had my finger over the lens!” “Sure, I didn’t like that one anyway, my chin looked a bit fat”

You can buy an internet ready onesie so you can put your baby online too. With an accompanying app that monitors the heart rate and oxygen levels.

The perfect gadget for those parents on the edge who are already terrified of leaving their kid alone. Having a baby is nerve-wracking enough without having it wired into the grid. It’s bad enough having a baby monitor. That’s meant to bring you peace of mind, but all that happens is you’ll be sat in the front room having a cup of tea listening to your exhausted partner swearing at your child. Very embarrassing, particularly if the midwife is there.

Sometimes our baby monitor would pick up the radio from the local taxi rank. Either that or our youngest was trying to book a minibus to the airport.

It was really weird, you’d be listening to the sound of her breathing, a lullaby being played on the mobile, then it would just get interrupted by Darren at Cable Cars.

“Tony, pick up at Oceana night club mate, you nearby!”

“Can do mate, Roger that!”

Can I just say at this point, I’m ashamed of the way I speak to my Alexa. It’s appalling.

I’m just barking orders at that poor woman all day long. “Alexa, play Radio 2” “Alexa, set the timer for my eggs, Alexa what happened to Zammo from Grange Hill?”

I can just see her at the other end, just running around all stressed and flustered. I never give her a break. If I spoke to my wife like I speak to my Alexa she’d hit me with a frying pan.

The worst thing is sometimes Alexa gets told off for stuff that isn’t even her fault. She gets caught in the crossfire during our marital arguments.

She’ll be playing the radio as I’ve told her to do, my wife will be annoyed with me for some reason and when she walks into the kitchen who does she shout at first? Not me, poor old Alexa!

She turns to that blue light and with venom and hatred she yells.

“ALEXA……..OFF!”

“SHUT YER FACE ALEXA!”

I swear sometimes, in the early hours, I’ve actually heard that poor smart speaker sobbing.

We should have an adoption agency for mistreated appliances like this. Kindles who haven’t been charged for years, old I-phones that have been discarded in drawers and Fitbits that were worn once and then slung angrily into the corner of the room, after the owner realized that running was yet another thing in life that they’ve failed miserably at.

I think technology has changed arguments forever. They aren’t as much fun as they used to be, are they? It used to be an angry shouting match, people screaming down telephones, tears, maybe even actual violence.

Now, just one sentence sends us into a panic, “David has left the WhatsApp group!” “On no!” “What have we done to David!”

When technology lets you down, there is nothing worse.

We’re in a constant battle with our broadband at the moment. It’s become an essential service and ours is appalling. I rang up to complain to my service provider, I was all charged up, foaming at the mouth, ready to give these clowns both barrels.

But what I’ve noticed is that some of these companies have what seems to be, a secret Nanna department. It’s so clever. I was expecting to get some seventeen year old idiot called Gavin who I could have happily unloaded both barrels on. But instead, I got Dorothy, a softly spoken Scottish woman with a voice like Mrs Doubtfire, and it totally threw me.

I reckon it wasn’t a call centre at all. Just a care home, with a load of lovely old ladies, sat in rows with headsets on and a tartan blanket on their knees. Taking calls in between Countdown and Homes under the Hammer.

So, I tried to put my complaint to her.

“Listen, this broadband isn’t good enough Dorothy, I’m trying to work from home at the moment, we’ve got the children being home-schooled, it’s slow, expensive and unreliable and frankly I’ve had enough of it”

She paused and then her little gentle voice piped up.

“ahhh, two wee girls, what are their names?”

“Olivia and Sophia”

“Beautiful names, I’ve got two wee girls myself. They’ve grown up and left home now, one of them is in Canada, I rarely see her. They all leave dear; I suppose you’re going to do the same are you?”

“Errr…..right okay, sorry about that. No, I don’t want to leave but it’s the upload speed that’s the problem, Dorothy, It’s useless”

“I know my dear, and that’s the one thing we don’t guarantee, I’m so sorry”

“Where I live is the same, my little cottage here on the isle of Sky, we have to make do dear. There are people dying in this pandemic, but I know that a little bit of buffering whilst you’re trying to watch Bridgerton is more than anyone should have to deal with”

“If I could I would come down there with some cable, a shovel and a wheelbarrow and put in that fibre myself. I would my dear, but I can’t do that poppet, I’m 83, my best installation days are behind me now!”

