8 August 2020

Heat

At Heyworth level crossing

I was out in the heat again yesterday - the second Friday in a row. The heat was so thick and chewy that it reminded me of the tropics. Not a breath of wind. Swallows panting on telephone lines. Drainage channels dried up. Grain crops turning golden in the fields.

Clint had been tied up by a gateway to the east of the village of Moss, ten miles north of Doncaster. Setting off towards Fenwick, I realised that the fifteen mile walk I had planned might not be a good idea in that heat. I perused my map and found a way of reducing the distance to around ten miles.

It was easy going - all flat and some of the walk was on very quiet lanes where not a single vehicle passed me by. I disturbed two or three hares that scooted off as if I was the devil incarnate. 

Near Fenwick, a herd of young black cattle watched me from behind their electric fence. Though they had water there was not one patch of shade.

Twice I had to cross the main east coast rail line that runs up from London to Doncaster before surging on to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh. The trains zoom by like rockets and at each of the crossings there were old railway houses - still occupied. Imagine that every half hour - thunderous machines passing within two metres of your living room. It would help to be stone deaf.

Lounge for horse riders at Moseley Farm

Onward to Askern, a former coal mining village. Somewhere I had never been before. I sat on a bench by the children's playground guzzling cold water and eating my usual walking lunch - an apple and a banana. I realised that I might have looked like a paedophile on the prowl but all I needed was that bench to rest upon for five minutes. Fortunately, I was not surrounded by a baying mob.

Moss is an odd place. If it ever had old buildings they all appear to be gone. Now there are numerous palatial houses with railings, automatic gates and stone lions or horses' heads on gateposts. The village has no community facilities - no shop, no school, no church, no village hall. Nothing. Even with a big, magazine-style mansion it is not a place that would ever appeal to me.

And then there he was - my South Korean travelling companion - fuming in the gateway.

"You didn't even rub any sun lotion in my bodywork!" he moaned. "It has been bloody scorching!"

As we  set off, "Blind Willy McTell" by Bob Dylan was playing on the sound system but Clint said he would prefer something called K-Pop. That term means nothing to me. By Doncaster, Dylan was singing "Dignity". It's a three CD compilation album that showcases the brilliance of Minnesota's revered minstrel...

So many roads, so much at stake
Too many dead ends, I'm at the edge of the lake
Sometimes I wonder what it's gonna take
To find dignity.
In Askern near Doncaster

31 comments:

  1. The world is changing of course! Old villages are now home to some of the wealthier in society, and I expect the 'mansions' would reveal those that made good. I like the word Moss, it was the name of my old dog, mine on forums, the soft plant on the roof, lawn or moors. And it is an incomer I think because it flowers in winter.

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    1. Yes. Moss is a nice word even though in place names it is connected with swampy or boggy ground. There are worse things.

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  2. Did you wait for the newsagents to open and purchase a copy of the Sun?

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    1. Surprisingly perhaps, I am not a big fan of "The Sun" - the newspaper I mean.

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    2. I think the Dandy and Beano were far superior comics.

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    3. More intelligent news coverage than "The Sun"

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  3. "Deaf"? Careful now, YP, you ain't no Beethoven. Count your lucky stars that you don't live as close to the coast as I do. SEAGULLS. They don't talk, they scream. High pitch. They shit on the crown of your head (cooling) should you be so lucky.

    The upside of living near the sea side a pleasant breeze. Even on a hot day.

    Hitchcock greetings,
    U

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    1. You could net a few seagulls, wring their necks, gut them and pluck them and make a nice seagull casserole. I am sure that The Angel would be delighted with such unusual fayre. You could call the dish "Ursula's Surprise".

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  4. Never heard of Moss despite knowing something of that area. Was that John Shuttleworth you photographed in Askern?

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    1. You mean the fellow passing the closed down newsagent's shop? I thought it was Prince Andrew. Rumour has it he has been in hiding in Askern and now goes by the name of Paedo Pete.

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  5. Can't say I would have tackled a long walk on a hot day. Kudos to you.

    Hard to believe this past January that I went through one of those crossings on a Lner train returning to London from Edinburgh. Took a lot of photos from the train--especially farther north between Edinburgh and Newcastle where the track parallels the coast for some time (one of my favorite parts of that ride--always sit on the left). Seems like another lifetime ago.

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    1. You are talking about the B.C. days Mary... before coronavirus. I can vaguely remember those innocent times.

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  6. I think you were wise to reduce the length of your walk in that heat. I suppose the residents of those railway houses get used to the noise of the trains.

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    1. Husbands say, "Did The Earth move for you darling?"
      "Course it bloody well did! It was the 11.43!"

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  7. I've ridden that rail line, I believe -- funny to think I've been through those same crossings on a train! That village of Moss must not have existed too long ago -- I wonder when it first appears on maps?

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    1. That's the weird thing Steve. There has been a settlement there for centuries I believe.

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  8. That's the weirdest looking sheep I've ever seen.
    I live a bit farther than two meters from the train track but believe me- it's still close. One gets used to it. Doesn't even wake us up at night. Of course, not that many trains go by these days.
    Have you listened to Dylan's new album? I have not but I hear from a friend that it's very good.

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    1. I must make a point of getting that Mary. Thanks for the tip.

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  9. Lovely pictures, but do be careful taking such long walks in extreme heat. It is good that you carry water along. We live near some train tracks and I've come to love the sound of the train and the whistle, especially at night. But we do not get them every half hour! However, even at a block away I can feel a little vibration from the train. If you live close to the tracks, as in your picture, I think the vibration would be extreme and even disturb a non-hearing person.

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    1. Up here on the hillside we rarely hear the sounds of distant trains from the valley. I like it that way.

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  10. You are a glutton for punishment. Ten miles with only an apple and a banana to stop you from fainting in the heat. Rather you than me. Many's the time I've been on one of those trains thundering on their way to Doncaster.I should have waved.

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    1. I did my special wave that involves just two fingers.

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  11. I'd never attempt to walk even 5 miles in the kind of heat we have here, much less 10! Exercise is great, heatstroke....not so much. Despite the heat it looks like you had a pretty day.

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    1. You don't need to remind me Jennifer. I know that I am a crazy fool.

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  12. I stay out of the heat now. I never stayed out of heat before. I guess that's what happens when you get old.

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    1. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen Mr Red.

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  13. Birds actually do pant in the heat. But you saw that. Black absorbs all heat. I guess the cows know that now. And white reflects it. Lucky alpaca (?). I don't like heat.

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    1. Yes. That was an alpaca Joanne - far from The Andes with not a single hill in sight.

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  14. We have been walking in spite of the heat, too, but had the benefit of the Black Forest - shady and pleasantly cooler even on the hottest days. You are a very experienced walker and would never start without water, or try to tackle anything unwise on such a day.
    Typical of Clinton to complain about not having any sunlotion. If you had applied some to his silver skin, he would have been annoyed at its greasiness. He can be quite the diva!

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    1. Diva indeed! I mean Clint of course - not you!

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