Greatest hill: One reader recalls her memories of Steep Hill, and why she is pleased it has won such an award.
— Lindsay Narey is a PR professional and trainee journalist currently residing in Nottingham, who used to live Lincoln. After Steep Hill winning the Best Street in the UK, Lindsay shares her fondest memories of Steep Hill, and why she is proud of Lincoln.
You’d have thought the Romans might have spared a thought for ladies in inappropriate footwear when they made a cobbled cliff face the connection between Lincoln’s uphill and downhill drinking zones. Unfortunately, they didn’t.
Steep Hill, newly crowned Best Street in the UK by the Academy of Urbanism, was not designed for tackling in heels. I’m sure the reason for this is obvious to locals and visitors alike but just in case – the clue is in the name.
It’s quite simple really; wearing silly shoes, drinking several glasses of Pinot Grigio and then taking on a 1 in 7 gradient might well equal a twisted ankle and unfortunate end to your evening. Despite this danger, the descent from historic Bailgate to the High Street is risked by countless foolishly clad feet every weekend.
Why? As an ex-resident of the fine Cathedral city I may be biased, but where else can your night out be enhanced by a walk/stagger down a narrow hill dotted with Norman houses, Roman architecture, cosy tea rooms and pretty gift shops? Where else can you entertain yourselves by coming up with the most inventive way of reaching the next pub along the route uninjured? Why not walk backwards, slide down on the hand railings, adopt an unusual reversed-ostrich style saunter, or if all else fails, get on the floor and roll down! Steep Hill, despite its heel-based hazards, is unique.
On hearing about the well-deserved Best Street in the UK title I felt truly proud, and was moved to help spread the good news via various social networks. Based on the response the subject, obviously lots of others feel the same. Whether memories of racing up the hill in childhood, entertaining visitors with a leisurely tourist-trail stroll, or braving the icy pavements to reach the crowds in Castle Square on New Year’s Eve. When it comes to stories of ascending or descending Lincoln’s virtually-vertical stretch of cobbles, everyone has a tale to tell.
It’s really great to see the fantastic city of Lincoln given some recognition and Steep Hill is central to the many charms it has to offer. If you’re a local then appreciate what is on your doorstep, and if you’ve never been before, then you should pay a visit — remembering to pack a pair of sturdy flat walking shoes of course.
Shakespeare: One reader reviews a Shakespeare play recital, while comparing communications over the ages.
This week’s Reader’s Review comes from Emma O’Neill, a freelance journalist who recently moved to Lincoln from Australia. She checked out the open air performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Lincoln Castle, and ponders the art of communication in modern society.
If Shakespeare had an iPhone and a trigger-happy texting finger would we now quote ‘TBONTO’ instead of ‘To Be or Not to Be? Would Romeo have sent Juliet a quick ‘X’ instead of lofty sonnets? And could the tragedy of their ill-timed meeting have been averted thanks to Google Maps and a charged up Sat-Nav? I started thinking about this last night while watching A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men at Lincoln Castle.
Listening to the Bard while sitting within the grounds of a castle, which houses Lincoln’s Magna Carta – one of the most important documents in British History – it made me realise just how powerful and timeless the written word can be. Both Lincoln’s Magna Carta and Shakespeare’s plays have been preserved for centuries, their delicate ink -stained pages preserved.
Fast-forward to 2011 and the art of ‘writing things down’ is almost obsolete. Hand-written letters have been replaced with emails, which can easily be lost within a maze of megabytes and downloads – the tragedy of Othello’s demise fades into insipidity compared spam inspired document loss for generation X. Text messages between lovers are now deleted, or lost as they move to a new phone plan. And war declarations are now predicted by Twitterers and captured by Facebook photos instead of written with a ink drenched quill and sealed with blood red wax.
So in light of this, it was incredibly enjoyable to see the passionate Chamberlain’s Men troupe effortlessly transpose every intricate syllable of the bard’s vernacular into a flurry of chaos, hilarity, Fairy Queen magic, and impish mischief upon a Globe stage replica façade. Despite clouds taunting a perfect summer’s evening, the well-rehearsed troupe took to the stage with the energy of puppies let loose in a field – and they didn’t stop playing until harmony was restored in ancient Athens. Even the fact that Hermia’s lines were read from side-of–stage due to an actor’s missing voice didn’t detract from the seamless performance.
At the conclusion of this two-hour treat to rich and deliciously descriptive prose from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I had pangs of guilt about my careless text messages and emails I had sent that resemble a find-a-word. And I realised, while my generation are perfecting the art of using less time to communicate, we are indeed loosing our ability to make communication ‘time-less’.
Have you been to the theatre or a gig recently and what to tell Lincoln what you thought? Get in touch by emailing us at [email protected]