Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Parrots Go For Gold

I mentioned that St Mary's in Cottingham had been having a spot of bother with vandals stealing the lead off the roof. Well here's another problem that you really couldn't make up. These are Orange Winged Amazon parrots and have been living in the area for a while. Indeed they have been reported on the local news programme for a spot of ecclesiastical vandalism. They ate the gold leaf of St Mary's recently renovated clock! They're also extremely noisy little beasts.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

St Mary the Virgin, Cottingham

This is the inside of the church I featured the other day. There are some fine stained glass windows, reflecting the wealth of the patrons of the parish.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Land of Green Ginger

There's a street, well it's a more a narrow lane, near the old town called the Land of Green Ginger. No-one knows why it has this odd name and it really is a bit of a disappointment having mainly law offices , coffee bars and very little of any interest apart from a pub which claims to have the smallest window in England. This is little more than a slit between two bricks and in more enlightened times would be called a con.

Winifred Holtby  (who she?) wrote a book called Land of Green Ginger.

Alan Plater, who died last week, wrote a TV play called Land of Green Ginger, one of those gritty "realism" jobs that they always go on about when talking about how good TV was when there were only three channels and you had to get up to change them....Actually this is unfair to Mr Plater, who I once met in the old Hull Truck Theatre, smoking a ciggy and propping up the bar: he did boring so well it was almost an art form, non-events became the focus of his world, with complete fantasies woven into this mundane non-happening. Usually the lack of plot was jollied along with some fine old jazz tunes. I think old Plater was one of the good guys and will be sadly missed.

Wikipedia's article on L of GG recommends that you see also Green Ginger wine; now this I can wholeheartedly agree with; top it up with some whisky, et voilà , instant cure for all that may ail you. Cheers!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sunday, go to church

Here I present the beauty that is St Mary the Virgin,Cottingham.
Picture postcard perfect.
It's been here since the early 13th century; that's before France had borders, Germany was a country and well before the USA was a stain on humanity.
It's main problems are caused by the insistence of English Heritage that the roof be made of lead. This has led to many thefts of lead from the roof; and damage to the the fabric of the building. If a suitable replacement were allowed the church would be saved many thousands of pounds in restoration costs.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Friday, 25 June 2010

Sea at Bridlington

The German Ocean gently laps on Bridlington's blue-flagged North Bay.
Today is the third anniversary of the great deluge that put parts of Hull under several feet of water. If the eco-doomsters are right then, in the future, Hull will be under the sea. So it's not all bad news then.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

The fishermen of England go down to the sea in ships

Sometimes in the fog of war regrettable incidents happen that, if they did not involve the loss of life, appear to be farcical and if not utterly ridiculous. Thus, in a dispute between Russia and Japan in October 1904, the Russian Navy fired upon British trawlers in the Dogger Bank area of the North Sea, believing them to be Japanese torpedo boats. The British trawler Crane was sunk and two fishermen from Hull lost their lives. Other boats were also attacked and another fisherman later died of his wounds. Compounding their error, the Russians then started firing on themselves; killing at least one Russian sailor and an Orthodox priest on board a Russian cruiser. The only reason more damage wasn't done is that the Russian Navy couldn't shoot straight.
Unsurprisingly, the British Government took a dim view of all this, especially as Britain was allied to Japan at the time. Compensation, to the tune of £66,000, did manage to calm things.

The statue was unveiled in 1906 and shows the dead fisherman George Smith. The other two dead fishermen were William  Legget and Walter Whelpton. It stands at the junction of Hessle Road and the Boulevard, in the centre of the old fishing district. 

(Unless my memory is playing tricks with me, and it might well be; this statute was another of those that sat upon a public convenience; like Queen Vic and King Billy. The conveniences have now gone and so has just about all the fishing fleet.)

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Beverley Minster: compare and contrast

It's not often you get the chance to compare and contrast with these Daily City Photo blogs. Today you can compare the West Wing of Beverley Minster with the fine West Wing of York Minster.
York and Beverley have an ancient history of mercantile competition; the merchants of York eventually set up a small trading post at mouth of the river Hull just to stymie Beverley's trade. That eventually became a bigger place than either York or Beverley. Today York is a World Heritage site and Beverley has a by-pass.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The green, green grass of home

I don't like to keep well trimmed lawns and so forth. I positively dislike pruned hedges. I let things romp and hack back when it gets too much. You may call me lazy and you'd be right.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Memory under threat

Even as  I posted this statue on Thursday I was knew that something was not right. Notice the strange marks on the ground, as if something has been removed. This statue has been castrated. 

But I couldn't find how it used to look anywhere on the web ( try Googling "Mankind under Threat" and see what you find!!!).
Fortunately, a very close friend of mine took a picture (below) of the original in 1986. Now the title "Mankind Under Threat" makes a bit more sense (though not much). The iron bars give it a more menacing air. Why they were removed and who by, I don't know; but my guess is that Hull Council had one of their perennial fits of stupidity and took an angle grinder to them. 

As it stands now, it's more "Mankind don't care at all"; no?

I think they should bring back those prison bars and give this thing some meaning again!

Photo by Margot K. Juby

The statue is the work of Jimmy Boyle, once said  to be the most violent man in Scotland and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. It was gifted to the city by Susan and Alec Horsley who founded Northern Foods which until 2005 had its HQ in Hull but has now shifted to Leeds.

