18 February 2017

Forlorn

Today we met up with Shirley's sister and her boyfriend. They have been seeing each other for a good few months now. The only trouble is that he lives in The Channel Islands while she lives in a village near Selby, Yorkshire. We met in Thorne and enjoyed a pleasant lunch together in "The Punchbowl Inn". He seemed like a pleasant fellow and it is great that Shirley's sister has found him. Her husband died in 2011 so it has been quite a long time since she had a man in her life.

Afterwards, Shirley and I drove to the nearby settlement of Moorends. I had an idea that we might stroll to The Humberhead Peatlands Nature Reserve but it was a bit far. We passed the site of Thorne Colliery where there is now a solar farm. I find that rather ironic.

I am sure that there are many decent and happy people in Moorends but the place itself seems desolate and unloved. The houses were nearly all built by the local council or The National Coal Board. There's a dearth of trees but  plenty of litter, broken concrete and dog faeces. Two laughing yobs careered past us in the street on exhaust belching go-karts that were probably acquired illegally. On the main street there are basic shops and takeaways - the stuff of survival, not aspiration. This is the "other" England - forgotten, neglected. Just east of Doncaster, on the wrong side of the railway track.

Where Grange Road meets Northgate, a forlorn pony was tethered to a stake on rough wasteground. I wanted to release him and lead him off into the sunset and freedom but I guess he has an important role to play as the living symbol of Moorends. Poor thing. He looked at me through his unkempt fringe as if to say "What kind of life is this?"

31 comments:

  1. So you have some good news and some bad news. It's difficult for seniors to find somebody new. Sadly there are depressed areas.

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    1. I can't think of any place I have been in the north of England that feels quite as sad as Moorends. Even its name is depressing.

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  2. It is sad to see places like that. I hope that pony isn't tethered all the time. Now I shall go cry.

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    1. You would have cried more if he had been a donkey Jenny.

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    2. No, I wouldn't!

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  3. I hope that is a bucket of water near him. Poor thing. Call the RSPCA.( though at least he isn't skinny !)

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    1. The pony looked sad. Perhaps it is owned by local gypsies. They often have such horses - perhaps as a link back to the old days when they travelled by horse-drawn caravans. In some respects these people live outside the law.

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    2. Your statement above is both racist and ill informed.

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    3. Why? There are two large winter gypsy/traveller encampments within close proximity of Moorends. There are similar ponies tethered there.

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    4. You accuse me of being racist and ill-informed. I accuse you of armchair judgmentalism.

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  4. What are yobs (besides boys spelled backwards, sort of)?

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    1. Yobs are big-headed ne'r do wells who disturb their neighbours, shout and swear and espouse the everyday manners that most of us exhibit.

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  5. I find the idea of a former colliery being replaced by a solar farm very amusing.

    And that pony! I shudder to think about the life it might lead.

    Alphie

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    1. But the energy the solar farm produces is nothing more than a droplet compared with the fossil fuel energy that the old coal mine brought up from the earth each day.

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  6. Bloody hell, that second one was one grim picture of how bad some places can descend in to.

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    1. As they say, it can be Grim Up North Derek. There are very few cars parked up in the streets of Moorends. Most people could not afford to buy or run a car.

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  7. It is pretty grim - England at it's most depressing. But if you look closely at the second picture - most of the houses seem to have PVC windows and there's a sizeable conservatory tacked on behind at least one of them ! Doesn't make for a paradise, I know, but it's probably better than some of the high rise states.
    A friend of my father's was an Architect, and used to say that these days it's people who make the places into slums, not the other way round. Some people will wreck anything.

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    1. Well-observed CG. I rather think there's some truth in what your father said but sometimes a place can be taken over by a communal mood born of poverty and that's how Moorends feels to me. Very few cars parked in the streets because so many homes are carless... and really they live miles from anywhere.

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  8. Autocorrect is having its say ! Should that be UPVC? And that's high rise estates !

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    1. By the way I am sure that the UPVC windows and newly tiled roofs will have been added at the expense of Doncaster Council.

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    2. Good that the council have done something to ease the misery. I wonder if they once planted trees to soften the landscape? They don't last long - one of the best forms of fun around used to be uprooting newly planted trees.

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  9. There are housing estates like that in most UK towns - even in prosperous areas like Bath and Salisbury. Maybe not as remote as Moorends but still with an air of desolation. Poor pony.

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    1. I agree that there's poverty round most corners but in my travels and walks through England I cannot think of a more desolate place as Moorends.

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  10. Sadly, it's easy for others to judge others and their surrounds from exterior appearances, whether of the folk themselves and/or where they live.

    As you say...most probably the people are a decent, law-abiding and happy lot, dealing with what they have, the best way they can. Perhaps, they are the fortunate ones who, in the words of Monty Python, look on the bright side of life.

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    1. From my experience, people who live in poverty tend to build tighter communities, supporting one another and displaying kindness - far more so than in wealthy suburbs or villages. They look out for each other.

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    2. There seems to be a lack of communal pride in Moorends, but unless you live in a community you can have no real sense of what it's like.
      Sadly, as Sue says, there are many such areas in the rest of the UK - victims of prosperity passing them by. I feel sorry for them, and wonder what their future will be post Brexit?
      Looking out for one another seems to be a good Northern trait, it's not necessarily so in other parts of the country.

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    3. I would love to live in Moorends for a week or two but of course there are no hotel rooms or B&Bs. I think a documentary crew could produce a fascinating portrait of the place - either with sympathy or cynical condemnation. I woul prefer the sympathy route myself.

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  11. you could have toddled down the road to Stainforth...i always find that its the model for Grim Up North

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    1. I have been to Stainforth. It's deprived but like a Disney theme park next to Moorends.

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  12. Oh, the poor pony! I think someone should notify the RSPCA. It does not look undernourished at first glance, but it certainly does not look like a happy, healthy pony.

    What I have trouble with understanding about poverty is that people do not look better after what little they have. Even a "drab" housing estate can look nice, if front gardens and the pavement are kept clean, and rubbish is dealt with properly instead of chucking it about.

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    1. Sometimes in poor areas you will find brand new bus shelters or children's playgrounds vandalised. Like you I cannot understand the psychology behind such acts which push the community bckwards.

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