Friday, 26 July 2019

An old stick-in-the-mud

I posted quite recently about the removal of this old trawler, the Arctic Corsair, from this site to a place upstream. I told a sorry tale of delays and inactivity. Well a new firm date has been announced for the departure, Sunday August 4. This picture was taken three weeks ago and I can see (even if you can't)  that some of the silty gunge has been shifted from the rear end (or stern for those like to go messing about on the river). I'm told this vessel has no engines so two tugs will pull it away and off to Alexandra Dock while the old dry docks where it is to be put on display are cleared and renovated for the return. As it has been sitting in the mud here for twenty years or so it is to be hoped all goes well. It will leave a bit of gap that the river will no doubt fill with glorious mud.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

The turtle does not cook the snake

Well here we are in Hull and that's the river Hull and that old barge has a hull ... so the title obviously had to have hull in it somewhere ... so I'll let you make up your own. Mine is inspired by  completing 21 days of a Duolingo Italian course's full of useful phrases like  la marmaletta non ha un gusto dolce  and "the dog eats an ant" or  "il cuoco cucina un serpente"!. It is all very repetitive and has addled the brain somewhat and that combined with some warm weather ... lo squalo legge i giornali ... Ciao! a domani!

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Some like it hot

I've said before how much hot weather and me are not good buddies. So when the forecast for this week came along with promises (or threats) of a heatwave (with record breaking temperatures possible) moving up from what's left of the smoky cinders of continental Europe I was not best pleased. Let's just say that if I were a steak I'd prefer to be rare and bloody rather than dried out and well cooked. And folk who prattle through the nice cool times about how cold it is and how they put on the central heating when the mercury dips slightly below 21C ... now they moan about how it's hot and they can't sleep at night because the mercury stays at 21C ... Still there's no accounting for folk and the warm stuff is an excuse, if one were ever needed, to have lots of ice cream though not this ersatz American muck obviously ... 

Margot took this picture.

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

O Tessa, Tessa May ...

... They have taken her away 
and she'll never walk down Whitehall any more,
she was a bold deceiver
and lied to all the Leavers,
that scheming, lying, no good Tessa May!  ...

By the time I finish this we should know who is going to pretend to be in charge of this fine and noble country by donning the mantle of First Lord of the Treasury, Her Majesty's (very own) Prime Minister. The unloved Mrs May was swept into office, sine suffragio, by virtue of her opponent declining to stand; the thinking being that the premiership and Brexit was a poisoned chalice and so it turned out. In these days of acronyms, Mrs May's best offering was a conspiracy with the the EU, known as Brino; Brexit in name only: which achieved the difficult task of being utterly unacceptable to Leavers and Remainers alike. Her deal, thrice despised by Parliament, is well known but since saying she was quitting she has gone a bit demob happy and signed the UK up to becoming a net zero emitter of carbon by 2050. That is something that will no doubt disappear, quietly ... So the Conservative and Unionist Party has been involved in a interminable campaign to find someone, anyone, daft enough to want to be PM and it seems they have quite a deep seam of stupidity to choose from but narrowed it down to a Jeremy and a Boris (the bookies' favourite) ... a choice between a shrivelled dried dog turd and a steaming heap of fresh bullshit ...  Plus ça change, that famous 17th century song of the Glorious Revolution, Lillibullero has it ... "Once an old prophecy found in a bog, we shall be ruled by an ass and a dog!"

The picture is a graffiti by someone who tags himself Preg; dozens of his tedious scribblings with a  somewhat obvious didactic lefty leaning are to be found all over the so-called Old Town. I might do a post of them if nowt else is going on.

