Tuesday, 31 December 2013

End of the year

The setting sun going down over Greenwood Avenue. This is one those interminable roads that service the North Hull Estate, a place that seems to have been designed by someone with a penchant for triangles and circles and where the roads seem not to head in any direction you want to go. I was only there to pick up a package from the Post Office ("We close at four, you know"). Took this on the way back with Margot's phone, not bad for a phone I thought.

So that's enough of 2013, not the best of years though any year you can see the end of can't be all bad. Happy New Year to anyone who reads this.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Abandoned Car Wash

As the year drifts off to its wet and windy close I thought a nice cheerful picture of abandonment was in order. The buildings in the background belong to the Reckitt's factory. Reckitt's have been in Hull since 1840 on that site on Dansom Lane, back then it was just a rented starch mill now the company is known as Reckitt Benckiser and produces a vast range of stuff from health and cleaning products to condoms and mustard.  

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Another look at Prince Street

I've been going through some old photos since I've not been out and about getting any new ones and came upon these of Prince Street. Don't know why I didn't post them before when I had the chance. With its cobble stones and painted Georgian houses this street has, to me, an slightly unreal feel about it, a bit like a film set. It features in all the tourist 'must see when in Hull' lists and it doesn't disappoint. 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Blistering Barnacles!

Another in the long running non-series of fishy footpath plaques [ 1 ]; this one near the Minerva. Devotees of a well known Belgian cartoon character will no doubt recognise the catchphrase and so identify the fish. Others can look up the Latin.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

St Stephen's Day

St Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas, signals the start of a rush to the shops to buy all those things you don't need with money you haven't got. At least that is the dream of the retailers. It is also known as Boxing Day presumably for the number of spontaneous boxing matches held in the overcrowded car parks of the area. Other odd things that happen on this day include hundreds of otherwise sane people splashing about in the cold sea (for charity, we are told), near where I was brought up they have sword-dancing and in some parts of Ireland wrens go in peril ... I feel sure there are lots more silly things going on in the world; as for me I shall be having my Christmas dinner today since I didn't feel like having it yesterday.   So Season's Greetings to one and all.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Weakest Link

Exceptional conditions show up the vulnerable spots in any defense. So it was earlier this month when the highest tide ever recorded breached Hull's defenses at this spot by the Albert Dock. There's local dispute as to whether or not the dock gates failed but what is known is that the dock quay was overtopped by a couple of feet and water rushed across town as far as Ferensway. There's another predicted spring tide round about New Year's Day, let's hope there's no low pressure system wandering down the North Sea at that time.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Use Alternative Routes

Those that make these sort of decisions chose the week before Christmas to suture one of the already sclerotic arteries that feed and drain the cyanotic city of Hull. As a result there have been daily thromboses in the western approaches. Radical surgery may be needed to by-pass the whole gangrenous mess. The patient remains in intensive care ...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Collateral Damage

In that continuation of politics by other means that went by the name of World War Two a bomb dropped by a German aircraft landed here on Beverley Road and neatly destroyed a house leaving this gap. I don't know if there were any casualties in this case though many hundreds did die in the air raids. It's an all too common sight in Hull to see a row of houses with an odd gap often grassed over or filled with a modern building, where a home has been wiped out by war. This just one of thousands in Hull destroyed or damaged and Hull just one of the hundreds of towns and cities across the world blighted by the failure of politicians to do their job without recourse to high explosive. Only today I read that  this destruction goes on in dirty little wars in far away places that we now fight by remote control from airbases in Lincolnshire

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Red Sky at Night

Ever had an afternoon hunting for the unobtainable in the shops, well I've just had one of those. I took this as I wended my weary way home this evening. Those old plane trees on Cottingham Road make impressive silhouettes now they've finally lost their leaves. Oh and forget that saying about a red sky at night being a shepherd's delight because the forecast for tomorrow is wet and windy. 

Saturday, 14 December 2013

J R R Tolkien: who he?

