Thursday, 30 September 2010

Small Tortoiseshell

There's been hardly any of these beauties around where I live this year; this picture was taken a couple of years ago. The small tortoiseshell is one of the commonest butterflies in the UK so I expect they'll be back in numbers sometime. 

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Stop stój стой .....

Traffic comes to a halt when this burly bobby  raises his hand. No emergency just a small and colourful procession of immigrant societies down Newland Avenue, Hull earlier this year. The area around here is much favoured by immigrants and foreign students. You're just as likely to hear Polish, Chinese or some other language as native Hull version of English. 

The building above used to be a primary school, it had children from so many different countries it was known affectionately as the League of Nations. 

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

All Dried Out

Above the lake in the Dene, Cottingham taken in April this year; below the same site taken last week. Has it really been that dry this Summer? I hope it fills up again over the next few months. 

Monday, 27 September 2010

Sunday, 26 September 2010

One Hull

Pictured earlier this year, the yacht One Hull is quite a controversial item in these parts. NHS Hull the primary health care trust for the area "invested" £400,000 in a yacht in the belief this purchase would improve standards of public health in the area, which included the constituency of the then Health Secretary, Alan Johnson.
The plan involved other local wastes of public money such as One Hull and Cat Zero taking young wastrels who would otherwise have spent their time enjoying themselves doing whatever young thugs do and, instead of incarcerating them for a long time, putting them on this boat for so many weeks to "mobilise"  and "help them to maximise their potential". Clearly  it's a prize cruise for deliquency; decent law abiding young people need not apply. Quite how it improves public health escapes me.
All this was before the recent election and subsequent "deficit reduction measures". Personally I think its one of the craziest of a long series of crazy ideas for dealing with unacceptable behaviour in young people. The Chancellor's shiny new axe could usefully chop this scheme down to size.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Who put the monkey in the monkey puzzle tree?

 This is a fine young specimen of  Araucaria araucana on Westwood Road, Beverley, I hope the people who live in this house realise that it will grow to 40m/130ft and live for 1000 years. To quote Wikipedia: "The origin of the popular English name Monkey-puzzle derives from its early cultivation in Britain in about 1850, when the species was still very rare in gardens and not widely known. The proud owner of a young specimen at Pencarrow garden near Bodmin in Cornwall was showing it to a group of friends, and one made the remark "It would puzzle a monkey to climb that"; as the species had no existing popular name, first 'monkey-puzzler', then 'monkey-puzzle' stuck."
I think I prefer the French  "désespoir des singes" or "monkeys' despair".
It's said by some that the devil sits in this tree (clearly he's not a monkey) and so you have to be quiet when passing these trees lest you attract the old Nick's attention and he gives you bad luck. You have been warned.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Above, the flood protection barrier which I've pictured before and the view stretching along the north bank of the Humber  towards the village of Paull. Below, the varied roof tops, old and new, of the old town; the horizon has the cranes of the King George Dock and the cooling towers of the Saltend chemical works.


Thursday, 23 September 2010


West towards Anlaby Road and its architectural delights. That these high rise flats were (and still are) considered a great improvement when they were built is testament to the horrors that went before.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Looking south over the Marina and the redeveloped dockside. The road is Castle Street, often busy, regularly snarled up and scheduled for a serious rethink except there's no money. The horizon shows where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sudden elegancies

This is the view across Queen Victoria Square from Princes Quay's multi-storey car park. I knew there had to be a good use for those motor car crèches.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Newbegin, Beverley

This imposing Georgian town house was built in the mid 18th century. Naturally its a Grade2 listed building. If you fancy living here you can, sort of. It's Bed & Breakfast albeit a 4 star B&B. 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Dryad's saddle Polyporus squamosus

On a walk through Beverley Westwood I came across this fine specimen on a stump of a tree that had been felled in early Spring. It's called Dryad's Saddle after the wood nymph, apparently it's edible but has an extremely tough texture. It's not particularly rare and I've seen a few before but none as good as this.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Pearson Park, Hull

 There's a vogue nowadays for philanthropic intervention in public affairs. This is not a new thing, in 1860 Zacchariah Charles Pearson donated a few acres of land in west Hull for a public park. Good for him you say; well up to a point. You see he kept a ring of land surrounding the park for his own speculative building venture and got the people of Hull to pay for a park in the middle. His business and political acumen left him when he led a doomed venture trying to run guns and ammunition to the Confederacy in the US civil war; he lost everything and ended his days practically penniless in a house on Pearson Park. I have a vague memory of some Confederate followers tracing down his grave in Springbank cemetery and renovating it, but that may just be my mind going.
The top picture shows the lake and a Victorian hothouse/conservatory which has a few fishes in tanks and some birds in cages. The colourful blob on the right is, I'm afraid, yet another toad. Below is a detail of the obelisk memorial to old Zacc.