So, I rang up to complain and all I did was have a chat with an old lady for twenty minutes. Worse thing is, she was so good, I’ve not even left, I’ve signed a contract for another three years.

Scott Bennett Comedian

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I am Beeston: Jamil Ahmed – Postmaster

“I grew up as a migrant child in greater Manchester. We lived in some of the poorer areas of Manchester. At the age of 10, my father got a job in Nottingham and we made the big move from Manchester to Sneinton. I went to Greenwood School which later became the Nottingham Academy. We moved to Beeston in 1994, as it was a friendly area and also well known for good amenities.

“In 2013, an opportunity arose to buy the local post office on Broadgate. I decided to take this opportunity, as I wanted a change from my previous job. Living in Beeston and having a business in Beeston, allowed me to stay connected with my local community and allowed me to contribute to the local area. It also helped me to gain knowledge of the local community. The post office plays an important part when it comes to serving the local community, and I don’t just mean the products and services that it offers, but from helping customers with non-postal related issues to conversing with some of the elderly and vulnerable customers who don’t have anyone to talk to, but love coming into the post office to have a chat. I often see the majority of my customers in and around Beeston, and some of them I know so well, that I have built up a good relationship, that even when they move out of the area they still come back to use my post office.

“What I like about Beeston, is that it’s very lively with the university and there are many prominent businesses around. A lot of green spaces such as university park and Rylands. Beeston is very diverse and very friendly and I think that’s what makes the town so unique. Most people are very relaxed and this creates a great atmosphere. Since 1991 the town centre has been transformed a few times. The old shops such McDonald’s, Superdrug, Be Wise and many others have all gone. But the construction of Tesco’s and now the new cinema bring new opportunities. Not forgetting the tram.

“One thing I have done is the development of two derelict commercial properties on Chilwell Road and transformed them into a modern retail premise and two flats.  My brother and I bought the shops back in October 2015. They were derelict and completely ruined and so we spent most weekends and evenings fixing it up. The work took us 18 months in total. These were featured on the TV series ‘Homes Under the Hammer’. I had great fun doing the show, and the episode was aired in 2017. After that, it was nice to get recognised around Beeston when shopping and at work. It still turns up on daytime TV, and someone will say that I’ve been on TV again”.

“There are so many funny stories that have happened at the post office. If I had to pick one it would be when a student came in and handed me an item, unpacked, and with no address on it. They simply walked out whilst I was walking back to the serving counter. Another one is that someone once posted a parcel, and then three years later he received it back and he asked me why. 

“I’m proud to say that as a sub-postmaster, I enjoy serving the local community and I hope the local community will give me the opportunity to serve them. I would ask everyone who reads this article to use their local post office and encourage friends and family to use theirs. Post offices are run by individual Postmasters, and we rely on the customers’ footfall to keep us open. We offer a wide range of services such as postal services (Royal Mail and Parcel Force worldwide), local collect services, currency exchange, travel insurance, DVLA services, passport check and send and many more. We also sell greeting cards, stationery, toys, gifts and household items. You can even drop off your dry cleaning.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the lovely people of Beeston for making it such a great place to live.

CF

Beestonians through lockdown: Suzanna Plimmer, secondary school teacher

How volunteering for a foodbank opened a Beestonian’s eyes…

We were told by my school that we’d be off for two weeks, so leave everything on our desks and we’d be back in a fortnight. That night, Boris told us we’d be having the full shutdown. I’ve got three kids away at different unis, so I called them home – get back quickly. One of them, studying in Liverpool, thought it was all a fuss about nothing. I didn’t get to see her for six months.

I had a couple of weeks just doing my Joe Wicks and whatever, but I felt in limbo. I was sewing scrubs and that was something, but I felt I needed to do more.  I went to my local Co-op and said: “If you want me to help stock the shelves then I’m happy to help”. Remember, back then it was hard to get anything, and I thought volunteering to help might make it easier for them, and for my community. They said yes, and I got to work.

