Sunday, 26 July 2020

A Twenty Twenty Vision

Remember back in the bad days, the days before the glorious Fat Controller took us all under his gross, adiposal care and smothered us with lock downs, useless, health threatening face muzzles and quarantines and testing (always with the testing) and , now, whisper it softly, a vaccine! Yeah Laissez les bons temps roulez as nobody ever said, ever. You'd have be a "nutter" not to take the vaccine and save lives (it's not about you it's about saving lives, don't be so selfish and wear your mask!) ... Remember when life was so evil that the country was rich with a booming economy, there were shops that sold stuff, bars where you could get a drink, restaurants where you could eat, transport you could use freely, go anywhere without a care, without the glare and the stare ... Do you even recall the simple Referendum to leave the European Union? (or even remember the EU? No, me neither, strange how quickly the memory fades... I had to check yes; it's still there and still falling apart, still wants to fish in UK waters and have the UK pay for its follies, plus ça change...) The madness back then inspired this monstrosity though it seems to be talking more and more of the divisive insanity that strides the land these days, with mass hysteria and ovine compliance with ridiculous politically inspired dictats from ministers who are drowning in their vain, incompetence. The UK is no longer a Parliamentary democracy, no, the land that was the Mother of Parliaments is now run by statutory notices, the rotten, stinking vestige of medieval Royal prerogative, supposedly vetted by MPs but in practice just pushed through without so much as a whisper of a debate, and Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition are just compliant ninnies in this coup d'état. It's dictatorship in all but name. Oh he's a bumbling, avuncular dictator, but that is what he is, have no doubt. I hear he's a classical buff, can recite the Iliad in the original ancient Greek, then no doubt he'll recall the words of Brutus as he shivved old Julius: "Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis". His turn will come, it always does.

The weekend in Black and White is here.

Friday, 24 July 2020

Scarlet Pimpernel

Events this year have meant the councils in these parts have not been doing their usual trick of spraying weed-killing glyphosate in each and every nook and cranny so a thousand flowers have bloomed, to quote old Mao, mostly in the gutters and pavements of the town and neighbourhood.  It's been one of the few benefits of the 'madness of 2020'. These little beauties are really tiny and a lifetime first for me, Anagallis arvensis or Scarlet Pimpernel in a gutter on Strathcona Avenue. I know they're orange; it seems they didn't have a word for that colour, cf pink , so scarlet they became for want of a better word. WikiP tells me they are considered a weed, hmmph, and also that the flowers only open in sunshine hence another name of Poor man's weather-glass and there's also a blue scarlet pimpernel go figure. 
Though there cannot be more than a light coating of dusty, wind-blown, useless soil in the gutter it is enough to support a surprising array of species which Authorities kill off in the name of tidiness. This is what we are missing by this stupidity.

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Dear God,

Hi, how ya doing? Thought I'd drop you a line since it's been a while, well it's been a lifetime since they dipped me in that old holy Roman Catholic water and drove the devil and all his works from me ( we were having such fun) but in terms of the infinite less than just a tick. I know my mum (How's she doing, btw? I'm sure she's up there with the saints and all, what with all her faith, damned unbreakable faith) tried to point me in your direction dragging me off to church each Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation (nipping me when I was bored and naughty and sitting when I should have been kneeling) even sending me to a Catholic School ( no priest took a fancy to me sadly or I'd be much richer than I am today) but I got to six years old and it wasn't going to stick, sorry old chap, no hard feelings, eh?  ...
So I heard you were unwell, well I heard you'd died (was it really 'pity' that saw you off, was it? or something less serious? the nauseating Postmodern relativistic morality and the happy clappies and the apostasy of women priests would drive anyone off a cliff) I assume those reports were an exaggeration and you're just going about your merry, mysterious way; giving folk free will then punishing 'em for using it (teehee!)... 
Now if you're thinking your hearing has gone a bit dickey recently and that it's gone a bit quiet down here, no it's not you it's (who else?) the Government (you don't like 'em either? They think they are your gift to humanity, please tell them it isn't so, go on do a bit of smiting you know you want to. Do they tax you too and put you in a gag when you go shopping? I know, I know, where's it all going to end? Now don't pretend you don't know ... I can feel you smirking even behind that face muzzle) Anyhow they only went and closed the closed the churches, first time in centuries even the old Black Death (thanks for that by the way) didn't close 'em. Yersinia sends her regards, I hear she's out in Colorado living with some squirrels but she always was a wild one.  So, yeah erm things are a little quiet down here atm, folk wary of each other, scared to admit that they really don't think this little flu thing (was that one of yours or have you outsourced plagues and pestilence to China?) is a big thing and they'd love to get on with their lives but the schools are closed ('til September, teachers can't miss their summer holidays can they?) so someone's got to stay home and look after the brats, and the shops are going to be a test if you turn up bare faced, as you intended, and the nauseated worriers play up and start moaning, I swear I'll take a stick to anyone who bugs me (I am, as you know, without sin so they'd better watch out) ... but you got your troubles I got mine, it's been good to talk, catch you again sometime, don't be a stranger.