Monday, 22 July 2019

The Coffee Pod

In the twelve or so years that St Stephens has been dominating the retail trade in this town it has had this bizarre wooden contraption (apparently known as the Pod, this is news to me) somewhat akin to a piece of gut suspended above the heads of customers. This has been home to a certain seller of diluted coffee extract. So, anyhow, the news is that this place will close soon. (indeed sooner than soon as I've just read it closed yesterday) ...and, if plans and rumours can be believed, the place will be disembowelled as t'were and St Steve's given a new look. Quite how they'll manage this while folk are wandering around underneath remains to be seen. Coffee aficionados will rightly be unconcerned but those who like this place's sloppy offerings (and there must be some) can be reassured that it is said to be moving to another unit in the shopping centre or they could wander over to the station where another of these places has recently opened.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Pile them high

Somehow in the rush to build new housing around Queen Street/Humber Street area the squat little building on the corner of Blanket Row has acquired three storeys of  new places to call home. The whole of Blanket Row, for so long just waste ground,  is now a big building site with execrable or is that executive (I tend to confuse the two) apartments springing up for folk to work off their mortgages on (or for property companies to buy up wholesale and rent out) and as the sign says this is city living at its best.

Scott's Square was once somewhere down there, a speculative venture (aka a slum) packing in as many properties as the law and the Council would allow. Plus ça change as they say in the city of culture.

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Don't muck about with the moon

I love my dear Redeemer,
My Creator, too, as well,
And, oh, that filthy Devil
Should stay below in Hell.
I cry to Mr.
Please grant me this great boon:
Don't muck about, don't muck about,
Don't muck about with the moon.
                                                 Brendan Behan

They have been gassing on in the media about how it's fifty years ago today since the USA spent its pocket money on sending two chaps to step out on the moon. It has reminded me of how boring and pointless it all was, the seemingly endless speculation before it happened, the endless repeats of that tedious phrase ("One small step for an space-suited American ...") the grainy images of the US flag gently fluttering in the breeze ... and how we, mankind that is, were supposed to have taken a giant leap ... It was all bollocks really, serving no purpose, an expensive wheeze, a diversion from the war in Vietnam that was dragging on and on and killing thousands of people, a gigantic middle finger to the Soviets ... as Kennedy said  "We choose to go the moon not because it is easy but because those commie bastards might get there first ..." 

Here's the auld quare fellow himself; enjoy.

The weekend in Black and White is here.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Makin' Pumpkins

I'm new to pumpkins, a bit of a pumpkin virgin, as it were  ... it was Margot's idea to grow some this year, it'll be a fun, she said, a bit of a laugh ... anyway through the cold of May nothing grew then in June a few leaves then turn July and  whoosh they filled the little plastic green house ... then tendrils? nobody told me about tendrils, nor the hairy almost spiky stems. Then the flower buds which were numerous but just sat there until yesterday when they turned a weird yellow then this morning I go down to find these ridiculous beauties ... but I read these are male flowers and these big bad boys need a female flower in order that things can progress, the technical term is 'fruit set' although you may call it something else ...  I'm told that the female flowers will definitely be along later but they only open early morning and close in the afternoon (bit like some shops I know) ... and hand pollination may be needed if the insects can't manage an early morning rendezvous ... and there, as it were, will go my pumpkin virginity.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Algal Pride

The Rosebowl fountain in Queens Gardens I've shown before. The recent weather being averagely warm and sunny meant it was spouting forth a stream of smelly green algal broth the other day, a sight that might turn a many queasy stomach. The sunlight caught the nauseating spray and created this little spectrum ... making it a colourful vile thing.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

... do not sound a trumpet before you ...

If one could earn even ten pounds a week at begging, it would become a respectable profession immediately. A beggar, looked at realistically, is simply a businessman, getting his living, like other businessmen, in the way that comes to hand. He has not, more than most modern people, sold his honour; he has merely made the mistake of choosing a trade at which it is impossible to grow rich.
 George Orwell

"Do not feed the troll" is the lesson instilled in every child from the first gift of the internet at whatever early age is thought suitable these days... to which has now been added the age old edict "Do not give to the beggar" the mot du jour of the local Council. Your left hand seems to have discovered that your right hand has been doing good works to those deemed to be living an "at risk" lifestyle and your left hand is most unhappy. Your spare change might be helping buy that guy's next fix of whatever nice chemical he chooses to escape from the drudge of living in the city of culture, your scruffy little beggar may well be in fact a con artist (who isn't these days? Is it not written that all will be fake and all manner of things shall be fake...) with a nice flat paid for by housing benefit; your beggar is a smack head, a spiced out zombie, the scum of the earth, a drag on the social budget, a filthy stinking rotten nuisance ... that is your beggar so don't you go giving the beggar your precious pennies. No, give it instead to a Council approved list of charities who will see to it that your money goes to all the right places, the acceptable places, the 'deserving' places, ... all of course via the charities' very reasonable expense accounts, they have to live after all, they have rent to pay, managers to pay, they aren't a charity ... erm ... and somewhat like Orwell I see little difference between the beggars on  Jameson Street and Whitefriargate and the charities set up to do "good works": they just cut out the middle man. 
And I won't lie; I don't give to either.

