31 July 2020


Fishermen on Wharncliffe Reservoir on Sunday
It is the very early morning of a wonderful summer's day. July waited till the very end of her spell on the stage to share her best beaming smile. From dawn till dusk. Summer sweeping up from The Mediterranean.

Lord knows why I woke up at 4am. It's annoying because, just for a change, I plan to go off walking today. I am going to drive west - beyond Buxton again - to a remote and tiny settlement called Macclesfield Forest. Before that happens I will need more sleep.
The oddly named Chemistry Lane above Wharncliffe Crags on Sunday
I have a mug of tea and two ginger biscuits - my usual companions in the early hours when sleep has capriciously lifted her blinds. Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often. Sleep and I normally get along just fine.
Lone sheep above Deepcar and Stocksbridge last Sunday
This blogpost is hopefully a vehicle for finding may way back into sleep's kind embrace.

Rather than overtaxing my brain, all I have for you this very early morning is a small bunch of my most recent images. If I don't do this now, they will slip away into history for I anticipate there will be a whole lot more pictures from my ramble out of Macclesfield Forest.
The nave of Goxhill Church -  Grade I listed
Brick ruin by The Humber (dedicated to Meike) - connected with former clay workings
Ferry Road, Goxhill -  walking to Goxhill Haven

30 July 2020


Fussiness? In particular, I am thinking about food. Many people are fussy eaters. Perhaps you are one yourself.

When our children were young, they would often  bring friends home -  and frequently a meal would be served. It never ceased to amaze me how picky some of these children would be. "I don't like potatoes", "I don't like salad", "I don't like water", "I don't like spaghetti bolognese", and so on. Clearly, these children's eating preferences  had been pandered to with parents listening overmuch to small children's declared likes and dislikes. That is what I thought anyway.

Shirley and I were more of the "Shut up and eat what you are given" brigade. Our kids ate the same meals that we ate and the possibility of complaint or rejection was just not on the agenda.

Until he turned to veganism five years ago, our son Ian would eat and enjoy everything. I cannot think of a single food item he would turn his nose up at. On the other hand, our daughter stopped liking mushrooms somewhere along the line. I cannot pinpoint the moment when this dislike for mushrooms began. Perhaps she learnt it at someone else's house when she was little. 

Shirley can be a bit funny about food. For example, on the rare occasions we order Chinese takeaways I know that I cannot order any other meat dishes apart from chicken - so it's always chicken chop suey, chicken chow mein, chicken foo yung, sweet and sour chicken. Pork and beef are definitely off the menu.

Over the years, I notice that I have developed my own kind of fussiness when it comes to food. I will happily eat anything - a complete omnivore but I have an issue with the presentation of food. Quite simply, I like plates of food to look nice.

Even if I am preparing a sandwich or baked beans on toast, I will make it look nice. A full Sunday dinner  means that each item must be arranged carefully with a degree of visual separation. Not for me the sloppy habit of  just chucking everything together in a carefree manner. In my opinion. the experience of pleasurable eating is about all the senses - including sight.

How about you and your family? Are there common food items you just cannot stand? Or are you, like me, fussy about food in other ways?

28 July 2020


Path  on the south bank of The Humber
I know that this will come as a huge surprise to regular visitors but I have been out walking again.

This morning, just after ten thirty, I met up with my friend Tony near All Saints Church in Goxhill, North Lincolnshire. Clint is quite fond of Tony's car - a shapely Ford Focus called Nelly. She's a few years older than Clint. He normally goes for younger models.

"Don't get up to any funny stuff!" I warned Clint before setting off.

Peacefully located, south of The River Humber, Goxhill is a large, sprawling village that was once home to an American airbase. The land is as flat as a pancake, traversed by farm lanes and field drains. We walked two miles to Goxhill Haven and looked across the great river of my childhood to the city of my childhood - Kingston-upon-Hull. I had never seen it from such a viewpoint before. Down river was the mighty Humber Bridge - once the longest suspension bridge in the world.
The Deep & Holy Trinity Chutrch, Hull - zoom shot across the river
We walked upon the flood defences for three miles, down past Skitter Ness, all the way to East Halton Skitter and then inland to East Halton. We didn't pass one walker until we were through east Halton heading for Littleworth Farm - an old woman with a walking stick and an old dog.

