I’m very excited to have been presented with a Liebster Award by E and B who write the brilliant blog, Make, Do and Spend. ‘Liebster’ is a German word meaning ‘dearest’ and the award, given by bloggers to bloggers, is an international way of recognising and promoting new blogs.
In order to claim the award I’m required to fulfil the following tasks:
- List eleven random facts about myself
- Answer the eleven questions given to me by E and B
- Set eleven new questions for my own Liebster Award nominees
Now I know that this is quickly starting to sound like one of those dodgy chain letters from the eighties, but bear with me.
I’m going to go rogue right from the outset here. For my first task I’m supposed to list eleven things about myself, but because you’re reading this because you love Clarendon Park, I think it’s far more fitting that I list eleven things about Clarendon Park. Avid Clarendon Spark readers may recognise some of these tidbits from previous posts but there’s some new stuff in here too and hopefully some facts obscure enough to be news to even the most dedicated Clarendon Parker!
- Clarendon means ‘hill of clovers’. There’s some debate over the origins of the name Clarendon Park, but the most likely explanation seems to be that the original developers of the land just thought it sounded posh!
- Dukes Drive, which runs from London Road to North Avenue, is one of the oldest thoroughfares in Clarendon Park. It started out as a lane linking four racecourses and was still being used to exercise horses well after the area became residential
- 66 Clarendon Park Road, presently the Reggio Garage, simultaneously housed two very different businesses at the beginning of the 20th century – a painting firm and a registry office
- An overhead conversation between two workmates in The Clarendon pub directly led to the conviction of murderer Colin Pitchfork in the 1980s (more about that here)
- Bar Dos Hermanos means ‘Two Brothers Bar’ in Spanish, and is named after the two siblings who own it
- Estima Close and Cara Close, both just off Southernhay Avenue, are named after varieties of potato because they were built on old allotment sites in the 2000s
- There is a ‘secret passage’ which begins in a corner of Orlando Road and comes out in the middle of Cecelia Road, between numbers 10 and 12. This little gitty is so narrow and well-hidden that very few people are aware of its existence
- Jones’ Cafe Bistro offers no less than six different mussel dishes on their evening menu, including ‘Mussels Thai’ served with coconut milk, spring onion, chilli, garlic, fish sauce, coriander and lime
- Ian Mitchell, One of Leicester’s best-known artists, is based in Clarendon Park and hosts regular watercolour workshops from the garden of his Raeburn Road home, and other local venues
- The Offie on Clarendon Park Road offers a choice of 500 different bottled beers. The most unusual of these is Westvleteren, a Belgian monastery ale, which has no label and which has to be collected in person from the monastery
- It is rumoured that 106 Queens Road, which is currently being renovated, will become a restaurant run by Tom Boarder, currently head chef of Carluccio’s in St Peter’s Square, Leicester.
Next up, here are my answers to E and B’s questions. There’s a bit about Clarendon Park in here, but it’s mostly just my ramblings about blogging, balloons and my love of knitting, so feel free to skip!
What’s the best thing about blogging?
As my blog is all about my local area, writing it has been a brilliant opportunity to find out more about the history of where I live, and the different communities that call Clarendon Park home. I’ve met lots of great people since I started writing the blog and had loads of experiences that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s been a wonderful way to become more connected with my local community – an old-fashioned concept enabled by new technology.
And the worst?
I just wish I had more time to devote to it! I have a long list of article ideas, many of them suggested to me by people who live or work in Clarendon Park, and it’s sometimes frustrating to have to try and squeeze in writing the blog between a full-time job and a busy social life.
What do you like most about the area you live in?
Clarendon Park is like a self-contained village within the city. I love the mix of people who live here – from students to young professionals and from impoverished artists to affluent middle-class types. It’s this medley of different types of folk that make the area so special I think, and the eclectic nature of the people is reflected in the shops, restaurants, bars and businesses that you find here.
Spring/summer/autumn/winter, which season is your favourite and why?
I’m a huge lover of spring. Feeling the warmth in the sun again, seeing green buds appearing on trees and knowing that summer is just around the corner fill me with optimism. The clocks going forward is my cue that good times are on their way and that longer days, picnics, sunshine and barbecues are just around the corner!
What’s your favourite form of transport?
I went on a hot air balloon flight last year. Having to get up at 4am wasn’t pretty but the actual flight was spectacular – it was just as surreal and romantic as you’d imagine floating serenely above the Leicestershire countryside at dawn. I wouldn’t want to rely on it as a regular form of transport as it’s hopelessly impractical – you can’t choose where you end up for a start – but it’s utterly tranquil.
Your top three most-loved pieces of clothing?
I’m a knitter and I tend to get very attached to my current knitting project. At the moment I’m working on a mint green ‘feather and fan’ scarf which I’ve had on the go for several months. The creation of this spindly little thing has taken up a huge amount of my time and concentration so it’s only right that it should be in my most-loved list, although when it’s finished and I move onto something else my affections may well shift too!
My other two favourite pieces of clothing are my bikini and my walking boots – not for the things in themselves but for what they symbolise – adventure, relaxation and being outdoors.
What was the last thing you watched at the cinema? And theatre?
I watched Grand Budapest Hotel at Phoenix the week it was released. I’m a huge fan of Wes Anderson and his latest offering is one of my favourites to date.
The last thing I saw at the theatre was The Lady in the Van by Alan Bennett at Curve. It’s a wonderful true story and seeing it performed on stage rather than reading Bennett’s written account gave it an extra dimension.
Favourite childhood book?
The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (actually a series of four books rather than just one). It’s the story of a bunch of kids who discover a magic tree with all sorts of eccentric characters in it. At the top of the tree is a magical land, which is different every time they go into it. It’s pure innocent escapism and it really captured my imagination as a kid.
Answering this question actually led to me ordering The Magic Faraway Tree on Amazon – I’m happy to say that it’s lost none of it’s magic and The Land of Do-As-You-Please is just as appealing!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone thinking about starting/just starting a new blog?
Don’t let a lack of technical ability put you off. Platforms like Blogger and WordPress are designed to be as straightforward to use as possible and there are loads of free tutorials on You Tube which I found extremely useful when I was putting together my website.
Now for the important question – whippy or scooped ice-cream?
Whippy ice cream does bring back lovely childhood memories of holidays to the British seaside, but these days it’s got to be scooped!
I like trying out more exotic flavours. Andersons’ Sweets and Ice Cream on Queens Road has a brilliant range of unusual combinations and their ice creams are homemade too which is an extra bonus. I think my favourite so far has been Chocolate Marshmallow, with Fruit Salad in close second place.
Now it’s my turn to present my own Liebster Awards – I’ve chosen a medley of blogs which I enjoy reading and which are written by bloggers based in Leicestershire. The lucky winners are: Roz at TheFoodieCoupleBlog, Alex at Gingey Bites, Jenny Collier, Lindsay at Leicester Veggie, the anonymous duo behind Leicester: it’s not shit! and Louise at tobeavoice.
Congratulations folks! Here are your eleven questions:
- Why did you start your blog?
- How did you pick your blog’s name?
- What one piece of advice would you give to newbie bloggers?
- Which of the blog posts you’ve written is your favourite?
- What do like most about living in Leicestershire?
- What is your favourite Leicestershire restaurant?
- If you could do any job for the day which would you choose?
- What single quality do you most admire in other people?
- If you had a time machine, which year would you travel to?
- What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
- If you could have any superpower what would you choose?