Saturday, 7 December 2019

Like water off a ...

Lately I've been reading up a bit on quantum physics and what 'reality' might be. I thought it about time I caught up on all this; the theory is nearly a hundred years old after all and besides it makes a refreshing change from Thomas Carlyle and his delightful but seemingly interminable French Revolution. I can appreciate that there's no analogy suitable for the behaviour of an electron or photon and how you can't know anything about it until you look and how looking changes everything, I can grasp all this... (and pace Neils Bohr I do not find it shocking at all but maybe I really  don't understand it ...) Anyhoo, it got me to thinking that perhaps, there is an analogy from quantum physics for the current election, how once it's over, and we sneak-a-peek inside Schrödinger's election box to see whose cat has died in there; the psephological wave function collapses, as it were, and all other probabilities become zero ... or maybe I should just get out more.
I can't help thinking that all the huff and all the puff of all the political classes flows so rapidly off the electorate's back that it has no effect at all. None but the most obtuse or gullible are going to be convinced by the performance of any of the parties or the not-so-subtle bias of the media. I'm guessing the vast majority made their minds up over the last three and a half years, since the Brexit Referendum and have seen what the Opposition has to offer (the Opposition, to stretch my analogy possibly to breaking point, seems to obey the Uncertainty Principle: you can know what its policy is right now but you cannot possibly know what its policy will be at any time in the future and, much like that old electron in the "only mystery of quantum mechanics", it 'seems' to want to go through the Leave and Remain doors simultaneously) and well, well we'll see. When Friday comes, and "democracy has democked" and the result is out who, I wonder, will be saying "I don't like it, and I'm sorry I had anything to do with it".

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Somewhere like King's Lynn ...

Red Mount Chapel, The Walks, King's Lynn
A man that is tired of London, said some wag, is tired of life, to which I add that a man that is tired of Hull has come to his senses. Hull is a well known dump, the ultimate crap town (accept no substitutes), run by petty minded, petulant jumped up jack-in-offices. I hate the sodding place, I'm sick of it and its gridlocks, its failing services, it's depressing shitty little town centre, its pathetic attempt to be a city, nay a city of culture ... pah to hell with it all. I should leave (should have left years ago), go somewhere, anywhere that doesn't depress, irritate and bore me to death. Somewhere like King's Lynn, perhaps.

This little folly, the Guannock Gate,  has been carefully moved, rebuilt and plonked here as a feature in the Walks. In the city of culture a similar town gate is now a demolished, despoiled and despised hole in the ground, a place where litter and louts and their odious offspring accumulate.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Again with the rainbows

If this looks vaguely familiar it's because I posted it or something so damn similar you wouldn't know the difference back in September, here to be exact where there's a bigger and better rainbow. Only this time I flipped it round juste pour rire.

The monthly theme for City Daily Photo was Rainbow but I paid already and I don't really care ...

Friday, 29 November 2019


"No one left and no one came
On the bare platform..."

The good ship Wikipedia informs me that Cottingham station was opened in the mid 1840s like so many stations, little and large, in this country. I learn that the place was actually designed by a real person, an architect no less (who knew?), George Andrews, I had thought these places just grew by themselves, organically, they all look the same, and that would be, I suppose, because the Boy George designed most of them ... I read that there were "two platforms, a stationmaster's house, and waiting rooms. In addition to the passenger facilities there was a goods shed, and coal depot to the west of the line, reached by points to the north of the station. Goods transit into Cottingham included coal and building materials, whilst goods outwards from Cottingham included large amounts of agricultural produce as well as livestock." 
Must have been quite a busy little place back then. Now it's more Adlestrop than King's Cross ...
Well there are still two platforms, the stationmaster's house is a listed building now though I wouldn't want to live there as there's no floor. The coal depot is no more, I think it's a builders' merchant store or it was, there were plans for a supermarket there (whatever happened to that I now wonder.) There are waiting rooms, that much is true and recently renovated too, but only on one platform and I've never seen anyone use them. The signal box is now a museum piece and goods traffic all goes by road these days and has done for decades. The footbridge remains as do a few dozen passengers each day who want to go to Bridlington or Scarborough or Hull and Sheffield, I believe there's a through train to London once a day but that might just be a myth. There's no ticket office, never has been while I've been here. A modern, somewhat intrusive, innovation is a fancy interactive ticket machine ignored by all; I always buy my ticket on the train ... 'cos sometimes the conductor doesn't turn up and a free ride is always fun.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Very Reasonable Doubt

