17 January 2022

Bridges

My good friend Tony is recovering from COVID. It laid him low so thank heavens he had been fully vaccinated. Now testing "negative" he felt well enough today to undertake a recuperative eight mile walk. We met in Howden this morning near Howden Minster with the ruins of a much older church in front of it...
Once again I was in flat country where rivers and an intricate man-made drainage system funnel water eastward into The Humber Estuary and from there into The North Sea. 

This picture was taken from Howdendyke by The River Ouse. In the distance you can see the arc of The Ouse Bridge which carries The M62 motorway into East Yorkshire. It opened in 1976.
Before the motorway opened, moving south out of East Yorkshire was a tiresome affair. Vehicles had to use the swing bridge shown below. It is called Boothferry Bridge and it opened in 1929. I well remember queues there and how leaving that bridge often felt as if you had just left an island.
Below you can see the underbelly of the M62 bridge - taken as we walked along the river bank.
It was a pleasure to walk with Tony again. We plod along at the same pace and though we could converse for ever, we also enjoy periods of silence together. He had brought sandwiches which we ate while sitting on a bench in the village of Asselby. 

That was a village my parents knew well because a short time after World War II, my father became the headteacher at nearby Barmby on the Marsh and as Asselby didn't have its own school, its children went to Barmby. My parents lived in the school house next door where they began to raise two little boys. I arrived in the next school house a year after they left there.

Tony and I  got back to Howden Minster at 3pm and sat in a cafe for half an hour, sharing a pot of tea. I think that circular walk in the January sunshine will have been just the tonic he needed.
The tower of Howden Minster seen over allotment gardens

41 comments:

  1. These drainage systems remind me of the canny Dutch, living below sea level.

    Write again about the Humber Estuary, Asselby, the Ouse and old East Riding.
    These places make a kind of pop-up book in my mind.

    *Making A Pop-Up Book/Nice Content/Tatered.* Matthew Reinhart. YouTube.
    He made a pop-up book featuring a body tick, reminding me of William Blake's Ghost of a Flea drawing. Fabulous idea.

    Your photo of the stark M62 bridge makes me long to see it, close up.
    If I could live it again, I would go in search of big engineering; study calculus and geometry without taking leave of music, literature, painting, architecture.

    So glad Tony is on the road to recovery.
    We need to be careful about cafes, pubs, restaurants, cinemas etc.

    *Shropshire Hills - Up and down The Lawley.* Swifty Morgan. YouTube.
    It makes me think of Delius who roamed these hills.
    *Song of the High Hills, Delius - Ken Russell.* YouTube.

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    1. It's funny you should refer to the canny Dutch in your first sentence as that region was much changed by the work of Dutch drainage engineer Cornelius Vermuyden in the seventeenth century.

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    2. I shall look up Cornelius Vermuyden, thanks.
      One of my sister lived in Colchester before moving to Cheltenham, and I liked the Dutch influence in Colchester's architecture + street pattern.

      Baruch Spinoza the agnostic philosopher (1632-1677) grew up in Amsterdam, a member of the Sephardic enclave, his ancestors having been expelled from Spain.

      The Dutch passed a Decree of Toleration in 1579 allowing Sephardic Jews to settle in Holland. These immigrants had the freedom to reconvert to Judaism from Catholicism.

      How many philosophers trained as optical lens grinders as Spinoza did, a useful trade which Wittgenstein would have approved of?

      For years I wore contact lenses without difficulty.
      In old age I went back to spectacles, having four or five pairs of plastic frames from Oliver Peoples.

      There is a good promotional video on Manhattan's oldest opticians.
      *Moscot: Our Story* YouTube.
      A family story of immigrants fleeing anti-Semitic Mitteleuropa and finding a new life in the USA.

      Read *The Eye - A Very Short Introduction* (Oxford) by Michael F Land, an eye surgeon. How the human eye evolved through natural selection.

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  2. A decent walk in the fresh air is often just what is needed after being ill. Lovely scenery.

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    1. I worry about those people who have "Long Covid" and the possibility that I could still get it too even though I am fully vaccinated.

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    2. I have heard that only the UNvaccinated get LONG covid, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Until I forget anyway.

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  3. These are some lovely photos; it sounds like an excellent walk. I like silences and people who don't force conversation. 8 miles though! Tony is a beast. I don't know if I could walk that far on my best day much less barely recovered from Covid.

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    1. I think it is harder to find lawful walking routes in America.

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  4. I notice the name Barmby. I happen to have a friend called Barmby.

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    1. Is he called Barnaby Barmby? That would be a cool name.

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  5. I'm glad your friend is recuperating so nicely. An 8-mile walk is an accomplishment, especially following a bout of Covid!

    Tell me more about the object in front of the church ruins (in front of the Minster). It almost looks like a topiary, but appears to be made of stone. It's late, so maybe my eyes are just tired...

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    1. It is a granite abstract sculpture called "Element of Fire" by John Maine and it was installed in 2000AD as a feature of the small town's sculpture trail.

