Featured Artist – Helen Bulmer

by Debra Urbacz

I first became aware of Helen’s work last September at Canalside Heritage Centre during an exhibition changeover, which was made slightly weird by the wearing of masks and muffled conversations. Her perfect prints radiated bright shots of colour from the stark white wall. With inks as intense as her hair dye sitting well with subtler pastel shades, those paper prints commanded  attention – the heavy line work succeeding in emboldening them further.

I met up with Helen again in Bendigo this month, where we  swapped secondary teaching tales over a welcome mid-week glass of sparkly wine and talked about her artistic inspirations. It is probably unsurprising to learn that Helen was very much taken with the use of tone and pattern in works by Henri Matisse. The vividness and bold forms are very much evident in her prints. “I like colour!” she exclaims. “I have tried to be subtle but it doesn’t work.” Her signature hues are orange and turquoise, simply because they look so good together.

Helen has always had an interest in making art. Recognising her passion and talent early on in life led her to study the subject beyond ‘O’ Levels, eventually graduating with a degree in Graphic Design from Newcastle University. She qualified as a teacher in 1985 and spent 30 years to encouraging young people to engage with their artistic sides before taking the decision to leave in 2015, taking life at a much slower pace. We talk about the rewards and challenges of the teaching profession and how all-consuming it can be – leaving little time for other interests and connecting with people outside of education.

Suddenly with all this free time, Helen began to explore opportunities to get involved with the community and develop her own artistic practice. She volunteered at Oxfam for a short while, joined the Embroiderer’s Guild and began working with the WEA, delivering print making courses. However, it wasn’t until meeting fellow Beestonian Janet Barnes that she started to feel part of a wider creative community. Janet was involved with the restoration of the weir cottages, which have now been reincarnated as the Beeston Canalside Heritage Centre, a popular spot for visitors to enjoy a bite to eat among beautifully maintained gardens to the backdrop of Beeston Weir. Janet also ran an art group at The Boat and Horses which Helen enjoyed attending.

Encouraged by the centre’s amazing potential as a hub for local creativity, she organised the opening event in the June 2017. The Grand Opening was welcomed, after almost ten years of planning, and very well attended by those in the local community who had been watching the renovations take place. There have been some wonderful events and exhibitions there and Helen is keen to see these continue. Originally involved in promoting the educational side of what was on offer, Helen has since taken over the responsibility of ensuring there is a continual display of local artist’s work in the tearoom gallery space.

Her own work flourished during the pandemic. A difficult time for many, she found that becoming absorbed in producing lino prints was ideal to pass the time during the first lockdown. She remembers this as a ‘positive experience.’ Helen felt she had been given permission to ‘stay put and slow down.’ Creativity was a marvellous escape and the lengthy printing process was something she could turn to at different times of the day and keep herself purposefully occupied.

Taking inspiration form her own garden, she tends to focus on the simple still lives she creates by bringing cut flowers and plants inside to sketch. Once she is happy with the composition of the sketch, she transfers this to a lino block and carefully carves out the first colour that she will be printing – lightest colours first. Reduction lino-printing relies on calculated cutting and printing techniques that allow the final image to be built up in layers. Each colour must dry completely before over-printing so Helen prints around twenty five at a time – using eight colours on average.

Though she plans each print carefully, it really is the ‘luck of the draw’ how they will turn out and this adds to that initial excitement of seeing whether a new design will look as it was anticipated.

Her casually created tableaus contain objects she feels compliment each other in form and colour. It’s as much about the shapes that are made as the colours themselves and it can several attempts to get the shade just right. She reveals the difficulty she sometimes has with which colour she is supposed to be cutting out first, especially as more of the lino is cut away, so on her latest block she decided to colour the design onto the lino of her new print of Chinese Lanterns.

