Last week I took myself off on a day trip to Sheffield on my own. There I’ve got it off my chest. I’ve only told a few people about this clandestine weekday activity and now it’s out there.
I did mention it to a retired mate and, to be fair, he was very positive. He simply asked “Why Sheffield?” to which I replied “because I’ve never been and it’s not too far on the train.” He asked me to let him know before my next day-trip when we could go together and “have a few beers”.
That was nice of him and I might well take him up on the offer. The truth is, that although I would be very happy to go for a beer or two I also want to do other things like just sit quietly on the train and read a book, write this blog or catch up on work emails.
When I arrived in Sheffield, I deliberately didn’t plan anything and just walked and walked. On arrival there’s a very distinctive 300 feet stainless steel water cascade called ‘Cutting Edge’ which guides you towards their rather impressive modern Winter Gardens.
Here I waited a little for a guided walking tour of the city centre which didn’t arrive so I took off myself heading past the world-famous Crucible Theatre – where the world snooker championships take place – and into the rather grand, spacious square around the town hall.
Not far from here I found one of the over 100 gold post-boxes dedicated to our 2012 Olympic heptathlete Jessica Ennis. I’ve only seen a few of these, maybe visiting all of them would be an interesting retirement project I though as I mused on Great Britain’s greatest sporting evening winning three athletics gold medals in just 44 minutes.
It was soon time for a sit-down and a 1,536 calorie Wetherspoon’s Big Breakfast, delicious. I spent most of the rest of the day trying to walk it off visiting the cathedral which wasn’t great, admiring their tram system and visiting the city art gallery which had a very impressive exhibition of modern portraits.
I spent the afternoon at the Kelham Island Museum which houses some stunning objects from the city’s steelmaking history. It’s on a 900 years-old man-made island which, as far as I can see isn’t an island.
By the time I’d finished here I’d had enough of walking and frankly it was grey and freezing cold and much of the area I was walking through was more than a little grim and in dire need of regeneration.
All in all I’d had a good day doing exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted, how I wanted with no compromises to make. It was also good to know that I had a hot wife and warm home to return any time I liked.
I’m going to be adjusting my rather that too rigid retirement routine I developed a month or so ago to include more ‘Billy No Mates’ days out. Next on the agenda is a trip on my own to the cinema to see the new Best Film Oscar winner, Parasite.