Walking with Tony is good. We walk at the same pace. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we don't. And he is patient about my persistent photo taking. I have known him so long and it's wonderful to have a friend like him. Someone with whom I feel entirely comfortable. No point scoring. No bombast. Just two blokes moving happily across the landscape.

Back at Grade I listed All Saints Church, four hours after setting off,  we sat on a bench in the porch and ate the sandwiches he had prepared using wholemeal bread he had baked. We washed it down with flasks of water. Tony's "fit-bit" device indicated that we had walked twelve miles.

We said goodbye and now we are both thinking about where our next walk will be. Goxhill is an hour and fifteen minutes  east of Sheffield. Maybe there will be a hill or two next time!
At East Halton Skitter

27 July 2020


Common Hogweed (I believe)
I love words. I love the sound of them and where they came from. I love the way that you can use them like steel nails that drive messages home or tenderly, lightly - like goose feathers.

If you are receptive to language, you never stop learning about words. 

In the past few days I have learnt two new words. The first one is "umbelliferous". Say it again: um-be-llif- er-ous. Yes, umbelliferous. It is normally used to refer to plants that have an umbrella-like head - such as cow parsley, hemlock or common hogweed (see above). I suppose you could also say that most palm trees are umbelliferous. It is a lovely sounding word - regardless of what it means.

Roughout of a quernstone at Wharncliffe.
There are hundreds there - above the crags.
Another word I learnt arrived in my brain just yesterday when I was reading an archaeological survey report from 1999 called "Quern manufacturing at Wharncliffe Rocks, Sheffield". The word in question is "roughout" and it describes a roughly shaped piece of material - in this case hard sandstone - that.awaits finishing. Over hundreds of years, thousands of "roughouts" of querns were created at Wharncliffe before being finished - often elsewhere.

Querns were an early kind of grindstone for crushing cereal grains. The stone at Wharncliffe was perfect for the job - whereas in many other regions of northern England the underlying rock was unsuitable. For instance, you cannot grind corn with chalk, limestone or boulder clay. Consequently, quern "roughouts"  from Wharncliffe were transported widely.

Have you come across any appealing new words recently?

26 July 2020


"Good morning. This is the Yorkshire Pudding COVID 19 update with me your genial host Yorkshire Pudding...

At six o'clock yesterday evening,  Her Majesty's Government announced that travellers returning to Britain from Spain would have to go into a fourteen day quarantine. This affects anyone coming back since midnight last night. Failure to comply with the quarantine ruling may result in fines or possible imprisonment.

This regulation comes on the back of rising infection rates in several areas of Spain - including Catalonia. This growing problem has not affected The Canaries or the Balearic Islands but even so these popular holiday destinations are included in the blanket ruling for Spain. 

Among those affected by the quarantine instruction will be my own son - Ian - whose week long holiday on the island of Ibiza will end today. It will be interesting to learn what sort of official quarantine advice he receives at London Stansted Airport before speeding by express train to central London.

On an entirely separate note, the government have instructed citizens to wear masks when visiting shops. This rule came in just two days ago - four months into our new COVID lives. How come it took four months for the penny to drop? It's another of those strange contradictions that seems to have characterised the fractured  response of Johnson's flailing administration.

I was in "Lidl" on Friday night. There were only half a dozen other shoppers in there. Two of them were burly young men and both were unmasked. They emptied their baskets onto the checkout conveyor belt without being challenged, paid for their goods and walked out.

I noticed that there was no signage at the entrance - advising shoppers to wear masks and no shop workers offering masks to those without them. I  felt like challenging the two young men but I am not as young as I used to be and I did not wish to have my nose biffed by arrogant twerps who think that the rules should not apply to them. Ideally, "Lidl" would be saying - no mask so no transaction mate! Now take a hike!

