30 April 2023


What is the most northerly place in the forty eight contiguous United States? It's a village called Angle Inlet in the state of Minnesota. You can't even reach it by road from America but you can get there from Canada.. 

A fellow called "Drifter Dave" from Winnipeg saved us all the trouble. If interested, please check out his video:- 

Below you can see the location of Angle Inlet and the North West Angle district. It came into being because of a mapping error connected with The Treaty of Paris in 1783. Amongst other things, that conference sought to clarify the US-Canada border after The American War of Independence. As you can imagine, in those days some of the existing maps of remote areas were erroneous.

I would love to visit Angle Inlet but I don't suppose I ever will. Although it's not quite the same , "Drifter Dave" has done the job for us.

29 April 2023


It was Hull City's last home game of the season today. We were playing Welsh club Swansea City. Clint drove me the seventy miles over there and I met up with my old friend Tony and also Carl who is another long time Tigers supporter. He met Tony through nursing thirty years ago and he's a nice lad - if lads can be 59 years old!

There was a crowd of over 23,000. We watched a pretty enjoyable game in which Turkish forward player Ozan Tufan scored first for Hull after three minutes. That goal was cancelled out by Swansea's Luke Cundle just before half time.

After a worrying start to the season, my club are finishing it in pleasing style - settled comfortably in mid-table. We look forward to next season with some hope.


Back home, in relation to my hotmail account, Microsoft sent me a concerning message. They warned me that I had exceeded my storage limit of 5GB and if I didn't do something about it I would be blocked from sending and receiving further messages.

I investigated my "Sent Items" folder and discovered that I had hundreds of stored e-mails with photographs or documents attached. They went right back to 2007.

I made a start on reducing the number of stored historical e-mails, deleting and deleting but the trouble was I kept opening a lot of these old e-mails and getting rather distracted. They brought back plenty of memories and there were various old e-mails and attached images I decided to keep.

Still. I have made a good start on this housekeeping and have managed to get back way below my 5GB capacity. In future I plan to be more watchful and possibly more ruthless about what is stored. Photographs take up much more storage room than you might think .

I don't resent Microsoft's storage rules at all.  They have given me and millions of others an incredible free e-mail service thus far. I could pay an annual fee for extra storage but I would rather continue the deletion process so that I am in better control of messages in storage. 

As I  am no technophile or computer nerd, I have no idea what either One Drive or "The Cloud" actually is but I don't like the sound of them and have tried to avoid using them though it seems not entirely successfully. By accident rather than design some of my messaging has gone there.

28 April 2023


Over at the Geograph photo-mapping website there's a weekly photo competition. Each week, a volunteer member trawls through all the new submissions and picks a shortlist of fifty images ready for the judging process. Last week, there were 4191 eligible images and I am pleased to say that four of my pictures made the top fifty.

That was the week that I visited Louth and completed two long walks in the Lincolnshire Wolds so I was later able to submit almost a hundred new images to Geograph. I would have been bitterly disappointed if I hadn't received any nominations at all but I am pretty happy with four.

It's always interesting to see which of my images get picked for the final fifty. They are not always the pictures I would have picked myself. The first composition is a rather unusual one. It was a scene that I spotted just off the main road in the village of Ludford Parva and it stars a legendary old French car - the Citroën 2CV:-
I shared two of my other nominated images previously in this blog. One is of the village shop frontage in Donington on Bain and the other is of an old windmill standing in a sea of flowering rapeseed near Corringham:-

My fourth shortlisted picture shows the magnificent spire of St James's Church in  Louth. The church's construction began in  the eleventh century  but the majestic spire rose from the ground in 1515. It is the tallest medieval parish church spire in all of England. On the eastern flank of The Lincolnshire Wolds, you can see it from miles around.
Somehow I doubt that any of these pictures will be be picked as the overall winner for the week, but you never know. The judging process is highly subjective.

