My Kind Of Town

I love travelling and I love blogging about it. But all too often I experience extraordinary things, right on my doorstep, and singularly fail to record them in any way, shape or form.

But not today. Today I combined the best part of my job with one of the best journeys I’ve taken in a long time. It involved getting up at 6am on a Sunday, but even with the benefit of the clocks going back, it still felt early. Most people in Nottingham have seen this building, the Council House.

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It’s a magnificent bit of civic pride. Ken Dodd once quipped, “If that’s the council house, put my name down for one!” Now I’ve been inside the Council House many times in the course of my work, and have even waved regally from the balcony. But look very carefully, beyond the balcony, and into the clock tower. Because that’s where you’ll find Dave.

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Dave Lyon is the clock engineer, and twice a year it’s his job to put the clock backwards or forwards by one hour, although there’s a trade secret here.

Dave does’t climb onto the clock face and move the hands back.

Nah, he just stops the clock for an hour. During this rare time, when time stands still, there’s an even rarer chance to see Nottingham’s equivalent of Big Ben. His name is Little John.

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For the purposes of creative broadcasting, I’m allowed to stand inside the bell and give it a tap. And then, up another spiral staircase to the inside of the clock itself.

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I bloody love my job. I could stay here all day. But for Dave it’s a race against time. He has to turn back more than a dozen clocks across town, and all before noon. His next one is a slightly easier task, in the Member’s Tea Room.

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No time for tea, though. It’s a quick walk down past Flying Horse Walk to St Peter’s Church. Another clock, and another roof for Dave.

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I thought I’d seen everything in Nottingham. But I’ve never seen it like this.

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