Your old mate ,

Monday, 20 July 2020

Deserts of vast eternity

The cunning plan to make Hull's tenure of the title of UK City of Culture as miserable as possible seems to be working ever so well. Above is what used to be called Holy Trinity Square but no doubt due to changes in the political climate is possibly called Perfidious Albion Plaza or Mea Culpa Square or some such. Those of an age can maybe recall the neutron bomb and how it was to take away the people and leave the buildings (a wonderful device) ... Anyhow thousands were spent clearing it up, installing mirror pools, plans made for food festivals and so on and they had to go and invent a plague just out of spite. They need not have bothered I wasn't going to go anyway.

The statue of Andy Marvell still stands, though really the viral iconoclastic nonsense of pulling down statues seems to have peaked and died away here much like an English summer. I read that this MP for Hull during interesting times (civil war, regicide, restoration and what have you; OK not of interest to everybody I know...) was a master of self-preservation. I wonder what the man who wrote this:
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power...
would make of the servile, bedwetting, safety-first, neurotic, mask devouring cowards that want to impose their fear upon us all. But then maybe he too would mask-up, rub in the alcohol gel and conform; self-preservation, dear boy, self-preservation. Gah!

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Viяuƨ Scriblings

Sometime next week, I think maybe Friday I haven't been taking notes, folk will be under a legal obligation to wear a face muzzle when doing their shopping. This novelty will not apply to the staff who work in shops all day only to those who pop in for a few minutes to pick up a newspaper, a pint of milk, and a loaf of bread. Shop staff seem not to catch whatever it is that is supposed to be going around. 
If the store is large enough to have a cafe or restaurant attached then those eating do not need a mask, however they will need to wear one between the front door of the shop and the cafe and, of course, upon leaving they will need to cover their ugly gobs on the way out; should they need to use the rest room then it's masks on but not while actually in the rest room. If you want to sit all day in a pub getting sozzled you can do so without encumbrance. I did a brief survey whilst out and about and saw no-one wearing a mask at all, not one; usually there's been one or two but today nobody. Why folk would suddenly choose to obey this stupid decree I can't imagine.  Many stores say they will not police this (it not being their job to annoy their customers) and the actual police (or rather the London Metropolitan Police) have said they do not have the resources to police it either (meaning they have better things to do) so we'll see ... Anyhow, I do not intend to participate in this pointless, infantile parlour game.
I should note that we are some four or five months into this Government inspired fear-driven fiasco, and even in Hull no-body is bothering to die with this alleged virus any more though, of course, testing is picking up some cases (the tests however are utter rubbish), the current situation clearly does not come close to an epidemic. 
It has been noted that the death figures are wrong, that is to say folk are counted as dying of this thing even if they got over it months ago, in England you can never be free of Covid-19 and no matter how gruesome or mundane your death it will still be a viral demise should you ever have tested positive for this wee sleekit cowerin' timorous beastie, much as I foretold for Poor Sam. So Public Health England ("We exist to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing (sic), and reduce health inequalities.") have been overstating the mortality figures (why ever would they do that, do you  think? what could possibly be their game?) which means that this thing (whatever it is and that is far from clear) is even less of a risk than previously thought and previous thought had it as a mild flu/bad cold sort of event that happens most years and nobody notices ...
I note the following also because it needs to be noted. The reason for the lock down was to "Save the NHS": now that slogan was quietly dropped some time back in April (I think) when it was apparent that the outbreak had peaked and the NHS was not (and never came close to being) in any danger of collapse. So is the NHS back  up and running? What do you think! A visit to the dentist involves more rigmarole than open heart surgery, GP appointments are now triaged over the phone, GPs have made millions fewer requests for medical tests and assessments, cancer patients are dying in their thousands with many thousands still undiagnosed and heading for an early grave. If you break your arm or have an accident that requires an X-ray you now have to make an appointment before approaching the A&E department of your local hospital before you simply turned up and pointed at your dangling limb and got an X-ray. There's more going on, no doubt, but this is enough for me. I do not for one minute think these restrictions will ever be lifted. The relationship between the people and the NHS has switched from it serving them to them serving it and this cannot be good.
But, finally it is not all gloom and doom; the Fat Controller says he hopes it will all be over by Christmas and since he started it he can finish it any time he likes; I suppose getting him to say he was wrong and was all a big mistake is too much to ask.

The somewhat scruffy mail box is on Park Avenue and has been there for a century or so and is merely decoration for this rambling post.

Friday, 17 July 2020

Look, Duck and ...