27 April 2023


1957 in the gardens of Holyrood House, Edinburgh with our mother

Four brothers and I was the third. Now there are only two of us. Paul was born in 1947, less than two years after World War II ended. Robin arrived in 1951 and I came along in the autumn of 1953. Simon was born in 1956.
1958 in the schoolyard in East Yorkshire

We had safe and happy childhoods in our village. We lived next door to the village school where our father was the headmaster. Our parents were involved in numerous aspects of village life. Mum formed the first Women's Institute and Dad led the campaign to establish village playing fields. He was also a church warden and the poll clerk on election days.

1960 - Half way up The Eiffel Tower in Paris

In spite of our common upbringing, the four brothers developed differently. Paul was drawn to science and music. From an early age, Robin showed a gift for working with engines and all things mechanical. I showed strength with words, geography, singing and rugby. Simon was a good footballer  and a skilful guitarist but he didn't apply himself at secondary school and his underachievement affected the following fifty years of his life.

It was good to grow up with my four brothers though I have often wished that I had also had a sister.  Having sisters must surely help boys to better understand how girls might experience the world. It would also help those boys to be  better prepared  for romance or simply for developing solid friendships with members of the so-called "opposite sex".
1967 - In the schoolyard with our Sprite Alpine caravan and Robin's Lambretta scooter

26 April 2023


This is a genuine  job advertisement...
Seagull Deterrent/Visitor Services Assistant
At Blackpool Zoo it goes without saying that we love all animals! And as a seaside resort, Blackpool is not short of seagulls. However, the seagulls are proving to be a bit of a nuisance when it comes to trying to steal food from our visitors and our animal enclosures!

We need to do what we can to keep the seagulls away from our main visitor dining areas, which is why we are looking for a team of people to join our Visitor Services team as ‘Seagull Deterrents’

We are looking for people that are:
  • Visitor Focused
  • Friendly
  • Energetic
  • Flexible
  • Outgoing – as you need to be comfortable wearing a bird costume!
This role will be offered with variable seasonal hours.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, email your cover letter and CV to recruitment@blackpoolzoo.org.uk.

Dear Blackpool Zoo,

I wish to be considered for the role of Seagull Deterrent/Visitor Services Assistant at Blackpool Zoo. If appointed I am sure that I will be able to make a positive contribution to the work of the entire zoo team - constantly improving the experience of visitors.

When I was a small child, I was attacked by a seagull on the seafront at Scarborough. I was sitting in my pushchair innocently eating a vanilla cone. It was very traumatic and the screeching seagull stole my ice cream. Ever since that day, I have sought to exact my revenge and the advertised role offers me a unique chance to achieve it.

In my view, seagulls are the scourge of every seaside town in this country. They steal fish and chips, frighten children, poop all over the place and wake residents at ungodly hours. They are little more than feathered muggers that have become more brazen as the decades have passed by. It's time that we fought back and got rid of the blighters.

At school I was known as "Dead Eye" because of my skill with a catapult. It is a talent that has never left me and with the zoo's permission I will happily use it upon the seagulls - gradually reducing their numbers. Their fresh carcasses can then be fed to carnivores such as the lions and the hyenas. Helpfully, this will reduce the feed bill in trying economic times.

May I just say, that I do not much like the "seagull"(!) costume pictured with the ad and would prefer to make my own XL outfit, covered with genuine feathers and shaped in the form of an aggressive herring gull. I hope this would be acceptable to you should you wish to appoint me.

Yours sincerely,
Yorkshire Pudding

25 April 2023


Days trickle by like sand inside an hour glass. Before you know it, it will all be gone. Time I mean.

We should make the most of it but it is very easy to squander time and to put off the things we mean to do until another day.

A small victory today was the sowing of twenty four runner beans into little plastic  pots and five courgette seeds too. They are up in the front bedroom now waiting for moisture and warmth to stir them from their slumbers. I had collected the runner beans last autumn and dried them in a sunny window. It's something I have done many times before.

Shirley and I visited "Atkinsons" this morning - now Sheffield's premier department store. We were there to seek out some curtaining material upon which we could both agree. It is for our front room. In the thirty four years we have lived in this house, we have only had two different sets of curtains in the bay window of our front room. On each occasion we chose very good quality material that lasted and lasted but last autumn we redecorated the room and new curtains were inevitable. 

