15 April 2024


Roseberry Topping

Triangulation pillars, are columns made of cast concrete or cemented stone. They are typically four feet tall, with a large part of each pillar commonly buried below the earth's surface. They are also known as trig points.

There are more than 6500 of these pillars located throughout Great Britain - often in pretty inaccessible places. They were mostly erected in the 1930's and were vital to the process of accurate surveying. The iconic trig pillar was designed by Brigadier Martin Hotine in 1935.  Hotine designed them to assist with triangulation - separating our country into a network of triangles, allowing precise mapping of  the landscape.
Burbage Moor

In modern times, better surveying techniques have been developed - to such a point that the little pillars are now redundant. However, they still dot the country and appear in "Ordnance Survey" mapping. They are often a focus or indeed a diversion for walkers. People will frequently pause by them to lean and look around.

Bagging trig points is a passion for some country lovers and there are even websites devoted to this hobby. Every pillar has its own unique reference information usually shown on a metal flush bracket secured to the base of the trig point.
Birchen Edge

Over the years, I have visited dozens of triangulation pillars - not because I am a crazy trig point enthusiast but just because they happened to be on or close to my walking route. Some pillars sit in very prominent positions while others are hidden  away in hedgerows.

Accompanying this blogpost, I have picked five of my images of triangulation pillars to share with you.
Mam Tor

Stanage Edge

14 April 2024


Naturally, quizzes at "The Hammer and Pincers" have a British bias. That's because we are in Britain and the pub quizzers are all British. However, here in the blogosphere, quizzers come from all over the world though I must admit I have never had any visitors from Nyasaland - called Malawi since 1963.

Seeking fairness, I wanted to find a quiz theme that would not be biased towards any particular country. Suddenly, in a flash of celestial inspiration, I thought - I know - the human body! After all we have all got human bodies haven't we?

So here goes...

  1. How many chambers are there in the human heart?
  2. What is the medical, latinate term for the kneecap?
  3. Which sense organ allows us to smell?
  4. What is the name of the pipe that takes food from the mouth to the stomach?
  5. Where is your achilles tendon located?
  6. Which organ of the body secretes insulin?
  7. Where in the human body will you find a liquid called aqueous humour/humor?
  8. With reference to adult humans, if stretched out in a line, what is the average combined length of the large and small intestines?   (a) 5 feet  (b)20 feet   or (c)37feet
  9. Where in the human body will you find the  incus or anvil bone?
  10. What is the pollex commonly known as?
As usual, answers are given in the "Comments" section.

13 April 2024


The untitled still life above was created by David Hockney in the attic of his mother's old house in Bridlington, East Yorkshire. I believe it was made with the aid of an i-pad and probably produced during the first decade of this century. For a few years, Hockney loved to work in and around Bridlington. He enjoyed the peace and the fact that it was difficult for people to bother him there.

The picture below was created by L.S.Lowry in his own inimitable style.  It is simply called "Industrial Landscape (Ashton-under-Lyne" and was produced in 1952 before being purchased by the city of Bradford in 1957. Lowry was always drawn to images of life and industry in northern cities - most commonly to the twin cities that he knew best - Manchester and Salford. If put up for sale today, this picture would certainly fetch around £5,000,000. I would be very happy to have it on my wall.
The next picture was painted by George Clausen in 1908. The old man is focused on the present and the work he must endure but the young man is looking far off into the future. It is called "The Boy and the Man" and was very much of its time - wrestling between old certainties and new opportunities. The paint must have been applied in a fairly dry state which adds to the interesting texture of the canvas.
In a semi-circular apse near the front entrance to Cartwright Hall there is a powerful white marble statue which was commissioned by the city of Bradford to mark the end of World War One. Fashioned by Francis Derwent Wood (1871-1926), it is called "Humanity Overcoming War" and depicts a scene suggested to the artist by a line in The Book of Revelations that speaks of an angel binding Satan in chains.

The last piece of Bradford art is not to be found in Cartwright Hall but in a corner of Centenary Square. It was given to Bradford by the city of Hamm in Germany in memory of those who lost their lives in the terrible Bradord City fire disaster which occurred in May 1985. Fifty six football fans died that day and  265 were injured.  It happened at Valley Parade - the home stadium of Bradford City F.C..

12 April 2024


Light fitting seen from below in Cartwright Hall, Bradford

Shirley dropped me off at our railway station and I journeyed north to Leeds. There I climbed aboard the connecting train at Platform 11d and twenty minutes later I reached Bradford Interchange Station. Though it didn't rain today, there was very little of the sunshine and blue sky that the weather folk had predicted.

After loitering in the city centre for a while, I headed north to Manningham Lane which is a major route out of  Bradford - heading to illustrious satellite towns like Bingley and Shipley which are both associated with the mass murderer Peter Sutcliffe - usually known as The Yorkshire Ripper.

Manningham Lane was once a prosperous thoroughfare of grand stone mansions and solid businesses but in any city neighbourhoods can experience dramatic demographic and commercial change as decades pass by. In the 1960's the Manningham area began to attract waves of South Asian immigrants so that now white Bradfordians are very much in the minority there.

Local council elections are coming up in May

Along Manningham Lane there are Muslim takeaways, grocery stores, clothing and book stores and with it being a Friday, I saw many men and boys in their mosque clothes - garments that would not look out of place in Islamabad or Karachi.