The Avenues area, described by some wag as the Muesli Belt of Hull, is currently plagued by feathery fiends who cause untold harm to the economy, health, education and safety of the neighbourhood. Residents are wary of venturing forth lest they should come across a malicious mallard, the very sight of which is sure to cause respiratory failure, diarrhoea, apoplexy and general malaise not to mention corporal decay. Urgent research into a cure, a possible vaccine ( a quackzine? no seriously...) has shown adverse effects with patients reporting  webbing on the extremities and an irresistible desire to go paddling in Pearson Park. The Government assures us that the problem will be over by Christmas and is introducing legislation making duck pate compulsory festive fare. 

Thursday, 16 July 2020

It's a Cutlure thing

The streets of the toon were all kivvered aroon
Wi' stuff that was colourful, gowden and broon,
It was put there, of course, by a big Clydesdale horse!
And they called it manyura, manyura manyah!
                                                                                                        Matt McGinn

Readers of this delightful and informative journal will recall that the streets of Hull town centre were, at great expense both of money and inconvenience, recently changed from small paving bricks to slightly larger paving slabs. How proud those who consider such things were to have such a wonderful and attractive pavement for folk to walk about and browse the shopping "offer" of the town.  This however is the City of Cutlure (extended due to force majeure until May next year, Coventry due to be the next victim of this stupidity is scared the Covey will put folk off visiting, can't think why that might the case... Cutlure is staying) so it came as no great surprise to find the streets of the town had developed a nasty case of white-spot disease with Jameson Street, King Edward Street and good old Queen Vicky Square affected by a plague of painted dots. I guess that the council imagined that vast hordes would descend upon the place and, with the then Government policy of 2m distancing being the rule (sorry, guideline), folk would need help in judging how far apart to stand. How this was supposed to work I can't imagine: was there to be synchronised hopping from dot to dot? Would you wait until the next spot was clear or just proceed until you came up against an occupied place and stand, possibly on one leg and whistling Dixie, until you could go about your business. It was, of course, absurd, panic from the pretendy powers-that-be. No-one took a blind bit of notice of them and tell the truth there's hardly enough folk to make a crowd (two's company ...)  wandering around the  mainly closed shopping areas.
The fad for surgical masks and gloves, I believe the collective term for this is PPE, means that there is a novel (and completely unexpected, who'da thought ... tsk, tsk) litter problem. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Salisbury and Park

Here's the intersection of Salisbury Street and Park Avenue showing the somewhat quaint Queen Anne style fronts designed by George Gilbert Scott. Did the Council really have to put that road sign just there; I mean it wasn't there a few years back. Are drivers really so thick they need to be told to go round a roundabout? (Don't answer that.) There are mermaids too but doesn't every street have mermaids?
I had to change the title of this post as I had the avenue  before the street and that is a big no-no with our American friends who tell us how to live, who we should get our technology from, who our friends should be, who should be our Prime Minister, how we should write our own language, and which way we should pee in the morning (For this relief much thanks ...) We're touched by your presence, no really, we are, touched.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

A tired old tart

I've told before how gun-running local entrepreneur cum property developer Zaccharia Pearson 'donated' a piece of land to the west of the then expanding Victorian city of Hull so that the local council could have a public park (around which desirable space Zacc built and sold many large town villas). Anyhow past speculations and malfeasance aside the place was a Victorian promenading success with a bandstand and a lake and a little bridge and a glass conservatory. But we no longer live in the era of middle class well-to-dos taking the air in a town park and so  over the years the bandstand went, the bridge went and the conservatory became shabby and run down. The park in recent years has a reputation for not being at all pleasant or indeed safe. Still, undaunted by the flow of history, the Pearson Park fan club and the council and (I think) lottery funding of nearly £4 million have put back a little bridge and a bandstand and rebuilt a conservatory. Oh and repaired the ornate gateway as I mentioned some months back. (Must get a picture of that delight some time)

As you know I'm a great believer that bandstands are quite possibly the most stupid invention even more than face masks in public spaces. Here's a little beauty, already the haunt of local youth and destined to feature in so many stories of vandalism, drug abuse and violence in the local rag. If there were awards for pointless constructions well this is surely a contender. The only reason I can find for it being here is that there used to be one so there has to be one now, stands to reason.

I did like the weather vane on the conservatory though the building itself looks hideous and out-of-place. I believe it has already been vandalised several times in the short time it has been built; with any luck they'll destroy it completely.
So there you go, several million pounds in the pockets of the renovators and we have a park that has a pointless bandstand, a reinstalled but unnecessary bridge and a crappy glasshouse and a repainted cast iron gate posts for a gate that is never closed. I think this was a massive wasted opportunity to spend money wisely on something new, innovative and imaginative. This is supposed, somehow, to make Pearson Park attractive, "like new". It fails. It might have worked a hundred and fifty years ago but not now. Now it looks like a tired old tart with way too much make-up and hideous lippy hiding the cracks and pretending she can still pull the punters, not quite ugly but giving off a stench of desperation.