We found some material that we were both happy with and brought a large swatch home to assess its suitability in context. We both think it will do just fine so tomorrow we will put in our order. At around £500 ($620 US) this is a purchase with which we need to be contented. Those curtains could easily outlast me.

On Sunday Little Phoebe's behaviour caused me some reflection. She has taken to slamming doors and claiming room spaces for herself. Maybe it's all about asserting control because small children are invariably disallowed such rein. Also, for the first time, she refused to come to the table for her Sunday dinner. I had prepared a plate for her with carrot, parsnip, broccoli, new potato, roasted beef, Yorkshire pudding and gravy upon it. But no. She would not join us and instead played with her bricks. She is developing, changing. She was never going to remain that sweet little innocent forever. 

What else can I say about ordinary, domestic matters?

Ian and Sarah have just returned from a lovely ten day holiday in Mauritius. On the British Airways flight home, they were upgraded to business class. Not something that has ever happened to me but you hear about these things. Their heavenly babe, a little boy, continues to grow day by day, moving towards what we hope will be a healthy birth. No doubt future holidays will be somewhat different.

And tomorrow, I have arranged to pick up my old friend Bert for a pub lunch. His positivity is quite infectious. He's always singing happy songs from long ago and he rarely moans about his aches and pains or other health concerns. "Smile when your heart is breaking" is an instruction that would fit his philosophy of life quite perfectly.

Yes. Days trickle by. We grow older. We forget things. We move on. Soon it will be May. Soon it will be 2024. More famous people die. More come through. We are only here for a short time and then it's done. 

24 April 2023



Just like "University Challenge", the quiz show "Mastermind" has become an institution on British television. Contenders sit in a black chair with a spotlight upon them. First they receive questions on their chosen specialist subject and later they receive two and a half minutes of general knowledge questions. This is a tense and serious show. There's no room for jokes or anything like that.

"Mastermind" has been with us for fifty years. Two years after its inception, I watched an episode being filmed on the stage of the McRobert Theatre at The University of Stirling. The quizmaster was the TV presenter Magnus Magnusson - from Iceland. It was surprising how much stopping and starting happened before the episode was successfully canned. A couple of the contenders challenged answers and checks had to be made. I never expected that.

Tonight, the 2023 final was screened. The winner was a bloke from Sheffield. He lives less than a mile from this keyboard and we used to see him up at "The Hammer and Pincers" with his wife Elaine.  

When interviewed after the show, new champion Stuart Field told presenter Clive Myrie that it was the greatest moment of his life. He had worked hard to build up his general knowledge over twenty years or more. His specialist subject tonight was the comedy show "Extras" which I must admit I have never watched. Stuart's speed of response was remarkable  and he got fifteen points on his specialist round with no passes.

He got thirteen on the general knowledge round and as it happens I scored the same myself but of course I was not sitting in a black chair with lights and cameras upon me. Well done Stuart for bringing the glass trophy back to Yorkshire, back to Sheffield. You did it! 

23 April 2023


What use is an apology if you do not mean it? Over here in Great Britain we are getting far too used to politicians who, upon being obliged to leave positions of great responsibility, end up spluttering out pretend apologies that in effect turn the tables upon those who have pointed fingers at them.

We had it with Mr B.Johnson, with (Sir!) Gavin Willamson the former Secretary of State for Education and we had it with Elizabeth Truss whose prime-ministerial reign lasted little more than a month. Underneath it all, somebody else was always to blame. Never them.

And now we have got it in relation to the former Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary - Dominic Raab. There was a meticulous, independent enquiry into Raab's behaviour as a minister and it was concluded that he was essentially a bully who caused a lot of upset where ever he went. Civil servants who work closely with leading politicians are tough cookies and will accept a range of personal styles, knowing about the stresses of government. However, why should they accept tyrants who have little idea how to work with people and to bring out the best in them? Bullying is horrible where ever you find it.

Instead of taking the findings on the chin, Raab's instinct was to criticise the process and to imply that The Palace of Westminster is haunted by unionised and sinister arms of the civil service who hinder ministers like him.