I've got to admit to a guilty secret; I've never read anything written by J R R Tolkien. Just about everyone I know has read LOTR and/or the Hobbit but somehow tales of hobbits, elves, Middle Earth and whatnot just left me cold. Anyhow I've heard he's big box-office these days with a new piece just released, needless to say I haven't seen the films either, I'm truly an uncultured yob. This new blue plaque was put in place on the Dennison Centre, Cottingham Road,  part of the University, after someone did a bit of detective work and figured that was the building where he convalesced. Quite how that is significant I can't imagine. No doubt this tenuous link will play part in the upcoming Year of Culture. Speaking of which there's a charming tale of Hull City football fans taunting visiting supporters with chant's of "You're only here for the culture". What a fine city!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Smiles all round

A year ago I posted about this shop. It was empty, had been for quite some time and, well given the rents asked, looked likely to stay that way. Well look at it now, all spruced up and open for business. I had to smile to see it so and I smiled even more when I found out what 'Šypsena' means. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A stroll in the park

Paid an end of year visit to East Park partly to check if the goosanders have arrived (they have) and partly because East Park is never dull even on a damp and dreary December afternoon. And so it was that my progress was halted by a long file of greylags taking their evening promenade in such an orderly fashion along this tree lined avenue.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Price of petrol

Chanterlands Avenue
There was a time when petrol was sold by the good old imperial gallon. I remember my father moaning many, many years ago that the price of a gallon was threatening to rise to five shillings (25p in the new money)! Now we've all supposedly gone metric but just about the only things sold by litres are wine and petrol. So the price you see here is 130.9p for a litre of the smelly stuff. How they pay that 0.9p is a mystery known only to accountants. A quick back of the packet of cigarettes calculation makes that £6.26 a gallon. I shudder to think what the Aged P would make of that. As you all know I don't drive so I don't care.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Stadium Church

Sitting at the junction of the Boulevard and Anlaby Road this is St Matthew's church. It was built in 1870 to accommodate the expanding city's spiritual needs. Whether or not it managed that I don't know but it's still open for business after all these years unlike many other Victorian churches built at that time. The church's website informs me that it has a special ministry for sport and also for the annual Hull Fair. The church has taken to calling itself the Stadium Church due its closeness to the KC Stadium though the latter has far bigger (all paying) congregations.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Shopping Arcade Blues

I have posted before about the two Victorian arcades in the town centre, Hepworth Arcade and Paragon Arcade. They are cosy little places with small independent retailers and built on a human scale. That was the style at the time and things are different now. In St Stephens nothing is on a human scale and there seems to be no small independent shops; they're all national or international stores from Next to H&M to the biggest Tesco's imaginable. It's all bit cold, soulless and dispiriting, a bit like those floating daleks pretending to be Christmas trees.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


All today the news has been about an expected storm surge down the east coast. Tonight though the Tidal Surge Barrier has done its job and kept out the surge in other areas the Humber has come over the defenses and flooded parts of the city. The levels peaked at the highest ever recorded. As I write (8.30pm) areas to the west of the city, Hessle Road and Hessle itself are under water and suffering power cuts. Ferensway is under water along with the A63/Castle Street. People have been evacuated from around Victoria Dock. I've heard that the traffic lights are out of action and there's gridlock in town. It's a big mess really though the buses are still running so civilisation has not ground to a halt. High tide has passed but there two more high tides tomorrow that are a cause for concern. Meanwhile the surge carries on down the coast with evacuations in progress and the real prospect of considerable damage but hopefully no loss of life.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Twinkle twinkle

The stars are out at St Stephen's shopping arcade. Something to do with an upcoming event at the end of the month I fear.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Wellington Boot

Just passed this pub on Russell Street and noticed the interesting sign. I once entered this pub more than thirty years ago and left pretty pronto as the place stank like an open latrine. I can only hope it has improved since then. A local historian has written a piece about this place and you can read it here.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Looking Out Again

I could have used this for yesterday's theme day of 'Looking Out'. This is another shot of the Voyage that sits gazing out at the Humber opposite the Deep. I hadn't seen it lit up for the night before and I rather like the green glow.

You can catch up with the theme day here.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Looking out

Here's our Jack who was just idling staring as cats are wont to do when a racing pigeon landed on the windowsill. I don't know who was more surprised. Pigeons are supposed to fly straight home aren't they? This one stopped around for a few days before going on its way (at least I hope it did and the cat didn't catch up with it!). It's not a particularly good shot of either the cat or the pigeon but it does show what a jungle the garden gets in Summer and the windows could do with a clean.

