29 July 2021

Clifton

Old advertising on the former "Cross Keys" pub in North Clifton

Most English people are keenly interested in weather forecasts. This is undoubtedly because we enjoy a changeable maritime climate. You never know what you are going to get upon this island on the edge of Europe.

One of the "favourites" stored on my laptop for quick access is the BBC Weather site. There I regularly look at five locations. It's like a compass. I have our city suburb in the centre. North is Penistone. South is Chesterfield. West is Tideswell . East is Worksop. The differing forecasts for these locations frequently determine where I will go when I fancy a good long walk. I like to avoid being rained on if at all possible.

The Old Nurseries in South Clifton

Today I headed east - beyond Worksop and across The River Trent via the toll bridge at Dunham - not Old Tasker Dunham but Dunham-on-Trent. Once across the river, Clint grumbled "Are we nearly there yet?" and I told him that we were. 

Together we breezed into the village of North Clifton which is a mile and a half from South Clifton. Charmingly peaceful villages with numerous attractive homes, they nevertheless have few community facilities - no pubs, no bakeries, no blacksmiths, no shops. Once they had all of these - in the days when villages were vibrant living entities and not dormitories for retirees, incomers and commuters.

Detail of redundant phone box in Spalford

I left Clint snoozing in North Clifton and set off on a ten mile walk over rich agricultural land  and finally along the east bank of The River Trent. I passed a huge field of carrots and another huge field of ridiculously healthy maize. In neither field did I see a single bird and only a handful of insects. In modern farming, it seems that  the quest for profitability means that insects and birds are just an irritation . 

From mid-afternoon, I kept looking at my watch - knowing that I had to get home to make the evening meal - for Frances, Stew and Phoebe would be there. At 4.15pm I was back on the toll bridge at Dunham and at 5.30pm I was chopping onions in the kitchen - the first step as I created a tasty vegetarian curry from scratch.

The Trent west of  North Clifton

32 comments:

  1. Alan Sillitoe's editor said he should write a book titled *Quiet Flows the Trent*.
    It would be a homage to Mikhail Sholokhov's epic novel in four volumes.
    Sillitoe wisely declined the chance to cash in on another man's myth.
    Does the Trent flow quietly on these dog days of almost August?

    Sad that the river's east bank is devoid of bird life. A bad omen.
    Will I ever see Dunham-on-Trent or those dying villages beyond Clifton?
    A.E. Houseman springs to mind:

    Clunton and Clunbury
    Clungunford and Clun
    Are the quietest places
    Under the sun.

    Haggerty

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    1. My wife grew up in a farm next to The Trent. It is a languid river - even when it is in flood. One could argue that it was more important in England's industrial growth than either The Thames or The Severn. "Quiet Flows the Trent"... I like that. Sillitoe could have given the title an original response.

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  2. What a packed day! It's such a shame that those lovely towns have lost their businesses. I would love that vegetarian curry.

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    1. The English would not call those places "towns". The are most definitely "villages" Margaret. Everybody enjoyed my curry served with basmati rice and peshwari nan breads.

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  3. A good long walk and a great home-cooked meal afterwards, with the loveliest company - what more could you wish for in a day!

    I keep wondering where that notion comes from that British people are more interested in the weather than others. From my experience of 53 years, no matter in which country you are and who you talk to, the weather is usually one of the first (and safest) topics to be discussed.
    On my iphone, I have the default weather app set to show me Ludwigsburg first, then Stuttgart, Ripon, Hofweier (where O.K. lives) and then a string of places I've been to for holidays, such as St. Helier (Jersey), Meran (Italy), Zurich (Switzerland), St. Oswald (Bavaria) and more.

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    1. With all those weather locations on your phone it is surprising that you manage to fit any work into your day!

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  4. The loveliest villages do always seem to be bereft of amenities. No good if you do not drive, unless you have everything delivered to your door.
    The curry sounds good.

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    1. Villages of today are so different from villages of yesteryear.

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  5. If it looks like rain here, I check the rain radar if there are rain clouds. If going by car on a freeway, I also check of traffic delays. Did the old 'phone box contain a suitably old telephone? Perhaps one with a separate ear piece.

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    1. The telephone is long gone. Mobile phones and so-called "smartphones" have a lot to answer for.

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  6. Is there an Old-Pudding-On-Trent?

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    1. Only when I am on an inflatable unicorn.

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    2. Riding an inflatable unicorn on the River Trent is very dangerous. It could so very easily capsize and you would almost certainly drown. You must never do it again. Have you not heard of the Trent bore?

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    3. Yes I have. He wrote the last comment.

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  7. I think the word moribund would describe our villages today. Retirement homes for those that leave the towns and cities. Always too expensive for the young sadly. But your photos do justice to their prettyiness and as you know old telephone boxes serve another function now as libraries or the place where you keep the defibrillator to kickstart us ;) foot in mouth of course reply.

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    1. That particular phone box has found no other use and is now a monument to past times... the England that once was.

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  8. Such a tranquil scene in the last photo tranquil, but sadly spoiled by the ranks of pylons - from the power station in the distance, I would assume?
    My computer gives me automatic updates on the weather, and I see that it's now 31ºC and sunny. When I went out with the dog, just on 8 a.m., it was 35ºC, so perhaps it's cooling down nicely! Unlikely, looking at the heat haze outside.

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    1. There are still several power stations in the Trent Valley. They were built near the river because water is vital to the cooling process. I am glad you "felt" the tranquility of that picture Carol for I felt it too. Can you see the fisherman on the right? Where's Wally?

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  9. You have your finger on your pulse when you talk about the villages with few amenities or shops and dormitory housing. Rural Ireland is the same and many people commute to the cities for work.

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    1. I am glad that I grew up in a village that was still "alive" like the villages of yore. 350 people lived there in 1961. Now it is home to 2000 following the building of private housing estates.

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  10. Growing up on a farm, I have always enjoyed looking at fields of various different crops than those we raised. I have never ever seen a field of carrots. What a sight to behold!

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    1. The soil in that area is especially light and sandy - perfect for carrots. Bugs Bunny would be happy there.

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  11. Do you ever wonder how you had time for a job?

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    1. That man. Those years. It all seems like someone else's life - not mine.

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  12. I've heard that modern farmland is largely devoid of wildlife. I guess you saw evidence of that. I love the old pub sign and the phone box! Phone boxes aren't very useful anymore but they sure are photogenic.

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    1. With regard to modern farmland, what you have heard is right Steve. As for red phone boxes - whenever I see one I snap a picture or two. After all, they won't be there forever. Many have already disappeared.

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  13. There is a little town of Lanesboro in Minnesota where we go sometimes when visiting the Crown Princess. A beautiful stop right on the Root River. There is a quiet little trail all along the river. There is an old telephone booth on main street that is a popular attraction as when you lift the receiver of the old phone, you get a short lesson about a certain event in the history of the village or the river. Aunt Donna says "hello, Phoebe!"

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    1. I would like to hold that telephone receiver. Phoebe says, "You are not my aunt, you are my great aunt!"

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  14. Big fields, fewer hedgerows - a lack of birdsong... This is what Rachel Carson called the Silent Spring. Good book - still in print

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    1. I will add that to my "must read" pile.

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  15. It's sad that those lovely villages have lost their businesses.

    Love the photos.

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    1. They look rather like the villages of yore but they are so different now.

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