This is utter nonsense and it reminds me somewhat of Trump over in America. Like a child in a playpen, if he didn't like particular rulings, he threw his toys over the side and proceeded to sow seeds of disrespect for legal procedures, denigrating those who legitimately stand on the side of justice.

Raab talks quietly to camera, disguising the fact that in his offices he was skilled in belittlement and other forms of unpleasantness. He was caught out in the full glare of the headlights but he still could not bring himself to utter a meaningful "Sorry". It's clear that though he resigned, he scorned the report about him. More evidence that in his mind he still believes that the right way is The Raab Way just as it probably seemed when he was a child like Mr B.Johnson - attending fee-paying schools and living a privileged life.

Raab and Trump - Like minds perhaps?

22 April 2023


This is the English children's writer Julia Donaldson and German illustrator Axel Scheffler. Together they have produced several wonderful, well-written and eye-catching children's books that have also been transformed into charming short film versions.

Of course, without Little Phoebe entering our lives, I would probably have never noticed their work. It has been rare a privilege. There's an endearing innocence and quirkiness about the books they have created together
I suppose that Ms Donaldson and Herr Scheffler's first major success in this field was "The Gruffalo" concerning a mythical woodland creature with "terrible tusks, terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws". The audacious mouse that The Gruffalo encounters also appears in a later sequential book titled "The Gruffalo's Child". Phoebe is very fond of that one and must have watched it twenty times.

There's something quite magical about all of them including "Zog",  "Room on the Broom", "The Whale and The Snail", "The Highway Rat", "Superworm", "Tabby McTat", "The Smeds and The Smoos" and here's a section from "Stick Man"...

Some children's books, shows and franchises seem mostly about making money but I don't feel that way about Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Much humanity, much consideration and much affection has gone into their publications and they may last the test of time because there's a timeless quality about them . "The Gruffalo" has been with us for almost a quarter of a century now. Some fourteen million copies have been sold in a hundred or more languages. Its success has been phenomenal. Julia Donaldson is one of this country's best selling authors behind only J.K.Rowling, Jamie Oliver and James Patterson.

21 April 2023


Who knows? Maybe I will make this a regular feature of this humble Yorkshire blog - simply pausing to focus upon particular words. This evening I am thinking about the word "glebe". 

It is a term I have often come across on my wanderings - Glebe Cottage, Glebe Lane, Glebe Woods, Glebe Farm, Glebe Common. Glebe House. The word is all over the place but what does it mean?

In the middle ages, glebe land was land that had been earmarked to supplement the income of the parish priest. The term was derived from the Old French word glèbe which itself came from Latin: gleba or glaeba meaning "clod, land, soil". It is likely that the term entered usage in England soon after the Norman Conquest of the late eleventh century.

Different parishes had different amounts of glebe land. Sometimes there would be entire farms or large  patches of woodland. Please don't imagine that the priests actually farmed  glebe land with their own hands. Mostly they would rent it out to tenant farmers.

On Tuesday, as I was plodding The Lincolnsgire Wolds, I noticed the following farm nestling in a hollow. Its name told me that a farm has been there for a very long time and that it once supported the incumbent  priest down in the village of Donington on Bain. And as that priest may frequently have thundered to God fearing congregations - here endeth the lesson.

20 April 2023


As I was having breakfast in "The Travellers" in Louth, an older couple came down the stairs to the breakfast room. I got chatting to them and it didn't take long before they revealed that they had been staying at "The Travellers" for the past five weeks. I was astonished but then they explained that there had been a fire at their house.

It hadn't burnt down or anything but the smoke damage had been devastating. Nearly all of their possessions had been ruined. To me the couple still seemed in a state of shock and despondency. The comfortable life they had worked for had been cruelly yanked away because of an undiagnosed electrical fault.

At seventy five the fellow had still been working. He was a specialist in fine wrought ironwork and he had a big workshop close to his house. His order book was as full as it had ever been but the trauma of the fire, the disruption to his business and the reality of his age meant that he could not see himself picking up the reins again.

They had both lived in Louth all their lives and though they knew that they had been lucky to get out of the house alive, something had clearly died in each of them. The photographs, the keepsakes, the pictures, the attached memories - it was all now gone. What was left was an ongoing battle with their insurance company to achieve justice and ultimately a new home if their old home could not be brought back to life.

