Sunday, 6 December 2015

Woody, Deadly and TTFN

That's nightshade, of course. Above Woody Nightshade or Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) and below Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna). Both these plants are poisonous so you wouldn't be daft enough to eat them now would you? And you'd teach your youngsters not to go near them.

Both these pictures were taken by Margot who also grew the plants because she likes poisonous things...

Right I just can't be bothered to do this for the time being so I'll be back when I'm back. Smell you later.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Mission creep

To the sickening braying and howling of a pack wild animals filled with an unsatiated blood lust the Commons after a ten hour so-called debate that was a litany of hypocrisy and cant, voted yesterday to make our streets safer by making the streets of Syria considerably less safe. The RAF likes to practice its killing in the skies over Hull and East Yorkshire presumably because our skies are so similar to Iraqi and Syrian skies.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Yet Another Charity Shop

Charity shop, Hallgate, Cottingham
The long running slow-down in economic activity has been a boom time for charity shops, they were the fastest growing retail sector last year and there's over 9,600 of them throughout the land or so I've read. They're in every town and on every high street. In Cottingham there are seven that I know of, that's more than one in ten shops devoted to raising funds for some cause or other. Now a connoisseur of these places would say that the slightly seedier the ambience the better the bargains to be had and it's a real bad sign when the professionals move in and a Mary Portas style makeover happens. This means higher prices, less stock and a reduction in customers. This one has opened recently for some local charity and has a nice mix of books, bric-a-brac and clothing. All very pleasantly and unprofessionally arranged to appeal to the browsing passer-by on a gloomy afternoon.

'Shop window' is the City Daily Photo's theme for the first day of the last month of the year. See what goodies are on display here.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

These are local lights for local people

In a operation to delight the gloomy Grinch, Cottingham's seasonal lights were switched on in strictest secrecy on the other day. The need for subterfuge was to stymie the urge of thousands of non-locals from, ermm, Hull and hereabouts to descend upon the village to enjoy an hour or so of entertainment before the lights went on. Such meetings of outsiders required, it was said, dozens of security attendants to marshall the throng, attendants that the Parish Council couldn't or, I'm guessing, wouldn't afford. Not that I care for Christmas and its attendant pap one way or the other but there was no need to marshall families with little children as they all behaved themselves impeccably. But there must be security or we shall most surely perish or be sued for a stubbed toe or some such. So there's no big switch on, no happy children,  no opportunity for a little bit of business, no party, bah!, humbug!

Monday, 23 November 2015


Creyke Beck, Cottingham
Stick up a fence, slap on a yellow sign and hey presto the world's a safer place ...

Sunday, 22 November 2015

T is for pylon

Near Creyke Beck, Cottingham
A recent competition to design a new pylon has come up with a T-shaped thing that is so boring that it instantly appealed to all the judges from the Department of Energy & Climate Change, National Grid, and the Royal Institute of British Architects. Say what you like about these old giants that have been bestriding and despoiling the countryside for eighty years but they ain't dull.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

A little rustic diversion

These old straw bales lie, or rather, lay since this was taken yonks ago, somewhere alongside the bridle path between Cottingham and Beverley.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Christmas Creep

It may seem odd to a youngster  but there once was a time when the Council did not put up lights and decorations for that consumer fest at the end of December. No, that particular madness started some twenty-five or thirty years or so ago after some shop keepers in Saville Street took it upon themselves to light up their street in mid December (J'accuse! ). The Council were then arm-twisted into putting up lights all over the town centre and to stick a tree in Queen Victoria Square. (One year the tree was so scrawny it had to swapped for a better one)
The lighting-up ceremeny became a bit of a feature with stars being hired to turn up on the City Hall balcony and flip a switch (Stars such as Rolf Harris!!! those were the days!). There'd be a big fireworks display as well. Thousands would turn up to be entertained. And gradually the switch-on date drifted into November. 
With austerity the displays began to be recycled and the stars were replaced by much cheaper 'civic dignitaries' (I love that phrase, who uses it these days?).
This year on the 12th of November that is 6 weeks and a bit before the actual day the mayor of this town flipped the switch to set off a three minute firework display and light up all the glittery  pap of the season. Now, as the town is engaged in self-renewal, the ceremony was moved to Queen's Gardens rose bowl fountain and there's four trees instead of one and the lights, I'm told are better than ever, (I've not seen them yet) and I'm just so excited I can hardly wait for Santa to bring me my presents as I've been such a good boy all year ... what! it can't still be November!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The street with the hall