Lister Park was partly given to the city by an industrial magnate called Samuel Cunliffe Lister. The park opened in 1875 and to this day it is well-maintained. In the heart of the park is Cartwright Hall which houses the city's premier art gallery.

Bronze stag in Lister Park

There were perhaps less paintings than I imagined there would be but even so some were of excellent quality. I especially liked the gallery that was devoted to Bradford-born David Hockney - an artist I have admired for many years. He is now 86 years old and by all accounts still producing his art like a man possessed.

Leaving the park, my  left heel was smarting once again so I curtailed my walkabout and caught a bus back into the city centre. There I sat on a bench in Centenary Square, reading a book in the shadow of Bradford's magnificent city hall before heading back to Leeds and thence to Sheffield. Mission accomplished.

Humble saree business on Manningham Lane

Bronze business plates in the city centre.
The third one underlines Bradford's important historical connections with the wool trade.

11 April 2024


There are eight cities in Yorkshire - more than in any other English county. They are, in alphabetical order, Bradford, Doncaster, Kingston-upon-Hull, Leeds, Ripon, Sheffield, Wakefield and York.

Naturally, I have been to all of these cities but the two I know best are Kingston-upon-Hull which is commonly called Hull and Sheffield where I am currently writing this blogpost. Hull was the city of my first eighteen years and I even went to school there for five years. It is the home of my beloved football team - Hull City. 

Sheffield is just my adopted city. Home to almost 600,000 people, I have lived here since 1978. I know it like the back of my hand.

Of all the Yorkshire cities, the one I know least is Bradford. I have been there just three times. Firstly, it was to play rugby against Bradford Grammar School. Another time it was to see Hull City playing Bradford City at Valley Parade and once it was to take a party of schoolchildren to visit what is now called the National Museum of Science and Media.

Bradford has a sizeable South Asian community - previously linked with labour in the woollen industry. Most of those people claim Islam as their religion. They make up 27% of the total population of greater Bradford which, like Sheffield, is nestled on the eastern edge of the Pennine hills.

Anyway, I am going to Bradford tomorrow morning. I will be heading up there by train and returning in the evening. My plan is to walk through the city centre and then two miles north to Lister Park where I hope to visit the city's main art gallery - Cartwright Hall.

It will be an adventure and one that I shall no doubt report upon when I get home. The weather looks set fair for tomorrow and I have printed off a map to guide me. I feel that I have been languishing within these four walls for far too long. Time to get out and see the world again... well Bradford anyway

10 April 2024


Every country in the world has its own flag. A flag is something that you can rally round or sometimes burn. In Great Britain, our flag - The Union Jack - is not displayed as widely as The Stars and Stripes are displayed in The United States. Over there, you will find flags aplenty. Many homes even have their own flagpoles where residents like Bruce and Judy in Arizona and Bob and Carlos in South Carolina, assemble each morning to pledge allegiance to their flag.

A nice thing about The Stars and Stripes and The Union Jack is that they are both very distinctive flags. Everybody can recognise them. However, this is certainly not the case with all national flags. Playing "Worldle" most days, I often struggle with some of the flags of West Africa . Colours and designs can seem so similar that its hard to differentiate. 

Look below. Do you see what I mean? :-

The eagle-eyed among you might point out that Ethiopia is not located in West Africa but it seems that  the green, yellow and red symbolise Pan-Africanism and that idea was first nurtured in Ethiopia with the other former colonial states aspiring to be part of that Pan-African movement - separate yet joined together.

Those flags do not help quizzers at all. I prefer distinctive flags - another of these is the flag of Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean. Formerly known as The Gilbert Islands, Kiribati became independent from Great Britain in 1979. Consisting of thirty three inhabited islands and with a total population of 126,000, Kiribati's flag shows a fierce sun rising above ocean waves in a red sky with a frigate bird flying by. Now that's my kind of flag:-


Next week's quiz will be on the human body.
I suggest you do some revision or get to
know your own body a little better!

9 April 2024


You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda 
been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it.

Earlier today, I checked to see what was on at The Showroom cinema. It was a nice surprise to see that at 3.30 there would be a screening of "On The Waterfront" (1954). Over the years, I may have seen snatches of this iconic film but I am sure I had never previously watched it from beginning to end and certainly not from a cinema seat.

"On The Waterfront" first came out  seventy years ago to rave reviews. It won oscars aplenty - including "Best Film", "Best Director" and "Best Supporting Actress" for  Eva Marie Saint.  Marlon Brando's masterful performance earned him the "Best Actor" award.

Film techniques have come a long way in these past seven decades but sitting in the darkness of The Showroom, I was still enthralled by the story that unfolded on the screen. Set in New York and focusing on what we in Britain call dockers, the film explores shady practices amongst the longshoremen.  Union leaders control the labour scene and men are advised to be "d & d"  - deaf and dumb, even keeping schtum about questionable deaths.

Supported by Edie Doyle (Eva Marie Saint) and Father Pete Barry (Karl Malden), Terry Malloy (Brando) manages to find the courage to fight back against the thuggish, controlling union bosses  and to lead New York's longshoremen towards a happier, less fearful future.

The imaginative musical score was entirely by Leonard Bernstein and it added greatly to the overall atmosphere of "On The Waterfront".

If more great films from the past were screened at The Showroom, I would love to go and see them - including "Rebel Without A Cause", "Citizen Kane" and "Gone With The Wind". Watching them on television sets could never be the same.

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