The man had woken in the middle of the night to visit the lavatory. He had pressed the switch on his bedside lamp but nothing happened. Then he pressed the wall switch but the main light didn't come on either. Then he opened the bedroom door and - whoosh! He was hit by a wall of hot air and black, acrid smoke. 

It was a moment that changed his life. I must admit that the reality of suffering a domestic house fire was not something I had ever seriously considered before. Now I am wondering - could it happen to us? 


In totally unrelated news, I would just like to say that our unborn grandbabes get closer to birth with each passing day as they grow in the wombs that nourish and protect them. Thanks to modern science, we now know the gender of one of the grandbabes. Ian and Sarah's child will be a boy! It's a little strange to know that in advance but of course, we are delighted even though the little boy's road to birth remains long.

19 April 2023



On Monday morning I drove east. Through Tickhill and Bawtry then on to Gainsborough. After Gainsborough, I travelled through the village of Corringham and that's when I spotted an old mill standing in a field of bright yellow rapeseed.

There was nowhere to stop and I was on a fairly busy "A" road with a big white lorry behind me. It would have been dangerous to pull in and so I just kept on driving, knowing that I was leaving a fine photo opportunity behind me.

However, returning from Louth on Tuesday afternoon, I prepared  to stop and three hundred yards before reaching the old mill, I turned onto a side road and parked Clint safely in a field entrance.

I was feeling pretty weary as I hobbled along the grass verge until I could find a way into the field. Passing motorists may have been thinking, "Is he an escaped lunatic?" but I didn't care.

East Mill, Corringham was used as a corn mill through most of the nineteenth century but I could not find out exactly when it was built. By 1905, the four sails were broken beyond repair and no more flour was ever produced there. Even in 1885, the mill was described on maps as "Old Windmill"

Similar disused mills may well have been demolished long ago but East Mill survives partly because it had a preservation order placed upon it and it is now  an officially listed building. The blue and the yellow remind me of the flag of Ukraine. Long may East Mill continue, at its lonely location north of the A631.

18 April 2023


Mission accomplished. Last week I had the idea of driving over to Louth, staying over night  and getting two long country walks in. The plan came to fruition. Yesterday I walked for three and a half hours and today, after a stroll round the charming market town of Louth, I undertook a second major walk that took four and a half hours.to complete. By the end, I was what my mother would have called - "jiggered".

At the top is the former pub where I stayed - "The Travellers" and below is the "Helal Tandoori" where I ate my curry meal last night - washed down with two pints of "Kingfisher" beer.
Being in Louth may seem a little like stepping back in time. Apart from the men who work in "Helal" and the Thai restaurant round the corner, it is a very white Anglo Saxon town - reminding me of how most of England used to be when I was a boy. The town centre is dominated by the magnificent spire of St James's Church - testament to the great wealth from wool that Louth enjoyed in the middle ages. I went inside to have a quick look round and bought Shirley a souvenir tea towel. Because I had another  big walk on the wolds to do, I did not have time to scale the tower.
Below, a Ludensian (someone from Louth) checks out the offers in the window of "Louth Travel Centre". I wonder where he wants to go - perhaps to Red Deer in Alberta, Canada or maybe  to Ludwigsburg in southwestern Germany. Who knows?
With my short and rather hurried tour of Louth finished, I set off west on the A157 road to the village of Burgh-on-Bain. There I parked Clint near the church and got ready for a twelve mile hike. What a diamond day it was! The meteorologists had got it perfectly right.  I reached the small agricultural village of Gayton-le-Wold and entered St Peter's Church. A small and very simple building. There I spotted this broken pane of coloured glass above the altar:-
By the time I reached Doningtom-on-Bain, I was eager for some sustenance. The village pub was closed but there was a well-stocked village shop run by a lady called Jenny Ward who has run that  establishment for fifty years and has recently written a book about being a village shopkeeper for half a century. I wonder what will happen when she finally hangs up her apron. Most probably there will be nobody to replace her. Tragically, so many village shops have already gone.
In Donington's  quaint twelfth century parish church dedicated to St Andrew, I noticed this slit window with a remembrance cross made from ceramic poppies...
P.S.    It seems that last night's post did not in fact publish when I pressed the button. Perhaps the wifi had gone down in "The Travellers" so better late than never - there's last night's post below. Two for the price of one.