It's the first of the month and the City Daily Photo theme is 'Looking Out'. You can see what others have done with this here.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Princes Dock after dark

With these early sunsets I suppose I'd better practice taking shots at night but I won't be carrying a tripod round with me, too much faffing about. Here's a few from around Princes Dock, I don't think they're too shaky, a little grainy maybe but I'm sure there's a cure for that. Change the ISO I'm thinking. Maybe if I read the manual I'd know all the tricks of the camera ...

Friday, 29 November 2013

Never Yawn

It's been a while (in May actually, who knows where that old time goes?) since I've been round the Humber Street area so coming across this artwork/graffiti on Martin's Alley was a pleasant surprise. It's just about all that remains now of this year's Hull Sesh a Summer festival that attracts thousands to this part of town. If the picture looks a bit dull that's because taking photos at four pm on a late November day is probably not a good idea as the sunsets at about quarter to four ....

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Xmas and all that jazz

After yesterday's village illuminations here's how the big town lights up. Above is Whitefriargate with its canopy of  glittery delight. The tree in Queen Victoria Square this year changes colour every few seconds and I must admit is probably the best tree for many years, someone had the bright idea of turning off the nearby street lights so it shows off better. I remember one year the tree was so puny it had to be replaced and on the whole the trees have been a bit of a disappointment. Not that I'm that much into Xmas and all that jazz, you understand, but if you're going to do it at all you may as do it well.. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Four weeks to go

Here's a sample of Cottingham's seasonal lights which are generally admitted to be far superior to those of the neighbouring big town.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

What a waste

OK this is another rubbish post ... I liked the peeling paint and dribbling rust on the pillar. This is somewhere off Clough Road in the back of beyond.

Monday, 25 November 2013

The Adelphi Club

A few days ago I casually posted a massive bomb atop the Adelphi Club without saying anything about the actual club. This was remiss of me as the Adelphi is one of Hull's cultural hotspots. The Adelphi Club on De Grey Street looks like a terraced house that's because it is or was a terraced house. It opened twenty-six years ago because the owner wanted to go downstairs in his home and see a band play. Over the years it has grown the reputation as a premier underground music club. Its charm has to be its small size and the Bus bar (don't ask).

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Meet the new bank, same as the old bank.

A few months ago this Lloyds bank turned overnight into a TSB. This, I've read, was to increase competition among the retail banks (no, I couldn't believe that either). I doubt it'll make much difference to one man and his dog.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Looking good

My what a difference a coat of paint makes (along with hours and hours of hard work). Here is what was the Dorchester Hotel on Beverley Road. It closed a few years ago and was subjected to the now usual attacks from vandals and metal thieves (for a peek inside click here) and was left for long enough boarded up and looking pretty grim as you can see from a pic taken two years ago. (Would it be churlish to mention at this point that there is a police station directly opposite this building and still the destruction went on? Humberside Police "Protect, Help, Reassure", yeah right!)

The building is actually three Victorian villas built in the 1860's after Pearson Park opened just behind them. They were cobbled together to make what at one time was a 58 bedroom hotel later reduced to 25 after renovation in 2002. Even adding a nightclub couldn't save it. I think its position on the run down slummed down end of Beverley Road couldn't have helped. This year, however, it has been taken in hand and is looking good. I not quite sure what the plans are for it but I suspect it is returning to private accommodation. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

Who stole Xmas?

Taken by Margot K Juby
This year it seems that Christmas on Newie Ave1 has been cancelled, or rather the Chriggy lights have been cancelled due to lack of interest or funds or maybe the Grinch stole them. We are promised they'll be back next year and you must never break a promise to a child ... All is not lost though as there's going to be a Christmas 'event' next Wednesday when the road will be closed for the evening and there'll fairground rides and stalls and maybe Santa will pop in for a glass of sherry. Ho! Ho! Ho!

1 Newland Avenue, someone is going to have to compose a glossary of local terms for all those cultural visitors.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The C word

I suspect there may be a few sore heads this morning in Hull after the announcement that the city was to be awarded the City of Culture thingy. Never being one to shy away from pouring cold water on things it occurs to me that with one hand the Government has taken away from the city over £40 million in cuts to grants (things are so bad that the Council cannot afford to run elections next year) while with the other it (via various agencies see below) doles out a special "treat" of £12 million to be paid three years hence. The old phrase to lose a shilling and find a penny springs to mind.
Today's picture shows an overnight installation that appeared on the Adelphi Club (a place that will no doubt gain from this Culture dosh). It's meant to be a culture bomb about to explode and no doubt shower us all in the C word. Expect three more years of this c...