Needless to say, I was wearing a stylish bespoke mask in blue, tailored by my loving wife. She has produced over two hundred masks on her sewing machine - raising hundreds of pounds for St Luke's Hospice in southern Sheffielld. 

And that's all from us here  in the YPTV studio. We'll be back at midday. Bye for now."

25 July 2020


Taddington is a village in the limestone country between Bakewell and Buxton. Historically, it developed in a ribbon-like, linear manner, clinging to the old A6 road but as road traffic on that major artery  increased, the village won itself a bypass. This was completed soon after the second world war. A beneficial consequence is that the village is now a safe, sleepy backwater.

I parked Clint in Taddington yesterday and soon found myself hoofing up to Sough Top where I discovered the old triangulation pillar I had seen marked on my map. It was half-hidden in a barley field. See the picture at the top.

On to Fivewells Farm. Close by there are the remains of a Neolithic chambered burial cairn. It must have been quite something in its time. I only found out about it when I got home but I will certainly visit it before too long.
On quiet upland lanes untroubled by motor vehicles I plodded on to the village of Flagg. The lanesides were alive with butterflies, bees and different types of wild cornflower - blue against the landscape with a hint of purple.

Through Flagg and up to Nether Wheal where a grumpy man was welding something in a shed. You could tell he resented walkers taking the public footpath through his property but like all landowners he is powerless to challenge public rights of way. It's a precious freedom for ramblers nailed down by the laws of the land, It is a right that I cherish like treasure.
On to Over Wheal passing hummocky ground that speaks of ancient lead mine workings then along grassy Bare Jarnett Road all the way to Taddington Mere - once an important watering hole for beasts of burden.

And so back down to Taddington. I crept up behind Clint. Happily, he was unaware of my stealthy  approach. He was singing an old song he must have heard on the radio. It's by Gary Numan:-
Here in my car
I feel safest of all 
I can lock all my doors
It's the only way to live
In cars.
And then at the top of my voice I yelled "BOO!"
Inquisitive ass in Flagg

24 July 2020


Magpies visit our lawn. They are characterful birds - intelligent, argumentative and always on the lookout for feeding opportunities. They were revered by some Native American tribes and indeed in some Chinese cultures too. As an aside, I hope that the terms "tribes" and "cultures" are not classed as rampantly racist these days. You never know.

When I pulled back the curtains yesterday morning, I noticed three magpie feathers by our sheep - Beau and Peep. Later, I collected them. On one side the feathers appear black as shown in the top picture but on the other side the feathers appear iridescent in certain lights - like petroleum in a puddle.

One scientific observer said this of magpie feathers:-

One's first view of a magpie is that of a black-and-white bird (a member of the crow family). But when a magpie feather lay on a trail I frequently walk, and the angle between the Sun and the feather with my eyeline was just right, I observed a multi-coloured rainbow. These iridescent colours are caused by the diffraction of sunlight by the barbules at the tips of the bird's feather, which contain tiny platelets. The platelets interfere with the light rays to produce the metallic colouration. Because these platelets are likely all close in size, the colours that result are particularly bright.

Well, I tried my best to capture that iridescence in the second two pictures but what I would really like to know is this: Why has natural evolution through countless millennia given magpies beautiful tail feathers like these?  We can admire the iridescence but what is its purpose? Perhaps someone out there knows or can at least offer a theory.

23 July 2020


Martin Offiah
Oh a-blogging we will go
In sun and rain and snow
We'll hammer down the blogposts
Then watch our weblogs grow.

In olden days, many jobs had associated work songs. Sailors on ships had accompanying ditties that assisted with the hauling in of ropes or the raising of sails:-
Pull for the shore sailor, pull for the shore.
Heed not the rolling waves, but bend to the oar, 
Safe in the lifeboat sailor, cling to self no more, 
Leave the poor stranded wreck and pull for the shore.

