Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Mish Mash brings a touch of Alice to Chilwell – and maybe Mary Poppins too!

Yesterday I visited the new look Mish Mash Gallery at the junction of Cator Lane and Chilwell High Road.

Through the entrance and I was immediately taken Alice-like into a long corridor full of ceramics, paintings, prints, photographs, hand-made crafts and jewellery artfully displayed to draw you into the gallery.

To the right are a number of small workshops, all bar one already occupied by Cyrilyn Silver, Prisma Clothing, Gary Thomas photography and crafts, and Pretty Splitty, who specialise in 'camper van commissions'. The workshops are rented out by Mish Mash and there is a good chance visitors will be lucky enough to see the occupants hard at work.  

Mish Mash is best described as a contemporary gallery and this has to be its great strength. 

Some may look at the work of local artist Dan Cullen and catch a whiff of nostalgia, Edward Hopper's 'Nighthawks' from 1942 for example, whereas I would describe his work as ethereal, rooted in a reality easy to see once you know where it is. There are number of Beeston related limited edition prints by Dan for sale in Mish Mash.

Below is a cropped image from Dan Cullen's print 'Acacia Walk', offering viewers a different take on Beeston High Road. The edition is limited to 40 copies, costing £70 unframed, £120 framed.

I could have lingered far longer in Mish Mash, but the smell of coffee was pulling me towards the far end of the display corridor and then I saw it, the Froth coffee shop and eatery. Tuesday afternoon and a few tables occupied by mums with buggies and young children, otherwise quieter than usual.

Froth (which I have called 'Frothy' on some of my Beeston maps by mistake) opened in January 2016 and followed in the footsteps of Fusion. It is the creation of James Thomas (left) and James Kellett (right), who began doing drinks, cake and toasties, but now do a wide range of snacks for the hungry visitor, including ice-cream. I have been visiting (not nearly enough) since they opened and like the quiet ambience of Froth, even more attractive as a Beeston coffee destination now that Mish Mash is up and running again.

On the wall in Froth is the guitar pictured below. It reminded me of Fusion and the guitar classes it ran for a while. James (the Kellett one) told me he got it from AJ, who used to run Fusion, and is trying to play the guitar. I suspect he is being modest, for I found out during our chat that he is a singer-songwriter and that the other James plays guitar.

Some reading this post may have visited Froth recently when it was a Beeston Oxjam venue. Perhaps next year James and James will do their own thing in Froth as part of Beeston Oxjam 2017? I hope so. 

Another item on a Froth wall is this rather ancient bicycle. Shades of Mary Poppins. I see a story here for all the kids who come to Froth. I would tell them it is her actual bike. She came on a flying visit and left pushing a buggy, and those in the know say Mary Poppins still calls in from time to time, looks up at her old bicycle and, for a moment, wonders about flying away, but she always leaves with a buggy instead because she likes Beeston and Chilwell that much!

And, and if children look very carefully as they walk along Chilwell High Road, Chilwell Road and Beeston High Road, they may just see Mary Poppins pushing her buggy. I know this story is true, because I have seen her and, if you look hard enough, you will see her too!

Finally, keep an eye open for more changes in the pipeline, which you should be able to see from Chilwell High Road as you pass by. Even better, call in and have a look around. Mish Mash and Froth welcome visitors. There is limited car parking (entrance off Cator Lane).

The Tram stops three minutes walk away (I've timed it) at 'High Road-Central College' (off the tram you walk away from Beeston). Even better Nottingham City Transport bus route 36 stops stops outside (towards Chilwell) on Cator Lane, together with Trent-Barton bus route 18. Trent-Barton's Indigo bus route on stops outside on Chilwell High Road, as does Your Bus route Y5. 

Friday, 14 October 2016

Broxtowe Borough Council cuts 'consultation'

Today I completed Broxtowe Borough Council's online questionnaire about saving money. I am opposed to cuts which will hit those least able to bear them, be it financially or socially. For 'savings' read 'cuts'. I should add that I am in favour of all public services being managed efficiently and to the best advantage of users, but 'savings' is a different beast. My approach is to provide better services and facilities by managing what money there is better, even increasing council tax and council charges if this can be shown to be beneficial to users and the local community in general.