One night, the manager told me he was sending a load of food down to the Haven food bank in Stapleford. I was curious, so found out more, and ended up asking a bloke working there, Richard (Macrae, Stapleford Community Group Director and local councillor) if I could volunteer more. I started by going to the food bank twice a week at the food bank picking the food. There’d be people with short term needs, people with long term needs, people with mental health issues: we’d serve them all. I was shocked at how many people needed help.

I moved on to deliveries, and what shook me was how there were people I knew, who never in my mind did I imagine they were needing help. I visited one set of flats, a building close to me which I had somehow not really noticed before. I gave the woman living there some nappies. She burst into tears: her baby hadn’t worn nappies for two days. That moment did something to me. I thought how the evening before I’d opened my fridge and thrown away all the crap I hadn’t yet eaten that week. I was struck by what a waste it all was: I could afford to throw food away while this poor woman couldn’t afford nappies.

Since then, I only buy exactly what I need, nothing else. It’s morally corrupt to throw stuff away. I will never do so again and will encourage others to do so. I take my lunches to work, and every scrap of leftovers is eaten. Until I worked at the food bank I didn’t know the extent to which this was all happening. We’re a rich nation, yet people have to rely on these silent heroes to help them. The last few months have given me the opportunity to have some clarity. Life before was a hamster wheel, working long hours and not having time to think about much outside work. I’ve seen what is important and what isn’t important.

Broxtowe Community Projects

Ever wondered what has happened to the old Carphone Warehouse shop on Queens Road? It is now occupied by Broxtowe Community Projects, who have been in there since the start of November last year.

The project is a self-referral foodbank covering all of the Broxtowe Borough Council area, which was originally set up in the Labour office on the High Road. ‘Self-referral’ means that anyone in need can go and request help, rather than having to be referred by social services or other agencies.

As well as collections, volunteers deliver food parcels throughout the borough. The service is open on Mondays from 10am to 1pm and delivers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. This covers all of the borough, across to Stapleford all the way up to Kimberley and Eastwood.

The project runs on donations from the public, as well as supermarkets. As well as food parcels, those in need can also be provided with toiletries, nappies, formula milk etc.

Anyone wanting to donate can take items during opening hours. If that isn’t possible then there is a collection point outside. What is working really well is neighbourhood collections that can be taken to the project in one go during opening hours.

Donations that are most useful are pretty much anything that has a shelf life – tins, packets and jars. Especially breakfast cereals and porridge oats, tins of soup, tinned meals such as chilli con carne or Bolognese sauce, rice, pasta, spaghetti. Also toiletries, nappies etc.

As well as serving those in need, each Saturday from 10.30am to 12.30pm the project is open to anyone who wants to come and take surplus food in exchange for a donation. As well as raising much-needed funds, this also eliminates a lot of food waste.

The project is always on the lookout for volunteers, so if you have time to spare then get in touch and see how you can help – 07434 664 174 or email broxtowe.cp@gmail.com

To keep up to date with what is happening at the project, follow them on Facebook here. 

JC

The mask and the red death

As we enter a second lockdown, initially for a month, I’ve thought about how much has been written and debated about the Coronavirus since it appeared globally at the beginning of the year. Some real, some false and some downright dangerous. Injecting bleach. Really? I’ve known a few people who have been asked to self-isolate, as they may have come into contact with someone who may have had it. Someone I know at work caught it, but are better now. But I don’t know anyone locally who has been diagnosed with it. So, I was stunned to find out that one of my Beeston-based Facebook friends announced recently that they had been infected and have had it. So I contacted them, to find out whether they would be willing to share their experience of catching the scarlet coloured killer. They were happy to, as they wanted to make as many people aware of the seriousness of the pandemic.

Paolo Lannattone comes from Ausonia in central Italy and has been living in Beeston with his family for more than five years now. They love Beeston and plan to stay here for a long time. He is a piano and music theory teacher at MLC Academy in West Bridgford and has composed music for Italian films. He also attended the last year of a degree course in Music Technology at the University of Derby.

Firstly I asked Paolo how he initially became aware that he might have caught Covid.

“In mid-October, the NHS app reported to the whole family that we had been in contact with someone who tested positive. So we self-isolated. A few days later, my wife and daughter started having the first symptoms and requested the test. It came back positive. A few days later, I too started having the first symptoms, such as fever and a cough. So I too took the test, to which I also tested positive.

