Saturday, 10 July 2010

Crisis Visit to Nottingham

After my drive to Reading I had had quite enough of motorways! On Wednesday I started work after my long trip and everything was going really well until mid afternoon when my laser cutting machine broke down. Phonecalls to the engineer and work with the soldering iron achieved nothing and the machine still kept putting up an error message - "X-axis error overflow" - i.e. NOT WORKING!!!!!!

I use this machine for cutting out all the appliqué pieces that are used for all our embroidered products and also for cutting the ends of our fleece lined Harris Tweed scarves. This machine is not your everyday bit of kit and there is nobody in Scotland that can fix it so there was nothing for it but to load it into the car and drive the 470 miles to Nottingham. This is not like packing up a computer. It has a 1m square footprint and requires the door to be taken off its hinges to get the machine out of the room. It also requires two strong men to lift it down the stairs and out to the car.

I got to Nottingham by just after 8 o'clock on Friday morning and handed the machine over to the engineer in the hopes that he could wave a magic wand while I went off to explore Nottingham.

The first surprise was that there is no castle! There is still a medieval gatehouse (pictured left) and evidence of the old castle within the grounds, but the castle itself was destroyed a few hundred years ago. The castle hill is now occupied by a 19th century building used as a museum.

I had looked on the internet the night before to see if there was anything interesting to explore during my visit and found details of the lace museum. Unfortunately, it has closed and nobody has bothered to update the information on the web. The lovely old building (pictured right) is still there but very closed up and the lace curtains mean one can't see in the windows. The costume and textiles museum has also bitten the dust.

Next I thought I would look for something modern - the Nottingham Contemporary. Disappointment there too! The don't have any permanent displays and were between exhibitions.

At that point I decided to give up on seeking out culture and went into the post office to post a small parcel. I had brought it with me because the queue at my local post office had been too long for me to wait before I left Inverness. By Nottingham standards it was almost non-existant! In Nottingham they are obviously very used to queues - they provide rather comfortable seating! They operate a ticket system - mine was No 164 " there are 41 people ahead of you in the queue". It was swelteringly hot outside and my feet were sore so I decided to wait and test out the seating - it was a welcome half-hour break.

After that I wandered about through the the streets and the market square before ambling back to see what progress had been made with my machine. I timed it really well as they had just finished the work - it needed a new cable to feed the X-axis motor, relatively simple once you know what's wrong! So car loaded up and back on the road again.

I decided to make a detour on the way home and visit Texere Yarns in Bradford. I have bought lots of yarn over the years from their website but never before had the chance to visit. It was good to see the colours and feel the yarns - things you can't do on the internet. Unfortunately by the time I had found my way there, managed to find somewhere to park and got to the shop I was seriously hot and exhausted and that effectively limited my thinking powers so my spend was quite small. 4.30 on a Friday afternoon is not a good time to leave Bradford - it took a long time to get out of the town through rush-hour traffic and I was very glad that I had sat-nav.

I broke my journey in Ayrshire staying overnight with my sister and then got home by lunchtime today. The machine is now back upstairs. The door has still to be screwed back in place but the machine has been tested and is working as it should. After driving 2,500 miles in the last 6 days, I will be quite happy not to drive anywhere for quite some time!

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