Friday, 17 September 2010

Pigeon Post


Behold the fastest way of transferring data in East Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire. In a stunt designed to point out the slow speed of rural broadband a race was held to send a video file from Beverley to Lincolnshire using Youtube and a pigeon. Needless to say the bird won. Read about it here.
I read today that some ridiculous religious twit had the temerity to label England a third world country, what could he possibly mean?   Also I've just heard that the head honcho of  this same cult claims atheists are Nazis. So now I'm a Nazi atheist living in a third world country. Could be worse I suppose....

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Mash"

This is the former Hull Brewery building now taken over by a company that provides "a full suite of Debt Management Services ranging from complete outsource solutions to collections, recoveries and trace". I won't tell you their name; they haven't paid me. 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Some Seaside Amusements

This little den of iniquity goes by the name of Taylor Made Amusements, I kid you not.

The end of season means no customers for the dodgems. 

The Twister tries to put your breakfast in the North Sea

This train takes lazy passengers along the sea front; it's so much better to walk. 

Monday, 13 September 2010

Humber Bridge

This is the north tower; it's a mere 510 feet tall. For people who admire engineering there's a wealth of truly fascinating detail here.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Humber Bridge


You can walk or ride a bicycle across this wonderful bridge at no charge. It will cost you £2.70 to take a car across. I don't drive so I wouldn't know how far you would get with £2.70 worth of petrol but I'd guess it's nowhere near the 40 or so miles you'd have to drive if the bridge wasn't there. Lorries and buses pay even more. The whole toll issue is local hot political issue and many promises were made before the last election which have yet to come to pass. It's plain that abolishing the tolls would increase traffic and economic activity; on the other hand the Government would be writing off over £300 million, I can't see the present regime doing that. The loan was apparently underwritten by Hull City Council so council taxpayers in that city could ultimately have to foot the bill if the Bridge Board defaults on its repayments.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Sunday, 5 September 2010

KC ... Komplete Cr*p

KC HQ on Carr Lane, note the distinctive cream telephone booths. 

You really don't have to read the following.

Anyone wanting to use telecommunications in Hull has more or less got to deal with this blast from the past  KC or Kingston Communications. Hull council's very own phone company, privatised in 1999 has a de facto monopoly on landlines and internet connections in the city and neighbouring places. I recently changed the tariff I was on and have had, in the past fortnight, more disconnections, slow up/download speeds than I had in five years on the old one. I only changed because KC were going to charge 50% more for my old dependable system than the new on/off super-dooper speedy (I don't think so) ADSL+2.
Woke up today to find my speed was 15% of yesterday's, phoned up customer support and they said there might be a fault on the line. They'd send an engineer out to check but , get this, if there wasn't a fault I would have to pay them £70+!!! I will not distress you with the strength of my response to this. Anyhow after more hmming and twiddling by the KC guy someone will come and install a "new plate"(??) for no charge and make sure my connection is actually up to the job; this after all is what I'm paying them for, so they get no thanks for that. Even then this guy left me with no connection speed up or down; so yet another call just get any connection at all.
Every other town and city in the UK has a choice of phone and internet provider but not Hull. BT and the rest won't enter the Hull market apparently because it's too small. So we're stuck with this colossus; no use complaining to the regulator OFCOM recently gave KC a clean bill of health (I'm not saying palms were crossed with silver but it wouldn't exactly be a shock).Yes it's got cream phone boxes but its a very sour cream.

A chap from TimeOut magazine said Hull was the nicest city he'd visited; he wouldn't say that if he had to deal with KC.
I feel better for that .... normal service will resume tomorrow; KC permitting.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Friday, 3 September 2010

Merchant Navy Day

During the two World Wars thousands of men were killed in service of the Merchant Navy bringing supplies to the UK and to our Soviet Allies in the Arctic convoys. Today is Merchant Navy Day when they are remembered; much good it may do them.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Common Cattle

Here are your Big Macs before the bread is put on. I'm lovin' it.

We had joy,

we had fun,

we had seasons in the sun

and when the Fall was over 

we were burgers in a bun.

(Apologies to  Jacques Brel  & Rod McKuen )