Before completing the questionnaire, I did, on 7 October, via email, ask Broxtowe Borough Council to tell me the product of a penny rate. I have yet to receive a reply, but I did copy in Borough Councillor Janet Patrick, who emailed me a reply on 10 October:

If Broxtowe raised its council tax by 1p in the £ it would raise £53000. Presently the Government anticipate an annual increase of 2p in the £ and are paying this to councils who are charging 2p in the £ increase a year. The Tories promised not to raise the council tax, consequently we are forgoing £106,000 a year from the government.  Information supplied by Paul Adcock, most senior finance officer after the Deputy Chief Executive.

Given this information, I have answered the question about council tax by saying I favour at least a 2p increase in the Borough Council's penny rate and included Janet's email to show why.

I also added this general comment where the questionnaire asks for comments:

Broxtowe Council needs to introduce tighter controls on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)* and Council Tax exempt properties, as these are increasing fast in an around Beeston, with some streets now over 25%. Above this level the balance of the social mix begins to tip and some groups begin to move out (eg. families, older people), resulting in more properties becoming HMOs* and Council Tax exempt. The evidence for how such change negatively impacts on housing occupation can be found in the Dunkirk & Lenton and Wollaton East & Lenton Abbey wards in Nottingham, which adjoin Beeston. Belated planning controls in Nottingham have pushed private landlords into Beeston. Housing and Planning officers, together with borough councillors, knowingly ignore the problem at a social and economic cost. One direct consequence will be Beeston town centre becoming no more than a collection of eateries, cafes, take aways, estate agents and charity shops surrounded by supermarkets. 

Note:* Any property with 3 or more unrelated residents should be classified as a HMO.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Beeston gets a new 'tea house' and an 'outdoor' shop

We paid our first visit to the new Rudyards 'tea house' on Beeston High Road at the end of last week and enjoyed lovely cups of tea, together with a scone and Irish tea bread, all for just over £6, which we thought good value for quality teas and cake.

The two ladies looking after things were bright and cheery, which always makes a difference and Rudyards light airy inside added to the sense of restfulness one had. There felt no need to rush, to move on, and with its large front windows overlooking the High Road it was the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.

I am sure we will visit again below too long, but one of the problems of living a few minutes walk from Beeston High Road is that we do not stop for tea or coffee enough. The urge is always there to get home where we are guaranteed a good cup of tea or coffee.

Loose tea in Rudyards is pricey —  £4.50 for 100g, whereas we buy Taylors of Harrogate Earl Grey and Assam in bulk from Park Stores on Derby Road, near the north entrance to The Park Estate for £2.50. It's excellent tea, which we blend together and have done so for the last forty years.

So, in the order of things, where do I rate Rudyards? Well, I have to say they are up there with Time for Tea on Wollaton Road for quality and service, with an ambiance to match, but when it comes to the view, then Rudyards is the winner.

For now though, Time for Tea does better cake and serves other food as well. I have written about their poached eggs before and this seems like a perfect moment to remind of what you are missing if you have not experienced Time for Teas poached eggs:

I understand Rudyards are planning to serve other food as well, so it is still early days. I will go back in the next couple of weeks to update myself. In the meantime, why not go Rudyards and make up your mind about their tea(s) and cake. Go on, treat yourself. You know you deserve it!

Then there is the Magic Mountain, due to 'open shortly' according to a sign in the window. This little shop is tucked away, behind the High Road, on Vernon Avenue, which runs between Villa Street and Wollaton Road, so you will have to go in search of the Magic Mountain if you want to find it.

Right now, all you can do is peer through the windows, but I walk down Villa Street several times a week, so I will keep checking and let you know when it opens. Their website says 'Your newest outdoor retailer is opening on 24th June 2016'. It's fully stocked with goodies and has been for some weeks.