Monday, 13 July 2020

The bloom of death

¡No te dejes morir lentamente!
¡No te impidas de ser feliz!

Last year we bought a couple of pots of House Leeks or Sempervivum as you may know them. I just  left them to do their thing didn't even pot them on; you can still see the price £3.99 ...  and so as the year slowly spun into summer a majestic phallic obscenity arose with these blooms on top. I can't (and don't) claim any credit for this, I'm very hands off and let things die of their own free will as I'm told they will after blooming, an orgy of monocarpic delight.

The weekend in black and white (like death and taxes) will be with us sooner or later here.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Bus Stop Blues

Imagine running a business where the Government recommend your customers not use your services and then compensates you for your losses... this is the neo-normative fantasy world we live in now. These double-deckers can take over seventy passengers sitting and standing (at a warm fuggy squeeze) but are limited to no more than twenty face-masked and fear filled voyagers. I say twenty but the bus I was on into east Hull the other day had many more than that thankfully or folk would have been left behind. Even the worst laid schemes o' mice and men gang agley it seems.
The picture is Cottingham Green bus stop but in nearby Hull the bus lane scheme has been extended to run all daylight hours not to help buses, no, no, buses are bad, bad I tells you ... no it's to help cyclists who are supposed to take advantage of this benefice and fill the gap made by mad bucking of the market (let me check yes I did write bucking glad I got that right). Now of course cyclists won't suddenly appear; Hull is after all one the most obese, cigarette smoking places in the country (part of its lasting charm I suppose) ... instead the extra cars on the road carrying disgruntled bus passengers (now lost forever I assume) will be squeezed into even less space and Hull's familiar gridlock problem will no doubt return should the economy ever get back out of the deep hole it's in. 

Thursday, 9 July 2020

A Movable Feast

The Christian festival of Easter was cancelled this year; that quasi-pagan celebration of Christ's victory over Death was put to one side because ... well no real good reason at all; Government fear of collapse of health services (that didn't happen) led to panic, scaremongering, a return to medieval thinking, mass hysteria, media bullshit reporting, misuse and abuse of statistics, you name it  and it happened this crazy year and to get out of the grave dug for us by stupid, vain politicians (who seem at least to have stopped digging) we linger in this not free transition with illiberal regulations for anti-social spacing, reservations for the pub (for Chrissake!) ... and (useless) face mask virtue signalling social tyranny. It's the control freaks' wet dream ... 

PS the church sign has been removed after so many weeks and there's talk of the place reopening with every soul isolated lest they should spread this 'germ' ... I won't ask who made this 'germ' since, well, we don't want to go down the rabbit hole of theodicy on a  cold, damp Thursday in July.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Derelict Doodles

At some time in the down days of this year someone with way too much time on their hands found a way to brighten up the walls of this empty old bank on Beverley Road. Well done them.

Monday, 6 July 2020

A cooling dollop of scepticism

But I'm near the end and I just ain't got the time
And I'm wasted and I can't find my way home ...

Long, long ago when that was but little tiny lad I started a course in biochemistry, at Liverpool University if you're interested which I'm sure you're not, anyhow the course involved much practical work in laboratories doing protein assays, carbohydrate assays, lipid assays, mineral assays. Measuring stuff, in short, answering that perennial question how much of what you claim to be there is actually there. Common to all these assays was preparing a calibration curve using purified protein or glucose, vitamin C, starch, NADH or whatever was on the mind of the lecturer that week. We always started with a bottle of known and measured our sample of unknown against that. It became ingrained, dinned into us: start with what you know and compare that against what you have in your hot little hand.
I relate this because it seems to me that a lot of so-called science, as reported today, skips that part of dealing with what is real and known and reaches for the computer model of how it is supposed to be, dogma has replaced experiment. This might not have been so important, reality will eventually catch up and bite these dreamers, except they have immunised themselves against reality by a wall of self-righteous indignation that reaches all the way up to and including the top levels of political and business power. The model is now emperor of all he surveys (not actually surveys since that would entail taking measurements and stuff, facts and data only get in the way)  and his clothes are a glorious array of flim-flammery and untested theory.
So with so-called man made climate change (seemingly now a way of browbeating folk into accepting expensive, windy, sunny, watery, willowy woody power generating schemes when nuclear is clearly the way to go and there's centuries' worth of nice coal under our feet) and so, more to the point with coronavirus testing.
When I read the protocol for this test back in March first thing I asked myself was where is the metaphorical bottle of purified virus that they are using for comparison, well it didn't exist then and, you know, it still doesn't these months and several million tests later. You might think that something as important as this test would at least have a so-called gold standard behind it. You'd be wrong. It has less behind it than the Wizard of Oz, it's basically an act of faith, believe in the dogma behind all this, believe in the method, in short believe in the very existence of Sars-Cov-2 or what? What is there left to believe in? It simply has to be true. This is the 'truth', the only possible 'truth' and nothing but the 'truth'.
Belief is, of course, basic to science but it has to be based on evidence, on repeatable demonstrable experience that can be refuted by experiment. In short it is based on a "bottle of known stuff" not on fanciful dogmatic delusion as seems to be the style these days.
So if you see me wandering around, too close for comfort, breaking that anti-social distancing claptrap, not wearing a silly face-nappy and laughing at poor saps who worry that their world is being ruined by alleged nanoscopic pieces of lipo-protein wrapped RNA ("that come all the way from China") that may or may not exist well now you know why. Three years of scientific training and three more years of postgraduate research (or paid fun as I recall) and years of watching that old handcart roll on down the path to who knows where have left me deeply scarred with what are now old man's doubts. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

