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Phil's Travels - Nottingham


Phil's Travels Blog

Nottingham (June 2014)

It is a Saturday and I have travelled by train again! I think I have been on a train more often in June 2014 than in the previous five years (excluding airport Express services of course). My son arranged the whole affair so we could attend the University of Nottingham's Undergraduates Open Day. He is interested in reading Architecture and Nottingham is high on his list of preferred schools.

Our pre-booked and inflexible train was due to leave St Pancras at 07.28 and I assumed we could collect our tickets from a machine at the station on departure. Not so. Never assume. My son had booked "Print At Home Tickets", which means you cannot collect tickets at the station. Panic. At 07.10 the very helpful chap at the ticket desk told me not to worry as this sort of thing happens all the time. "Just email me your tickets and I will print them for you, sir." Easy. Not. I have never accessed my personal emails on the iPhone before. So I had to quickly figure out how to set up an account/app on the phone, try to remember all the passwords and follow the instructions whilst having one eye on the ticking clock.

With just a few minutes to spare, we managed to complete the app installation, email the tickets to the ticket office, get them printed and sprint to the right platform, only to find an old kinder-garden class mate of my son who smugly showed us her home-printed "Print At Home Tickets".

The University of Nottingham is vast, at least compared the compact campuses I experienced as an undergraduate and graduate at Leicester and Guildford. They even have a double-decker bus that constantly loops around the campus. Despite the miserable weather, the campus was bucolic: huge expanses of green, mature trees, lakes with geese, a nature reserve and wide open spaces.

The architecture faculty is nothing to write home about in terms of its built form (and the lawn was decorated with palettes for some reason), but the head of department's address was impressive and the undergraduate projects on display in the studios were amazing - such exquisite detail, imagination and accuracy, beautiful to see.

We managed to zoom round all the important parts of the campus (bar, sports centre, bar, student union, bar, student support centre and the bar) in quick order and caught an early bus back to Nottingham railway station (a new tram link will open soon). However, my son's "Print At Home Tickets" are for a 17.05 train and we hit the station of 14.55, which means that I can sit here now watching train after train depart for London for the next two hours and compose this blog.

Next time, I book the tickets.

Phil's Travels - Nottingham

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