Hailing from the North East, Helen met her husband whilst at University in Newcastle and later followed him to Beeston where he had secured a job with Broxtowe Borough Council as a community worker. We speak fondly of Georgette’s the Florist, which was on the corner of Stoney Street and the High Road and is now the O2 Mobile Phone Shop, as Helen recalls buying flowers there every week and she was ‘always excited to see what they had in each week!’ She loves the diverse community and lively feel of the town and is happy she chose to settle here. This year is the first that she has taken part in the ABC Art Trail and thoroughly enjoyed it. She had set out a print in the various stages of adding the colour and visitors seemed to find this particularly fascinating. Sharing knowledge and influences seems to be the most rewarding aspect about the Art Trail for artists – as well as the interest in their work of course.

You can delve into more of Helen’s wonderful work via Instagram.



Well That’s Novel!

by Christopher Frost

Reading Twitter recently, a series of Tweets caught my eye by someone who goes by the handle of @Plodinnotts. They were mini reviews of books, together with how much they were bought for, and where they were purchased from. Interesting in itself of course, but what intrigued me was the fact that these Tweets were all numbered, and had reached the mindboggling figure of over 19,000, and rising. In fact, they weren’t that far off 20,000.

So who was this mysterious bookworm, and did they in fact live in a library? Well no, they don’t. The bookworm is called Nick Morrell, and he lives in a small flat in the Rylands. Made even smaller by the number of volumes piled up to the ceiling along every wall.

We arranged to meet at his flat, and upon entering, I was met, not by Nick, but a large stack of CD’s, that wouldn’t look out of place in Rob’s Records. “I didn’t know that you collected CD’s too”, I said, whilst trying to work out how many they were and if I recognised any of the artists. “It’s amazing what twenty quid online can buy”, replied Nick, as he offered me a chair in his living room. One that didn’t have any books on it.

Looking round, I was truly astonished at the amount of literature before me. Can we start with a bit about your background, and how you got into collecting? “I was born in a council house in Strelley. My dad was a manager at the big Co-op on Parliament Street. He also ran the store in Beeston. He was a reader, but mum liked things tidy, so used to throw out our books whenever she could. Dad didn’t complain about this, as he liked to keep her happy. So I would say that my habit of collecting books has been in retaliation to that. A way of fighting back. Dad used to get me annuals from work after Christmas was over. It was never the well known ones like the Beano or Rupert, but the less popular ones that never sold.”

“When I went to grammar school, they had lots of books and I had a friend whose father was a well known Professor of Law at the University of Nottingham. They lived near the QMC. I went round once and was amazed that they had their own library. I think it was then that I decided to become a collector and create a library for myself. I started off with the Penguin Classics and used to visit Jeremy & Westerman’s bookshop on Mansfield Road. This was in the early 1980s, when secondhand books were quite cheap. My uncle was also a voracious reader. So he also had an big influence on me. Especially as he used to give me books as well.”

“I then went to Newcastle University to study English. It was great there, and I got to go on University Challenge and Mastermind. For my thesis I wrote about the Karla trilogy by John Le Carre.” This is of course the series of novels about George Smiley’s hunt for KGB agents. The most famous book being ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’. “After university, I got a job also working for the Co-op. But these days I am a middle grade civil servant.”

Returning to the books. When did you start counting to find out how many you had collected? “It started around Christmas 2013. At that point I had 10,900. Of course, I’ve not read them all. I see it as a kind of art project. I like the randomness of going to charity shops, jumble sales and visiting online auctions. As you never know what you could end up with. I’ve always enjoyed going to the big jumble sale at the Wollaton Scouts. They always have lots of books left over. Enough to fill my car twice. So I’ll just buy the lot off them, which of course they are happy about.”

Do you have a favourite publisher? “Well, I’ve mentioned Penguins before, and I also like Granta. It’s because they are numbered, and it’s good to try and get the full series.” The part of one wall is full of old style Penguin books with their distinctive orange covers. Another wall holds the blue of the Pelicans, which tended to be science, history and art based paperbacks, rather than novels.

