It’s a small world?

I’m across the big pond as I write this. I have been in New York but now have hit a bitingly cold Toronto. I’m here on holiday for a few days with my son Jak. We’re back in New York on Wednesday and then back in the UK next weekend.


I couldn’t help but reflect on my travels in the last week. It’s not been great for the planet. Nor for my body clock!

I jotted down that in the last 7 days, so far I have travelled just over 3,400 miles…

214 miles from Nottingham to Hunstanton and back
113 miles to Watford
36 miles from Watford to central London and back
113 miles from Watford to Nottingham
128 miles from Nottingham to Heathrow
3,391 miles (approximately) from Nottingham to JFK in New York
347 miles from New York to Toronto

And as you read this my day is about to start with a 2 hour drive to Niagra Falls – and then back to Oshawa tonight for a Barenaked Ladies concert! The miles keep piling up!

I couldn’t help but wonder today what people would have thought about this 100 years ago? To give some contact to the world over 100 years ago – in Nottingham it is worth a few minutes of you time to watch this amazing video – of life in front of a tram (trolley-cars?). They would surely think that this pace of life was mad!

This week may be a bit sporadic in terms of posts – I’ll post if I find interesting things that I can add to the Nottingham plan – but otherwise, life will return to normal next week with some more great stuff about Nottingham – and the business plan….

Happy Christmas….

I can’t quite believe that another year has all but slipped by.

Happy Christmas to all my blog readers – wherever you are.

It has been a good year – and there seem to be lots more of you than ever before who call by on a daily basis. Over 7,500 last month. My next big target is 100,000 hits – which I hope to get to some time in January.

I am going to give the blog a rest for a few days, I think it needs a bit of time off. But it will be back.

My plan is to have a bit of a look back at 2011 – probably on New Years Day – and then a look forward to 2012 on the 2nd January.

It’s always good to hear from you – so if you have any ideas for what I should be shouting about next year – do let me know!

In the meantime – here’s wishing you a very Happy Christmas and a very prosperous New Year!

Butlins – trying to forget

Butlins in Skegness celebrated its 75th Birthday last week. Billy Butlin had set up the camp so that families could spend some time together – and the ‘it’s so bracing’ Skegness was his first venture.

The happy camp spawned the famous Redcoats. Happy people with smiley faces to make your stay a joy.

I almost daren’t tell you this, but a few years ago (10 perhaps) we were so disorganised in sorting a holiday we decided to give the place a try. We had seen on the Holiday Programme that they had invested ‘millions’ in upgrading the place – the huts were now like proper houses (New England style as I recall). There was an indoor pool and a spa. And entertainment till you drop.

It was truly awful. I think we managed three days. The house was ok, but the rest of the place was stuck in some sort of time warp. I swear that men walked around with knotted handkerchiefs on their heads. Women swam in the bra’s. 24 hour non-stop karaoke was the form of entertainment. The pool was just appalling.

In fact it is the second worse place I have ever stayed. My good mate Richard was left in charge of booking our golf hotel in Scotland last September – I think he may have chosen it on ‘VFM’ – at £24 each it promised ‘a must for a lovers of things Scottish’. It was truly awful – modelled mostly on Fawlty Towers – certainly last upgraded in the mid 70′s when Basil stormed onto our screens. The Landlord even ‘did’ Snuff. Richard has been demoted from Hotel monitor to Milk monitor for the rest of his life.

So congratulations to Butlins for lasting this long. 75 not out is pretty good…

I drove past the place two weeks ago – and that reminded me: Thats what you should always do – drive past it.

As this blog goes to post I am on my way to Scarborough for the weekend – more of that later perhaps! I must be in some sort of holiday-camp-retro-status….

Lymington – a very nice place!

I am in Lymington this week – enjoying a week away from the frantic office!

Quaint cobbled-ness of Lymington

It is a fantastic place and you don’t need to take my word for it. It came out top in a survey in 2008 as the best seaside town in Britain.

We are staying at the excellent Elmers Court – a sort of modern day posh Butlins. Originally it was a Country House but is has had a chequered hsitory – including as a Magistrates Court, a School for ‘delicate’ children and during the war as a spy training school. Famously Odette Hallowes was trained here.

Lymington town itself is centred around a yacht harbour – the cobbled high street rises steeply and shares something with Nottingham; there are a warren of tunnels below the town! This was a smugglers paradise. It fits my story about rebels too.

Apparently Ben Ainslie CBE (Gold sailing Olympian) and Ken Russell (film director) live here. Johnny Depp is also rumoured to have a place here too. I haven’t seen any of them…

Like most places there are vacant shops on the High Street – but it sustains a Tesco Metro, Waterstones, ASK restaurant and others. The house prices are holding up; there are quite a few available in the £2-£4m range! I counted 6 estate agents in the town.

But there’s no Starbucks and so I’m beginning to wonder if we could move the Sainsbury’s Castle Marina branch here?

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business Tagged BEn Ainslie, Best seaside town in Britain, Castle Marina, caves, Elmers Court, , Johnny Depp, Ken Russell, Lymington, , Odette, , Solent, , tunnels