28 July 2020

Goxhill

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

33 comments:

  1. A man leaves a part of himself behind in visiting these places. At least I do, even if vicariously.

    I have long been fascinated by the phenomenology of the English provincial novel; I suppose it started with my youthful reading of the Brontes, Lawrence, and Arnold Bennett etc.
    All these novelists understood the genius loci, and so did the best postwar novels: Barstow's A Raging Calm, Sillitoe's The Open Door, Stanley Middleton's In A Strange Land.

    Your photos sent me looking at images of the Old Town in Kingston-upon-Hull; the redbrick factory buildings contrasting with the shopping mall; The Lion and Key pub with the original cobble roads. There's a site called Ghost Town Travels. All dedicated to the fading genius loci of England.

    From the south bank of the Humber with the solitary signpost, to Trinity Church with that glittery ark dwarfing it, is like a journey down many generations. We are in an England that ceased to make anything and only builds Kleenex Boxes made of glass and metal.

    The photo of East Halton Skitter is a calm last look back.
    Skitter runs through the grass like the breeze!

    *Look, stranger, at this island now.*

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  2. *Look, stranger, on this island now* is in my American (Vintage) edition of Auden.
    My English editions always print *at this island now* : I like both.

    Over a lifetime of reading them I have never been able to decide over Auden and MacNeice. Auden being the more complex was Prospero, MacNeice was Celtic but a classicist by training.

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    1. Loci will often seem like characters that loom over events or at least dye them indelibly. I have been to Top Withens and the bleak landscape west of Haworth where Emily Bronte wandered in her childhood, hardly realising that those memories would bleed into "Wuthering Heights" - creating the earth beneath it - a stage for Catherine Earnshaw, Nelly Dean, Hareton and Heathcliff too.

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  3. I guess they knew where they wanted an airbase? On flat land.

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    1. Flat land in range of Germany. Lord knows how many of those young Americans died. Apparently, they referred to Goxhill as Goat Hill - just for fun.

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  4. How nice that you had a good friend to walk with today. A friend you can talk with and be silent with is special. It sounds like a good day.

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    1. It was a good day Bonnie. Once in a while it's nice to walk upon a flat landscape.

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  5. Twelve miles is a good walk - I'd call it a hike. Your description of walking with Tony could just be my description of walking with O.K., except for the "two blokes" bit, of course.
    The modern church across the river (if that is what the building in the foreground is) reminds me very much of the equally modern Porsche museum in Zuffenhausen (Stuttgart).
    Lovely place names!

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    1. Meike - that modern building is essentially a massive aquarium.

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  6. I struggle to find anything of interest to take a photo of in that corner of North Lincolnshire. Long straight roads going nowhere, not many footpaths. I used to deliver bulk powder cement to the tileworks there. Next time you come over my way give me a shout, and I will bring Esmerelda to meet Clint.

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    1. Esmerelda is an estate car. I am afraid that Clint refuses to date estate cars. In his words, "They're only good for carrying shopping, bags of cement or camping gear!"

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  7. "Flat as a pancake" sounds like where I live. It's also hot as a pancake straight out of the pan! Far too hot to walk during the day. Mmm...pancakes. I just woke up feeling hungry and pancakes would be delicious!

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    1. You can't beat American pancakes with maple syrup and maybe a little fresh cream too... Though the pictures don't show this, the walk was fresh and breezy with occasional spits of rain... Maybe I should have said "flat as a lettuce leaf"!

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  8. I have walked to Top Withens from Haworth YP. Super photos.

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  9. Clint "normally goes for a younger model". Well, YP, I didn't know you trade in cliches.

    What of the "lure of the older woman"? Two of my uncles wed women a lot older (in once case twelve, in the other seventeen years). Luckily, in those times, psychology and Freud still flew under the radar, and no one bat an eyelid. As opposed to the English. My MIL was a year (in words ONE year younger than my father-in-law). The shame of it. They disguised it till I mentioned, as one does and over afternoon tea, cucumber sandwiches no less, that my mother is four years older than my father. My dear sweet mother-in-law visibly breathed a sigh of relief. Or maybe she was scandalized but didn't show it.

    U

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    1. Older models require more lubrication. Funny how age gaps have often elicited judgemental observations.

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  10. That's a good long walk. You two must be quite fit.

    I don't think I've ever heard of the Humber river. My ignorance is quite deep and wide. I looked it up. A huge estuary that can be seen from the international space station. I'm guessing a lot of bird life. The photos are lovely. Such a nice way to start my day. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome Nurse Cedar and I forgive you for not knowing about The Humber. At least you researched it.

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  11. Had to go look at a map to see what was on the shore in that photograph across to Hull. Discovered the strange shape is a aquarium.

    Lots of old US air bases around UK. Flat land was good for that purpose. My father's B-17 group was based down in Suffolk during WWII. I've been back to his old base numerous times myself. One of my sons even lived in a nearby village while he was stationed at Lakenheath. After the war, the land went back to agricultural use, as it did with Goxhill, but parts of the old runways still exist. In fact, I was given a flight in a small plane off of my Dad's old field back in the 80s. A poignant moment. Just as it was when I was able to take a flight in a B-17 several years ago.

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    1. The airfield at Goxhill is still there but now a base for various industries. Up the road there is a memorial to the American fliers who were based at Goxhill in the last three years of WWII. It was known as USAAF Station 345.As the years progress it all begins to seem like ancient history. Even thee children of those brave airmen have grown old.

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  12. Bleak can call you back, like Catherine Earnshaw's ghost.
    David Dimbleby did a travel series for BBC, A Picture of Britain (available on DVD) and said bleakness can be good. By the sea.

    There is one exception with me: the winter sunsets in Glasgow make me long to be somewhere else ... the south bank of the Humber, or enjoying a pint of bitter in The Lion and Key in Kingston-upon-Hull.

    I enjoy winter in the Cotswolds, on the road to Stow-on-the-Wold, where the wind blows cold. And I am happy to be in London in January.

    The Scottish winter is like meeting Death in Samarra. You know the story.

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  13. I am jealous as can be! Will I ever walk farther than the chicken coop again?

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    1. Yes you will Ms Moon. Patience young woman! Patience!

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  14. I have yet to venture north of Scunthorpe. We keep threatening to cycle as far as the Humber one day, perhaps to see the bridge.

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    1. Could Paul get the bikes in the back of your car? Then you could explore southern Lincolnshire, Norfolk or Derbyshire. The world would be your oyster.

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  15. That church in Hull looks like a sinking ship. Wonder if that was intentional?

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    1. I think that effect is purely accidental but I do see what you meanSteve.

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  16. I was thinking the same thing as Steve. It looks as though an aircraft carrier is half submerged.

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    1. The aquarium in The Deep holds 2,500,000 litres of water. The attraction opened in 2002.

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  17. And what is a skitter. "At East Halton Skitter", title to a picture of a very flat and almost motionless river. I'll love to know the definition or reason for that.

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