Obviously with this amount of books, aren’t you afraid of the floor collapsing, or it being a fire hazard? “The property is 110 years old, and I’ve been here over thirty three years, so I think it’s ok. Some of the walls aren’t true. I am getting someone to put up some shelves in the bedroom, as I have come home in the past and found a pile of books on the bed, as they have fallen off. I do smoke, so there’s always that risk. My biggest fear is actually having to move. Having to pack everything up. I’ve recently acquired a new landlord, so I’m hoping he will leave me alone, just like the old one did.”

“My biggest problem is lack of time to keep on top of things. I’ve got books to sort and to put with others, collections to move and some to give away. No matter how bad the book, there’s always a nugget of information in it. I’ve also got to buy a new stepladder, as my other one broke, and I can’t get to the top rows of books.”

As I am writing this, Nick has published a tweet about book 20035, entitled ‘The Quest for Corvo’. To keep up track of the books he’s tweeted about, he writes a Post-It note and sticks it inside the book. Besides books, cricket is another great love of his, having played the game a lot in his younger days.

I take his photo, bid him a farewell and depart. Reflecting on his vast collection. I can relate to him in some ways, as I like to collect things myself, and try and get the full set of something that I am collecting at the time. But I don’t think I have this compulsion so severely, although my wife may disagree with me, as she sees the quantity of Lego that I have bought since lockdown began!


H3: The first headteacher of colour in the UK

by Clair Budd

We’ve long been pioneers here in Beeston, so let’s toast the memory of an inspirational, trail blazing head teacher:

I was eleven, in Autumn 1982, when I first heard about Miss Herring. The six o’clock news was on, and buried towards the end amongst the usual human interest stories was an announcement about “the first black headteacher at a school in England”.

“That’s wrong for a start,” said my mother. “Because my headmistress was the first ever Indian headteacher in the country. Her name was Helen Henrietta Herring, and she signed her name H3.”

Mum started rummaging around in the sideboard- anyone brought up before the days of digital technology will know the one- that cupboard full of envelopes stuffed with photos along with their negatives, always meant to be put into albums just as soon as someone found the time to do it.


It was a school report from Beeston Secondary Modern, and sure enough, in green ink, with the 3 circled above the name, there it was:

“Miss Herring was lovely. She was my headmistress and she came from India. She had a beautiful blue and silver sari, and if you played Mary in the nativity she would let you wear it.”

Mum was born in Beeston in 1946. The year after my mother was born was the same year that 31-year old Helen Herring saw an advertisment in the Indian press for teachers and boarded a ship bound for England. Her father was Anglo-Indian and had served as senior commander in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during the War.

Sadly I’ve not been able to find out anything about Helen’s early life in India, although I know that she had at least one sister who lived in Reading, and other family in Scotland.

I’m informed that if her father was Indian, this would have been highly unusual as officers in the WAC tended to be white British; nonetheless, Helen was rightly proud of her Indian heritage and regularly spoke of it to the pupils at Beeston Girls Secondary Modern (latterly Nether Street School, latterly John Clifford) where she became a geography teacher.

My mother had sat, and failed, the eleven plus in 1957. This meant that instead of going to the local grammar school she ended up going to Beeston Girls. By this point Helen Herring had been appointed acting Head of School, a position she held until her retirement in 1978. When I was looking into her story, I found a Beeston Facebook group where some of her ex-pupils were kind enough to share their memories of her with me:

“She told us about India. She said she worked very hard to get where she was”

“She wore red lipstick, had a red mini, wore red nail polish and wrote in red or a green pen. If you ripped your tights she would give you a note for the corner shop for a new pair”

“She always drove a mini, and she brought her cars into Willoughby garage to get them repaired. I worked in a nursing home in 1999 and she used to come and visit one of the residents. She was still driving her mini”

“She used to bash on the window with her keys to get us to line up and smashed a window once. Much to our amusement”

“She used to send the male teachers out of assembly when she wanted to tell us all about personal hygiene”

“She loved her guinea pigs and kept them in a corner of her office”

“Gran told me that she asked the council to stop the bin men coming to the school as the girls were behaving inappropriately towards them!”

