jonab

NOOB The Early Years

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This is the first part of what appears will be quite a long narrative. I'm doing it in sections so as not to have you dying of boredom or the system refusing to publish such meandering prose.

 

I was intending to write this in my native language - ‘Ucknull’ but, to my eternal shame and chagrin, I have lost most of my knowledge of the vocabulary and grammar. Another thing is that even my “standard” English may be a bit stilted as I don’t consider English to be my first language now. More of that later, though.

 

I came across Nottstalgia when Googling for information about Berni Inns and one of the links led me to The Grosvenor and thence to this site. I have many, many memories of the G. I lived next door for a year or so at 291 Mansfield Road. I don’t remember now why I was searching Berni Inns (it was only a few days ago, must be my age) but I am very pleased with the result. I have been poring over Nottstalgia since I found it and I am finding it extremely memory-jogging and, well, nostalgic. Many things are being rekindled in my brain, stuff I never imagined could possibly still be in there. Very thought provoking and emotive.

 

A bit of my history: I am a war child (WWII, not the Boer War and some cheeky sod once said) brought up in Hucknall*. We lived near Bottom Pit and I spent my childhood breathing in the toxic sulfurous fumes from the burning slag heaps and hearing the extremely loud and seemingly non-stop noises emanating from the Rolls Royce jet engine development plant at the aerodrome. Bronchitis was endemic there, not only in the miners but in the general populace. Even the small kids seemed to have breathing difficulties.

 

I moved to Nottingham when I was twenty (or so) and took a flat in Newstead Grove. Gawd, what a dump! At least I was away from the poisonous effluvia from the pit. I didn’t stay there very long, I seemed to get burgled every night or, at the very least, the locks were smashed. There was nothing left to take after the first couple of robberies. Sherwood Street in those days was very insalubrious, not a place to walk alone at night in case of being accosted by one of the occupants of one of the many brothels in the vicinity.

 

(*the spill chucker tells me that Hucknall should be Chuckwalla!)

 

To be continued - - -

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Welcome to the Forum Jonab, look forward to the second instalment.

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Welcome Jonab.  I enjoyed reading your memoirs.  I look forward to more installments.  I hope you keep posting.

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Welcome to Nottstalgia Jonab. Always interesting to read posts from new members. I hope you find plenty of information on NS, and also enjoy the banter.:biggrin:

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- - - continued - - -

 

Following my disastrous experiences at Newstead Grove and my total loss of respect for humanity, the next few weeks were spent dossing down at friends flats/houses. This, I understand is quite fashionable now, de rigueur in fact and called sofa surfing. Didn’t have many possessions – none, in fact, they’d all been nicked from Newstead Grove. Even my toothbrush was covered in brown deposits – I don’t like to think what that was but the brush went straight into the bin.

 

I’m digressing.

 

After four weeks or so of this, it just happened that there was a new recruit at where I was working who was looking for somewhere to live. Pooling our resources meant that, together, we might find some reasonable flat to share. Properties for rent weren’t easily available and we ended up on the ground floor of 13 Sneinton Hermitage. I don’t know what it’s like now* but then the general opinion was that the block of properties had been condemned by the council.

 

Lived in the Hermitage for something over a year and, despite the squalor (the mice in the kitchen would look at people as though they had no right to be there) we quite enjoyed it.

 

After Sneinton we moved up-market to Mapperley Top. I can’t quite remember where, though. It was a top floor flat in a tall (3 storey) Victorian house. My searching keeps taking me back to Woodborough Road but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. It was near the Tree Tops but, that place looks different now.

 

After about nine months, my flatmate decided that teaching was the career for him so, come September he ups and leaves. I remained there and took colleagues as sharers to help with expenses. None of them was particularly suitable for my temperament (or mine for them) so I decided to move on.

 

*I’ve just Googled 13 Sneinton Hermitage and I notice that externally, it looks more or less in the same state as it was when I lived there.

 

- - - to be continued - - - I’m doing things like this so that I don’t get cut off by flood controllers that happens sometimes to NOOBs on forums.

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- - - continued - - -

 

First an amendment to my post yesterday regarding the location of the flat in Mapperley. I’m thinking now it was at the top of Mapperley Road/Woodborough Road, opposite the tennis courts (I’d forgotten those).