There were songs that agricultural workers sang as they laboured in the fields:-
Twas early one morning at the break of the day
The cocks were all crowing and the farmer did say,
'Come rise my good fellows, come rise with good-will.
Your horses want something their bellies to fill'

There were also songs that coal miners sang as they worked down the pit or made their way there:
Me Father always used to say
Pit work's more than hewing
You've got to coax the coal along 
And not be riving and chewing

Frequently, the work songs echoed the rhythms of the work involved and this was never more true than in the songs that emerged from the enslavement years in America. One of the more famous songs was the spiritual anthem "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" written in fact by a freedman of the Choktaw nation.

Now back in the nineteen eighties and into the nineties, the England rugby league team had a brilliant wingman called Martin Offiah. He is of African heritage and his surname is pronounced "of fire". At a rugby union sevens match in 1987, a witty supporter innocently linked Martin Offiah with the film "Chariots of Fire" (1981) which focuses on competitive running. The supporter began singing and a couple of friends joined in.

Fast forward twenty years and that song - "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" - became the unofficial anthem of England rugby union supporters. To hear it sung lustily from the stands by thousands of voices is a moving experience.

And now - almost incredibly to me - there are politically correct voices who wish to blot out this rugby anthem because of its apparent "links" with slavery. Eh? The song is never sung mockingly or with conscious disrespect or any racist notions. It is just a damned good tune and to veto it would seem to me to be an ignorant and ill-considered thing to do. I applaud the pulling down of statues that honour slave traders but scorn those who would seek to discourage rugby supporters from singing "Swing Low Sweet Chariot".

When interviewed recently, Martin Offiah himself said, "I wouldn’t support the banning of such a song" and admitted that he was proud to be associated with it.
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home

22 July 2020


An elephant never forgets and neither does a Yorkshire Pudding. Last week, two or three of my esteemed visitors requested a picture of me with my new haircut - now that I have lost my coronavirus mophead look. Like an obsequious waiter, seeking a fat tip, I have duly delivered. See the top picture. The little dots are not a facial ant colony but my shaven whiskers.

Another request concerned "Bosh!" cake mixes. I had bought a box of the "Bangin Brownie Mix" from Waitrose. Excited visitors, breathlessly asked me to post a picture of the resulting brownie cake after baking.

It took me less than five minutes to prepare the mixture - with the addition of some water and vegetable oil. Then I slammed it in the oven for twenty minutes and Bosh! it was done. I let it cool for ten minutes and then lifted the brownie with its baking parchment from the baking tray. Here it is:-
I let it cool for a further five minutes before slicing it into portions. Then Shirley and I tried it and do you know, considering that it has no eggs or milk in it, it was a hit! It had a light but slightly gooey texture and a true chocolately flavour. However, I must say that I have always liked crushed walnuts within brownies so next time I make this I will be adding a big spoonful.

In other news from The Empire of the Yorkshire Pudding, our son Ian is currently on holiday with a young lady in Ibiza and our pregnant princess Frances is almost certain to move back to Sheffield in the next couple of months with her beloved prince. She can just as easily work from home up here as down in the capital city. Last evening, Shirley and I went to look at a possible rental on their behalf. Marvellous panoramic views from the upstairs windows. It may be the one. They are planning to rent their flat out to London friends.

In further news - and this is possibly why I am hyperventilating this morning - I have at last got a dental appointment this afternoon. About six weeks into The Great Lockdown, a filling fell out of one of my molars, leaving a big hole. Fortunately, I have hardly been troubled by tooth pain but under normal circumstance I would have sought to get it fixed immediately. I fear that I may lose the tooth. Bloody coronavirus!

21 July 2020


Plenty of hours. That's how long I have spent working on Frances and Stew's wedding album and it's still not done. There are currently fifty five A4 pages and I hope that that will be enough.

It's the sort of thing I enjoy doing and besides it is a genuine labour of love. As I said to our princess over the phone last evening - I am trying to make something that they will cherish - something to treasure. A lovely album in memory of a joyful weekend in last August Bank Holiday's sunshine. That has been my aim throughout.

