Monday, 11 November 2019

Poppycock or false memory day

How can children remember something that happened before they or in many cases even their parents were born or someone they never met? Indeed why  should they even bother? Who benefits from all this? The dead? Long past caring.  The living, then? How? The land fit for heroes threw them on to the jobless scrap heap but every November out came  the bloody poppies and British Bloody Legion with their bloody flags, their bloody medals and their damn bloody marches.
It has become a routine that is only done because it has always been done. This year the PM put his wreath upside down! (titter ye not!) The other guy who wants to be PM turns up even though he has voted against every British military intervention there has been and has fraternized with just about every 'enemy' while he has been an MP, at least he didn't bow his head only because he's too damned ignorant. No-one dare say "Let us stop this nonsense now and get on with our lives". 
As a child I was told that on Remembrance Day we remember those who died in the War. The War then was the Great War, WW1. Now the War is WW2 though that too is fading, Korea (where was that now?), Falklands (oh yeah dimly recall), Afghanistan, Northern Ireland (maybe not so much NI as that wasn't officially a war and besides half the enemy were in the pay of the secret service), any patch of a scrubby useless middle eastern shithole that the British Army has been sent to and come home again having achieved precisely zip and at such a cost ... Ah yes I was told and you tell your children still they must remember these 'sacrifices' and show their respects. What for?
Now memory is as you know a pretty untrustworthy thing at the best of times but if you are going to tell your children stories what do you expect to happen? I was told by my mother that her father's brother joined up at the start of the war; both brothers enlisted together, leaving their jobs in the steel works, joined the Gordon Highlanders (the kilts were a thing back then). Poor old great uncle Thomas however died in the war, I was told, and grandpa married his brother's bereaved fiancée. That's a nice story with such a romantic ending... Or so I was told ... Hmm today I find, thanks to computers and internets that never forget, Great Uncle Tom actually lived to over 70 and died in 1959 and worked in a pawnbroker's shop and was in the Northumberland Fusiliers. Grandpa Joe, was living in a different town to his brother, was actually in the Gordon Highlanders in France from 1915 onwards (I guess something had to be true) and when I knew him as a chain smoking (Capstan full strength or Willy Woodbines) old man he cursed the British Bloody Legion whenever he could, he'd no time for poppies or poppycock. He never, ever mentioned (maybe he forgot) being injured in 1916 but computers and internets they never forget ...
There I've done with my bit of remembering. Now what? Hmm?

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Honey Fungus (I think)

On Snuff Mill Lane the other day large numbers of these pretty brown critters had sprung up alongside a blackthorn and ivy hedge. I think it's honey fungus (Armillaria mellea) a destroyer of broadleaf trees, particularly fruit trees. I'm told they are edible but somehow I don't think I'll try. I recall the saying that everything is edible at least once. Did I mention there were large numbers of them?

Friday, 8 November 2019

Pier review

Bridlington pier attracts all sorts who bring along all the right gear to catch either the light or the odd passing codling or flounder ... I have a tripod, I just can't be bothered to traipse around with it.

These guys are not allowed to fish off here during the summer in case a passing tourist (there are still a few who pass) might be harmed by seeing grown folk waste their time in the pursuit of the big 'un. There must be some hidden thing I'm not getting, each one finds their own way through that gap twixt cradle and grave.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Old Warty

Avid followers of my dreary tales will know of my pumpkin cultivation (if that is the word, they just romped along all by themselves) and will, no doubt, love to know that the only one that grew anything like a pumpkin ended up as all good gourds do: top sliced off, gutted and crudely hacked about in some really messy ritual. (I don't like Hallowe'en but making a mess still appeals) But then what do you do with the damn thing? Being a novice at this game I put old warty face on the garden gates' spikes  for any passing wildlife to enjoy; plus I'm sure he'll annoy the neighbours (who do things neat and tidy in the garden). He sits there still, a girning, toothy memorial to the sunshine of the summer of '19.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

"Looks like an accident in the cutlery drawer"

Over last weekend and to the annoyance of many gridlocked motorists Castle Street was blocked off and the new footbridge (which we last saw parked up in preparation in a car park a few weeks ago) was shuffled into position in a faultless manner and much quicker than expected. The road was reopened fifteen hours earlier than forecast to much rejoicing. The bridge is only the small matter of thirty odd years late (who's counting?) ... and it won't be fit for pedestrians until spring.

The title was Margot's comment upon first seeing this. "Like the dish ran away with the spoon?" said I. Still you don't have to look at it when you're on it.