 

To proceed:

 

My experiences so far of an independent existence had not been completely positive, but even so, better than the choking, coughing and spluttering on the fumes emanating from the Ucknall* pits.

 

None of the flats I had taken was anything I would have liked to call home. Places to live/exist but they lacked any “warmth” and character. I needed a place to LIVE life.

 

Luckily, there was a new recruit to the staff where I was working. She had a flat not far away and was looking for someone to share with her. Purely platonic, no strings. I knew the girl by reputation, she was very well known in the area. Nothing bad, understand, but she did have certain characteristics (two, in fact) that made her, shall we say, stand out from the crowd. I had been to her flat a couple of times and thought it good. It had a “lived-in” feel about it – quite unlike the places I had been used to in recent years. I moved there very quickly. I recall that I borrowed a set of wheels – a pram or pushchair base or something like that onto which I perched my belongings (I did have some by then) and “sailed” down Mapperley Road/Redcliffe Road (to those who don’t know the roads in question, they are very steep as is the adjacent Magdala Road) to almost immediately opposite my new abode on Mansfield Road. I did toy with the idea of riding the wheels myself but, a little thought and no brakes made the decision for me.

 

The flat was the first floor of 291 Mansfield Road. A three-storey Victorian house next door to the Grosvenor (which links me back to my first post). A quick look at the Google street view shows it’s the same place although the front garden has disappeared and some buildings/ extension have appeared at the back. Does anyone know the current use of the building (291 is the left half)?

 

I had many happy times there and it became a sort of hippy commune, even though I retained a job as a research scientist. I have a number of stories to relate.

 

Don’t worry folks, only one more instalment to go!

 

*the spill choker is telling me now that it should be buckyball.

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Keep 'em coming. Oh, and i had no idea what a NOOB was, finally figured out it could be newbie?

 

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11 minutes ago, katyjay said:

Keep 'em coming. Oh, and i had no idea what a NOOB was, finally figured out it could be newbie?

 

 

Yes! Sorry, I assumed it was common terminology. It's certainly common in France but, thinking about it, I can't think what those initials might mean in French.

There's only one more episode of the NOOB saga, I leave Nottingham soon afterwards but I think I have quite a lot of stuff to contribute to the forum in other ways with narratives up as far as 1978 when I moved away.

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Flying back to the Côte d'Azur today after my Christmas sojourn in Surrey/Sussex* (I still maintain a property in the UK in case I ever want to return to the cold, dank dark nights, the horrible wet snow and - you know what I mean).

 

The third and final part of my NOOB saga will come tomorrow.

 

*The house is at the juncture of Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. The county borders are defined by the merging of two small rivers and it is possible to stand with one leg in Surrey, one leg in Sussex and then pee into Hampshire (or any combination of those three). I can't do that as I'm unable to walk and have difficulty standing up these days. The brain works though.

 

Back online tomorrow!

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Just got back home and, d'you know what, it's raining and quite cold.

 

The dogs greeted me as if I'd been away for years (it was only two and a half weeks). Probably they think I've brought them a big present.

 

Will have to have a fire tonight to keep warm.

 

Going to call it a day now. Just posting one further bit in another section and then just sitting and relaxing.

 

Just realised why the dogs are so excitable - I've been speaking to them in English - which is a foreign language to them.

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Mine only speak English and Dog.  I'm still trying to learn Dog!  :biggrin:

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13 hours ago, loppylugs said:

Mine only speak English and Dog.  I'm still trying to learn Dog!  :biggrin:

My dogs, although of English stock, were born and brought up in France. Their experience of spoken English is almost nil except for a few swear words when they misbehave.

 

They are quite well trained but only follow orders given to them in French.

 

I've given up trying to learn spoken dog and they aren't very vocal in any case but I get on really well in translating their facial expressions. There must be some common language there as they both use the same expression for their same wants and needs. They are both the same breed but are otherwise unrelated.

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- - - continued fourth and final part - - -

 

This is where I leave Nottingham forever.

 

In spite of my residence at 291 being enjoyable and very memorable, all good things must come to an end. I have a lot of stories about my time there, some publishable, some not. I hope to relate a few of them on here in due course.

 

I don’t recall the real reason for my departure but things became, let’s say, less than happy and we decided to go our separate ways. This was not just us on the first floor but the whole building.