I like many others assumed that this money was to come from the government. Not a bit of it. In the next three years the city of culture people have to raise £12 million (or is it £15 million? the figure keeps changing) from sponsorship and national lottery money. This being the case the presence of a government minister in all this becomes even stranger.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Little Cottages

Though Cottingham has some grand old houses, built for the wealthy merchants of Hull, there are few remaining old buildings for the less well-to-do. Here's a little row of little cottages on Beck Bank soaking up the November sunshine.

I woke this morning to find that Hull had been selected as City of Culture 2017. The usual perps are strutting around saying how proud they are to come from Hull when all they've done is managed to be born and lack the gumption to leave. Oh we've got three more years of this self-serving guff before it even starts and then, well,  we'll cross that bridge later ... with £12 million about to splosh into the city I'll be keeping an eye out for the culture vultures circling in the updrafts of hot air.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Garden Grabbing

Now garden grabbing is the practice of building a house or houses in your back garden. Obviously you must have a fair sized spread for this to be even possible and it just so happens at the Cottingham end of my street the houses are blessed, if that's the word, with large gardens some the size of a small paddock. So within the past few years one garden has been 'grabbed' and now another one is on the way. Now I know there's a housing shortage and this country's idea of economic growth is a constant rise in the price of property but sticking not one but two expensive bungalows in your back garden does seems to me to be taking money grubbing to new depths. 
Still I liked the sign, I have three blacks cats in my home.

Monday, 18 November 2013

After the rain the sun ...

Today we had a cold front pass over (a portent if we are to believe certain newspapers of a cold long Winter) and with it some rain and drizzle. And then, well the setting sun broke through ...

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Plane Trees

Something to thank the Victorian planners for: Cottingham Road's mile long stretch of plane trees, really quite impressive at this time of year. Is it my imagination or are the leaves on the trees falling later with every passing year?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A folly or two

I don't know if I've shown this before but it doesn't matter if I repeat myself (a sure sign of creeping old age ...). Anyhow this is or was the top cupola from the old town hall built in 1866 and knocked down to make way for the Guildhall. Clearly there was no shortage of money for public buildings in those days. It now sits among the ducks and geese of Pearson Park.

For those of you who long to see a short film about Hull  the city of culture people have produced a four and half minute encomion. You can see it here and judge for yourself. I suspect Larkin, whose words (taken from an introduction to anthology that appeared over thirty years ago) are used at the beginning, would be laughing his head off  if he could see how much pretentious tosh has been made out of his scribblings.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Little bit of culture, innit.

As the excitement reaches fever pitch for Hull's City of Culture bid, the Minister of Culture, Communications and Creative Industries ( yeah, I didn't know there was one either) paid a visit to the city today to see for himself what exactly is what. So on a suitably grismal day he was touted round all the sites and glad handed by all those who hope to gain something from this potential crumb from the master's table. These street adverts have cropped up recently promoting a new cultural guide . I don't know what good all this does and somehow the cynic in me says that the award will go north of the border to bonny Dundee; there's a referendum on Scottish independence to win after all ... but life is full of little surprises and we await the decision on, I think, the 20th of this month. Ooh the excitement of it all ....

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The next Tesco?

By neatly not quite appropriating the founder of Tesco's slogan this discount store on Holderness Road should go far, possibly as far as Hessle Road, you never know ...

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Eagle Has Flown

Thirty or more years ago I once spent two evenings in this pub. The second visit was to confirm the sheer dismal horror of the first. Even after this length of time I shudder at the thought of the back room of the Eagle, as it then was, a place akin to a waiting room to Hell. Maybe my memory exaggerates the Dickensian squalor and the pallor and hopeless despairing looks of the two or three other silent drinkers but I think not. The years passed and the Eagle became the Tap and Spile (I still don't know what a spile is and don't know anyone who does) and then, by sheer laziness, the Tap. I never went back. Passing the place the other day I saw that instead of selling beer someone was trying to flog furniture, I hurried on by ....

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Knotty problem

Something of a problem has arisen as my computer has broken down, needs a new power supply. So until  I get that sorted I´m down to borrowing an Android contraption which is completely unsuitable for any rational person. It may be a while before normal service is resumed.