Monday, 15 July 2019

The Cottingham Cock

It was Cottingham Day not last Sunday but the one before and I've only just seen the few photos I took on the day, this being the most interesting of a dull batch. Cottingham Day used to be held on Saturdays but it got too popular (it was hellish!) so those who run it moved it to the Sunday to keep it reasonably crowded ... This fine upstanding specimen has put me in mind of a very earthy song by the late Jake Thackray I'll see if I can find it ...

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Chutzpah and a bit more

Chutzpah, I think that's the word to describe taking your money then giving you some of it back and saying that it's being spent for your own good. No doubt there will still be recalcitrant remain minders, keepers of the dying flame (meeting in darkened rooms and secretly drinking to the bureaucratic kings over the water) who will point to this, wag the compulsory finger at us and say "look what you will be missing" come October 31st, Big Boris Day, le grand jour de départ (should it ever happen). But the EU simply gives us back some of our own money and, what's more, tells us how to spend it ... why any self-respecting people would put up with this crap I cannot imagine ... plus it's proposed new leaders (like the old lot before them) are  unelected, unaccountable failed despicable politicians and crooks. 

But ... taking your money and spending on projects that are supposed to be for your benefit is the nature of all government, I suppose. So you'll see a wee sign for "Northern Powerhouse". This is a quango more spoken of than existing in actuality. It seems to have mythic qualities in that it will regenerate the whole north of England without being a real entity. By merely repeating it three times it comes into being and renovates those parts that generations of neglect and disinvestment have ruined.
The Humberside Local Enterprise Partnership, another quango,  was recently criticised for failing to deliver any jobs boost despite receiving millions of central government (ie taxpayers') money.
Hull City Council we have met many times over the years; it is led by simple folk with simple ideas, as in simply ridiculous ideas. One of the latest is to take over empty shops in Whitefriargate and give them to young entrepreneurs to start up businesses. This is so self-evidently bonkers it could only come from folk with no business sense: so, off the top of my head, for example, what about the existing shops that will have to compete with non-rent paying businesses? Hardly fair, is it? I'm sure the EU would have something to say about it (see, I can do irony ...) But then fairness is not something HCC is noted for. So then let us ask who gets the money, why it'll be the greedy landlords who would otherwise be sitting on empty units demanding too high rents for the market until the simpletons of HCC come along with an open cheque book and an account filled with taxpayers' money ... the party of labour subsidising the landlords is an irony seemingly too rich for the simple folk of city hall ... and why help only young entrepreneurs? why can't grey bearded loons drink at the deep well of municipal benefice? 
Time limitations and good manners preclude me from expanding on the Environment Agency ... and Bmmjv are the recipients of all our money in case you wondered where it all went.

Friday, 12 July 2019

You don't need a weatherman...

I came across this weather vane the other day; it's on top of the old dock offices on High Street. It's new to me but looks as though it could have been there for years in which case how did I miss it when I posted the building a few years back. This little ship must be one of the few that can sail close to the wind without coming about and all that tacking nonsense beloved of nautical folk. (I admit I get all my sailing jargon from a childhood spent reading Swallows and Amazons ... 'Better drowned than duffers, if not duffers won't drown.' is still the soundest piece of dereliction of paternal  responsibility I've come across).

