18 December 2017

Blackwell

Cob horse near Blackwell
Another bright weather forecast so a walk was in order. Sometimes it's nice to walk in more neglected areas where most Peak District or Yorkshire Dales weekend ramblers would never venture.

I headed south down the M1 to Junction 28. Instead of continuing on the A38 towards Derby I instead headed through the former coal mining village of South Normanton to Blackwell which also once had a colliery. Research brought this up - "Around 1900, a coke oven and a coke by-product plant were built next to Blackwell Colliery producing tar, coke and various chemicals. 'The fumes and smoke from the plant were horrendous, destroying hedgerows, grass and crops in the vicinity. It was impossible to have doors open or windows open when the wind blew the fumes in the direction of the houses."
Blast testing bunker
Nowadays the pits have gone and the local communities have had to evolve. There are new housing estates and the old waste heaps have been levelled or grassed over. On my circular route I also passed a massive fenced compound that contained odd grassy mounds with flat tops. Later I discovered that the compound is owned by an explosives company and the mounds are used for testing their deadly wares. 
My walk took me back through South Normanton where I encountered a grizzled man with walking sticks. He had a khaki rucksack on his back and out of this two rolls of Christmas wrapping paper protruded. He had an angry, combative disposition and his breath smelt unpleasantly of stale alcohol. He showed me a small statue of a dog that a local welder had created just for fun. When my new friend sniggered that he was going home to masturbate I knew it was time to march onwards and I left him in my wake.
St Michael and All Angels Church, South Normanton
I bought a tuna and cucumber sandwich and a pint of milk from the "Nisa" shop where I had to listen to a shop assistant called Jane weighing up the merits of different brands of red wine they had on their shelves. Soon I  was consuming  my humble lunch sitting on an old gravestone slab in St Michael and All Angels churchyard.

Then onwards to the oddly named St.Werburgh's Church in Old Blackwell then back along the road that leads to New Blackwell where three hours earlier I had parked my car close to the flattened site of the old coal mine.
St Werburgh's  Church and a
mysterious snowball

23 comments:

  1. A long walk, a mechanical dog (well, sort of mechanical) and a pony with a thick winter coat and muddy legs. All in all a good walk.
    Alphie

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    1. Glad to have taken you there Alphie and sorry if your designer walking boots got muddy.

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  2. Maybe that is a comet on the grass in the last picture :)

    I do like the dog, although it seems a bit tainted now by the description of the man who showed it to you!

    Imagine the health consequences for the people who lived near the coke ovens . . . even if they did shut their windows to avoid the worst of it . . .

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    1. I am sure that many local people died prematurely. And thanks for pointing out that the mucky white ball in the corner of that field might have been a comet.

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  3. That doesn't sound like a very pleasant walk. The nasty drunk, the coal mines....hell, even the horse in the first photo looks dispirited.

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    1. Not the most scenic walk but still energising and interesting.

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  4. It sounds and looks like a lovely walk.

    It's far too steamy here at present to walk very far - in my case hobble very far...me and my trusty walking stick!

    So rather than become all sweaty and feeling like you-know-what I'm in hiding.

    I'm cranky enough as it is without adding to my woes. My landline phone hasn't been working since yesterday. Hopefully, the problem will be fixed during tomorrow sometime - along with that and a couple of other irritations, about which I won't go into detail here and now - enough is enough already, I'm best kept away from the outer world, and those in it! If you get my drift!! :)

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    1. I hope you get your landline fixed so that you can gossip with old friends to your heart's content. Also you will be missing scam phone calls!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. My phone is not yet fixed, Yorkie. It is supposed to be fixed today, Wednesday...and I'm hoping this will occur.

      I'm not one who is always on the phone. I don't use the phone often, at all, if the truth be known. I'm not fond of them, and often don't answer when it rings. They're an invasion of one's privacy, quiet moments, but in saying that...I prefer to have it working, than not working!

      Having it not working is very annoying.

      I'm not one who loves talking on the phone for hours at a time. I don't gossip - gossip doesn't interest me, one way or the other.

      As for scam calls - they get extremely short shift from me, and promptly, descriptively told where to go! :)

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    4. Where do you tell them to go? Perhaps to Kiwirrkurra - the most remote settlement in Australia. I hope your phone is now fixed.

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  5. The weather was really good that day, but it looks cold, so I am glad the horse seems to have a rather thick coat.
    What an unpleasant fellow. I wonder why he bothered buying Christmas wrapping paper, he does not come across as particularly Christmassy in his attitude.
    Were both churches closed, or did you not try to look inside?
    Poor people who worked and lived at the coke plant. I imagine they did not last very long in that line of work.

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    1. Unfortunately both of these churches were locked but I had the impression that they are both cared for and probably have loyal if small congregations. The worst thing about this walk was that a couple of the downhill paths were muddy and slippery. Having suffered from a bad knee there's no way I want to fall.

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  6. The romantic part of me thought you'd met Santa Claus, but on further reading...!
    I have never seen a cob horse in real life before.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. There were plenty of cob horses in that area - a remnant of coal mining I suspect for cob horses were used extensively in and on top of the pits. I doubt that Santa Claus goes back to Lapland with the same intention as the grizzled fellow I met. I hope not anyway.

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  7. Nothing wrong with what the old guy was going home to do but strange that he found it necessary to tell you about it. A pint of milk! what's wrong with a nice pint of ale and a sarnie. Good set of photos again.

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    1. Regarding my humble lunch - it's about timing. Grab the sandwich and milk - swill 'em down and move on. Besides I never drink beer in the daytime.

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  8. Thank goodness for modern environmental regulations!

    Love the dog statue. You meet the darndest people on your walks -- your deadpan recounting of those conversations had me laughing out loud.

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    1. Hello Steve! I posted the last picture with caption specially for you!

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    2. Ha! Well, they ARE mysterious!

      And by the way, I notice you neatly mimicked my comment back to me on my blog today. Too clever for your own good, YP!

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