I came across a sticker just like this a few years ago. Even then  the case of Jeremy Bamber was a long running and worrying affair but I thought he'll at least win his appeals and this injustice will soon be over. But Mr Bamber, convicted  in 1986 of the murders of his parents, his sister and her six-year-old twin sons is still behind bars and years later there are still stickers on cars ... I don't know if he did what he's accused of, I do know there's abundant evidence (the suicidal, schizophrenic sister with access to the gun, for example, and shockingly doubtful forensics;  you know how it all goes in these cases) to make the conviction troublesome to say the least and where's there's reasonable doubt, so the old myth goes, you must acquit ... Thirty three years is damn long time to do for any crime, an eternity for an innocent man. There are stories that new evidence will gain a release in the near future but hope is, perhaps, best kept in a jar and not let loose upon the  world ...
Still when I was a child back in the sixties he would no doubt have been hanged for such a heinous crime and that, for those who like finality in these things, would have put an end to all doubts ... there's more if you can face it to read here.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

The Money Pit

At some point after the stinking little port of Hull was granted the right to exist those who lived in the ancient town of Beverley grew tired of having to sail/row slowly down the twisting, meandering mud stream that was (and remains) the river Hull and decided they needed a road to get to the place that was going to take away their trade and their preeminence as a leading town in England. And so the Hull Road came about, straight as can be through the hamlets of Woodmansey, Dunswell and on through the largest village in England Cottingham across the swampy mires of Wyke until running into the Beverley Gate and the delights of what is now Whitefriargate. Down this road came King Charles I and his mates looking for a bed for the night before being told to go sling his hook. Later on to maintain the road, toll booths were put in place on the Beverley-Hull turnpike.
But times changed, the stinking little port grew and grew and became the stinking big town spreading ever outwards and reaching up and swallowing large chunks of Cottingham (its appetite is still not sated and it would swallow the whole and other villages besides if it had its druthers)  and the road is no longer Hull Road but Beverley Road and despite its historical significance no kings would come down here if they'd any sense.
The stretch of Beverley Road running from the town centre up to Cottingham Road is, now how shall I put this without appearing too blunt, a dump. In the thirty eight years I've been here it has always been a dump, a grey depressing dump. Behind it old slum housing with attendant social problems has been cleared and replaced by new slum, sorry social, housing with attendant social problems but the late Georgian/Victorian buildings put up by the expansion of the mid 19th century remain on the road itself. The condition of these buildings varies from maintained to totally neglected as in bombed out by the Germans and still not demolished nearly eighty years later, another building had all its internal walls  taken out (don't ask why) and is in danger of collapse. To add to its woes the area has somehow become a Conservation Area, so nothing can be done without jumping through the extra hoops of planning permission and cost. None of which would matter much if this wasn't one the main roads into the town, a gateway to use Council planning parlance, and it's hardly a delight but in its defense I would say that other roads into the town also produce the urge to turn around, leave and never come back. I know other cities have similar dreary roads, I recall Liverpool's long and winding roads even after more than forty years,  but that is their problem.
Now this has not gone unnoticed by those who claim to run the place. It has been spotted that the place has had economic decline in recent years (recent years? how recent is well over half a century of decline?). The cash strapped Council fresh from putting millions of pounds of paving in parts of the empty town centre put in for some cash from whatever source has the stuff and managed to bag a couple of million to do up the place. They have a plan, and (God help us all) the plan has a name: the Townscape Heritage Scheme. Well they've had this plan for a few years now but nothing visible has shown itself. The plan is to give grants for part of the cost of renovating buildings, put in new railings and boundary walls, remove a few street signs, install heritage lighting and no doubt polish the dog turds on the pavement and so on. I'm sure none of this will do any harm but honestly it's a drop in the vast ocean. And as any fool knows a couple of million can soon be eaten up in a council plan, especially as extra staffing will be needed to get the plan off the ground (ça va sans dire!), and approving the grants is "proving slower than anyone anticipated" (of course it is, this is Parkinson's Law in action). Clearly there is little reason why a private individual would sink good money into this place and even with grants it's becoming difficult to get any progress. So why waste any more public money? Simply knock the crumbly edifices down (it wouldn't take much; one simply fell down just the other year!), scrub it clean and start again with acres of prime development land or greenery if you wish right in the heart of town ... and as this will take an absolute age to do you could invite the king to come have a look.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Friday, 22 November 2019

It's beginning to look ...

... a lot like mid-November.

I don't know which is the more disappointing, misleading and tawdry. The tinselly fake-snow eight week build up to that stupid whilom Christian, whilom Pagan end-of-year exercise in conspicuous consumption and phoney bonhomie or the tinselly, fake, five week exercise in mendacity, vilification and knavery known as the UK general election. This year's offerings from the town that has the culture are particularly unimpressive, the town tree I'm told is much taller than the usual twig but someone hadn't turned the lights on so I couldn't see or maybe the helpful Grinch had stolen them (Hooray!).

Indeed there seemed to be no festering, sorry, festive lights at all in Queen Vic Square (Hooray! Hooray!). The only seasonal thing of any note was a gaudy illuminated  ginger bread house affair on King Edward Street. Council must have spent all their pennies on that and couldn't afford any more (Hip, Hip, Hooray!)

This looks impressive but it's all an illusion like everything these days.