Hmm maybe the signwriter who came up with this didn't understand that 'Hallgate' is not the gate of a hall but the street with the hall on it, in this case Cottingham castle, long gone. Or then maybe she/he did and could'nt give a monkey's either way; it's not important in the grand scheme of things I must admit. And don't be misled into thinking this is some ancient watering hole. I remember it was Hallgate bookshop not so many years ago; books to beer is progress of a sort...

After I'd written the above I realised I've posted this pub's sign before some five years ago, it was looking a tad tired then. I think I prefer the new one. The cameras are still there, keeping us safe from whatever.

Monday, 16 November 2015

The Operation Was Successful, But the Patient Died ...

King Edward Street opened early 1900's to connect Prospect Street and Queen Victoria Square. When I came to this town in the early 80's it was a bustling place with plenty of traffic and pedestrians. But then traffic became a dirty word and so for the past twenty or so years one half of it has been bricked off in the grand pedestrianisation scheme. Now the Council are finishing off the job by paving over the rest of the street and the remainder of Jameson Street that had escaped that unpleasant fate. A slow, lingering death awaits the area. I think if the Council want to bring back life to this place they could do worse than follow the most successful shopping street in the country. Nobody would dream of bricking over Oxford Street,  would they?

Friday, 13 November 2015

Barriers to trade

In a chrysophobics nightmare half of Whitefriargate has been barricaded off to allow for work. Each shop has a little bridge to the entrance but it's hardly welcoming. When it's all done we are promised that street will be repaved (I should hope so!), the trees removed (that's already happened!) to allow for an improved view of the architecture, oh and oooooh! wooden seats to admire the view. So nowt much then. Fancy an ice-cream?

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Business as usual

If orange is not your colour then I suggest staying away from Hull centre for the duration of the ongoing 'upgrade'. Just about every public space is lined with thousands of these barriers to protect us from the predations of JCBs and dumper trucks. Above Trinity Square looks like some sort of industrialised archaeological dig or perhaps a post-nuclear clear up that's gone badly wrong.

A sign nearby informs the passers-by (that would be me as I saw no other souls around) that the nearby cafés were open as usual. Well no! Below is 'usual'; above is how a Council puts businesses out of business in the name of 'progress' which could be what they meant by business as usual.

This damn thing nearly ran me over

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

More Larkin about

Another sign on the via dolorosa that is the Larkin Trail, this on the doorway of the Royal Station Hotel

You are dying to read the poem he composed to the Royal Station Hotel aren't you? Oh yes you are ...

Friday Night At The Royal Station Hotel

Light spreads darkly downwards from the high
Clusters of lights over empty chairs
That face each other, coloured differently.
Through open doors, the dining-room declares
A larger loneliness of knives and glass
And silence laid like carpet. A porter reads
An unsold evening paper. Hours pass,
And all the salesmen have gone back to Leeds,
Leaving full ashtrays in the Conference Room.

In shoeless corridors, the lights burn. How
Isolated, like a fort, it is -
The headed paper, made for writing home
(If home existed) letters of exile: Now
Night comes on. Waves fold behind villages.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Got a ticket to my destination

At stations there are signs that politely inform the intending passenger that it is illegal to board a train without a ticket if you get on at a station with a ticket office that is manned, or words to that effect. Which seems fair enough to me. So form an orderly queue at this rather splendid Victorian booking office which was clearly designed to cope with far more passengers than ever use this line. You might have to wait as the ticket seller is probably having a coffee in the buffet across the way ...