“We don’t know exactly who transmitted the virus to us. The app respects the privacy of users, so it only warns that you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive. So you must self-isolate. However, I must underline that thanks to the NHS app we were able to self-isolate a few days before having the first symptoms, thus avoiding any further spreading of the virus.

“A few days later, the symptoms became more difficult to manage. In addition to having a fever and cough, a strong sense of fatigue and shortness of breath appeared. For 10 days, it was very intense. Although I am an amateur runner, running more or less 20km a week, I was struggling to climb the flight of stairs in the house. More than once I thought that soon I would end up in the hospital with a ventilator because my breath was really short. It helped a lot to sit or lie in bed, so I could manage my breath a little better.

“Fortunately I did not need any hospital treatment. Although for a few days I was afraid of having to call 111, as I was advised to by the NHS operators who were in contact with me daily. Just in case I needed it. I’ve had the symptoms of Covid-19 for about 25 days now and they have not yet completely passed. I tire easily. I have sudden coughing episodes, especially when I wake up and when I go to sleep. I have completely lost my taste and smell and have not yet recovered them.

So you are still struggling?

“After my fever passed, the NHS allowed me to go out again. I don’t go out much because I don’t have much strength in my legs. I go for small walks with my wife Claudia and dog Jackie. At present, I don’t know how long these symptoms will last. Some acquaintances of mine, who contracted the virus, has had the same symptoms, and they’ve lasted for two and a half months now. Considering my situation, this is an entirely probable scenario. I think it is good to have patience and wait for it to pass. Hoping it does not leave deeper consequences. Considering that science does not have a thorough knowledge of this virus yet.

What about the rest of the family. How are they doing?

“Claudia and Ali are getting better. Ali has returned to Bilborough College. Claudia will go back to her job after the lockdown. They got exactly the same symptoms but fortunately it hasn’t lasted as long for them.

“What’s your view about the imminent availability of a vaccine?” “Obviously I think the vaccine is great news, but it will take longer than we think to get it for everyone. The first problem is that it needs to be preserved and transported at minus 80 degrees. I’m not sure about how many facilities we have in the UK for this kind of storage at the moment. The second is that the number of requested doses is very high and we have to be patient. It won’t be available for all for a while.

“There are of course other drug companies around the world that are working on a solution to the virus. So maybe between them, they should be able to come up with something to see the virus off. Or it may be one of those diseases that humanity has to live with, like the flu, the common cold or malaria. And as Paolo says, we will just have to wait and see what happens.”

CF

It’s my un-party, and I’ll cry if I want to…

Ahhh admit it, you know the words to the poptastic hit made famous by Lesley Gore from back in 1963, or its other various forms which include a cover by Drake and Rhianna in “Take Care”. Or maybe the American Metalcore version by Motionless in White? With their additional lyrics “Die if I want too?” on their track “Necessary Evil”? Of course you do.

This brings me nicely to my point in hand, it actually was my party. Well kind of. Being a November baby I celebrate my birthmas in this month and have celebrated this occasion over the years with parties in nightclubs, bars, catching legendary performers – The Prodigy, (No Tourists Tour 2018), Alice Cooper (Spend The Night Tour 2017). This year I spent the day in at home, drinking copious amounts of rum and coke and binge-watching music documentaries. The contrast is stark, however I am a happy bear. Don’t get me wrong, I miss the pounding in my heart of live, ridiculously loud and heart-trembling bass, but the inner optimist in me is beginning to revel in this new life. I shall explain…

While we gloriously sugarcoat the good old days when we could do stuff with rose-tinted heart-shaped glasses, there are so many aspects I don’t miss. Rock City toilets for example. Only those with a strong stomach dare enter, the mix of two-pint beers and drunkenness make for a sorry state. I feel for the ladies who spend all night in there selling lollipops and the like. Don’t get me started on The Emporium Nightclub; I will leave that one there, only to say Rock City would be an upgrade…

There is more I don’t really miss about gig life, I don’t miss being five foot two and always, always being stood behind the tallest person in the venue. Don’t ask me how but they find me then barge past me to stand that close, I wonder if we should exchange phone numbers.