“She used to say girls chewing gum look like a herd of cows!”

There are two photos that I’ve been able to find, neither of which are clear, and both date from the 1970s. The one that interests me the most is this one, which shows her graduating from the Open University some time in the 1970s. The OU enrolled its first students in 1971, which means that Miss Herring took her first degree  at the earliest when she was in her mid to late 50s.

It makes Miss Herring not just a pioneer in her career accomplishments, but also in her embracing this new institution that, in its early days, some parts of academia and the establishment were decidedly sniffy about.

The inaccurate news report that first brought Miss Herring to my attention seems to have galvanised some of her other ex-pupils into arranging a school reunion a year or so later. My mother’s school days were not the happiest, and it was therefore a mark of the depth of feeling that she had towards her headteacher that she went to the reunion and got the chance to see Miss Herring once more. She told me afterwards that Helen had been delighted to see her and was keenly interested in everything that her “girls” had done since leaving school. I know myself how hard she worked to improve the life chances of her pupils, as she had secured a place at art school for my mum and encouraged her to go there rather than into the job as an office girl that her father had arranged for her when she left school in 1962 aged 15. It didn’t happen- it should have happened- but life doesn’t always pan out the way you want it, although in later years my mum was able to put her considerable creative skills to good use in setting up her own dressmaking business. This, I think, Miss Herring would have been thrilled to hear.

I’m glad my mum got the chance to see Miss Herring again, although sadly it was only the once, as they both died in 2001. Aside from the personal though, it’s right that Helen Herring’s name should be more widely known- she really was the first woman of colour to become a headteacher in England, overcoming considerable odds in which to do so. This needs to be celebrated.

If anyone has anything further they would like to share with me about Miss Herring and her life, you can contact me via Twitter @BuddClair


Gala Day!

Beeston Rylands Gala Day Review by Naomi Robinson

Last issue we previewed Beeston Rylands Community Association’s Summer Gala Day. It turned out to be a fun packed event that was filled with optimism, ice cream, hay bales and laughter.

It was a real delight to see the fields at Leyton Crescent full of families, friends and children soaking up not only the (rare) glorious sunshine but the atmosphere of a bustling community finally being able to reunite after months and months of isolation and distancing.

There was an excellent dog show hosted by Janet and Dylan, who had the difficult job of judging all of the eager canines showing off their waggiest tails, best rescue credentials and much more. Children enjoyed the music and games hosted by our lovely Amanda-Claire, and most of the adults couldn’t help but simultaneously join in, albeit the less confident ones such as myself who had to revert to the awkward chair shuffle perched on the hay bale arena! This was made even more pleasurable by the talented John Cunliffe who played a set of acoustic live music.

There was also an array of stalls with an impressive assortment of information and products to sell. Sandie and Sarah from the Boat House café manned the community centre’s kitchen, cooking delicious hot cobs and providing endless teas and coffees.

One glorious aspect of the previous 18 months is that the community association has been fortunate enough to build on their partnerships with local volunteers and businesses to unite and share resources and knowledge when times were tough. These connections have informed future planning and hopefully allows us to provide many more community events.

It was fantastic to see a vibrant representation of Beeston’s community groups offering awareness and support, including Broxtowe Community Project, Incredible Edibles, and Parkinson’s UK. Riverside Crafter, Burchell Collective, and cards by Katie and Julia, were some of the independent crafters that also contributed.

No gala would be complete without a traditional raffle, which rounded the day off nicely with the nostalgic suspense that a handful of raffle tickets offer, there was some brilliant prizes donated by local businesses, with maybe the most sought out prize being the free tickets to the Arc Cinema.

There were several youngsters negotiating tickets and prizes, it was heartwarming to accidentally hear the conversation of a group of teenagers swapping and even gifting prizes to others to pass on to their loved ones.

