Tuesday : A Bright and Sunny Day in Lincoln Before the Downpour and Bar Billiards

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These blog title posts aren’t exactly carefully crafted pieces of literary genius, but at least it gives some background to this photo, a bright morning in Lincoln. Everything felt quite relaxed and calm, holiday makers ready to walk up a big hill to see the cathedral, locals seeming to be unhurried on their way to work and it felt like it’d be a trouble-free sort of day with no rain in sight.

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As can be seen, some people waited behind the barrier for the train to go through, whilst some energetic and go-getting people such as myself rushed up the steps to take this photo. Although then I realised that I wasn’t too go-getting when I had a little rest after galloping up the steps.

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Back to Lincoln Library as I wanted to get some things done and there are strict rules about plugging things into the wall. A power breaker duly acquired, which I thought was a little excessive, but all was set for the morning.

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Staff walked by this, but it offended my sense of the proper keeping of books, look at them all slanted about. On a tangent, I was quite excited to hear an argument between a member of the public and a staff member as there’s a limited amount of external drama for me to listen to in a library. Spending time in a JD Wetherspoon pub usually gives me exciting content to comment on.

Anyway, back to my story. The member of library staff told a polite man that he couldn’t print out old newspapers on library printers as it was a breach of copyright. This is complete nonsense and I was slightly tempted to get involved in this matter, but I thought I’d better not as it was genuinely nothing to do with me. She didn’t back down though, she told him that this had always been the policy of Lincoln library and that unless it had changed on her day off the previous week then nothing had changed. I liked the passive aggressive behaviour really of that comment, a slight element of sneering, although she seemed slightly wounded when the member of the public said that he had been doing this all of last week.

Almost excited by what she perceived to be the rule breaking of her fellow staff, she didn’t back down, but as she was so certain so was right, she announced she’d get another member of library staff to confirm the policy. Five minutes passed and I could almost sense the argument going on elsewhere in the library when she realised that she was wrong. She sheepishly, although still with some annoyance in her voice, came back and said that there had been a misunderstanding, which there hadn’t been as she was just wrong. She announced that the library would accept printing of newspapers on their printers and she was pleased that they had come to a resolution. To be fair, the resolution was that the member of the public did what he came in to do and would have already done so if she hadn’t interfered. But, she was getting ready to go and shout at another customer who was doing something else she perceived to be wrong at a library computer, so that matter passed.

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I thought after all this excitement in the library (it’s relative this excitement thing) that I needed a little drink, so I went to the Witch and the Wardrobe. This is another pub where the pumps are blocked by customers seated in front of them, so I’m not entirely sure what the drinks options were.

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Although since it’s a Marstons pub, I was hardly ever going to be excited by the beer options and the house beer from Ringwood Brewery was badly kept. The service was friendly, but the pub was neither clean not had decent beer, so this wasn’t ideal. The crisps were very acceptable though and this pub should be a licence to print money given its location. The pub isn’t particularly well reviewed on-line either, it’s an odd place, but I wouldn’t recommend going there for anyone who likes beer. It’s good for crisps though, go there and fill your boots with crisps, they’ve got that spot on.

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Although primarily about designated drivers, I ensured I sent this to my friend Des.

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A rather attractive view of the River Witham.

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And looking the other way along the Witham.

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St. Swithins Church, a Victorian church which isn’t currently open to the public.

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I couldn’t put it off any longer, I then decided to climb the mountain, also known as Steep Hill. I pretended that I was Dave Morgan and started off striding up the hill. Three metres later I decided I was bored of pretending to be Dave Morgan and I ambled slowly up the mountain taking photos every thirty seconds or so.

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Photos of the hill, evidence of my stopping every few seconds.

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Top of the hill where I stopped to find somewhere to lie down. This area is known as Castle Hill and it’s a rather beautiful area, although I was distracted with the lack of oxygen being this high up.

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Approaching the Cathedral.

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Very slightly lop-sided. I didn’t go into the Cathedral as I was disappointed at the scale of the admission charges, which were £24 per adult including entry and going on the tours. This will have to remain one of the few cathedrals that I haven’t visited, there’s no need in my irrelevant view for entrance fees set at that level. I accept it’s marvellous for short-term financing of the building, but as a long-term mission to engage people in religion and history, it seems very risky to me. The model at Peterborough Cathedral seems much more moderate, free admission and then offering excellent and engaging tours for a fee or donation. How on earth the cathedral is valuing entrance at the same price as the Tower of London I’m not sure, but I do feel sadness at the number of families who won’t be able to afford to visit the building. But, it’s their building and their choice, but as long as the Church of England don’t express surprise that people don’t engage with their other historic structures.

