Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hello my name is

Castle Hill Hospital Oak Tree 

 Its nearly exactly four years ago since I noticed , really noticed this tree. It was bereft of leaves , winter was in full bareness and my mother was beginning her last journey away from earthly life.

Autumn is still clinging on here in East Yorkshire this week. From the train , and from bus windows today, the sun has caught the remaining beech and alder leaves, and those on this  mighty oak . I've not been proficient enough to catch the sun playing on the leaves still aloft . I've not been alone today , as spouse has had to lean on my arm on our very slow progress around hospital grounds, and purposeful expeditions to bus stops and so I have not been able to dart and swoop with my   mobile camera and catch the sheer emphemeral gold of the last leaves.

We have been to Castle Hill Hospital many times recently , and spouse and I are so glad for all  that modern medicine and the NHS are doing for him . Setting aside all the lost letters , the constant regurgatating of Colins case histories at every meeting that is. They always believe us when we  tell of the procedures and ops of the last 25 years , and that does worry me . Do they ever check up that we have got it right. Sometimes I feel like a Ward Clerk myself , my own book of notes and timelines ready to help C answer the questions asked at the  form filling beginnings to each visit. What would happen if we made it all up ?

There has been a sea change in Bridlington Hospital, Scarborough Hospital and now in Castle Hill Hospital . Until she died I followed Dr Kate Granger
@Grangerkate  on Twitter. Twitter is for me the easiest of forums on Social Media for keeping up to date with things that interest me. I followed her day to day tweets about her terminal cancer.  I did too with John Diamond in  his  newspaper column in the Saturday Times Something for the weekend in the late 90s until his death in 2001. I've not got a morbid interest in the diaries of Cancer patients, but a familial one as  my sister battled with a rare Leukaemia for over 20 years until she was cured, YES CURED.

Kate Grangers legacy is wonderful, as you may read here in the Hello my name is website . Every health care professional in the last 6 months has introduced themselves with the simple words Hello my name is , yesterday we met Jodie first , and beloved , already anxious and apprehensive was immediately put at ease, and that continued with the next few professionals doing his pre-med . 

How simple, how cheap, how transforming and what good manners is a simple introduction. 

Thank you !

Monday, October 09, 2017

Flowers from the allotment

Nicandra physalodes Shoo Fly Plant 
A neighbour in Surrey once gave me a seed head of the Shoo Fly Plant . She told me that the plant , which would grow really easily ,should always be in ones greenhouse as it repelled White fly. Nearly 40 years later its progeny arrive wherever I'm growing something thanks to my careless cultivation methods . I noticed that one had sneaked into the artichoke bed, and 5 weeks later its flowering and promising seedheads. I am letting it grow and grow as it's the most useful addition to Christmas Flower arrangements  when its dried .
The Shoo Fly plant  a member of the Tomato family and similar in flowers and fruit to the Chinese lantern . Ive had 3attempts to grow Chinese Lanterns . They are brilliant for Flower Arranging , especially for Harvest . This year my pathetic plants , which germinated easily but then marked time for 6 months, are struggling to thrive . 
So I had to buy them from Daisy Dot this year to accompany all my offerings from the allotment for my Harvest Pedestal at St Oswalds . I hope Bernard realises just why I collected all his Leek  Seed heads from his part of our plot. I also gleaned Achillea Heads, Nigella  seedpods, Globe Artichokes , Fennel and Sedums. The red apples were windfalls from the plot next door and the Teasels from the roadside. 
I have discovered a delightful cultivated variety of the Wild Carrot Ammi visnaga. I sowed the seeds last autumn , but they are only just coming into flower. Next year they will be perfect . Ive always been fond of all the Umbellifers, and Queen Annes lace in the Yorkshire road sides in April  (this year very early ) has always heralded roadside bounty before NYCC sends the cutters in . 

Next year I'm going to grow more flowers to be used in St Oswalds. I've been up to our wonderful Reighton Nursery and bought 6 Delphinium plants , only 90p each to start me off . Blue is often the most difficult colour for Wedding arrangements  in church and this will help us as long as I stake them well enough against the very strong winds on Filey Allotments as they flower. Ive now got Scabious Plants doing well, and they flower all summer and are  still going now.

In Filey I know some serious Chrysanthemum growers. Peter used to grow them for Shows and he provides huge Blooms for Church in the autumn . He says that he's not doing so much now and a couple of years ago gave me a few stock plants. I have taken Chrysanths more seriously this year . I've been waiting for Peter to ask me how mine are doing and hoped he wouldn't last year as I didn't follow his instructions and de bud them . This year I'm feeling pleased as I got spouse to debud them and tie them up and so have grown my first blooms. Now they are nowhere near as big as they could be, but we have cracked the cultivation . They were not ready for Harvest but will be ready for the Brass vases on the Altar at St Os this week . 
My first attempt at Blooms 
Flower arrangers need to use flowers which will last and not drop bits over furniture. Beloved is always pointing to beautiful flowers in the gardens of Stately homes like our nearest Burton Agnes, and telling me we should get one for the allotment to grow for church , but I have to tactfully decline his open wallet at the plant stall unless I know its a doer. Its the same with foliage as not every bit of greenery is right for lasting power . 
I don't have to grow foliage as both our churches in Filey have plenty growing around them , and St Johns has an award winning garden around it from which we the Flower Team may cut when we need.

