So, since I couldn't find anyone who was going to the train station, I set out to make the trek myself. I needed to be back at 3:30 to rendevouz with a friend from out of town who had a walkie talkie with limited reception in place of a cell phone. From the arena, I was out of range so I couldn't get ahold of her to let her know that I was on my way but going to be a bit late. So, I took my map and headed off in, what I thought was, the right direction. The only trick is that maps are only helpful when supplemented by a knowledge of cardinl directions. Without a compass or the north star to guide me, I headed off in the wrong direction. (Now I understand why orienteering was the club of the year at Oxford. After being hopelessly lost in Nottingham, I have a new level of respect for the endeavor). After a few minutes of walking without hitting the street that I was meant to turn onto I decided catching the bus might be worthwhile. After all, if I hadn't reached my first turn then the scale of the map was larger than I had anticipated. So, a bus pulled up and I got on. The only problem was that the fare was a pound-fifty and I just had a ten and some change. I am sure that you are thinking that this sounds like enough money, except the guy wouldn't (or couldn't,not entirely sure which one) make change. So, despite my mounting desperation, I decided that it wasn't worth ten pounds to get to the city center (which wouldn't even deliver me to the train station). I thought about faking tears, but that has never been my style. So, I finally asked him to point me in the direction of the city center. He motioned to the back of the bus, and I breathed a sigh of relief. He had recognize that I was a hopeles foreigner in need of a "Robin Hood-ish" good deed. I said thanks and then walked towards the back of the bus.
Then I heard it. "Hey! mumble, mumble.." That's right, the bus driver had been pointing to the back of the bus as in "you need to go back the direction you have been coming" not as in "I recognize that you are hopeless and pathetic and I am going to have pity on you and give you a ride on my bus". I got off the bus and began to retrace my steps. My Robin Hood had not come to my rescue (although the whole "no change" bit is pretty good theivery, which does have some Hood-ish elements). I decided to turn and try to get on a different street so that I wouldn't be directly retracing my hopeless path. I soon came upon an older couple who I had already passed when I was walking away from Nottingham. I pathetically showed them my crumbled map, explained that I was trying to get to the train station and that I was coming from Jesse Boots arena and that I was trying to meet a friend in 10 minutes. The woman (Robin Hood) wanted to just give me money to catch the bus, but I explained that I wasn't sure when the bus would be back, and her husband didn't have any money anyway. So they gave me the directions and explained that it would be a long walk. I thanked them and walked away.
About 10 minutes later, I heard, "Alright, get in then..." and turned to see the couple from the neighborhood in a little read car pulling up to the curb. The charming pair gave me a ride to the train station and on the way explained that they had a few daughters themselves and a few grandaughters (one of which had given the woman a purple fuzzy pillow to pad her bum as they drove over the numerous speed humps throughout the city). They explained that the man had lived in Nottingham his entire life, pointed out the street he grew up on, and told me about the way the city had changed. And while I will probably always think of Nottingham with a bit of bitterness and loathing, a bit of charm and fairy-tale goodness will peek through those clouds.
And everyone lived happily ever after. And we didn't even have to steal from the rich to give to the poor.