Friday, 23 June 2017

One year later and ... what?


Anniversaries come round so quickly these days, I must be getting old. Can it be a year since we strolled down to the polling station and made a mess of the world by voting to leave the EU? With the shenanigans in Brussels and Downing Street, the departure of one prime Minister, the humiliation of a second,  and the decline of the seemingly invincible Tory hegemony into a rudderless collection of loons and fools kept in office if at all by the even more bizarre (if that were possible) Democratic Unionist Party the year since the utterly unnecessary Brexit vote has been entertaining if completely unproductive with regards to leaving the EU. The UK Government hasn't got a clue what it wants to do (if it has it hasn't told anyone) or how to go about getting it and neither does it have the power at home to come to a decision on hard or soft Brexit or anything in between really. We shall see if the Queen's Speech gets past the Commons; if not then who knows what will happen. Another election or a minority Labour Government led by a man who was described as unelectable by the vast majority of his own MPs only last year. Add to all this events such as terrorist attacks and the appalling loss of life in a fire in London tower block and it's clearly going to be a long hot summer for whoever is in charge which is as it should be.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Aristocrats


Allow me, if you  will, to have my annual rant against hot weather. It's 29C and stinking humid as hell and I'm hating it. I know, I know 29C is just warming up for some places but this pale psychrophilic Englishman much prefers 19C;  actually now I come to come to think 9C is just dandy. To add to the misery everyone is supposed to be happy now summer is here: oh look! blue skies and barbecues and relaxing in the glorious sunshine (sunshine is not glorious it's a vile irridiating emission from the furnace in the sky and it can bugger off). Stuff that for a game.

Deep intake of breath ...
aaand relax ...

Where was I? Oh yes
These common gulls were taken by Margot in wonderful cool March. It's difficult not to see them as laughing at something, the human condition perhaps or the Brexit talks that finally start today, the PM who is afraid to show her face in public ("strong and stable"), that bloke from Hull and Hereabouts; there's so much to choose from. Or maybe they've just heard the dirtiest joke ever.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

An Old Stinker


Some birds have different or dialect names. Where I come from, Hartlepool, these beautiful birds are known as stinkers; civilised folk call them starlings of course. They used to be much commoner than they are nowadays with flocks in winter of thousands but now you are lucky to see a hundred or so wheeling around.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Another Blackbird


As the theme for this month was Nature I think I'll take a little break, put the blog on autopilot and post a few bits of nature for the next few days.


Margot took this.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Blackbird


Not really in the mood for this blogging game so here's a blackbird to be going on with.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Lord bless us and save us


They say confession is good for the soul and I confess I got it wrong along with just about every other pundit (some of whom were even paid). The electorate had a simple job to do, pick a government, any government, but somehow it chose not to do its job. Well fine, so be it. Oh the Tories are still there for sure but only by going into into bed with Northern Ireland's Calvinist loony party and then only by the narrowest of margins. The general view now is yet another election and soon. How exciting! This church's wayside pulpit may have the answer to the country's present political entanglement, but somehow I doubt even heavenly intervention is going to clear up this little lot. Meanwhile I'm sticking to forecasting what's for dinner.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

You'll be amazed at a Mazda


"The fact is that if you want a sports car, the MX-5 is perfect. Nothing on the road will give you better value. Nothing will give you so much fun. The only reason I’m giving it five stars is because I can’t give it fourteen."  -Jeremy Clarkson

While the demos are off merrily democking I thought I'd just post a picture of a natty sports car in red and cream. Kind folks on social media and a spot of googlifying tell me it's a Mazda MX5. Now I consider the private motor car to be the most pernicious invention known to mankind but if we have to have them (and it seems they'll be around for a while yet) they should all look as smart as this.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Election? What election?


For the last fifty days the country has been gripped by the democratic process, millions enthralled by the choices before them, the enormous responsibility of choosing the next government ... or rather it has not been any of these things. I do not recall an election with so little interest being shown, so few posters in windows, so few leaflets (I've had nothing from the Labour lot for the second election running, I think they aren't trying), or hustings or meetings of any kind whatsoever. If it wasn't for the TV/media constantly going on about it you'd never know there was an election going on at all. (What if it was all fake news after all and there really isn't an election? How would we know? ...) It's as if everyone really knows these campaigns change nothing so no-one is paying attention. So for what it's worth my prediction is the Tories will win by at least forty seats quite possibly by many more, not the silly landslide predicted fifty long days ago but easily enough. Oh and Diana Johnson will win as well; this is Hull; donkeys with red rosettes win in Hull.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Lost in music


Here he sits picking out pleasant tunes on his guitar and being roundly ignored by all and sundry. I suspect he doesn't care. He seemed oblivious to all the commotion and screaming not fifty yards away.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Classical Beauties


The Royal Hotel on Ferensway has joined the jamboree with these pieces of pseudomarmoreal pulchritude. Nothing says 'culture' better than a scantily clad lady with a jug.