It is safe to say that the day was a huge success, not only with the weather and turnout of Beeston locals but a real sense of warmth and joviality was contagious in its healing abilities, here’s to many more Gala Days!


Beeston Beats

by Lulu Davenport

Hey, hey, peoples! I hope all is well in your worlds. I like to try and imagine this column being read over a steaming mug of tea with a chocolate Hobnob to accompany it, followed by the vague inner dialogue of “what the hell is she waffling on about now??” Well let me enlighten you, this one is all about the theme nights. Yes, going ‘out out’ is back (the phrase that made the dictionary after being coined by super funny-man Micky Flanagan). Out out, you know when you leave the house in something other than your pjs, work uniform, or comfies, with the full intention of hitting the shots or jagers at some point in the evening. You know you really shouldn’t say yes, but you’re out out and them rules mean no excuses.

Having nestled myself nicely in at the Rylands neck of the woods and rather a party person, it caught my attention that The Boat and Horses pub on Trent Road was hosting a theme night near the end of July – a Hawaiian party. There was to be fancy dress, prizes, karaoke and cocktails, my kind of shindig!
I headed over with a lei around my neck, clutching an inflatable pink flamingo, and brandishing a sense of chaos as I waved to passers by bewildered at what was going on. The turnout was fabulous, so many people made an effort to win. There was at least two other flamingos there. We tried a few of the cocktails, the Malibu sunset and the Sex on the Beach, but refrained from trying the karaoke, no one needs to hear that. My rendition of Dolly Parton has been described as a banshee being murdered. I fully agree.

All in all the night was rather good, so we headed to the summer’s over school themed night at the start of September. Many there were having a non-uniform day but that didn’t stop us from turning up in an attempt to turn back the clock to our schooldays. Luckily head teacher Jimbo was there to keep us in line. Although there weren’t cocktails this time, we soon made up for it with a few cheeky pints and vodka red bulls. Good job we didn’t have school the next day ha-ha (I really am over 18 I promise)! The cherry on the cake was winning joint best dressed fancy dress which was £30 worth of beer vouchers! Happy days. Master of ceremonies and karoke ringleader Jimbo said “I always enjoyed karaoke and singing, and there was an opportunity to make my own mark on the local pubs karaoke, so we decided to try some themes and some of the locals jumped straight on board with it.”

The Boat and Horses said that ‘The pub is slowly getting back to normality after the Covid experience. We appreciate people may still be anxious. Therefore we are starting off with one karaoke a month. Some of the evenings are being held in the Stables function room to see whether being able to space out makes people more at ease. Singing makes people feel happy, let their hair down. After the past 18 months it is essential for our mental health to do something to raise spirits. There is also a wealth of talent out there, people just love to sing. We try to be inclusive of all abilities, and our aim is to make a friendly environment that everyone can join in, no matter their singing prowess! We enjoy a traditional local pub and would love more Beestonians and Rylands residents to come and try the pub out.”

Fabulous, I am all for getting dressed as something silly and having a good time, which is handy because upcoming is the pirate party. Yarrr! On the 20th November and December 11th and 18th will be Christmas themes, the nights start at 8pm and finish at 12. Beer token prizes for best fancy dress outfit, and starting next year there will be a karaoke competition with a cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and a recording session for 1st as well!


All About Attenborough

By Jimmy Notts

Attenborough nature reserve is a complex of flooded gravel pits and islands, covering one hundred and forty five hectares. The reserve lies to the south west of Nottinghamshire, and its population today is just over two thousand. The reserve was established in 1966 and opened by Sir David Attenborough. A process of decolonisation over some forty years has created a wide range of aquatic and waterside habitats. Other drier areas include scrub and grasslands as well as areas of native Willow and Old Stream Courses. The reserve has a wide range of fish and invertebrates including rare species of great diving beetle, damselflies, dragonflies and amphibians.