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Mr Wilberforce's Mulberries

I made clear my views on Mr Wilberforce political choices the other day, so putting that to one side here's a look at his choice of garden plants. You know how it is you have a small town house with a busy bustling river out the back and little space for a garden but you just have to  put a bit of green out there to lighten the mood, in modern parlance you want to create "an outdoor room" away from the hurly burly of getting filthy rich ... I suspect that Mr Wilberforce did not plant this or anything hereabouts since he lived in London for most of his adult life but let us, like good little tourists,  pretend, shall we? So a couple of small mulberries would be just dandy, hmmm  only now they're not small and, despite nursery rhymes, were never bushes. Whoever planted them Wilberforce House has two fine mulberry trees front and back that really fill the place and are quite spectacular. I wonder what the fruit tastes like, maybe go back later in the summer and find out ... if the birds and silkworms don't get them first.

The little brown sign warns the unwary visitor that the fruits from the tree may make the pavement slippy on a cold and frosty morning.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Mr Venn's Intersection with Hull

Here's the Drypool Bridge once more. Last time I posted about it I mentioned it was being redecorated in tasteful lime green and diarrhoea brown quasi camouflage colours which I'll spare you by posting a monochrome picture. As I mentioned (and as you can see) it was to be dedicated in some way to John Venn who left Hull before he was two and never came back ...but never mind that makes him or at the very least his meconium (which was quite possibly the inspiration for the colour scheme) and his delightful soiled nappies part of Hull and isn't it just great to breathe the very air of the place ... I'll stop now before I get carried away again (by the men in white coats). So anyhow, near this fine bridge, where {East Hull} ∩ {West Hull}, some crazy fools have made a nice blue plaque that I'm sure you'll all appreciate ...

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Inevitable Alignment

Let me see now the church, St Mary's on Lowgate has been there since the 15th century, Holy Trinity which is just peeking out from behind there has been bothering the almighty since the 13th century; the domed law courts I'm guessing sometime in the 1990s, the entrance to the old Queen's Dock since 1775 or thereabouts and that crane (or scotch derrick crane) is hardly new. And I've been in or around Hull some 37 or so years ... so  sooner or later this alignment was bound to happen, wasn't it? The odd thing is that it didn't happen earlier when I posted this.

The weekend in black and white will align itself here at some time in the near future.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Gloriously sham shenanigans

Pride, as they used to say, goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall ... nowadays pride cometh round every year like hay fever. Corporations, councils, fire brigades, police forces, businesses, high and low profile individuals feel the need to show their wokeyness, their with-itity by basically succumbing to the blackmail of the latest fashion of the so-called progressives (who are really just wannabe thugs) and they end up bedaubing logos and telephone boxes or whatever comes to hand with this ridiculous rainbow cliché. No doubt there'll be yet another parade of mind numbing inanity. 
It is, of course just branding, a business like any other, pride mugs, pride knick-knacks and gee-gaws, but not Mother's Pride (though I'm sure they all are).  Fine, all is good in this free and liberated world .... But if, say, in this free and liberated world I choose not to buy the product, to show complete indifference to the fake garbage that it is, to see it all as  gloriously sham shenanigans will I be accused of being anti-gay,  of denying a small minority their rights? (Minorities, just in passing, do not have rights, individuals have rights. Once we let minorities have rights they'll be at odds with the majority and that will never do, the tail cannot wag the dog least not in a democracy). Now I'm sure I've met many gay  people, I would not know, I did not ask, I do not care. I'm absolutely sure that I have never met a rainbow coloured person in my life but then I lead a very sheltered existence.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Mr Wilberforce's Figs