...the buzzing of the bees in the cigarette trees

Those who decide these things have made May 20 World Bee Day. I'm sure the little busy buzzing pollinators are right chuffed to have a whole day to themselves to put all their feet up, have a long lie in bed and let the world serve them scones with jam and cream ... 

Margot took this.

Monday, 11 May 2020

The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra la ...

...Breathe promise of merry sunshine

Saturday all shiny and bright and temperatures climbing nicely to a decent 21°C, not too hot (for me) and not too cold, shirt-sleeved Goldilocks temperatures. Sunday and Monday 8°C with a nithering North Easter  off the North Sea and back to winter togs. This is springtime in dear old England; teasing temptation followed by shivering disappointment. Still the May blossom  is out and filling the locked down land or at least my street with a snow like covering which might be actual snow if it gets any damn colder.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Not quite their finest hour

I wonder what future generations will think of the folk who, just the other day, celebrated the bravery and sacrifice of those who defeated Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy by cowering under house arrest, socially distanced and clamouring for more repression (Keep the lockdown until there's a vaccine!) while, no doubt, playing Vera Lynn with the sound turned up to 11. I'm told there was a toast to the nation at some time in the afternoon and Queenie spreading the Love, perhaps it's not so odd that I missed it.

Friday, 8 May 2020

A little bit special

Whenever I see this tree on my way back from the shop I say to myself I must take a picture of it in its springtime glory. Finally I had my phone in my pocket and so here it is. I think it's a maple of some sort but don't trust me on trees, certainly stands out from all the green stuff round here.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Post hoc ergo propter hoc

"It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."     
                                                                                                      Mark Twain

We are told that the Fat Controller will be making an announcement on Sunday that might be the beginning of the end (or as he will no doubt phrase it the end of the beginning) of the house arrest phase of the great economic crash of 2020. The narrative all along has been to lock folk up to protect the NHS (and save lives as well it's just that that didn't work out so well, nor could it as we'll see). You can see how proud some folk are, nay not just proud but utterly convinced that their weeks of home confinement have somehow saved the NHS. But as any first grader could tell them this is delusion. There is no evidence to prove this nor can there be. There is no evidence that weeks of watching Netflix or whatever has saved a single life. No evidence for that but plenty that the whole thing has been a colossal wrecking job on the economy and the health and wealth of millions. The figures show that deaths linked to Covid-19 peaked on April 8 which means given accepted incubation periods that infections peaked before the lockdown came into force. Other evidence has demonstrated that the infection rate, the infamous R0 had fallen below 1 before the lockdown. It appears that the campaign of hand washing and mild social distancing had done the job of killing off whatever was causing the infections but I couldn't say that for sure since I'm not going to ascribe effects to causes; that's not my job. 
No that silly mistake will be left to ministers, politicians, and the media who all should know better, and the vast majority of people who can know no better. They will claim that their sacrifice has paid off, that though thousands have died the totals were nowhere near those of the model produced by the now utterly discredited lockdown lothario Professor Ferguson of Imperial College, London. (I've read that other models elsewhere were equally stupid and subject to constant revision as the figures failed to rise but the Imperial College model was the one used here and it has been found to be a school boy joke riddled with amateur errors and produces utter rubbish, garbage.). They will gloss over the rise in excess deaths that cannot be ascribed to Covid-19 even with directives from Government to be as widespread and liberal as possible in ascribing cause of death to Covid-19. People are dying with Covid-19 who have never been tested, any old person dying with pneumonia has Covid-19 tacked onto the death certificate nolens volens. Which of course means the figures are unreliable and exaggerated.
As to the actual test, what can anyone say, that is anyone with a modicum of scientific knowledge of how things should be done. In the absence of any purified virus to compare assays against a huge leap of faith has been made that the results obtained after complicated manipulation of the sample of snot obtained by ramming a cotton bud up the patients nose (RNA extraction and reverse transcriptase, and multiple though variable amounts of DNA multiplication treatments) actually represent a link to the alleged culprit virus Covid-19. Though thousands of tests have been carried out no-one can say for sure they have measured anything real at all. It's all as I say reliant on believing the method to be infallible despite numerous reports of 80% false positives and almost as many false negatives. A reasonable person, never mind one with a PhD in Biotechnology (OK that's me, you can call me Dr Bill from now on ...), might be led to say the test was not fit for purpose.
So dear reader the shore is in sight... we will be told that all our suffering was worth it but we must not let down our guard (against what? The wizard of Oz? surely not Covid-19 which has peaked, is very uninfectious and has a mortality roughly that of flu, which we annually ignore though thousands die with it), that the Government's actions have been effective (post hoc ergo propter hoc gets 'em every time), that the Fat Controller walks on water (but keeps his distance). We will in short be lied to again and do you know what the lie will be swallowed (yum, yum it's just what they long to hear) and folk will go out tonight and applaud themselves like performing seals but there's more than a faint aroma of foul treachery in the air.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