Excavations started on the floodplain of the River Trent at Attenborough in 1929 and gravel workings, including the fully restored areas, now cover more than 365 acres. The process of mineral extraction has led to the creation of many areas of open water. Most of the soil removed in order to reach the gravel has been deposited back into the water-filled excavations creating a patchwork of lakes and islands. The many islands created over the years provide shelter, food and perhaps most importantly, freedom from disturbance, creating ideal conditions for the many species of wildlife that thrive here. As the vegetation has matured, so has the type and variety of habitats.

  Since recording began in 1944, over 250 species of birds have been sighted here, from swans and starlings, to the elusive kingfisher and the even rarer bittern. The site is particularly noted for the wide range of waterfowl which can be found. Many species are migrants passing through on their way to spend the winter in warmer climates. Others return to their breeding grounds here each spring. In 1982, the site was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the importance of its over-wintering waterfowl population, particularly pochard and shoveler.

Other wildlife includes foxes, stoats, toads, newts, and many species of butterflies, moths and other invertebrates. The network of islands and paths is home to a wide range of trees, shrubs and wildflowers such as water forget-me-not which grows at the water’s edge. Otters have recently been recorded in the Attenborough area and it is hoped that they will establish a breeding population in the future.

In addition to being a haven for wildlife, the site is very popular with visitors, many of whom come to enjoy the wildlife or simply to relax in the peaceful surroundings of the nature reserve. Within the gravel pit complex there are a number of areas set aside for activities such as sailing, water-sports, horse riding, fishing and walking. The various pressures placed upon the site are managed to protect its wildlife value.

Attenborough Nature Reserve forms part of what was Attenborough Quarry; and is a result of over seventy years mineral extraction from the River Trent washlands. Quarrying from this site has supplied significant quantities of raw materials from which much of the infrastructure of Nottingham has been built. Whether found in house, hospital or highway the products of the industry are very visible.

The site was used as gravel pits between 1929 and 1967, and was latterly still owned by CEMEX, the gravel extraction company, who continue to extract sand and gravel from neighbouring areas.As sections of the site are worked out they are restored as wetland. In 2010 an area known as Thrumpton’s Land was restored in this way.

In late 2019, the owners announced their desire to sell the site, and an appeal backed by Sir David Attenborough, whose ancestors hail from the area, was launched to raise one million pounds needed to enable transfer of ownership to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which had helped to maintain the site with the owners for 60 years.

The purchase of the site from Cemex UK was concluded in December 2020, following a £750,000 grant allocated as part of the Landfill Communities Fund from Biffa Award. The derelict concrete plant owned by Cemex and located on Long Lane was sold to developers in 2020. The former Cemex site will include 20 new homes on the land. Property consultants Fisher German agreed the sale of the old CEMEX site off Long Lane, in Attenborough, to the Staffordshire-based Cameron Homes.

CEMEX previously operated a concrete plant at the site in Long Lane, Attenborough, alongside a satellite office and concrete testing laboratory for its Midlands operation.

We’re pleased to say that with the sale of the reserve to Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the future of the site looks safe and secure for the future.

Jimmy Notts

I Am Beeston – Philippa Double

By Christopher Frost

“I was born in Boston in Lincolnshire and moved to Lincoln when I was six. After school, art college and a few years of working, I moved to Nottingham to study Creative Arts at Nottingham Polytechnic as a mature student. My sister was living in Beeston at that time, so I had been to the town to visit her. She was studying at the University of Nottingham, so I had spent time in the area. After I graduated, I moved to Beeston with my then partner and I already had some friends living in Beeston which was a bonus! I loved the proximity to the University Park and the ease of getting into Nottingham. I found Beeston people to be very friendly, and it was good to have the town, shops and a great chip shop so close by. There is a real feeling of community in Beeston and social media has helped that develop in recent years. In recent years I have moved to Long Eaton, but I still have that connection with Beeston through my business, which will be celebrating its 19th birthday in October.”

