24 September 2021


While I remember, let me recall Tuesday of this week. It was a very nice day but the next day promised to be even better so I planned my main walk of the week for Wednesday. On Tuesday, I stayed within the city and tramped over to Weston Park Museum before heading back to Ecclesall Road via The Botanical Gardens.

Weston Park Museum tells Sheffield's story very well. In addition to the permanent exhibits there are occasional temporary exhibitions and currently the museum is hosting  a couple of photographic shows. To be frank I found them a little  disappointing in their predictability. It's nice to be enthralled and surprised and I didn't get that. However, here's two of the best pictures I spotted. 

The first one reminds onlookers of Sheffield's proud steel making  heritage and the second one reminds visitors of how the city centre was rebuilt after the devastation of World War II. Officially called Castle Square but informally known  as "The Hole in the Road", the roundabout's lid concealed an underground world of shops and subways. benches, flower beds and an aquarium. It was the true heart of the city. Sadly it is no more. I once wrote a song about its passing:-

Look what they've done to The Hole in the Road
Look what they've done to this town
We used to meet on one of those seats
Down in The Hole in the Road

A few hundred yards from The Botanical Gardens I met a thin man of Pakistani origin. He was around my age and though he had lived in Sheffield for quarter of a century he had never  been to The Botanical Gardens before. He was hoping to bring his family there.

I guided him along Clarkehouse Road and led him into the gardens. He was a pleasant, gentle man and he told me something of his early life  - growing up in  the city of Lahore in a Christian family. He told me that as the years passed he and his family had faced growing intolerance from Islamic fundamentalists till  they made the agonising decision to leave and make their way to England. He said he had always felt safe here.

We saw two of "The Bears of Sheffield" modelled on  a steel bear that stands in the park's Victorian bear pit. These bears are all over the city just now - brightening urban locations as well as raising money for The Children's Hospital. The Pakistani man said that the park reminded him of The Shalimar Gardens in Lahore. We shook hands when we parted on Ecclesall Road and I advised him which bus to catch.
The same bear as the one at the top

23 September 2021


Rotting hulk of a lorry on Welldale Farm - probably a Leyland Hippo

I didn't get round to blogposting yesterday. Sorry about that. Clint and I were out of the house by nine fifteen. Soon we were travelling down the M1 Motorway bound for Junction 24 which I somehow managed to overshoot. Never mind - after a little delay we reached our destination.

My plan was to walk in what I call "virgin territory" - somewhere I had never walked before  and that is what brought me to the village of Gotham a few miles south of the city of Nottingham. I parked Clint in a shady place between St Lawrence's Church and "The Sun Inn", close to the old village water pump.

"Ouch!" yelled Clint as I slammed his tailgate.

Cottage sold recently in Bunny

The circular walk was all on the flat apart from a short slog up to the village of Bradmore. The weather was gorgeous for late September. I was walking across rich agricultural land after harvesttime. Farmers were out harrowing the fields and I noticed that the soil thereabouts was almost as black as coal.

Bradmore's medieval church is curious because it was badly damaged by fire in 1705. Only the tower and steeple remained and many years later the villagers attached parish rooms to this surviving structure. As far as I can determine, the church doesn't even have a saint's name.

The tower and steeple of Bradmore Church with Steeple Cottage in front

Can you believe it? There's a village in England called Bunny. I kid you not. Bunny! I know because I was there yesterday. It's a mile south of Bradmore. Because my time was limited , I didn't get  to visit Bunny Hall. Presumably Daddy Bunny and Mummy Bunny live there with their  little bunny children - hundreds of them -  all waiting for Easter. I wonder how they spend their time.

Between Gotham and Bradmore

And then I turned back to the west - my bootsteps taking me ever closer to Gotham which is the source of a story and a nursery rhyme that both allude to "Three Wise Men of Gotham"...

21 September 2021


I must admit that when it comes to science, I am a bit thick. As thick as two short planks as we say here in Yorkshire. I am to science what Atilla the Hun was to embroidery. Frigging useless.

Therefore would you please forgive me as I pose this conundrum. It is something that has been in the back of my mind for a long while.

Okay, here we go.

On this planet we have trees and fields. Every year the trees bear masses of leaves, fruit, nuts and seeds. The fields sprout corn, potatoes, turnips, rice and plenty of other stuff.. That's a lot of volume wouldn't you agree? If these products  of the earth were all piled up together we could make massive mountains every year.. Then the next year there'd be more mountains till the planet would be covered with such piles.

Effectively, the planet would be growing - expanding every year - as long as we didn't eat the stuff or burn it. And we would have to protect it from natural rotting processes.

The wheat and the apples and the courgettes (American: zucchini)  grow where once there was nothing - creating  an extra volume of matter. 

It's all very puzzling. I just don't get it... but as I say with regard to science I am a dunce in a pointy hat.

P.S. I hope the trees and the fields continue to produce in the bountiful manner described because climate change has already begun to curtail this timeless process.

20 September 2021


Beverley Minster still rising high above the houses

Clint was deposited at the "Park and Ride" car park  at Hessle west of Hull. I rode on a double decker bus to the stadium and headed to a little Polish cafe on Anlaby Road. We have met up there countless times before.  It was a lovely, sunny morning so we bagged one of the picnic tables in the small enclosed garden at the back. "We" meant me and Tony and Karl. 

We had what the young Polish café proprietors call British breakfasts as opposed to the Polish breakfasts that are also on the menu. We drank mugs of tea.