"Mr Wilberforce is far from being a hypocrite, but he is we think, as fine as specimen of moral equivocation as can well be conceived"
                                                            William Hazlitt
Mr Wilberforce is celebrated in these parts by those who get some solace (and income no doubt) in spreading the word that, gosh and golly! the guy who "stopped the slave trade" came from these parts. You see it regularly used almost as a weapon, to defend, as if it needed it, the town of Hull from those who think it not the very heaven upon earth. So we get guff like this: "he devoted his life’s work to leading the abolition of slavery in the UK." a recent example from Twitter ( there was, of course no slavery in the UK, and the young excited student just displays ignorance in exuberance; a common trait these days ) ... that He, the sainted one, was born here though that ... that must MEAN something, mustn't it?
Folk who really should know better make pilgrimage to the palatial (for Hull) house on High Street. A whole industry has sprung up just because wee Willy (he weighed under 100lbs) was born to parents from Kingstown upon the good old river Hull. It is acceptable, indeed folk are intensely relaxed these days, to point out  that WW was filthy rich, so rich he bought  the Parliamentary seat of Kingston upon Hull, that was just the style in those times in England, the Mother of Parliaments. Having bought the one seat it was no trouble to buy the seat for Yorkshire some time later. Pecunia non olet ... He always claimed to be an independent member of Parliament but whenever Mr Pitt whistled his rich puppy Wilberforce came running adoringly to vote for some of the most oppressive legislation and abuse of human rights this country has ever seen and that is saying something. The Anglican Wilberforce, I won't call him a Christian that would insult too many decent people, the Anglican W. considered saving the souls of African slaves far above saving the lives of poor English working folk, they could have habeus corpus suspended, the right to association denied, the right to meet in gatherings of more than fifty denied, they could be chopped down by the yeomanry in Manchester, they could be transported to Tasmania for trade union activity, they could be tried and sentenced to death for seditious libel just for distributing pamphlets that they could not even read,  their children could be denied education and put to work by their equally uneducated parents. Mr W. would whine against the war with France but vote for all the supply measures and the burdensome, impoverishing taxation that was imposed on the English poor so as to kill the French poor; "Oh, In old England very hard times ..." As Hazlitt put it witheringly: "Mr. Wilberforce's humanity will go all lengths that it can with safety and discretion: but it is not to be supposed that it should lose him his seat for Yorkshire, the smile of Majesty, or the countenance of the loyal and pious. He is anxious to do all the good he can without hurting himself or his fair fame."
All this, though, is so much mud in the Humber for the Wilberforce fan club. The cant of the Clapham Sect was born here, on this street, this is his fig tree and these are his clay feet on a marble statue made fifty years after he died, he was here and that must surely MEAN that here is IMPORTANT and by extension Hull MEANS something and our lives in this small town in Yorkshire on the elbow of the Humber are just so much the better because of that ever elusive something ...

Saturday, 6 July 2019

As far as the eye can see

I somehow ended up "by the tide of Humber" once again, so I thought I'd show some of the delights that can be spotted hereabouts. On a clear day you can just about make out a tiny bump on the horizon way away to the south-east that is the water tower of Grimsby dock, it's 200 feet tall and from this distance (15 miles, give or take) looks not unlike a mini-Nelson's column. This is one of those place's where you can check the curvature of the earth as tops of ships peek over the horizon, last time I looked the earth was still roundish ...

Off to the east and on the north bank is the village of Paull with its stumpy white lighthouse,

south has the oil refineries and chemical works of north Lincolnshire and the little red buoy that shows which way the current's running,

and off to the west the familiar Humber bridge, the beginnings of the Lincolnshire Wolds and the delightful cement works in the background,

while northwards lurk untold dangers.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Where it all went

I wonder how many places have to reassure themselves that they are a good place to be. Does ontological insecurity strike in the heart of London, Blackpool (hah! some chance!), York, or even fairest of the fair Portnablagh?  So why this reassuring message on Pier Street? I ask merely to be informed ... Let us pass on to other matters touristy.
Every now and then in this virtual scrapbook I get to show how things turned out. In this case some five or more years ago the place below was just an empty building awaiting rescue with an enigmatic message on the door that I never saw open. Later that year the edifice was covered  in scaffolding and shrouded in green. Now it's become The Store on Pier Street (there is only one store in case you might be wondering, indeed, with a good wind behind you, you could spit from one end of Pier Street to the other) and part of that Old Town/Humber Street renovation scene of  arty eateries, arty galleries and plain silly shops designed to attract those who like arty eateries, arty galleries and silly shops.  I believe folk of that nature come under the generic term of tourist. Please don't get  me wrong, I have in my time been a tourist, I know that may be difficult to believe but I have traipsed footsore and gawped manically and wearily around the tourist traps in London, Dublin, Paris, York and so many other "places of interest" and yes, Blackpool (don't knock it 'til you've tried it) and come away poorer and none the wiser like so many before and since. Tourists to Hull are most welcome and they are more than welcome to Humber Street; in fact if they really like it they can take it away when they leave.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Whispering sweet nothings

I posted about this delightful surreal carving in Pearson Park before showing the thing being carved and to be honest I thought I'd posted about it again to show the completed work but you know what thought did ... so to put things right here's a few more images. While taking these pictures a man rode by on a bike and clearly he hadn't noticed this before and he nearly fell off craning his neck round  and gaping in disbelief ...