This post is a pile of pants

I admit this was not what I expected to find while out and about the other day.  I don't know who did it, what it's about or any of that stuff that usually follows a photo in this blog. It's on the wall of the dinosaur museum now, like so much these days, temporarily closed.
There was a time in the mid-90s when the phrase "this is a pile of pants" became what they nowadays term viral, common  jargon amongst a certain class of individual, mainly young and hip (showing my age). I don't know if this was just a UK thing (where pants, of course, mean underpants, why would you call your trousers pants? makes no sense but I digress...) or whether it spread across to other English speaking parts of this rocky planet in a obscure solar system. Like many other fads it arrived (from radio DJs as I recall), became ever so common (and annoying), and then faded away just as quickly as it arrived. Does anyone use this phrase any more? Apart from me just now.

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Family Fun

On my way back from the shops I stopped to take a picture of the setting sun and the trees on Cottingham Road and this family of cyclists came from out of nowhere and were gone before I could thank them for making the scene just a little bit more interesting.
I've posted from roughly this spot before; it's five minutes from home.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Jaz Cafe Bar, Lowgate, Hull

You might look at this and think that looks like bit like an old fashioned bank and you'd right it was once a bank but now it's a temporarily closed coffee bar. A quick check on the old Google shows that, as I thought, it's a listed building, the details are all here if you want 'em.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

Let a thousand flowers bloom somewhere else

I think I last showed this patch of the city of culture, Blackfriargate, some time ago. Back then it had been allowed to do its own thing for years ... I was surprised to see what had sprung up here. I knew there were plans, I just hadn't been round here for a while ... I know it was after all clearance land, a perfect brownfield site and must have been built on before so the loss of wildflowers and things of nature shouldn't really give such a sense of loss should it? I guess I make a terrible capitalist or maybe I'm just going soft in this stupid lockdown (which as you see I'm ignoring). We can't live on pretty wildflowers or views of old churches, Arco must have its new offices (or so it says) and cars, well cars need parking spaces and petrol and roads and free people to drive them ...

and speaking of free people ... I read that the vast majority of folk in the UK are against being liberated from their house arrest. They are scared, in many cases absolutely petrified, of going back to normal activity. I never thought I'd see the day when brainwashing by politicians, media and civil servants but mainly the damned, unforgivable NHS and widespread simple ignorance would combine to destroy the free will of so many. Gah! A plague on the lot of them ... oh yeah.

Saturday, 2 May 2020

Bottle Feeder

No, it's not some modern sculpture based on the Jonah myth but a mere rubbish bin. This, close by the now closed (temporarily) and somewhat despairing fish tank known as the Deep, is a receptacle for plastic bottles. Someone more eco-friendly and less sceptical than myself might have shown all the do-goody-save-the-panet-from-plastic signs that accompany this but I couldn't be bothered.

When every day seems like yet another Sunday it's difficult to keep track but I believe that the weekend in black and white should be here if not it'll be along shortly.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Bargains Galore

Today's May Day theme is Shopping. Hmmm. A walk round town this afternoon (yes a sightseeing trip, first in weeks, nothing had changed and yet everything had changed) was really quite depressing. So many businesses closed and quite unlikely to reopen any time soon. I read that local businesses were looking forward to getting back to normal (this was a few weeks ago). Given that even before the ongoing collective collapse of stout parties Hull's shopping experience was a shrinking affair with dozens of empty sites (as I've bored the world with on many occasions) I don't think "normal" is going to be much fun at all. Still not everywhere was closed ...

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Ten Years After

'...the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.'

This shop...  You do remember shops, don't you? You could wander in off the street (streets were places you could walk without needing a "reasonable excuse") and look at stuff and maybe, if you wanted, you might buy stuff at your leisure... well this shop is or was in King's Lynn way back in February before the Batshit Times descended and common sense died so many deaths from the hands of the lockdown lunatics. 