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Lunch, my free coffee from O2 and a chicken bake. Living the dream and all that.

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I was thinking what a glorious day it was, the sun shining and everything quite balmy.

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Layout of the former St. Paul in the Bail church and there was a religious building on this site from perhaps as early as the seventh century. The Victorians built one of their new churches here in 1876, after a few centuries of demolition and rebuilding, but that was taken down in 1972. This is all that remains.

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Old gravestones shoved into the tarmac.

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Lincoln Castle and the weather started to look rather less balmy than I had been anticipating.

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Torrents of rain meant I had to hide under the gateway to the cathedral whilst rivers of water flooded past my feet.

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After ten minutes of studying the underside of the gateway, the rain went away and I got a photo of Lincoln castle without a thunderstorm above it.

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Lovely square, it’s the same one as I photographed earlier, but I had recovered from the mountain climbing expedition to get to it by now.

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The cathedral, which I still really wanted to go in, but I decided they’d made their opinion on visitors welcome, for the few and not the many. I can’t hold a mood for as long as my friend Nathan, but I can last a few hours.

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More of the formidable money making machine that is Lincoln Cathedral. I had a look at their menu and the beer choice was limited to Budweiser, so that annoyed me again, and they were charging £4.95 for a bottle as part of their for the few, not the many theme.

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I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Prince of Wales pub which is operated by Stonegate, but I was suitably impressed. The interior was clean, there were power points, the decor was modern and the staff members were friendly. I went for the Atlas from Welbeck Abbey Brewery and this was well-kept and suitably decadent. I also stayed here for longer than I had planned because a group came in which provided me with some entertainment when one of them announced he was having the halloumi burger as deer was his favourite meat. I put this update straight onto Facebook (I set the bar very low in my social media updates) and waited excitedly for the food to be delivered. To cut a long story short, the staff replaced the burger willingly and were very professional about the whole thing.

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The outside of the Prince of Wales Inn, much better than I expected and I’d recommend it.

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BeerHeadZ was my next pub to visit and my expectations were higher for here.

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I decided to get two beers, the Voodoo People from Leviathan Brewing which I forgot that I’d had before, and the Jack in the Basket from Howling Hops, which was an impressive and smooth imperial stout. The crisps were decent as well.

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Quirky interior, I liked this bar a lot.

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I don’t normally take photos in the toilets, but they’ve made an effort here and it seemed wrong not to acknowledge that.

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An interesting take on politics from Cloudwater.

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I thought at this stage that I’d better taken a walk back to the footlands of lower Lincoln, this is Michaelgate.

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Photos of climbing down the mountain.

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This is known as the Jew’s House and the building was first constructed between 1170 and 1180, one of the relatively few residential properties with Norman architecture left in the country. It takes its name as a Jewish man lived there in 1290 and the locals must have a long memory if they’ve called the building that ever since. The property has been used as a restaurant for the last half a century and it’s a remarkable survivor (the building, not particularly the restaurant, although 50 years is good going).

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Joiner’s Arms which had been closed the previous day due to staff shortages.

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There were no other customers and so the atmosphere was a little muted, but everything was clean and comfortable. They only had a couple of beers, although the landlord pro-actively apologised for that, but the Bullion from Nottingham Brewery was beautifully kept, so I had no complaints.

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Where’s Nathan when you need him…. I’d have beaten him easily on this table, I could just tell. I think this is the only pub with a bar billiards table in Lincoln.

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Walking back through the centre of Lincoln, there’s a feeling of history all around this rather lovely city.

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I thought I’d stay out a bit longer as I wasn’t particularly engaged in going back to the Travelodge. I also had my laptop to get work done and power points were available at the JD Wetherspoon operated The Ritz. This is half a pint of the Animate from Beermats Brewing, it wasn’t kept as well as it could have been, so slightly disappointing.

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Just as I was planning my food arrangements, McDonald’s sent me a notification saying I could get a burger for nearly free. I don’t much visit McDonald’s in the UK, but I wasn’t going to turn down a bargain. And I never said that this blog was always full of fine dining and culinary decadence did I?