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

Friday, 10 April 2020

Fish and Chips

Fridays are usually the busiest days for chippies, some say it's a throwback to Christian dietary interference on eating meat on that day or maybe Friday was payday and money was available or, and I think is more likely, good fish and chips are simply delicious and irresistible!  This Good Friday, however, many chip shops are closed and I suspect they will stay that way forever due to Government interference on civil liberty. Life after this phoney plague and unnecessary mass house arrest will be dull and impoverished; you might almost wish you had died.
This jolly sign was on Hunstanton. No trip to the seaside is complete without some fish and chips so we dutifully consumed some in a restaurant just down the road from here. Well I have to fully research my posts don't I?

Thursday, 9 April 2020

St George's Guildhall, King's Lynn

As if the guildhall I posted yesterday wasn't enough there's another one just along the road, St George's Guildhall on King Street. This too is early 15th century and claims to be "the oldest and largest complete medieval Guildhall in England with an unrivalled history as a venue for theatrical production." A local story has it that during a plague in London Shakespeare came to King's Lynn to stay at a mate's house along with his merry band of cut throats, imps, pimps and banjo players and performed one of his plays (what he wrote) here. It's a good story and King's Lynn has been dining out on it for centuries. Now academics seem to support it and academics have a direct line to God's own truth as we all know.
The place as you might imagine has history, a history which is too long for me to even attempt to condense and you can read all about it here.
It's now a gallery, theatre, arty smarty place with a cafe in the cellar (or undercroft as the locals like to call it) where subversives meet to plot the downfall of western civilisation, smokers can stand outside...

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

The Guildhall, King's Lynn

I posted the Guildhall on the Saturday Market before, here, but I don't think I came close to showing its full splendour. This stitch-up is, I think, a bit better. It's a little gem, no strike that, it's a big gem, a Koh-i-Noor of building. It dates from the 1420s with later bits and bobs. There's a dry as dust architectural description here but you can skip that and just stand back, let your eyes feast on its beauty.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

A Little Light Larkin

Coming back in the gloaming from a clandestine shopping trip for strictly non-essential things (so arrest me!) I came upon a fat hedgehog crossing in front of me; first one  I'd seen in a couple of years. It can rest assured I will never be mowing the lawn, I killed the lawn instead. Anyhow here's a happy fillip for all you quarantined gardeners today ...

The Mower
The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found   
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,   
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.   
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world   
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence   
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind   
While there is still time.
                           Philip Larkin

Monday, 6 April 2020

Sod this for a game of soldiers

Phone for the fish knives, Norman 
As cook is a little unnerved

Way back in the dim mists of time when I was but eleven years old a visitation of the influence, as the medievals called it, bestrode the world taking with it several millions, including some 30,000 in the UK. The so-called Hong Kong flu came, it saw, it conquered and then it disappeared. Did the world grind to a halt? Did they cancel everything? Did they lock up everyone? Did they threaten you with criminal sanctions if you sat in the park for a few minutes? No, of course not, life and death and Wimbledon and yes, even the Olympics went on as normal and hardly anybody mentioned it at all. I bet hardly anyone even remembers it. I only vaguely recall folk saying the usual "There's a lot of it about" but then they say that every year. Certainly there was no panic, no stupidity, no collapse of the NHS.
Today however a madness has spread quicker than the damn virus; thanks to the malevolent internet, stupid press campaigns, weak and vain politicians, corrupt governments (in particular China, a murderous gangster state on the brink of economic collapse), a bizarre credibility given to the Oracle of Imperial College London ("Half a million dead if no action taken, a quarter million if some action taken, maybe twenty thousand if you lockdown and crash the economy" , then after a week it became "maybe 5,000 or so and many would have died anyway" ... the moral as I constantly say is never mistake a model for anything other than an expensive guess).
Symptoms of the madness are a lack of clarity, of perspective, a complete loss of sang froid, panic driven self-incarceration, a withdrawal, nay a collapse, of normal social intercourse and civic life. The damage to the world economy is possibly greater than that of the depression of the 1930s and we all now how that turned out. All those silly things that you have done, social distancing, meticulous hand washing, hoarding of toilet rolls (what was that all about?), hiding in the bathroom for ten days ... all utterly pointless. The virus will get you whatever you do indeed it's quite possible you've already had it weeks ago and not even noticed.
So how do we get ourselves out of this tangled web? What's the end game? Do we sit here and watching repeats of football matches until July or whenever the Fat Controller is fit enough and back from paternity leave and suffer businesses large and small going to the wall just to "Save our NHS"? ... or do we grow a pair (such a fine expression!) and say enough of this stinking crap, we're out of here. Sod the lock down! Stuff your faulty repressive laws! Let's get back to living a life worth living and back to work and save our economy what's left of it.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Did I mention?