The work has involved gathering the pictures - not all by the professional photographer who was in attendance at the wedding  but also from the mobile phones and cameras of wedding guests. Once gathered I have then put chosen images in the virtual "in tray" while rejecting many others. Then there's improving some of the pictures through editing and there's cropping, masking, framing etcetera - taking advantage of the online tools provided by Cewe Photoworld.

That's the maker I chose though there are of course many other reliable photobook providers online. If you have never made a photobook before, I urge you to give it a go. Of course all your photos must be digital.
How many folders of unseen digital pictures are stored in people's computers around the world? Billions of them. Most will surely disappear when the computers that contain them eventually suffer fatal malfunctions. It's immensely satisfying to bring selected  pictures together into a physical book form. You may also add text if you wish. 

The reproduction quality offered  by most photobook manufacturers is outstanding. Soon I will be clicking "Buy" on my computer and in a week or so the precious album will be with us. What arrives will not be a huge surprise to Frances and Stew because I have already asked them to check the online version over and a few changes and additions were then enacted.

Even though I can be stingier than Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol", I will be opting for the top paper quality and a special presentation box too. A photo album like this is not cheap to buy but hey when you only had one daughter to give away - what the hell!

20 July 2020


Friends were coming round at 3pm for a few drinks and conversation out on our decking in the Sunday sunshine. That meant that if I was to get a walk in it would need to be quite local or I'd never get back in time.

Clint transported me to Totley Moor and we parked up close to Strawberry Lee Plantation - given to the City of Sheffield in the 1930's by Alderman J.G.Graves who made bags of money building a successful catalogue company between the wars. I have written about him before

"Don't be long!" shrilled Clint as I walked away.

Up on the moor there's a circular construction in brick. It is an air vent for the Totley railway tunnel and was built towards the end of the Victorian era. Recently, for many weeks, it has been fenced off and there's clearly maintenance work going on there. Very slow work I would say.

I made a diversion over the rough moorland terrain to check out the site. Within the fenced off compound there were four curious boxes on sturdy tripods. They were about five feet tall and coloured blue and yellow with the brand name "Armadillo". As I walked around the fence, I suddenly had the shock of my life.

I had set off one of the blue boxes. Lights flashed and a siren blared in the manner of danger alert on a nuclear submarine. Then there was a recorded message spoken by a man with an Irish accent: "This is security! This is security! Your presence has been seen! The police and the owners of this site are being informed! This is security!"

On the southern side of the tubular steel fencing I set off another box and told it to **** off. There was something quite disturbing about the whole experience in the middle of that bleak and normally quiet moorland - where all you might otherwise hear is the wind in the heather, the cackling of grouse or the hum of distant traffic. I might return with a sledgehammer, but I won't tell anybody about that.
And so I roamed, making a big ambulatory circle that took me over two hours to complete. Halfway round I sat on a bench and talked with a cyclist who was also taking a short rest. We spoke about the bearded vulture that has recently been spotted in the skies above Howden Reservoir. Bird watchers have been going crazy about it.

Back home we had a pleasant catch up with Linda and Ian. They are good company and we have known them now for thirty years. The conversation flows like water in a mountain stream. Easy.

19 July 2020


Keira Knightley in "The Duchess"
Saturday was as unmemorable as it was unremarkable. One of those dull, rather pointless days when nothing of real note happens. My beloved football team - Hull City A.F.C. lost at home to lowly Luton Town and now it seems certain that we will be relegated from the English Championship. Woe is me! The only thing that might save us now is a ruling that Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan Athletic should have points docked for breaking financial rules. The words "straws" and "clutching" spring to mind.

I took a short drive to the Tesco petrol station to fill Clint's tank. He drunk it down like Somerset cider. "Ahhh! Lovely!" he sighed.

Then I drove to Whirlowbrook Park to begin reading "Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson. She's a gifted writer but it's not easy going. I managed thirty pages before heading home. The novel's voice is that of a priest in Iowa who is addressing those he has left behind and remembering what happened during his seemingly humdrum life of service.

For our evening meal, I made a chunky chicken and chilli sauce that we ate in tortilla wraps with basmati rice and sour cream. For dessert, Shirley came up with fresh raspberries from our garden in meringue nests with vanilla ice cream.