I don’t miss the smell, sweaty and nasty, being in a club and seeing someone I know who has been in the mosh pit. They smell like one and that is from across the room, they make eye contact and oh dear god no they are heading over for a hug. It is too late, I try not to breathe, smile and wander off to find air.

I don’t miss the queues. The night even begins with one to get in. An hour in the cold and people who know people have joined the queue ahead of you, as you try not to get too annoyed five of their mates have joined the joiners. Finally in the venue and there’s a queue for the cloakroom yey! Ok, in you go and get a drink from the bar? Good luck with that, its 5 people deep and no one ever knows what they want. Who needed to see any of the support acts anyway?

My personal favourite pet hate is trying to remember where you were stood in a gig or festival, after a loo trip or bar run, now trying to find your mates in low lights while holding plastic cups filled with beer and bouncing bodies are everywhere, at seven pound a pint trying not to cry when Betty Knobhead decides to start a mosh pit and you realise why the floor is so sticky. Still, fourteen pounds for two empty plastic cups, bargain!

And more than anything, the expense! It is an expensive hobby. A friend and I booked tickets for Hip-Hop “Insane in the Brain” band Cypress Hill back in 2018 – the tickets were £60, the hotel (the gig was in Leeds) was £120, so that was £180 not including train tickets food, drinks, taxi to the venue and back to the hotel. The gig was fabulous but the cost of a trip abroad, and the band were barely on stage an hour.

All these reasons swirled around my head as I sat on my comfy(ish) sofa on my birthday, as I poured myself a drink without having to queue, from a bottle of rum that barely cost me twenty good old pounds with mixer, with a lemon wedge plonked in for good luck. In a club that money could barely stretch to two rounds, and I had whole lotta rum for my money. Bargain. The only tall weirdos that will get in my view are not really that tall and already live with me. There’s no sweaty encounters with drunken acquaintances and the restroom is free of gross uninhibited strangers and features a clean porcelain toilet to use at my desecration. This is the life!

My conclusion is this, while ‘Rona has changed every person’s life this year, we have to find the silver lining. I have enough gig experience to tide me over, I can wait, it ain’t gonna be forever, and while I wait I try and look at the positives. Don’t get me wrong, as soon as this is over I will be at ALL the gigs, festivals, raves et al, but until then, pass me a drink and I will party at home in my pyjamas. Of course, I am still watching Netflix but what else have I to do?! Christmas? That’s sorted – bring it on, no unnecessary family trips and extra time in my pants singing “It’s my parrrrrrttttehhh!” Oh, by the way you are not invited…

LD

Jamie Ireland: owner, The Cycle Inn

There are few people who will one day look back at 2020 and not see it changed them in some way. We wanted to find out what lockdown (the first one) was like for a variety of the population, and how they have emerged as different people. One phrase that was said in nearly every interview was “the new normal”. That means many things to many people, as we discovered:

“Our lockdown? One day! After the first lockdown announcement when Boris said “that’s it, everyone’s got to stay at home” we closed, but that same evening the list of the services that could stay open was produced, and third on the list was cycle shops.

“I came in the next day and was faced with a High Road with no people walking up and down it – I thought ‘how long can I stay open with no money coming in?”- but by the end of the day I was running around like a headless chicken.

“A lot of people needed to still get to the QMC to work, and with restricted public transport there was a surge of people needing bikes to get about. Then people were permitted one form of exercise, and if you don’t have a dog to walk, getting on a bike was suddenly a legitimate reason to escape for that hour.

“Lockdown showed (people) the freedom bikes gave them.”

“Within the first week people were rushing to buy bikes – we sold 20 bikes in a week, that’s usually a month’s worth – the whole UK bike trade has gone through the roof.

“There aren’t any 2020 models left in the country, pretty much all the 2021 stock has been pre-sold. It’s changed individuals and families -my neighbours never cycled much, now they’re a family of dedicated cyclists. Lockdown showed them the freedom bikes gave them.

“The ball is still rolling: people are reluctant to use public transport to get to work, to get to school. I’ve never seen such an epic boom – I’m working 6 or 7 days a week, 12 hours a day to keep Beeston rolling. But it’s great to see so many discover cycling – the more converts the better!”

MT

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