St Marys ChurchSometimes the best adventures just hit you right out of the blue when you just open yourself up to saying ‘yes’ to them.

Take last Saturday for instance… it seemed like just a normal Saturday- I’d been cleaning up, just put a load of laundry in the machine and intended to walk into town to buy a couple of bits.

The phone rang- it was a work colleague, who had booked a ‘hard hat tour’ round a lovely listed Georgian building where we used to work and which was now being renovated. Unfortunately she was unable to make it so kindly offered me her place.

My first thought was ‘I haven’t got time’ as the tour started in 40 minutes, but then I thought, ‘why not? I can get there in time, plus it’s on my way into town’, so I said yes to her kind offer and walked into West Bridgford to join the tour.

It was fun to dress up in fluorescent jackets, steel capped boots and a hard hat, and the tour was very interesting, if a little sad, as the building has been stripped back to bare plaster and is currently being held up by scaffolding.

The old wedding registry office

The old wedding registry office

However it is positive as it is being given a new lease of life as luxury hotel apartments, and it was good to see the original features that had been uncovered and which will be incorporated into the new design, such as ornate marble fire places, decorative plaster ceilings and a Victorian cooking range.

The original stairs

The original stairs

After the tour I sauntered into Nottingham, and, as usual, just before reaching the town centre I passed the church of St Mary’s in the Lace Market. Only today there was a sign on the gate stating that the church was open for a Heritage Weekend… I stood there undecided as to whether to go in, as I immediately thought ‘I haven’t got time’- but then I thought, why not, it’s not as though I had anything else planned.

St Mary's Church

St Mary’s Church

So I went in, and wandered round the beautiful stone arches and hidden rooms full of pictures that aren’t usually open to the public, before spotting a narrow doorway with a set of spiral, narrow stone steps disappearing upwards. Aha- the steps up to the tower! I set off, noticing with some alarm how much smaller people must have been in medieval times, until I stepped out at roof level. A man pointed to a set of metal steps and told me they led to the bell tower where a talk was just starting, so I joined it.

Narrow stone stairways!

Narrow stone stairways!

I sat near the bell ropes hanging from the ceiling and listened to a very informative talk from a couple of the bell ringers, who then told us we were going up to have a look at the bells… this involved scrambling up a long, wide wooden ladder that seemed near vertical before negotiating a steep wooden spiral staircase that disappeared ever upwards. This gave us a great view of the bells in their steel frame, and we learnt how they move when they are rung, that some of them are hundreds of years old and that they don’t all ring in the same direction or the tower might collapse… they even rang the largest bell for a demonstration- talk about a ringing in the ears!!

Then we were urged to climb to the top of the staircase before squeezing ourselves through an even narrower spiral stone stairway until we emerged on the flat roof at the top of the tower for an amazing 360 degree panoramic view over Nottingham.

View over Nottingham

View over Nottingham

As I treated myself to a coffee and home made cake in the church afterwards (for the princely sum of £1!) I was so glad I had said yes to this amazing experience that I could have so easily missed.

So if you receive a sudden invitation or see something that looks interesting, start saying ‘yes’ instead of immediately letting all the reasons why you shouldn’t crowd into your head… see where it takes you. I promise you will have all kinds of unexpected little adventures!


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