It was a grey, empty day. I put more food out for the birds and transferred organic kitchen waste to our compost bins. Two collared doves perched precariously on a springy apple tree branch as a magpie sought sustenance upon our lawn.

Though I am generally not into period dramas, via the magic of television, I watched "The Duchess" (2008) starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes. It was of particular interest because of its connection with Chatsworth in Derbyshire where the Dukes of Devonshire lived and indeed still live in the lap of luxury. I have frequently walked within the Chatsworth Estate east of Bakewell.

So that was Saturday. Not much to report but at least the weather forecast for the week ahead looks promising. Undoubtedly, there will be a couple more delightful walking expeditions and I guess I will make more progress with "Gilead". Not all days can be super-duper. There have to be ordinary days in which little happens. Otherwise, the special days would not be special. 
“Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It's awful.”
"Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett

18 July 2020


Countryside south of Barlow
Yesterday, Clint, my temperamental silver Hyundai automobile was reluctant to travel any further than the village of Barlow in North East Derbyshire.

"I've got a head gasket ache and that Texaco petrol you made me drink on Tuesday just didn't agree with my engine," he moaned.

In spite of Clint's health grumbles we were soon there. I left him by the Methodist church. After a big swig of water and with boots on, I was soon strolling down Keepers Lane where I captured this image:-
Onward to Lee Bridge and then south of Barlow Brook, through woodland and barley fields all the way to Sheepbridge industrial estate just north of Chesterfield. Through the estate and up a steep wooded bank, following the little trodden path to Dunston. Along the way, I spotted a profusion of oxeye daisies in the corner of a field:-
For a hundred yards I had to take my life in my hands as I walked along a minor road that had the narrowest of verges. I needed to do this in order to link up with the path that passes Dunston Hole Farm on the way back to Barlow.

Near the farm I stopped to talk with a man who was holding a shovel. He was beside a new mains water supply trench and was carefully covering the blue pipe with topsoil so that when the trench was filled with rougher, stony material the pipe would be less liable to underground damage. You cannot beat a philosophical discussion when strolling in the countryside.

Barlow, named after the legendary parrot Marco Barlow of Florence South Carolina, is really two villages in one. The upper village is called Barlow but the lower one is known as Common Side. It is a little confusing.

Still strolling, I strolled past the Anglican church and then strolled by fields of ripening rapeseed before strolling down the hill to the very lay-by from where the walk had begun two and a half hours beforehand. I pressed the "unlock" button on Clint's magic key. Once more the circle was complete.
Looking back to Dunston Hole Farm

17 July 2020


It seems to be the fashion here in Blogworld to post pictures of summer flowers that are growing in one's garden - if indeed one is lucky enough to have a garden. That is why I have begun today's short post with an image of the blue hydrangea bush halfway up our back garden. It is a thirsty creature and I use it for measuring rainfall. When its leaves sag I know that more buckets of water or a good hosing are required. Within an hour the leaves will have magically perked up again.

To the right there's another flower. My wife tells me it is a pom-pom dahlia. I believe her. To tell you the truth, I am not really much into garden flowers or their identification. I get more excited about evergreen shrubs, wild native flowers and of course fruit and vegetables.

Moving on from flowers, the latest "Bosh!" news is that they now have a range of vegan cake mixes in selected supermarkets. I bought a box of "Bangin' Brownie Mix" from our local Waitrose store this week but I haven't baked the contents yet. I am sure the brownies will be delicious. More "Bosh!" products are in the pipeline. It is kind of weird to see your only son's image on food packaging. Five years ago, when Ian's life was at rock bottom, we could have never imagined he would come this far. It is amazing really.
Finally, visitors will be pleased to learn that my luxuriant coronavirus head of hair has now been shorn. It was like a bird's nest, containing a clutch of eggs, my old school cap, two pencils and a crossword book. In order to remove said nest I had to make the very first hair appointment of my life. It is a weight off my shoulders skull thanks to Danny - my favoured monosyllabic barber over at Woodseats in Sheffield 8. There are no photos of my barbered topknot so it's back to the blue hydrangea...