“After working at Nottinghamshire County Council for a number of years and then at another photography studio, I opened my business on Chilwell Road in 2002, and over the years I’ve got to know quite a lot of fellow business owners in the town, which is really positive. Chilwell Road is a great place to have a business because it’s full of small, independent businesses run by like-minded people. Sometimes we work together on promotions or competitions, and I like having the excuse to pop in to see people for a catch up! As a business community, we’ve survived the tram works and all the changes that brought, and I feel very hopeful about the town and its future. The arrival of the cinema is really positive and will help to keep Beeston a vibrant town and the arrival of new businesses is great to see.”

“One of the things I love about Beeston is that when I pop out to the Post Office or into the town for some reason, I bump into clients and it’s always nice to see people. I have lovely clients, some of whom have used Double Image services for many years. It makes me feel old when I see families who brought children for portraits when they were babies and are now doing A Levels or heading off to university.”

“The photography industry has changed beyond recognition since I started my business.At the start I used medium format, manual cameras and film and most clients wanted black and white images. This meant spending hours in the darkroom. Now I spend most of my day sitting at the computer, when I’m not taking photos of course.”

“I have been asked in recent years to take photos of the Beeston area for local businesses, which has helped me learn a bit more about Beeston and its history and to see things that I hadn’t noticed or been to before. It’s easy to just get on with life and pass things by, so to have a reason to really look at an area is an enjoyable way of learning more about it.


The Glamour Girls

by Janet Barnes and Naomi Robinson

In the Rylands we have our very own superheroes, the Glamour Girls.

Their base looks like a humble hairdressers / beauty salon, but once you dig beneath the surface you realise its so much more. “The Transformer,” otherwise known as Tracy, owns Glamour and spreads beauty throughout the Rylands.

“The Magician,” otherwise known as Maddie, has the power to “bring you in, fix you up and send you back out refreshed to face the world”. Lisa, Sue, Kerry and Tracey’s daughters Danielle and Paige “The Terrific Trimmers” make up the intrepid team.

Glamour has its transformation head quarters on Meadow Road. The superheroes go above and beyond that of hair and beauty experts, taking care not only of your external appearance, and also your less visible inner wellbeing. Not only can you get a new hair cut, a pedicure, manicure, or a back massage, you also get talking therapy right on your door step.

“Tracy The Transformer” explains: “I opened Glamour during the recession of 2009 and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I’ve had from Rylands folk. Clients pop in just for a chat and a coffee”. She continued, “during lockdown our elderly customers struggled to get in, but since the restrictions have lifted, I’ve rung them and told them we need them back in. Sometimes picking them up to get their confidence back. I am grateful for all my Rylands family”.

Freda, 71, says “Maddie is lovely. She always boosts your confidence and tells you you have great natural hair. I think I look like a zebra and she says its like natural highlights. I always feel much better for going”.

You get a warm welcome, even if due to COVID restrictions you’re sat outside on their patio chairs waiting for the magic to happen.

With their weapons of scissors, hair dryers and nail polish the transformers use their powers to blend modern techniques with traditional values catering for all customers young and old. When you drop by, you might see an elderly resident being energised through the power of a pedicure, or a damsel with hair distress getting a well needed emergency boost of confidence through the power of a new hair style.

Dave, 92, said “I go to Glamour for a pedicure every 5 weeks, Tracey sorts my toes out and tells me to run home with my new feet. I have macular degeneration & can’t trust myself to cut my own toenails. Sometimes there’s so much laughter and banter, especially when Maddie’s in, but I always leave with happy feet!”

We salute you Glamour Girls – keep using your powers for good, keeping the Rylands happy and revived inside and out.


Beeston Up Close

Some more junction boxes have been brightened up as part of the superb ongoing street art project. It is great to see the range of styles and themes used by the different artists.

This one can be found directly outside The Boat And Horses on Trent Road in the Rylands, called ‘Electric Box’ by Dre.