The weekend in Black and White is here.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Waste for Energy

As the train draws into Sheffield station you cannot but be a bit overawed by the outsized industrial plant with attendant chimney right in the heart of town. What do they make here I wondered, what new industrial delight has Sheffield brought forth?
But then a few days later and after a very small amount of searching I find this is no more than a commercial trash incinerator/power plant/community heating concern. That must be nice for the neighbours, I thought, what kind of idiot place would build that in its centre? Then I remembered that the small town of Hull has just built a very similar place also in the heart of town though that heart is somewhat more sclerotic and rotten. That place too will be bringing in other people's trash to turn into electricity though at what a price. Didn't we used to burn cheap, local coal and make sparks cheaply that way? Now we burn anything but coal and that is considered fine and proper (but it's damned expensive; not to say stupid), ah but the greenie bumpykins are happier; they are never happy as such just less unhappy. Maybe we could burn them and increase the sum of human happiness ...
I was going to look up a load of stuff about this place but it's an incinerator and frankly it bores me rigid but fortunately I find someone has already written a piece a few years back so you can (should you want on a slow rainy day) go look at this and I can just go think of something nice like blowing up Parliament with gunpowder ... drat it's no longer sitting.

Monday, 4 November 2019

And quiet flows the Don

Here's the river we've been trailing all the way up to Sheffield. The Don was once a jet-black flowing cess pit of pollution but since the 1970s it's been cleaned up and now salmon and other fishes spawn and thrive in its rushing waters.That's a nice little success story that's no-body shouts about for some odd reason.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Masbrough and Millmoor: nothing to see here ...

As our train slowly drags its weary way up the Don valley we pass through what was once the dark Satanic mills country of south Yorkshire; a place of coal mines, iron works and heavy engineering that once led the world but is now a land  struggling to find a use for itself. I doubt Sir Walter Scott ever ventured up here to find romantic inspiration for his twaddle tales of derring-do ... So here in Rotherham, a place that has know better times, is Masbrough or Masborough (depending on who is doing the spelling, I favour leaving out the 'o'; I don't pronounce it so it's not there ... it is said that Middlesbrough, a town near to where I was born, is so because the Town Clerk couldn't spell ... But I'm digressing again)  where was I? oh yes, Masbrough, a suburb of Rotherham just across the river, comes to us as a passing, fleeting view of an old unwanted station. This was once the main station for Rotherham, from the 1840s until the mid 1980s.  All we have now is an unused platform and some railway buildings which I read are now a restaurant but it was once a thriving, busy station, you can read more here. The station's last use was for 'football specials' which leads us neatly onto the next picture ...

This is a really bad picture of  Millmoor football stadium once home to various Rotherham football clubs over the years until Rotherham United were thrown out for not paying the rent a few years ago. The place, I read, is the home of Westfield United of The Bud Evans BD U18 Division 5 which is quite possibly the least exciting piece of information I've ever found out in my entire life... a paper ran a piece on the place should you need cheering up ...

Saturday, 2 November 2019


At fifty or so miles an hour this is about as much of Conisbrough as I manged to spot from the train on our way to Sheffield the other day. Still it's enough, I think. I've been trying to find out something about this place and well, here goes. The castle, you've noticed the castle I take it, big old Norman keep, recently reroofed and famed as the inspirational source for Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. He called the place Coningsburgh so no-one would know ... I admit I've never read the book, (who reads that stuff these days?) but as a child I was suitable appalled by Roger Moore's acting in the TV series ... 
Erm what else? Oh yes; Kilner jars originated here but went bust way back in 1937. There was an Earth Centre I recall it was some sort millennium thing (there was a great madness about the land at that time) consisting of a big hole in the ground or former colliery or former glass works (Kilner's Works? I dont know or care much. It's all a bad memory best forgotten)  into which money (>£41 million!! as I say madness was stalking the country) was poured à la Maynard Keynes. It had an ecological theme that, quite naturally, failed to appeal and no-one could be bothered to visit so it went bust and is now a housing estate I hear. There's also Archers Way which once had another, sillier name but you can search for that yourself. 
I'm sure Conisbrough is a nice place. It certainly has a very long history, the Old English Cyningesburh was recorded back in 1000, and if I had the time and inclination I could tell more ... it's just that we went through at fifty miles an hour and it's gone now...

Friday, 1 November 2019

A River Runs Through It

The theme for the City Daily Photo's start of the month shindig is 'brown'. Since there runs a big streak of glorious brown stuff right through the heart of town what else could I post other than another view of the river. As ever it's a symphony of browns. The river is empty now and rarely used, you know it's bad when they decide to turn the old dry docks on the right into a heritage feature; mind you I said they should do that years ago ...