I mentioned Amy Johnson before, you remember the Hull woman from such humble origins who flew round the world (or was it half way round I forget, no, no it was to Australia, never did know why she wanted to go to such a god forsaken place after living in Hull) on a bicycle and rubber-band powered flying machine, a Gypsy Moth. When I say humble did I mention daddy was a local millionaire? Must have slipped my mind, somehow. I mentioned how there was a replica in the station (of the plane  not Amy, wonderful Amy nobody can seem to capture her radiant beauty) ... did I mention how it was going to be removed somewhere silly (an air museum near York if I remember rightly) until the local shopping place said they would find a space for it. If I didn't mention this then I'm doing so now. Did I mention it was built by prisoners in Hull Prison?  I think I did. Ah but did I mention the plane was called Jason possibly after he of the Golden Fleece and deserting of Medea and the marrying of a king's daughter and all that or maybe it was some other Jason. Did I mention I was bored?

Did I mention the weekend in black and white is here?

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Streets filled with cars, please advise ...

Cars are odd things when you think about them. They're not cheap to buy at least new ones aren't, they're not cheap to run (petrol and tax and insurance and maintenance and so on). They represent locked up capital of several hundreds if not thousands of pounds per unit. And yet and yet for 95% of their useful lifetime they are just left on the side of the road; little heaps of private savings slowly rusting in the Norfolk rain. Odd but then there's nowt so queer as folk as they never say in these parts.
This is George Street, King's Lynn where it's infinitely easier to walk down the road than on the pavement. These houses are 2 up 2 down terrace dwellings from the end of the 19th century, workers cottages they might be called by those who never work. Go through the front door and you're into the front room; they have no gardens, just tiny brick walled backyards leading onto a back alley. It is a popular street for young families of mainly immigrant (Eastern European) workers. It's not bad housing by any means, with central heating, double glazing and fitted carpets they can be cosy little kennels, trouble is people aren't dogs (for the most part).
I'm trying not to think what a deep circle of hell it must be being "locked down" on this street (for no good reason) and tomorrow the first really warm day of the year is forecast and with the temptation of the Loke Road playground and the Long Pond so close by.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Les vaches qui dansent

OK it's happy laughing Friday as my old dad used to call it and we're not dead yet, well not quite. Bring on the dancing cows ... They're not mad, you just can't hear the music.

Merci à Margot.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

...the spirit of perpetual negation

                             ...for all things that exist
Deserve to perish, and would not be missed—

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

The Little Etons

The Government finally realised what many had been saying for so long that all of its schools were totally useless so they shut them, just like that, overnight. Now, says the Government, folk can take their feral brats and teach them at home in front of the TV or some internet device. So I give you the little Etons and Harrows of north Hull, each a busy hive of pedagogical activity where the wonders of the world and its many intricacies are laid bare to the ever receptive minds of youngsters. Attendance at these educational establishments is enforced by the local police who demand to see your hall pass should you be wandering the streets without a reasonable excuse.

The theme day for this first of April is "school". 

And before anyone says whoah! there's ghosts in the picture I know, it's what happens with iPhones doing panoramas. 
This is Greenwood Avenue, Hull looking towards York Road and Ellerburn Avenue. It's an area notorious for petty anti-social activity such as chucking bricks at buses and robbing pensioners, on a good day you can play spot the drug dealers; the sort of really nice area that looks a lot better from a distance.