17 April 2023


You might remember that last week I mentioned that I would be heading off to Louth in Lincolnshire. Well here I am. I'm staying in a cheap lodging house that was once a pub called "The Travellers". Earlier, I had a most acceptable Indian meal in an establishment called "The Helal Tandoori".

During the day, I headed through Market Rasen and then up onto the rolling chalk hills known as The Lincolnshire Wolds. I bagged ten Ordnance Survey squares with a detour along lanes and then at one o' clock I parked Clint in the village of South Elkington before embarking on a three and a half hour circular walk in the spring sunshine.

Now I am struggling with my old laptop again - the one with an "s" key that doesn't work. It was also a struggle getting on the Wifi here. I will leave you with five photos from today.

Path through blossom

All Saints Church, South Elkington

16 April 2023


Another day, another mass shooting in America. It's nothing new. Day after day the bullets fly. This time the finger of fate pointed at Dadeville, Alabama and a sixteenth birthday party. Tomorrow it could be... well anywhere it seems from "sea to shining sea". Maryland to Maine, Washington State to Wisconsin. It's truly, truly dreadful.

And what are The Republicans doing about the slaughter? They are making it worse. They have been making it easier to lawfully carry guns and they have been turning logic upside down - suggesting that the mass killings underline the efficacy of gun ownership. They often cite the second amendment to justify their resistance to any laws that might curtail gun ownership, leading to sensible checks and balances. They conveniently forget that the second amendment was hatched in very different times and was never intended to pave the way to mass killings.

A few minutes ago, the BBC reported this from Dadeville:-

Ben Hayes, a senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Dadeville, told CNN: "We are going to pull through it well, we have a vigil soon, the community is coming together."
"We're going to sing, we're going to pray, and we're going to pray for these young people."
He added that "Nothing is going to change until we see hearts changed".

Presently, what happened in Dadeville remains unclear but I imagine that by tomorrow or the next day more light will be have been shed upon  this particular mass shooting and who was responsible for it.

I think I know who was responsible for it. It was the lawmakers from different levels who made no effort to bring in sensible gun control laws and looked the other way when the funeral corteges passed by. And they will be responsible for the next mass shooting and the next until they see the light and start to make changes that will save lives.

15 April 2023


I like a good quiz programme. Not one that is slow and dressed up in frilly entertainment  but a quiz programme that gets straight to the questions and values knowledge.

Here in Great Britain, the BBC hosts a weekly quiz show called "University Challenge" in which teams of four students from different universities battle against each other for supremacy. The questions are broad and pretty difficult ranging from astrophysics to the poetry of John Donne and from Formula One racing cars to the life of Alexander the Great. You never know what you are going to get.

It is an institution in this country though the programme fell into abeyance when the first quizmaster - Bamber Gascoigne - retired in 1987. The BBC resurrected the show in 1994 and since then the quizmaster has been Jeremy Paxman who will sadly retire this year because of his ongoing battle with Parkinson's disease.

"University Challenge" is one of my favourite television shows and every week I manage to correctly answer a handful of questions - sometimes ones that the contestants fail to get. 

Some brilliant young men and women have appeared on the show displaying amazing stores of knowledge but there are also panellists who contribute very little indeed and you wonder what they are even doing there.

It is such a part of our modern culture that there have been several spoof versions of it, such as this one from six years ago:-

And this one from even further back in time which I believe was first screened in May, 1984 as an episode within a very popular anarchic comedy show called "The Young Ones" which incidentally I mentioned just the other day when I encountered my old friend Neil:-

14 April 2023


The "Thank You" card was from Dove House Hospice

Before my younger brother Simon died, he told me how he wanted any remaining money to be distributed. Most of what he left behind came from a pension plan he had agreed with a well-known insurance company. He showed me the policy and  confirmed that I was listed as the "sole beneficiary". 