I recall the artist telling me that he was trying to make the figures a bit more child friendly and less scary towards the ground which appealed to Margot who took this picture.

The weekend in Black and White is here.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019


So tell me, for my ignorance is immense, how do civilised places deal with increasing anti-social behaviour? Do they not call in the police to deal with it? Employ some security staff to eject malfeasant scum? Maintain a presence of authority to let them know who's in charge? Or ... Do they lock the doors and hide in their office like timorous mice? Abjectly surrender to the guilty, criminal few at the expense of the innocent majority? 
I ask because never in my few years on this earth have I seen such pathetic cowardly actions as those carried out recently in Hull Paragon Station. The gates you see above will be closed to all and sundry between 9.30 and 16.30 to reduce crime .... It is so reassuring that criminal types keep such a workaday schedule, they probably sing that Dolly Parton earworm as they go about their nefarious dealings ... Station manager Dan Dreggs (I'm not making this up) has placed notices up explaining that it's really British Transport Police's plan ...but it's his name on the notices and he is responsible for this act of stupidity.
The whole thing would be laughable if it did not have repercussions on those who absolutely must use this gate, they are told they should book ahead to get admission. But many did not know and so could not, neither can a good few even read the sign because disability comes in many forms and the Dreggs of this world are just way out of their depths ... did I mention that taxis drop off their fares outside this gate? That the main car park for the station is outside this gate? So both fit and frail must both make their way right around the front of the station and enter via Ferensway just because a few miscreant nobodies have ruined the peace of Mr Dreggs and he simply cannot cope (between the hours of 9.30 and 16.30!)... oh yes, this was until a fortnight ago signed as a fire exit ...

A petition has been running since this idiocy began you can sign it here should you be outraged by this nonsense.

A great many are of the opinion that this action is contrary to disability discrimination legislation; I feel it may well be so.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

So it's probably my fault that ...

If you have a super-duper memory you will recall seeing the self-same store way back in 2012. Back then the threat was of redevelopment, I cannot for the life of me recall what redevelopment was threatened other than that it had been put on hold ... permanently it now seems.
Now the name above the door says House of Fraser but to me this is Binns  as Binns it was when I first came to Hull. (I'm a Binns boy , there was a Binns in Hartlepool from whence cometh I and as a very, very bored child I was dragged round Binns so...bloody Binns it is, OK?) To real Hull folk this is, of course, Hammonds (v 2.0 the rather fine classical original was destroyed in the last European/Worldwide ding dong). Whatever you call it I  haven't bought anything here since they stopped selling the coffee I liked (back when I used to drink coffee) last century.
So it's probably my fault that ... this place is closing down soon which will add to the number of empty shops in the town centre. Or it would if the Council actually reported empty units properly instead of devising a cunning plan to mislead folk as to the true situation. I won't bore you with the details; it's the usual trick of counting what you want to count and then claiming things are just dandy. You know the drill by now.

Monday, 1 July 2019

Blue tent blues

What care I for a goose-feather bed
With the sheet turned down so bravely, O! 
For to-night I shall sleep in a cold open field. 
Along with the raggle taggle gypsies O!...

Not quite the cold open field but the tarmac under Myton Bridge can hardly be the most comfortable place in town either. You'll find homeless rough sleepers in many towns in the UK these days I guess. In Hull, at the last count (that I can find)  in autumn last year some 26 people were found to be sleeping out on the  streets, not all by any means in tents like these. Homelessness is a huge problem these days, mostly hidden it has to be said (sofa surfing, staying with parents and so on), rough sleepers being the most visible tip of this societal ice berg if I may use a much clichéd metaphor. This country is said to need three million new homes and it needed them, like, yesterday... At the present rate of building most of the homeless will be long dead and maybe... maybe that's the plan.

Other folk at City Daily Photo will hopefully have happier posts, at this month's Blue themed event