There is a desire amongst folk, folk who would ordinarily not have anything to do with superstition or astrology or ascribing significance to the motion of stars, to celebrate or at least mark in some way going round the sun a certain number times. So they have birthdays and wedding anniversaries and so on. Is there any point in all this nonsense? (It's to mark the passing of the time, you old cynic, well what else does time do other than pass ...) Counting off the years seems pretty damn useless, much like counting your breath or worse. So for those who are into that kind of thing today is apparently ten years since I started this fine blog. For all my good works I get called a "curmudgeon"; this it seems is the judgement of my peers (or at least one of them). You no doubt can find worse words to use, so use them while you still can.  

Friday, 24 April 2020

Flattening the curve

The current craze for pointless economic self-destruction means that this place, St Stephens, is to all intents and purposes closed and the doors locked. Sure you can shop at Tesco but to get into that place involves going right around the block, along some deserted back streets until you get here (the back door, I suppose, yes, you could start here but it's my story and I'm telling it) and then through the underground car park beyond those steps and up an escalator, finally passing through a maze of barriers all intended to treat  you like sheep herded for a fleecing. 

As you can see the madness continues, shows no sign of abating and folk like it, they're loving it. Some even applaud their captivity each Thursday and deplore, report, snitch, dob any infringement of the recently revised house arrest legislation and indeed any heresy of not applauding the newly installed tutelary deity: The NHS (may it be preserved). So many lovely lives saved.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Alone, alone, all, all alone

Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I. 
Cheery greetings from the grey-bearded loon lost in the deserted city of culture with only Coleridge for company.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

A kesterell for a knafe

There are people (usually but not always male, of a solitary disposition and thankfully limited in number) who get pleasure from taking a bird and tying leather straps to it and making it perform tricks in return for bechins of chicken. Their pastime (I almost said hobby but this is no place for puns) has been described (among other things) as expensive, time-consuming, and useless. There are other people (also funnily enough usually male) who enjoy (though they deny it, of course they deny it) tying down a whole population and limiting their freedom and in return for conformity they grant tidbits of shopping and a snippet of exercise. Their pleasure is also expensive, time-consuming, and useless. And well, there are it seems far, far more people who enjoy being tied down (figuratively, it's not that kind of blog post, though à chacun son gout), who take paid leave on 80% wage and applaud their captors for taking care of them. Their furlough is even more expensive, time-consuming, and useless. I wonder what they will do when their hoods are removed, the jesses loosened and creances dropped; probably yawn, squawk and fall off their perches with hunger.

The poor creature above is a kestrel on display at Cottingham Show back in 2011.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

The Purfleet, King's Lynn

I've shown the Purfleet and Customs House before (here) so I suppose I need a reasonable excuse to show it again but I can't be bothered to make one up. These buildings were mainly the former homes and warehouses of wealthy merchants (poor merchants leave no traces I suppose). I admit I don't know what they are used for now. This spot featured in a recent film adaptation of  David Copperfield when it might have looked like this (everyone in a pre-Raphaelite glow, spotless and keeping a goodly 6 foot separation t'was ever thus back in the day).

The Purfleet behind the Customs House. The little bridge is on Queen Street. The buildings on the right house restaurants, hairdressers, tanning salons (the sun never shines enough for some apparently) and an estate agents all closed now I'm guessing as "non-essential". Seeing these pictures reminds me what a cold wind was blowing that day back in February, cut right through you and out the other side.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Are there pylons still in the heart of town?

Can you see the sparks in any other part of town?
Does the current flow out of every line?
No, it's just on this street in King's Lynn.

This pretty adornment to the street scene gives a towering feeling (well it's several storeys high) to John Kennedy Road and brings the oscillating electrons and possibly an overpowering feeling to a sub station just off to the left.

The weekend in black and white is here.

With apologies to Lerner and Loewe.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

... will the line stretch out to th' crack of doom?

First time in town for nigh on four weeks and I find Tesco have a Hampton Court maze approach to public health with large arrows on the floor and "keep to the one way system" signs all over the place. There was no queue to get in but, well, this was the queue to get out. It's looks bad but was actually well organized and no real delay with dozens of checkouts open. Might be a week or two before I go back though.
What else can I say about my little trip? The buses were empty and there was no traffic to speak of, there was hardly anybody out and about, streets deserted. It was eerily quiet, even for Hull which can be a ghost town at times. This cannot go on.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020


My old garden incinerator, well the bottom fell out and a leg came off. No problem turn it upside down and away we go. Then the side collapsed ... might need a new one, but wouldn't want to rush these things.

Margot took this.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

If it's Tuesday ...