Thank you Margot , I owe you.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Hassle to Hessle

So, on a whim, to Hessle, to see the shops and take a few piccies of the Humber Bridge. Hopped on the 105 bus to town, just in time to catch the 66 to Hessle. Big mistake. This "bus" was clearly mechanically spavined. Every turn, acceleration; stop, every damned inch of the road seemed to insult it's weakened frame and cause jolts and discomfort to the paying passengers. The roads of Hull are apparently not paved with gold or any other substance but consist of holes with other holes within; designed to catch the wary and unwary alike. The route of this bus is such that it includes as many twists and turns as it is possible to make so that, after 20 minutes, we were actually going past the bus station from whence we had departed. And on and on it went, grinding it's relentless way. Out of town the design of roads is to lay blocks of concrete, say ten yards long; then tarmac over these blocks. At every joint the tarmac wears out leaving a gap that this, seemingly unsprung, cart passed over with a sickening crunch. 
After 45 minutes of this we arrived having gone just over 7 miles at just under 10 mph. I think it may have been quicker to walk.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Husband Creche

OK, this is the Woolpack on Westwood Road, Beverley. It's a quiet, safe street, your guy will be well looked after, and they guarantee he'll be here when, or if , you come back.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Just plain bull

In an effort to make the most out the environment Yorkshire cattle are now being taught to climb trees and eat the juicy bits at the top.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Writer's Block

June 12 saw the start of 25 weeks, no less, of Larkinalia; celebrating the death and commemorating the life of this tedious man. He once said that Hull was "a place that lets you write", then, notoriously wrote nothing for over twenty years. His block was so famous they named a section of the University of Hull after it.
If you are remotely interested in this event, which involves fibre glass toads, painted buses and much, so much more; then do, by all means, go here.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Chuck Jones joins the NHS

I think I may have mentioned before that Hull doesn't do hubris. At the outbreak of the last war the man in charge of Hull's museums advised curators against moving their collections to safer places. He is quoted as saying  "even if there is an air raid they [the Hull Museum authorities] have taken the necessary measures for protection from anything except a direct hit". You can see where this is going. On 24th June 1943 Hull's Municipal Museum on Albion Street took a direct hit by an incendiary bomb. The whole place was destroyed leaving only a bombed out site that was eventually cleared and turned into a car park. 
All was not lost as in the late 1980s an archeological excavation of the site recovered many items that had been stored in the museum's basement; including a motorbike left in the boiler room.
The site is now being cleared to build a "Health and Well Being Centre" with access to a "range of health and council services" in "modern and welcoming surroundings". This picture shows the intended construction. 

Friday, 11 June 2010

Driffield Navigation

About 18 miles due north of Hull is Driffield, the Capital of the Wolds. It's a pretty enough little town that has probably seen better times. The picture shows the Navigation built to connect Driffield with Hull and the Humber. This waterway is really the River Hull straightened out and made navigable. Nowadays it mainly pleasure craft that use it; the last commercial traffic was in the 1940s.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Flood barrier gets an overhaul

This is probably the most important piece of kit in the whole city. The flood barrier must have paid for itself many times over in the thirty years it's been working. It's undergoing some maintenance.
You have got think how dumb the citizens of Hull have got to be. I mean, to put up with flooding every year, more than once a year; for eight hundred years; when the answer was to stop the Humber coming up and filling their houses with the North Sea. Still, better late than never.
The Deep is nicely framed in this shot, don't you think?

Monday, 7 June 2010


The end of the first week of June brings a predictable change in the weather. The so-called "return of the Westerlies" or "June monsoon" has arrived with heavy downpours over most of western Europe. These collared doves seemed content to sit it out and wait for sunnier times.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sludge Gulping

All harbours need a bit of maintenance now and then and Bridlington is no exception. The JCB is bolted to the deck of a barge and the guy operating it seemed be having great fun scooping out the mud and gunk that had accumulated over the years.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

To build a bridge

In a bid to redevelop the Old Town, a fancy new footbridge is being built across the river. The fact that there is nothing on the other side of the river does not seem to deter these bold entrepreneurs. They are going to build a brave new world on the east bank where at present there is dereliction and decay. The project has been given  a name: the Boom (they've never heard of hubris in Hull!). It's that old "build it and they will come" spirit at work again. You can see what the bridge is going to look like here.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Glamrock meets Robinson Crusoe: no contest.

This run down, somewhat seedy establishment is a memorial to Mick Ronson. Who? He was the guy who played guitar with David Bowie in the glittery glamrock end of '70s. There used to be a kind of awning over a small stage but that appears to gone the way of all council cutbacks. Now it's just a cafe in Queen's Gardens with a tacky sign. 

In contrast to the ephemeral, pop music world, you may just make out a plaque on the wall. This is a celebration of Robinson Crusoe's departure from Hull in 1651. Not from that spot, you understand, since that wasn't a dock then, and nor yet for real since he was only  a figure in a book. The plaque states "he spent 28 years, 2 months and 19 days on a desert island an example of resolution, fortitude and self-reliance"
It goes onto to quote "Had I the sense to return to Hull, I had been happy"; well quite, but there'd been no story then, would there?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


The fine weather has brought out the shy wallflowers to bloom in the sunshine.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010