At that moment, he probably imagined that it would be pretty straightforward for me to make a successful claim. Little did he know that the process would be painfully slow, difficult and stressful. It took me eight long months to get the money out of them and in the end I think it was the physical letter that I sent to their Customer Services office in Edinburgh that finally got the desired result.

It was a hell of a ride and not one that I ever wanted to take. Anyway, I am pleased to say that nearly all the money has now been distributed according to Simon's wishes. He had told me that he wanted the lion's share to go to what he called "the next generation" - my two children and our brother Paul's three children over in western Ireland. In consequence, all five of them have now received just under £25,000 each to spend or use as they wish.

I am retaining a wad of cash to pay for Simon's gravestone and he also wanted some money to "go to charity". Unfortunately, he never specified which charities so I applied my own judgement and sent equal amounts to The Royal National Lifeboats Institution (RNLI), The Woodland Trust and Dove House Hospice, Hull - where he died.

Of course some people are anti-charity, embracing the myth that any donated money never actually reaches its intended target. It is siphoned off, wasted by administrators or simply stolen. Such tales abound but in my estimation that is nearly all utter nonsense and a convenient excuse for not being charitable.

I was a shop worker for Oxfam for five years and Shirley is currently working in our local "Age Concern" shop.  The RNLI saves seafarers' lives while The Woodland Trust plants  trees and maintains woodlands and Dove House Hospice provides invaluable end-of-life care. Quite simply, without charitable donations these admirable organisations would not be able to function. So please don't tell me you don't believe in charity because the money gets routinely wasted. If the truth be known, that is pure...


©PaulThompson 2022

Weatherwise, it has been an unsettled week here in South Yorkshire. Yesterday was a good example - blustery showers interspersed with blue skies and sunshine. You didn't know whether you were coming or going. And it has been quite cold too.

That's how it is when you live on the western edge of Europe at a latitude of 53.3811° N, beside the temperamental Atlantic Ocean. This week's weather has been governed by an airflow from the Arctic but at the weekend a high pressure system from the south west will bring warmer and more settled weather.

To get more walking and photography done in what I call virgin territory, I have booked a room in a cheap guesthouse in the Lincolnshire market town of Louth. That's on Monday night. I plan to get two long walks in - one on the Monday and one next Tuesday before I head home.

Louth is under two hours from this keyboard. I have had a hankering to go there since before COVID and now I am off. It sits on the eastern side of the rolling Lincolnshire Wolds which is a beautiful area to explore. Strangely, it doesn't attract hordes of visitors. Co-incidentally, Frances, Stew and Phoebe's new house is on Louth Road here in Sheffield.

They were round here yesterday evening and I treated them to one of my famous spaghetti bolognese meals. The sauce had been simmering for three hours with just an occasional stir - softening the texture of the minced beef and nicely blending the various ingredients together. My sauce has evolved significantly from the one I was patiently taught to make by my Italian flatmate Paulo Palompo when I was at university. He has lived in The Shetland Isles for many years now.

Last evening I saw a film recording of the London grandbabe's current life. Scanned in his/her mother's womb, he/she is wriggling and growing and thankfully all appears very normal. The same is true of the new Sheffield grandbabe though I haven't seen moving images of that particular bundle of joy. It remains an exciting time.

Not too long ago we thought we would never become grandparents and now it looks like we will be blessed with at least three grandchildren. I hope the two unborn cousins will bring as much delight into our lives as Little Phoebe has done. Last night, as she was heading home, she pushed me back over the the threshold saying, "Back in Grandpa!" Cheeky little monkey!

12 April 2023


In spite of my busy schedule and all of the demands placed upon my time, I have been playing around with Microsoft  Image Creator again. This time, I asked the system to give me pictures of Las Vegas in different styles. I wonder if you can match the seven pictures up with the style or artist listed below? 



  1. Style of Andy Warhol
  2. Style of Georgia O'Keeffe
  3. Style of The Simpsons
  4. Style of Pieter Breugel The Elder
  5. Style of Salvador Dali
  6. Style of Hieronymus Bosch
  7. Style of Joseph Mallord William Turner

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