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  6. You are a good friend, Mr. Pudding. And to still live in the area in which you grew up. That is unusual in this day and age, at least in my country. Thanks once again for the tour.

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    1. Well I live 62 miles from the village where I was born. I often yearn for it and how it shaped me.

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  7. Howdens Minster and the allotments is a wonderful photo YP.

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  8. I share your belief (confirmed by my own experience) that a good walk is so often just the tonic needed to make one feel better and speed the healing process of whatever is ailing us.
    A friend of mine in Yorkshire who works as a nurse caught the virus at work. He has been suffering from Long Covid for more than a year now and is still unable to work, much as he loves his job and is really needed there.
    Good pictures to illustrate your walk, and I like the idea of the two of you sharing sandwiches on a bench in Asselby.

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    1. Long Covid is something I fear more than Covid itself. In Britain it is estimated that as many as 1.3 million people may be suffering from the long term affects of the virus.

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  9. Are your walks 'repeats' or do you plan destinations with O.S. maps etc? You are well served by the odd cafe, our dogwalking trips are too often unrewarded with the watering hole closed!

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    1. I have walked in that area before but not that particular route. O.S. maps are invaluable when planning one's walks.

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  10. A longish gentle walk bringing back nostalgic memories. Glad you friend has/is recovering.

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    1. Tony was happy that there were no hills to climb. You can see how flat it is round there.

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  11. You walked past the confluence of the Aire and Ouse - what no picture? My dad knew the lad who was first into Goole from Howden on his motorbike the day Boothferry Bridge opened. Before the M62 bridge was built, you could just make out Goole water towers from Howden and Howden Minster from Goole (the latter is in your under-bridge picture). The bridge embankment restricted the sight line. The Sunday night before the M62 bridge opened (Sunday 23rd May 1976 - not 1972), half of Goole and half of Howden walked up to the top to meet in the evening sun. The reason it was only half is that the police turned up and cleared the bridge. I made it.

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    1. Thanks for these interesting tidbits Tasker. I will amend the year. I wonder what the "ferry" was like at Boothferry pre-1929.

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    2. Correction - it was actually the Saturday night that people walked up to the top of the flyover.
      There is a picture of old Boothferry at http://asselbyparishcouncil.co.uk/boothferry-history-2.aspx If you walk towards the bridge along the river bank from the Airmyn side and look across you can still see the remains of the old slipway just before you get to the bridge. I could say much, much more and ought to do a post on this.

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    3. Yes. That would be good - as this was your youthful stomping ground.

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  12. I think, YP, that we sometimes forget about good old fashioned infections as well. A couple of days before Christmas I went down with what what had all the symptoms of Covid but my LFTs had been negative and a PCR was negative too. So I was in isolation over Christmas and New Year. Yesterday was the first day I really felt as though I was on the road to recovery. Interestingly I know a number of other people in the same situation (with whom I had no contact immediately before we all got 'it').

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    1. My friend Tony and his wife Pauline test themselves regularly because they both work in healthcare. They both had two positive lateral flow tests followed by positive PCR tests. For them it was certainly COVID.

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    2. I wasn't suggesting otherwise. I was just saying that we guard against Covid and think that's the worst. I didn't have Covid and what I had was not proper 'flu but it wasn't a bundle of fun either. I isolated because I caught it from someone (also negative PCR) who thought he was over it but clearly wasn't.

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    3. Okay - thanks Graham. I get it now.

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  13. The place names you mention are as exotic to me as the areas themselves. "Howdendyke by the River Ouse." "Barmby on the Marsh". Who named these places? Small woodland animals? I love them!
    Of course I am surrounded by places with names like Miccosukee and Sopchoppy so....

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    1. Your local names sound exotic to me. I have visited Tallahassee and I love that name.

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    2. Supposedly, "Tallahassee" means "Old Fields". People have lived in this area for a very long time.

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  14. Sounds like a fantastic walk and I love the scenery. I think your weather was better than ours yesterday! I'm glad Tony is bouncing back from the dreaded C-virus.

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    1. I hope his zest for life and his physical energy do not suffer from the effects of Long Covid. That is an awful thing.

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  15. Oh, and I meant to tell you, I appreciated your responses to my spam commenter. :) (Even though I deleted them!)

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    1. When it comes to spammers, I am The Terminator.

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  16. What an excellent walk and as usual, interesting photos.
    Tony did well to walk such a distance, but as it was all on the flat, it wouldn't be too tiring for him. Being out with a good friend in such pleasant surroundings on a crisp sunny winter day would, as you said, be a real tonic for him.
    For some reason I find the photo of the Boothferry Bridge fascinating! I would assume it isn't still in use, so is it kept as a memorial to times past?

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    1. No Carol. Boothferry Bridge is still in use but little traffic passes over it these days.

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  17. I know it is only condensation, but look at those dreadful polluting power stations! I expect under the M62 bridge was not the most peaceful place. Does the swing bridge still operate?

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    1. That is Drax Power Station - one of the few remaining power stations in the north of England - no longer does it use coal but wood pellets. Boothferry Bridge can still swing to allow taller shipping through but this seldom happens these days.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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