16 July 2020


 Well, what can I say? 

Yesterday, we went over to Selby where Shirley's sister now dwells. We were delivering an item of furniture and had lunch over there. That was before we had been into the centre of town. Almost incredibly, you can park there for two hours for free! Other town councils please take note.

Shirley and Carolyn wanted to explore a few shops -  but that did not appeal to me so instead I decided to pay Selby Abbey another visit. I hadn't been inside for a few years. It is an impressive church with many of its Norman features still present. Once it was at the heart of a monastic settlement that effectively ruled the surrounding district - never imagining that King Henry VIII would demand The Dissolution of the Monasteries and a breakaway from the Catholic influence of Rome.

Fortunately, Selby Abbey was spared from destruction when so many other abbeys were ruined by order of the king.
The Washington Window, Selby Abbey
Magnificent stone work in Selby Abbey
Up in the abbey's clerestory windows, above the high altar, there's a fourteenth century stained glass panel that should be of special interest to all American patriots. It is by far the earliest example of a stained glass window that includes the Washington coat of arms. I am talking here about the family of one George Washington, the first president of The United States. In fact, it is called The Washington Window. 

It is generally believed that the design of "The Stars and Stripes" evolved from the Washington coat of arms. Apparently, George Washington's ancestors had links with the Selby area that probably involved land ownership and the raking in of rent.

There was hardly anybody else in the abbey as I wandered round. It appears to be well-maintained but like many old churches it needs significant maintenance if it is going to survive another millennium. Currently, the church burghers have a repair funding  target of £3 million. If by chance there are any millionaires reading this - such as Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Bill Gates, Robert Brague, Jeff Bezos or Queen Elizabeth II - would you please send a cheque for £3 million to Selby Abbey. Even one million would help. Thanks in anticipation of your kind support.
Chairs stacked to discourage visitors from sitting during The Great Lockdown
To donate to The Selby Abbey Roof Appeal click on this sentence.

15 July 2020


This isn't the first time I have mentioned my niece Katie in this blog. Living in western Ireland, she is a talented singer and musician - specialising in flutes, pipes and whistles.

It is now ten years since her father, my big brother Paul died so unexpectedly. He was also a talented musician and singer and Katie grew up with music - especially Irish traditional music. Perhaps it can take a full decade to begin to process the loss of a parent. 

Finally, Katie has penned an affectionate song of her own about Paul. It is as simple as it is honest and sweet. Achieving that in a song of remembrance is ironically quite difficult. It would be very easy to layer the sorrow on far too thick. To be too darned clever.

I know that I am biased but I think Katie has come up with something quite special that will resound for listeners who never even knew that Paul existed. All human beings can relate to loss. It touches us all.

Please give Katie's song a listen via YouTube. It is called "When You Were Big and I Was Small". If heaven existed, Paul would now be looking down and blushing self-consciously about a song  inspired by him, but nevertheless very proud of his daughter's composition and her continuing talent.

You could also visit her website katietheasby.com .

14 July 2020


Feeling a bit lazy this morning. I was up very late last night working on "The Wedding Album". Consequently this will be a lazy blogpost, partly inspired by an illustrious commenter:-
Meanquuen lives in northern Lincolnshire. Her real name is Ilona and she has become a minor media celebrity for a very wholesome reason. In terms of financial outgoings, she lives an exceedingly frugal life and is passionate about recycling and making and mending. She has featured in newspapers, magazines and on television too. Her practical philosophy proves that it is possible to live a very happy life on very little. She is also into walking - sometimes very long distances. To visit Ilona's "Life After Money" blog go here.

Anyway, as Meanqueen felt dissatisfied with yesterday's photographic portion - from my Sunday walk in Cheshire - I am revealing ten extra pictures with this idle blogpost.
Massey Ferguson 35
Allgreave Methodist Church
All that is left of Dumkins Farm
Hammerton Farm, Wincle
Back in Wincle with St Michael's church tower to the right

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