12 December 2015

Rambling

In Remembrance in Pilsley
On Thursday, I spent three hours scrubbing our decking and the paved sections of path just behind our house. They can all be treacherously slippery at this time of year - especially if you have allowed a thin layer of lethal algae to accumulate. I was knackered after all that exertion and flopped on the sofa to watch "Tipping Point" with a well-deserved mug of coffee. 

The afternoon train to Norwich.
Seen from a footbridge
south of Danesmoor.
But with fair weather forecasted for Friday, my main reward for the vigorous cleaning job, was a walk in the countryside. This time I drove to the village of Higham south of Chesterfield.

With boots on, I set off northwards towards Stretton, before turning eastwards at Ain Moor towards Pilsley. It is so hard to tell these days but once this area was peppered with dirty coal mines. They are all gone now and Britain's last remaining deep coal mine at Kellingley will cease production next week. I think of those legions of brave men - my great grandfather and grandfather on my mother's side included - who went down into the bowels of the earth to hew the black diamonds. Day after day they diced with death.

In Pilsley, two pit wheels are now a lasting memorial to the work of thousands of  colliers. The parish council have had a plaque made to go along with the old wheels. This very simple inscribed sentiment upon it caught my eye -  "TO PILSLEY MINERS THANK YOU FOR THE WARMTH AND THE LIGHT". That was real work that was. Sitting on one's arse in a call centre, gazing at a computer screen is not in the same league. Not by a long way. I for one doff my cap in humble respect to all underground coal miners past and present. In many ways they were braver than soldiers for they were in peril every day of their working lives. But there were no medals  for them, no patriotic annual  parades with royalty leading  two minute silences.

From Pilsley it was onwards to Morton and thence to Stonebroom. Then westwards into the fading sunlight dodging puddles in the lane to Shirland, then back to Higham and the car. Three and a half hours of plodding.
"The Sitwell Arms" in Morton
Jacob sheep near Stretton. The second version came to me from Google +.
 Shirland Church

24 comments:

  1. Well there is the Durham Miners' Gala which can still attract 100,000 in attendance but your point is stands though. It's not a job I could have done.

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    1. Were there any coal mines in West Suffolk Philip or only gold mines?

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  2. It does look a beautiful day. The silhouette of Shirland church turned out well.

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    1. A photo thumbs up from you is precious sir!

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  3. You're comfortable now in your new walking boots, aren't you?
    Very good weather for a walk, and good pictures and thoughts here. "Thank you for the warmth and light" - that is a touching and true message. Of course, environmentalists would say sarcastically "thank you for the coal dust everywhere", but we humans can't really help it, can we; we all want and need warmth and light in our lives.

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    1. I must confess Miss Arian, the new boots are not half as comfortable as my old ones. I shall persist with them of course but my feet have been a bit achy today.

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  4. Yomping through the countryside wouldn't be my idea of a treat after three hours hard scrubbing, but it takes all sorts.

    I totally agree with you about the miners though. Coming from mining stock myself and sampled life underground but briefly at the National Coal Mining Museum, it was a hell of a way to make a living, especially as many of the bosses thought you should do it for nowt.

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    1. You are from mining stock Ian! Good heavens - you always come across as a rather posh, well-spoken fellow - like Stockport's very own George Osborne.

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  5. Whew! Now I have to plop myself down and have a mug of coffee after that hike!! I noticed more sheep, too!!

    Thanks for the walk, Yorkie...but I'm staying home for the rest of the day now. :)

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    1. Sorry if I tired you out Lee - I didn't mean to. Now I am walking down to the pub at 10.30pm on a Saturday night. I will see you down there. Get mine in please. A pint of Black Sheep if they have run out of Tetley's again.

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  6. This sounds like a walk I would like to take with you.

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    1. Come on over Red and I will walk with you.

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  7. Gosh, I had a hard time finding some of those places. GoogleMaps kept sending me to Kent. Kent? Mr. Pudding knows naught of Kent! Finally found it and by the time I had covered all that ground, I was really tired!! Can I have a glass or two of wine now? You really don't expect me to cook dinner after all that, do you?

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    1. Yes. Get into the kitchen woman! You have been watching daytime TV while I have been treading the miles. I need some roasted moose! Big Bear can have a plateful too and bring us a couple of cans of Schlitz!

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  8. The pedometer on my phone calculated my distance walked at worked today as nearly 6 miles (our store is large and we're crazy busy this time of year). The last thing I feel like doing afterwards is walking! But your jaunts around the countryside sure are beautiful!

    "Thank you for the warmth and light" is touching and a fitting tribute to the brave men who did such terribly hard and dangerous work.

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    1. Your store gives workers a real workout - like being in the gym! Do they charge you for this?

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    2. Haha. I average between 4 and 7 miles every day that I'm there. I don't understand why I have such a hard time losing weight, especially considering the fact that on most days Gregg and I take the dogs out for a long walk in the evening, too!

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    3. You don't look obese to me Jennifer just cuddly but may I ask if like many Americans you drink sugary drinks such as Coca Cola? Drink diet soda instead and eat lettuce sandwiches - that is a leaf of red lettuce within two leaves of green lettuce. Eat for breakfast, lunch and supper every day for a month and the weight will soon fall away!

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    4. I recently switched to diet colas, and now everyone that sees me drinking one feels compelled to tell me how bad they are for me! You can't win! But Gregg's oncologist drinks Diet Coke like it's going out of style so hopefully it isn't too bad.

      As for the lettuce sandwiches...I think I'd rather be fat!

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  9. A nice tribute to hard working miners, and I like the tree silhouettes. I'm feeling cranky as I've been down with a nasty cold/cough virus all week. I WANT TO GO WALKING. Even house cleaning is starting to sound attractive at this point. The only thing I managed to do before plopping back in to my chair is a trip to the rabbit house to feed & water....Thank you for a virtual walk, at least. Can't you visit a castle and take pictures of it? (whining piteously)

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    1. Sorry you haven't been feeling well Hilly. We don't have many castles in South Yorkshire. There used to be one in Sheffield - a very old one but centuries ago, when it fell into disuse, local people use it like a quarry and nearly all the stones were taken away. The best castle in South Yorkshire is at Conisbrough. See this post:-
      http://beefgravy.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/castle.html

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  10. One of the things about living in Scotland is that, by definition, the English Country Pub doesn't exist. I miss that but then by the time I left England as a young man the English Country Pub was fast disappearing. So it's good to see there are still a few alive and kicking.

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    1. Gradually they seem to be turning from independent, characterful hostelries into chain pub-restaurants. Further down the road in Morton I noticed that a big pub called "The Live and Let Live" is now closed forever. Where there was a tap room, there is now a hairdresser's salon.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.