I've waited in far worse places than Bridlington station for my train to arrive though, as I've mentioned before, the hanging bikes are a bit of an oddity.

Being by the seaside brings with it a yearly influx of young gulls learning the delicate art of walking on a sloping glass roof.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

A couple of cobles

Cobles were the clinker built shallow draught workhorses of the North-east coast's fishing industry. The larger one to the rear is the Three Brothers, the last coble to be built in Bridlington (1912) which used to lie slowly rotting in the harbour (see below) until recent restoration and rebuilding means that it is fit for purpose once again. In front of that in the red, white and blue is the much newer Whitby built Gratitude. Both these boats are the pride of the Bridlington Sailing Coble Preservation Society and if you want to know more I'd recommend going to their site.

Prior to restoration the Three Brothers was painted white and never seemed to move from this spot. This photo taken in April 2010.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Beauty business

Myton Bridge, Hull
The female of the species that Desmond Morris once called the naked ape spends a surprising amount of money on removing even the slightest vestiges of hairiness. Which is all good news for the local big pharma company that makes this depilatory cream of Potassium Hydroxide and Potassium Thioglycollate, a market leader in smoothing away those unwanted hairy excrescences. Maybe beauty is in the eye of the shareholder.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Driffield Keld Pond

When I posted about this little spot before I somehow forgot to show the pond, well here it is.

Weekend reflections should be here.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

A little late colour

And while I was on the Westwood I thought I may as well take some more Autumnal pictures. This Autumn has been a particularly colourful one in these parts with many trees holding their leaves still in the first week of November. I suspect that after the unsettled weather forecast for later today though most will be stripped. It's going to be a very soggy Bonfire Night.

I'm experimenting with slightly larger images, don't know if I like them.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Persistent parking problem

So, back to see that old tree again and, well, as you can see the roadside is still one big car park. These are not day-trippers enjoying the scenery or taking the dog for a walk but long-stay people working in town or on the redevelopment of the Westwood Hospital nearby. The problem is Beverley either lacks sufficient parking spaces or is charging too much (is £5.40 for all day too much? I don't know; I don't drive) and there is no such thing as a Park and Ride scheme (a what now?). So increasing numbers choose to leave their motors on the common for nowt causing damage to the verges and generally making place looking a lot like a car park. Well all that is about to change as the Pasture Masters, who run the Westwood (it's an ancient throwback thing), are putting up signs and expect the police to enforce parking restrictions. Now Humberside Police has recently been branded "inadequate" and as "failing to provide a quality service to the public" I wouldn't expect too much from them, but it's good to live in hope. If this doesn't work they could always try charging (£10 per day obviously); on the 'if you can beat them, join them' principle

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It'll be all right on the night ...

These pictures, taken on Friday, show the intense effort to get things ready for today's grand opening of the Flemingate complex, shall we call it a complex or centre, well whatever. By intense I mean, of course, standing around talking in little groups, that always seems to get things done, I've found.
They've avoided going for the steel and glass architecture of so many new shopping malls and instead gone for the bricks everywhere approach in keeping with the style of the town. The resulting facades are just a tad dull, uninspiring and somewhat disappointing in my humble opinion, others may think it's wonderful.
Will this development bring in loads of customers flocking to the "under-retailed" town? Will the shops in the old town suffer as footfall flees to the wrong side of the tracks? Can these retail outlets survive in the era of ordering stuff from online warehouses? Don't look at me, what do you think I am psychic?

Clearly it's not all finished just yet.

Oh look! Somebody doing some work!

This hotel puts me in mind of a place of detention.