 

By chance, the opportunity arose to join in with two trainee accountants and a physicist who were looking for a fourth person to share a flat. I attended an “approval” interview and was accepted as the fourth person, I think mainly because I could cook.

 

The new place was just around the corner from the Mansfield Road flat. It looks more than “just around the corner” according to Google Maps but, along Pelham Avenue, Clumber Avenue, cross the road and you’re there: No 1 Second Avenue, Sherwood Rise.

 

I was working in textile research at hatra (deliberately lower case lettering) on Gregory Boulevard which backed on to First Avenue. The garden of Second Avenue went down to first Avenue then and there was a gate at the bottom so, all I did to get to work was out of the door, down the garden, walk about 30 steps and I was at work.

 

Again, looking a Google Maps, the house is still there but inevitably changes have been made. I get the impression it is still flats but I was told a few years ago it housed a firm of solicitors or accountants. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

 

In 1974 I had a sort of premonition or feeling that the days of the Nottingham hosiery industry were limited and decided it was time to change career path. I applied for, and got, a job at Gerard’s Soap Works as a development chemist in the industrial products division.

 

Once again there are lots and lots of stories I could tell but – I may do that in other sections later. Suffice to say now that the end of 1978 was fast approaching and it was time for me to say goodbye to Nottingham. I had a new job with Unilever in Kent.

 

I wasn’t particularly sad to leave Nottingham. Living on the edge of Forest Fields, thus near Hyson Green and working at Gerard’s, my daily walk through Forest Fields to work became increasingly menacing even at that time – well before the Hyson Green riots. I was very concerned and wondered what was going to happen

 

I lived in Kent until 1982 when I was offered a job with the UK subsidiary of a French company in Sussex. I lived in Sussex until 1986 when I was offered a job (with the same company) in the South of France in Grasse, just inland from Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo.

 

I retired in 1996 and I still live there in a small village (called a commune but I associate that word with the hippie lifestyle – which I abandoned many years previously). I have a villa on the hill/mountainside from which, on a very clear day, I can look out over the Mediterranean and see Corsica.

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Interesting reading jonab, you’ve come a long way from your days growing up in Hucknall and with a varied career too.  I know the area where you live in S of France and spent a fair amount of time down there, oh yes, I don’t live far from the properties you’ve lived at in Nottingham all those years ago, so will take a walk around sometime and let you know what’s there now. 

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Thanks for your response, LizzieM. I am very interested in the current situation vis-a-vis 291 M R and 2nd Avenue.

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1 Second Ave still looks like flats on Google Street view as of Sept 2017.

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From what Joab was saying you'd better carry a big stick if you go for a walk round there, Lizzie.;)

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47 minutes ago, catfan said:

1 Second Ave still looks like flats on Google Street view as of Sept 2017.

I wonder what the price is now.

 

I had the opportunity to buy the whole house just before I left. Asking price was £8,000.

 

Is it listed on any of those property pricing sites? We don't see the UK ones over here.

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Blimey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Of course, the flat in the listing is only a quarter of the whole building (top floor, left as you look in the illustration). So we could multiply the list price by more than 4 (there is extra space on the ground floor).

 

Not complaining, though. I think I made the right move when I did and my residence ATM is valued at much more than 4x the price of 2nd Avenue.

 

On the picture in the link you gave, it's interesting that the white part in the middle of the property used to be a conservatory, which I had forgotten about until now. I used to grow tomatoes and cucumbers very successfully in there. I also note that a door has appeared on the left (still in the white part) and we had a harpsichord near the bay.

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32 minutes ago, loppylugs said:

From what Joab was saying you'd better carry a big stick if you go for a walk round there, Lizzie.;)

I'm sure its better now - it was a long time ago.

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No way, you need to be armed to the teeth. AK47, Glok, machete, oh, and a multitude of tough friends !

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4 minutes ago, FLY2 said:

No way, you need to be armed to the teeth. AK47, Glok, machete, oh, and a multitude of tough friends !

 

Worse than I thought then.

 

Glad I didn't buy into 2nd Avenue now!

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IT was a beautiful area when I attended FFGS, 56-62, but has be allowed to fall into the hands of unscrupulous owners and landlords and is now at best, an area that can only be described as........., a 5hit hole. 

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