Helen Stevenson created this beautiful one titled ‘Abstract Insects’, on the corner of Humber Road and Broadgate.

This nautical box makes a fine addition to the view of the 2nd Beeston Sea Scouts hut, on Lilac Grove in the Rylands.

‘Nature Box’ is by Nicholas Wright, on the corner of Wollaton Road and Farfield Avenue.


Eyes of Wonder

by Debra Urbacz

It was truly a treat for our community to have the ABC Art Trail back on the calendar this year, a timely reminder of the value that creativity has on our well being.  A little later on in the year than usual, nevertheless with its usual buzz, artists and patrons opened up their homes to bring us a physical gallery that spanned approximately four square miles of Broxtowe borough.

As in previous years, I cycled round the trail. This year though I was accompanied by a good friend and her eight year old daughter, Erin. Having never visited the trail with a child in tow before it became apparent that our progress might be a little slower. However, what she lacked in cycling speed she more than made up for with her wide-eyed perspective. Genuinely interested in getting her view of works to photograph and write about, I asked her to lead me to her favourites and tell me why she liked them more than any of the other brilliant works we saw.

We started down by the canal at Canalside Art, after a leisurely lunch at the Heritage Centre. Erin chose almost every painting of the dozen or so placed on easels around Janet’s garden for me to photograph,  but was in the red brick studio where she found her favourite painting – Pedro the rescue dog. “The doggy is cute and I like the colours in the background, they are calm and peaceful. The dog looks happy.” She stood observing Pedro as he sat obediently on his floor cushion, his eyes two shining Minstrels staring back at us from the canvas.

I wasn’t sure what an eight-year old would make of the haunting figures and sombre palette of Oliver Lovley, but as we ventured through the open front door on Burnham Avenue she was immediately drawn to the large square painting in the entrance hall. She noticed he had used “just three colours for the whole painting” and commented that “the tree looks really weird.” And she was right, there was something unsettling about that tree’s fractured form but at the same time it was elegantly beautiful.

We stood together and watched over it in silence for a short while before moving into the main room where Oliver was painting, surrounded by a large selection of his work.It took us a long time to get round them, captivated by the tiny painted figures captured in each frame.

It was clear that the bold colours of Oksana’s textile work would easily attract attention and Oksana herself was happy to share the process of rag rug making to a curious child. Naturally she loved the bright ‘fiery colours’ and found it difficult not to run her fingers over the pile, especially as she had seen the bag of fabric that was being used to make the rugs. However, it wasn’t until we pedalled our way to Red Lion Pottery that I felt my young companion was truly inspired.

Alan Birchall is always happy for visitors to pick up his pots and her little fingers were definitely enjoying exploring the different textures and patterns of his plates and bowls. She was particularly entranced by the collection of ceramics on the many shelves of his small studio. Pointing to a blue glazed bowl she declared, “ I like these pots because it’s like the ocean blue colours. It makes me … basically feel wooshing waves in my head. It reminds me of the sea.” I could picture the “ziggy-zaggy” pot she described and the “dabs of blue” on another as she flitted excitedly from shelf to shelf.

Zoe Zegzula’s textile toucans also caught the keen youngster’s eye but it was the panoramic landscape of lush olive grass velvet grass and spidery black trees that she requested I photograph. Again it seemed to be the variety of textures that interested her. On our last stop at Karen Attwood’s she elaborated on this further when stood looking up at one of Karen’s wet felted trees. “They have used lots of different fabrics and different colours of fabrics. It feels autumny because of the colours.”

It was rewardingly refreshing to view the artwork through a child’s eyes. We can learn a lot from their honest reactions and responses, maybe it IS simply beautiful because it is colourful.

Another lesson was also learned on that day, and that is how important it is to take your time to examine the details and look at the world again like everything is new and wonderful. Thank you Erin.


Please note; the ABC Art Fair is on Sunday 10th October from 10-4pm at Attenborough Village Hall.

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