Monday, 2 November 2015


From the 12th century wool was being exported from Beverley and in return traders from Flanders set up home and shop in  the area to the east of the Minster by the beck. The area became known as Flammengaria and later Flemingate. It is quite possibly the oldest street in Beverley. Fast forward a few hundred years and a narrow lane intended for horse drawn or, more likely ox-drawn wagons, is to be a main way-in to the new Flemingate development. There's big stores, a cinema, an hotel, 130 new houses, a brand new college and a 500 space car park. It opens tomorrow so not surprisingly there's a mad rush to get the roadworks finished on time, this picture taken on Friday. Will this old thoroughfare cope with all that extra traffic? I'm saying nothing ...

Sunday, 1 November 2015

That is just so yesterday ...

"This year I invested in pumpkins. They've been going up the whole month of October and I got a feeling they're going to peak right around January" H Simpson

The City Daily Photo theme for this month is "ephemeral". Catch it here before it disappears.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Tour de wherever

Seems that sometime earlier this year (April or May, does it matter?) there was a cycle race held in these parts. Maybe it was a follow up to last year's Tour de France fandango. Well, whatever,  it totally passed by me without leaving a trace, somehow the sight of a group of sweaty lycra-clad steroid enhanced bicycle riders rushing past in the blink of an eye lacks a certain degree of appeal or anything really. But à chacun son goût, as they often say in these parts, and others (more discerning, I've no doubt) were inspired to mark this event. Bicycles were painted yellow and blue and hung in various places. Quite where the inspiration for this odd behaviour came from I know not but I suspect a certain Gallic influence. 
Above is Lairgate, Beverley and below Bridlington Station. 

Friday, 30 October 2015

A little bridge

If this looks a tad familiar that's because I've posted the other side of it here in glorious technicolour..

The weekend in black and white is here.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

A manifest denial of the truth

With a few tweaks here and there a dull afternoon's walk down Snuff Mill Lane becomes a promenade along a fiery glade. 

On the return journey, in the darkening twilight, we encountered several bats flying just inches over our heads on this stretch. Must be the exceptionally mild weather bringing them out.


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

*Insert the usual seasonal cliché here*


I'm feeling even lazier than normal so the next few days may be filled with trees going orangey-yellow like it has never happened before. This scene is near Driffield keld last seen in verdant splendour here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Sitting in the railway station

I had a few minutes to sit and ponder on the 169 year old Driffield station and what's left of its glory. Above is the old stationmaster's house and the brick stand for a water tank, those white vans are parked in the old coal yards, while behind me the former goods yard is now modern houses. Just up the track to the right there were cattle loading facilities to take beasts to west Yorkshire from the cattle market in town. Below is the passenger station which once had a fine roof like Beverley station but now just awnings keep out the rain. Nowadays just four small trains an hour pass through whereas in the 1940's there were up to 125 train movement in one morning!
Well good riddance to all that I say. Coal is a foul stinking fuel, steam engines are inefficient mucky things and the great British railway system was a complete and utter unco-ordinated shambles with hundreds of uneconomic lines running hither and yon. There's a progress of sorts in all this, canals put out the wagoners, train put out the bargemen and diesel lorries put out the trains. No doubt the lorries and vans will be put out by something as yet unknown (though I don't see drones taking off, if you pardon the pun).
In the UK, unlike just about every other country,  the state played no part at all in planning or building the rail infrastructure. The early 19th century saw a mad rail glut as it were, completely bonkers and bound to fail which it duly did along with much criminality and fraud. After the last war rail was nationalised and rationalised and was working pretty well until monetarist ideology sold it off. Nowadays our rail system is officially much better organised with a mere 28 companies receiving between them a meagre £4 billion in state subsidies though it is said that this may rise (or skyrocket as one opposition MP put it). But surely it is only right and proper for the latter-day successors of George Hudson that the costs inherent in owning a licence to print money from a natural monopoly should be placed firmly on the broad shoulders of the long suffering taxpayer.
I'd better go now, I'm beginning to ramble incoherently ...

If you really want to know just about everything there is to know about Driffield station then follow this link.