Every Tuesday, regular as the tide, the ONS produce a set of figures, they're not exactly entertaining figures, they are the death toll for the week before last. They make for a grim read but if you want to get some proper idea of the what is going on these days, these figures are essential. If you were, for example, to have only the daily figure announced at the Coronavirus Update briefings held by the Government (each afternoon, a 90 minute exercise in futilty and self-preening) you would be seriously misled. 923 dead for the day they will say or some number, it matters not what the number is because it is a meaningless figure. It gives the impression that such and such a number died in the last 24 hours when the figure given actually represents the total accumulated that they counted in the last 24 hours. A man could die on Wednesday and not be counted until Friday, indeed a man could die one week and not be counted until two weeks later. These daily tallies serve no purpose other than to scare children and those with no sense. Indeed a weariness spreads that says "Hey Ho" when the figures come out. But figures do matter and the figures released by the ONS on Tuesday 14 April were very disturbing. Let me quote from the report:
  • The provisional number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 3 April 2020 (Week 14) was 16,387; this represents an increase of 5,246 deaths registered compared with the previous week (Week 13) and 6,082 more than the five-year average.
  • Of the deaths registered in Week 14, 3,475 mentioned “novel coronavirus (COVID-19)”, which was 21.2% of all deaths; this compares with 539 (4.8% of all deaths) in Week 13.

Why is this disturbing other than the large rise in COVID-19 figures? Well what isn't shown quite so clearly is that the rise from week 13 (total deaths 11,141) to week 14 in Non-COVID-19 deaths is 2,310. Since everyone is supposed to be sitting comfortably under house arrest how come so many more are dying? Could it be that the measures taken to save lives are, in fact, taking lives? The A&E departments at our hospitals report that they are hardly seeing any patients, acute surgical wards in hospitals are lying empty, patients with chronic conditions are simply not going to hospital. And given that daily and nightly bombardment of nightmare stories of deaths on TV who could blame them? We seem to have "Saved our NHS" for the sole purpose of killing COVID-19 patients.
I read that the peak number of cases was passed on April 8 but that figures are not falling (well they won't if you keep adding in cases from two weeks ago). The law keeping us penned in our bathrooms is due to be reviewed on April 16, it's reckoned there'll be at least three more weeks of this murderous economic suicide.
Of course, one week's figures do not mark a trend and it may just be a blip (I love that word "Lies, damn lies and blips!"). We shall see, that's if we are still around. Hey Ho!

Monday, 13 April 2020

Poor Sam

Poor Sam.

There he was impaled on street railings outside a tall apartment block. The spikes clear through his bloody abdomen and penetrating an eye socket in a most distressing fashion. Poor Sam had died by falling off the roof, it was clear.
Yet in Sammy's right hand a cut throat razor and on his neck several shallow cuts and one huge slice across the arteries and wind pipe. Poor Sam had cut his throat, nay nearly sliced his head off and  then fallen off the roof.
Still and all next to poor Sam's corpse a broken glass and a bottle of wine with a strong smell of almonds. And Sam, well he stank of booze. His bloods, when they were eventually done, showed he'd have died of alcohol poisoning if the cyanide hadn't gotten to him first.
At the inquest the jury heard that the safety rail on the roof was faulty and  had given way and juries, it is well known,  hate to give a verdict of suicide so poor Sam was deemed to have met a death by misadventure.
But the coroner, who, like you, had listened to all this with an increasing sense of disbelief, and who was aware of increasing numbers of similar deaths in the area and that there was a rash of sudden railing impalings (but not in Sweden where railings were padded as a precaution) wasn't having any of it so he sent poor Sam back to the pathologist, a Dr Mallard, who told to me this sad tale, at great rambling length.
This time it was  found that lodged in poor Sam's mushed up brain were the remains of a .22 slug; from the kind of gun, it is said, that is favoured by a lady.
Soon after they arrested a Miss Otis, there was gunshot residue on her velvet gown, and so they took her away to the jail but an angry mobbed lynched her and hung from an old willow tree but that is by the way.
As for poor Sam ... well there was yet a further examination and it seems that on his way down from roof to earth Sam's last breath  took in a passing  virion, which lodged in his airway and was later mopped up by a swab and taken to a lab and expanded by magic into millions of strands of virus nucleic acid. Poor Sam, unlikely as it may seem, it turned out poor Sam died of Covid19, sure he did, it says so on his  death certificate.
He lies forgotten in an unmarked but much disturbed hole, a caution against straying down Lover's Lane, watching too many detectives on TV and jumping to the wrong surmise.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

... to look at things in bloom

On this fine April Saturday, whilst the dead Christ is allegedly off on the harrowing of Hull, I thought some cheery blossom would be apt. Nobody has ever put cherry blossom and Easter together before, have they?

Oh very well then, if you must ...

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
                                  A. E Houseman  A Shropshire Lad