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Dealing with stuff


Here at the foot of the Queen Victoria statue are heaped flowers and balloons and toys and cardboard messages. It's part of that modern fashion for taking part in ceremonies or rites of remembrance and outpourings of sympathy and solidarity. I think I can date the start of this fashion at least in this country; 31 August 1997 or what we call in our house Princess Di Day. The weeks following that car crash were filled with outpourings of grief, giant heaps of flowers and dozens of books of condolences up and down the country (who read them?). I didn't know the woman, never met her but it seemed the whole country had lost a greatly loved family member; it was all totally surreal. So now with every natural disaster, road accident or passing terrorist attack (this one in Manchester the other week but it could be anywhere) we get this and more sometimes (Je suis Charlie was particularly grating). 
I have to say I prefer the old way of dealing with deaths and disasters; flags at half mast maybe, a few words of condemnation or commiseration, absolutely no interviews with survivors, family members, no coverage of police operations, no sensationalism and certainly no heaps of flowers, toys and so on and just move on. Deny your enemy the oxygen of publicity as Mrs Thatcher reportedly said, the bastards absolutely hate to be ignored or, as a columnist in the Guardian put it recently, "Publicity is terror’s “second wave”. Without publicity, terrorism is just dead bodies." But with 24 hour news coverage of everything they have to fill in the gaps with something even if it's only people putting flowers round Queen Victoria in Hull. I suppose I'll just have to deal with it.


Friday, 2 June 2017

Two Circles of Hull


So the promised fountains are in business. And instantly turned into some kind of amusement feature for screaming children to put on their cossies and splash around in the jets of foul smelling over chlorinated water. Cue jokes about the great unwashed of Hessle Road or East Hull (take your choice) getting their annual wash... Someday perhaps the novelty of these fountains will wear off but until then Queen Victoria Square, the centre of town, has been turned into a stinking nauseous pit of hell.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Double Helix


The first day of a new month arrives and the City Daily Photo theme is Nature.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Wanna buy a bank?


I've shown bits of this building before but for some reason never the tout ensemble. This was until recently the HSBC bank on Whitefriargate. Imposing old pile isn't it? The usual outlook for buildings of this nature is to be transformed into a bar/club/restaurant and perhaps given the HSBC connection something with a little Mexican/Columbian flavour might be appropriate. They could called it El Cartel, just a suggestion.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Some rusting steps


At the back of the Uni connecting one concrete sixties building with yet another is an elevated walk way and being elevated it needs steps. These are those steps.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Say it with flowers


At the entrance to the Uni the Botany Department shows it can grow a few plants.

Margot probably wants some credit for taking this; how hard can it be to push a camera button?

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Big Boy


We have a pair of crows nesting nearby and every year at this time of the year they go just a little crazy. Nothing and I do mean nothing is allowed to fly anywhere near their nest. Chief object of their passion is a herring gull that has given up the nautical life for one of municipal scrounging. His poor life is hell just at the moment; no rest even if he's a couple of hundred yards from the nest and I wouldn't fancy being pecked by that beak. It'll all be calm again once the fledglings appear in a few weeks

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Woodbine Cottages


This little terrace of houses is on Endyke Lane in Cottingham. Endyke Lane (with a y) is not to be confused with Endike Lane (with an i) in Hull though the latter is an extension of the former. Looking at old maps it seems that the old name was Endike Lane and the Cottingham end only became Endyke after Hull built the North Hull Estate in the late 1920's. I wonder if this was not some desire on Cottingham's part to distinguish itself from the council house plebs down the road. So now you know the y of it...

Friday, 26 May 2017

Old Chestnuts


It's that time of year when the Horse Chestnut trees send forth their floral delights. These contrasting specimens are on the corner of Newland Avenue and Cottingham Road but you can find them spread all over town. Only the white ones produce conkers of any usable size. For some unfathomable reason these are sometimes known as Buckeyes in America ... there's even a fetid buckeye which sounds truly delightful.