The game began promisingly for The Tigers but well, one thing led to another and we ended up losing the match by three goals to one. It might have been so different if  fortune had been on our side. The result cast a shadow over the weekend. It's crazy I know but a victory always puts a smile on my face  and the world seems like a much better place for a day or two. It is the opposite of that when we lose.

Back in the town of Beverley six miles north of Hull, Tony and I went walking. First we headed to the  allotment that he and his wife Pauline have been working on for the past eighteen months. We sat in the afternoon sunshine drinking tea from a flask after picking the last of the raspberries.

Allotment gardens  looking to Beverley Minster's twin towers

Then we walked along Beverley Beck to the point where it meets The River Hull. Beverley Beck is really a short canal. It was dug in medieval times and along it the limestone for Beverley Minster's construction was brought in barges. Beverley Minster is a truly magnificent church built between 1220 and 1425 and it still stands in testimony to the town's medieval importance.

At the end of  Beverley Beck there is a small marina and in there - I kid you not - there's a silver submarine. It has been there for years. If the skipper shouts "Down! Down!" the submarine won't be going far - perhaps no more than five feet!

Submarine at the end of Beverley Beck

Pauline was heading out to Hull for a little soiree with some of her nursing colleagues so Tony and I visited one of the best pubs in the world. It's real name is "The White Horse" but everyone around Beverley knows it as Nellie's. I first had a beer in there over fifty years ago. It hasn't changed much though on Saturday night I noticed that it was not heaving with customers. It still retains its authentic Victorian appearance.

Then we went on for a delicious late curry at "The Windmill Inn"  before heading back to Tony's house for "Match of the Day" on the television.

Statue that remembers medieval carriers in Beverley

In the morning, Tony made a slap up breakfast as our endless conversation continued. Then I whipped Clint's silver buttocks, galloping back west to Sheffield. However, before leaving the East Riding of Yorkshire, that land of my heart, I made an interesting diversion - to a vineyard! It was the Little Wold vineyard near South Cave on the edge of the chalky Yorkshire Wolds. There I bought a bottle of  the Barley Hill White (2020). Shirley and I have drunk it  before and it's excellent. Mind you it needs to be at £15 a bottle.

Apart from what happened on the football pitch, this was a great weekend. It was nice to  be back in the very town where I went to school between the ages of sixteen and eighteen - Beverley Grammar School, on the edge of The Westwood. Like coming home.

Signs spotted on an old house in Beverley

18 September 2021


It's 8.45 on Saturday morning and the sun is shining. Clint is outside gleaming like a silver rocket ship, ready for take off. We are going over to the city of Hull in an hour. I'm off to see our match with Sheffield United. Kick off is at 12.30pm - an unusual time, no doubt chosen for the benefit of Sky Sports. Don't you just hate Rupert Murdoch?

As requested by The Office for National Statistics I have already completed  a swab test and a PCR blood test this morning. It's something we do every month as part of an ongoing national survey.

I will be staying over in Beverley tonight with my friend Tony and his missus Pauline. He's also a Hull City nut and we have watched countless matches together. Seen plenty of downs and a handful of ups such as reaching the promised land of The Premier League back in  2008.

Blogging will be problematic so to accompany this short post I am just leaving you with three pictures of Phoebe from my daughter's Instagram account. The beloved granddaughter was eight months old this week. She's  ⅔ of a year old. Now I must go and shower the vessel in which I dwell. Up The Tigers!

16 September 2021


Cyclists on The Old Coach Road, Clumber Park

It was time for another walk. I pressed the buttons on Clint's onboard computer and he whisked me off in  an  easterly direction along the A57 to Worksop in Nottinghamshire. There he parked himself along a quiet lane close to Manton Lodge. We were on the northern edge of Clumber  Park - once the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle.

Today I just wanted to walk in Geograph squares that I had not yet ticked off. There were many, many  trees but with the assistance of a map I made my way happily in a sausage-shaped circuit of some six  miles.

On one narrow lane I met two council workers in day-glo jerkins. I conversed with them for a while. Their role is to clear up litter and something awful that we in Britain call "fly-tipping". I do not know what this is called in America, Canada, Australia, Germany or New Zealand. Essentially, fly-tipping is the dumping of rubbish in the countryside. Often it's simply the detritus from building projects - broken tiles, old lumps of mortar or half-empty bags of cement, random bits of wood, plastic bags and suchlike. The thing is that someone has to clean this crap up  - people like the two men I met.

As we parted, I said  "Keep up the good work gentlemen!"

Happy as a pig in muck

Flytippers are the lowest of the low in my opinion. They do not give a toss about the environment that we all have to share and apparently they have zero concern about the fact that their mindless dumping causes local councils extra and very unnecessary expense.

Ah well, it's nice to blow off a little steam.

Clint transported me back to Sheffield  with little persuasion. Beforehand, we pulled into a McDonalds where I was hoping to purchase one of their brand new plantburgers but apparently they have not reached Worksop yet.

15 September 2021


The Old Grammar School in Market Harborough

Last week, when we were holidaying in Leicestershire and Rutland, I snapped almost two hundred photographs. I shared a handful of those images with you - illustrating blogposts. Today, I simply wish to share some more previously unseen pictures from that lovely week away. We could have easily chosen this week but I am glad that we didn't because it's rather grey and chilly and we have seen some rain  in the past three days. It's hard to believe that just a week ago we were applying sun lotion.

Strangely weathered gravestone at Tilton-on-the-Hill

Ceremonial horseshoes in the Castle Hall, Oakham

Modern stained glass window in Melton Mowbray church

Another view of Normanton Church, Rutland Water

Passer-by in Oakham

Most Visits