I’m not a runner. No one has ever called me a runner (at least not to my face) but this weekend i was lured up to Mansfield (a teeny town in north east england) to partake in the Robin Hood Adventure Race, in part to impress candice the personal trainer but mostly for the promise of a fun weekend away in the countryside with cool kids Alex, Pip, Duncan and Liss (she doesn’t like it when you call her elissa… I struggle with this aspect of our friendship. I enjoy saying the word Elissa a lot. I like having a vowel in which to roll onto an L quite frankly. Similar to the issue i have with saying words like Will or Mel i guess… it's hard to say. I’d like a consonant in which to finish an L. no? )
Some interesting facts we knew about Mansfield before arriving:
- It’s the gun-crime capital of the UK (I've since looked into this and apparently, in it's defence... the claim was actually about the nearby city Nottingham. or...shottingham. BOOM!)
- Two separate people recommended the Pizza Hut as a place to go to dinner. yes. the fast food chain. TWO. SEPARATE. PEOPLE. ha.
- Alex’s family are from there, and there is a traffic light where her gumpy’s dentist office used to be. yep.
What we discovered about Mansfield while we were there:
1. Strangely, not everyone looked like Alex. (that said, a lot of them did.)
2. Tesco is awesome outside of the city. In Shoreditch we only have a ‘tesco express’ which has about 6 shelves of things and is basically, a glorified step up from the petrol station shop next door. But Tesco in Mansfield was brilliant. Tesco in Mansfield was open 24 hours. Tesco in Mansfield sold iPads and kindles, horse riding crops and crop tops (of which, some were bought). We loved Mansfield Tesco. We filled a trolley. We talked about the regret we had for not having a car/semi trailer in which we could store more tesco-bought things. We bought things we didn’t even know we needed (I picked up a teddy bear named Gumpy, some ear muffs and £80 worth of fireworks. Yes.) On our way in, Alex made a joke (oh. Alex) about Tesco selling guns. I bet they would’ve if we’d asked.
3. They are firework crazy (admittedly our night in Mansfield coincided with Guy Fawkes night… but who am I to say that it doesn’t happen every night in Mansfield. i secretly hope it does.) We set off our tesco-bought fireworks in the field outside our hotel (yes… our hotel had fields. A la downton abbey. Alex and I even stayed in the honeymoon suite. Yep.) Our gigantic box of explosives was the LAST ONE IN THE STORE! so so so exciting. On closer inspection, it revealed that our firework display would last 75seconds. This did not deter us. We were complete nerdy children about the whole thing: We read the instructions, asked for a pamphlet on safety rules (which, it appears, there are none) got giggly with excitement, jumped from foot to foot in the carpark about who was going to hold the box (Duncan) and who would have to light the fuse (Emily). Oh, we were so nervous. we sort of whooped and cheered in anticipation a lot. a lot. The owner of our hotel was so nonchalant about safety he recommended we set it off on the deck. In a potplant. He was rad. (prob the reason that the next day, alex became friends with him on facebook. Gosh) We were, in hindsight, very uncool. After we’d bought our box-of-glory we saw a 5 year old boy throwing a tantrum in the tesco carpark because there were no sparklers left and his mum was saying ‘it’s not the end of the world that we don’t have fireworks small child’. We smugly looked at our box-of-glory and felt superior to the 5 year old. Yes.
...But then, there were FIREWORKS! Fireworks which WE set off! in the SKY! and they were loud and bright and exPLODED! We were HEROS. We were FIRE STARTING WARRIORS. weeeeeeee! And then, 75seconds later, it was all over. Oh
4. Robin Hood's forest is a nice place for a run. The big kids did the 10km run. I registered for the friendlier-sounding 'Maid Marian Run' which was only 5km (I say 'only' but in truth, I tried to do the 'little john 2km' run, until discovering that it was for people aged 14 and under...) Oh. We all survived. We were heros for the 2nd time in 24hours. Pip got bizarrely nervous in the build up to the run (prob all the excitement about the fireworks didn't help..) and sort of freaked everyone out with her twitchiness. Between us, we had an array of injuries which rivalled an old people’s home: knees, backs, hips, hamstrings… and, from me, general unfitness and laziness. But we were undeterred. Alex practically lapped me, but other than that, we walked (read: hobbled for most) away as HEROS. Robin Hood would have been proud.
- All in all, it was a tops weekend. Super tops.
- Here are some more photos of all Mansfield has to offer... the list of which is topped by 'ability to purchase a Santa Claus onsie which Alex now owns, and we are all insanely jealous of'...
'Til next time, Mansfield xoxo