Margot took this.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

L'homme d'hier


I freely admit my ignorance of Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint-Exupéry. You can't know about everyone, nor should you be expected to. I gather, after a quick look see on Google, he was of some import. Still I don't see why the uiniversity took so much against him that it removed a rather large version of the above inscription from the courtyard behind the library and replaced it with this piddling thing that seems to be covering up some utility port in a flower bed that you would quite easily miss. Below is how the old feature looked taken from the 2008 University report it's been replaced by a giant comma. Clearly pauvre Antoine is no longer flavour of the month.


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

I Want To Ride My Bicycle


They've got all the Lycra gear, helmets, obligatory sunglasses... and I'm guessing those bikes don't come cheap, so serious biking then ... well maybe not so serious.


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Tell me the old, old story


Tell me the old, old story,
  Of unseen things above,
Of Jeremy and His glory,
  Of Labour and Its love
Tell me the story simply,
  As to a little child,
For I am weak and weary,
  And helpless and defiled.


Tell me the same old story,
Sell me the same old view,
Tell me the stale old story,
 For the many not the few.

Over in east Hull the Labour Party treats its constituents like infants who should always keep a-hold of Nurse, for fear of finding something worse. And yet in east Hull and some other Labour places they seem to lap it up. I went to see Jeremy Corbyn at a meeting in town on Monday evening in Zebedee's yard. I say I went but I did not stay and did not get to see the would be Prime Minister and hero of the working man. Zeb's Yard is a horrible cramped place, totally unsuitable for a meeting. The goofy bearded loon or Great Leader of The Most Advanced & Unified Labour Party turned up half an hour late according the paper and still the large mass of deluded fools, sorry that should read devoted believers, comrades and acolytes, hung around for yet another thirty minutes before no doubt he incanted the ritual benediction: "For the many not the few". Verily J C makes them whole.

Mrs May ("strong and stable") in the poster is shown with Mrs Thatcher's hair style. That's just so original, so subtle! She is being a total mean bitch; taking dinners from hungry school kids and telling pensioners they'll have to pay for their care out of the forced sale of their homes (neatly and rightly labelled a dementia tax) and wants to bring back fox hunting, in short saying the kind of nasty things you only say if you know you can't lose and she won't. When pressed she crumbles and stutters and seems to back track; she and the rest of this government are clearly not up to the job of leading anything but nevertheless she'll win by a country mile. You see for the rest of the country the idea of Jeremy Corbyn as PM brings out that old fear of finding something worse...

My apologies to Katherine Hankey.  

Monday, 22 May 2017

Wacked


Well that didn't last long, did it? A year ago I posted about it opening and now it's gone. Too wacky even for east Hull.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Now with even less


As I was passing down Beverley Road I thought  I may as well mention (again) the ongoing, seemingly eternal, saga of this derelict building. For those who are new to Hull (& where have you been all our lives?) this is the remains of the National Picture Theatre destroyed by a bomb in WW2, seventy six years ago and allowed to stand (and slowly fall) in this state ever since; it claims to be the last blitz damaged civilian building in the country. Is there an award for long term neglect? Hull has no shame and would win that one, no worries.
In the near five years since I posted about it the Council have been led a merry dance by the owner who wants to use it for some purpose that was clearly unsuitable (to the Council and other busybodies, I couldn't care less). The building on the left, the old Swan pub, is owned by the same person and started to be renovated as an Indian restaurant but that stopped after a few weeks (I suspect that was some sort of ploy to hold off the Council). The last rumour I heard was  the Council has finally agreed to compulsory purchase it but whether that has actually happened I don't know. The feeling that nobody has a clue what is going on in this place has been with me for decades.
I'm guessing in five or so years time, if I'm still doing this nonsense, I'll pass by and nothing much will have changed, even the ghost cars will be the same ...


Margot took this; she likes old wrecked things ...

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Are you aware of Hull?


Does a creeping, cold sensation grab you by the sensitive parts as you gradually realise that you are being seized with the gruesome realisation that you are 'aware of Hull: UK City of Culture'? Fear not; you are not alone. According to the tiny Leader, some 53% of people have struggled to cope with this awareness problem, with even more suffering in the badlands of the "North". There is only one cure but it is drastic and may be fatal. Go, get you to the godforsaken hole and disabuse yourself of all that nonsense, once and for all. Then let us never mention it again...

Friday, 19 May 2017

Driven up the wall


You've met this poor guy's feet the other day so I thought it it only appropriate that you were given a fuller, more rounded picture. This is of course another of those figures being featured at the University over the summer.


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Blue Train



I just had a moment's notice to capture this locomotion. As I'm just old fashioned and a lazy bird I won't tell which way it's going.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

What's in a name?


This was once the Blockbuster video rental shop until, well we all know what happened to the video rental business ("Please mammy what's a video?"). Then it became the Mahattan coffee bar for a while until, bored with that, it underwent a transformation into this: the Tipsy Chicken. Inviting ain't it? Never mind just across the road and down a bit is a restaurant by the name of the Dirty Bird... tasty.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

4 Octavia X


Now I maintain this is meant to be a dog but Margot insists it's feline and looks a lot like our dear departed old cat Lulu (a ginger tom and a lot better looking than this old brute). Whatever it is it's on a wall on Beverley Road near Kingston Youth Centre. I hope Octavia was impressed.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Sign something simple


You can't have a year long bean fest without some promotion and as with all advertising the less you mention the product the better. Whoever was paid a no doubt substantial fee to come up with these instantly forgettable catch lines has learnt that lesson well... Here's a couple of the many enigmatic messages festooning the town.  When I'm bored I might post some more.



Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Nation's Feet: a scandal


Armies may march on their stomachs but most folk use their feet. So what happens if, say, you get corns, calluses or ingrowing toe nails? Not that you would; no you will go through life like a dancing fairy with no need of podiatry care. But suppose you did and you went along to your doctor expecting the NHS to give you relief. Well unless you are under 16, over 65 or a registered disabled person with diabetes you will be turned away. Now this seems a strange policy since the workforce of this country needs good strong feet and not caring for them will mean a painful and less productive workforce, lost workdays and reduced GDP; all the things the NHS was designed to prevent. But as you can see feet are not glamorous, they're a bit of a joke really and so people are left to suffer. I'd write to my MP if I had one right now... and my feet weren't playing up.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Ne'er cast a clout till May be out


No, not a political slogan, but advice on what to wear in England in spring time which can be notoriously fickle temperature wise. You may know May blossom  as hawthorn, maythorn, quickthorn, whitethorn or (my favourite if Wikipedia can be believed) motherdie but the name matters little when it's covering the whole countryside with luscious white blossom. The scent of this bush is particularly pungent and, some say, redolent of corpses which may be why it is considered bad luck to bring the blossom into your house. It looks much better outside any way.




Margot took the top shot. She prefers it in colour but it's not her blog.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Friday, 12 May 2017

A trip round the bay


Though Pirates grow old
And their beards go grey
It's never too cold
For a trip round the bay.



OK I'll give up the doggerel and stick to the day job...

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Look what they done to the hole, Ma ...


Now I know you should not judge something before it's finished but this is not looking good. Regular readers will recall the Hull hole otherwise known as the Beverley Gate ruins or remains or whatever. It had become an uncared for, litter strewn place where youths gathered to do whatever youths do (skate boarding, drinking, smoking, in short all the fun things). The options were to fill it in or re-jig in some way to make it more amenable. A public vote decided on the latter option and we are where we are with this; well it's about half as big as it used to be, the lining seems to be horrid brownish beige 1970's concrete tiles that clash with the ancient brickwork, the steps are just ugly, it looks awful. Oh sure there's a lot of planting behind where I'm standing and the taxi rank has been moved (much to the annoyance of taxi drivers) but I don't see this as anything other than worse than before. And where are our discontented youths to go now? And who will pick up the litter? Maybe filling it up was the better option ... it's never too late.




Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Acquainted with the Night


“I am in that temper that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top.”                                                                                                                ― John Keats


This is apparently Mental Health Awareness Week where well intentioned folk try to shed the stigma of anxiety/depression/suicidal ideation and "seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health". Good luck to them in that, many have tried and few succeeded. For some of us though it's not just one week in a year but every day we have to deal with all this mental crud, step by little step or post by little post perhaps...


 Acquainted with the Night

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rainand back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 
I have been one acquainted with the night.

Robert Frost

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The pretty bit


Prince Street is in just about all the tourist guides as a "must go see if in Hull sort of place". Strange how I hardly ever see anyone down here.