One of Peters Blooms
I use Chiltern Seeds mostly. Their Seed catalogue is my Christmas reading , and I just have to look for the scissor logo which announces good cut flowers. Ive plenty of space on the allotment , and Dave the previous tenant put down plastic on large areas which I just bare when I need. He and I between us have virtually eradicated  the Mares Tail which covered half the plot  . I have pulled out every little piece as it appeared and burnt it, and using the no dig mulch cultivation it is weakened. Bernard got rid of it on our shared plot by using wire wool and weedkiller, but I am trying not to use chemicals . I do worry that my 'Meadow strip' might welcome Mares tail but I'm going to be vigilant. Dandelions and Plantains I do not mind as they have benefits according to my Companion Gardening Books.

My wish list for Flowers for Cutting is growing, but I have to keep the balance with Food for Eating . This year I got it just right with the amount of beans I grew, and likewise with Courgettes, Potatoes and Tomatoes. I'm still picking Sweet Peas and the Sunflowers are just over. Its all a learning curve, its only a Plot , it doesn't matter when things go wrong as long as I keep the plot tidyish and stick to allotment rules . I am thankful for Green manure , the best way to keep down weeds in a dormant bed, but what am I saying , I don't really have any dormant beds for long. 

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Back end -Coming clean

Now its getting what I call backend-ish its time for me to be real and honest . 
This  year has been really hard for me . I have struggled to keep positive , I wake up sometimes wanting not to , I want to start smoking again , I want to go and live alone on Iona , I want a holiday , I never want to cook another meal , or go to Tesco in Filey , or talk to anyone .

I have a strong Christian faith , I have a loving family, I live in a delightful cottage with my partner of 45 years who is my best friend , the father of my children and does everything he can to make me happy . 
This year as ill health has upset the equilibrium of our life together I am thanking God for my small plot of land , my dilapidated sheds , my portable gas burner ring and the freedom I have to leave my home behind when I like and just disappear to my allotment .
Ive been a gardener all my adult life. I've had in the past to share my gardens with husband and family . For the first time in my life Ive had sole control of  my very own plot . I have a dear allotment partner on my adjoining plot 57a which we have shared for 4 years , but plot 56 is all mine , I can grow what I like whatever way I like . 

This time last year I used to sit outside the greenhouse on my shared plot and look over at what Dave was doing next door on plot 56 . His plot was out of Gardeners World crossed with those of Dan Pearson and my guru Bob Flowerdew .
Bernard my allotment partner LHS , Colin my life partner RHS
My small part of plot 57a was beginning to look too small for me last back end . My 3 Asparagus beds took up all the space , and I looked around on other adjacent plots hoping that someone would give up a small plot that I could add to my small empire . I was delighted that I got the chance to take Dave's plot on last September as Dave and Jen  moved away from Filey. I told the allotment committee I would give this large plot a year to see if I could manage it .  Now a year on , I realise that tending this  beautifully organized and Margaret ready plot has been the way I  have managed to get through the year . 

Beloved does not mind at all when I leave him alone for hours , he knows I'm returning home happily tired , emotionally restored to me again , and full of plans for the future , and with plenty of his favourite beans to pod and and the prospect of a tasty dinner with all home grown ingredients . We are virtually vegetarian at present  . This was not a lifestyle choice . My beloved has so many health concerns and takes so much medication that we have to restrict sugar , fat and all purines . I am so proud that I can now make burgers with Broad Beans and vegetable curries , and soups and even pies which never taste the same twice and are always delicious he  says . 

My first pond!
People are always writing about the health benefits of gardening .
  •  In the 21st century , in Filey, gardening is another Lifestyle choice . We do not live from hand to mouth here , we do not have to grow our food to survive, we have plenty of water to sustain the growth of plants , and even those with tiny gardens may grow vegetables and fruit in containers . We do not grow our staple grains in our gardens or allotments , but may grow staple pulses, the second class protein which vegetarians depend on . Brian on the plot next to me grew enough peas to last him a year, and Vince near me grew a years supply of potatoes which he carefully stores. This year I have grown chickpeas just to see if I could . Yes I can ,and no I wont again , they are cheap enough to buy. So just knowing that we can grow our own food on an allotment is a health benefit as we know we will not starve .

  • Gardening for me helps me to learn about wildlife . I have a couple of small ponds, just old washing up bowls of rain water , and every year I get tadpoles from my friend Ann and watch them grow into frogs. My plot now has thriving small frogs which as they grow and grow will start eating the slugs I hope . This year too I have had to buy a book to identify spiders, as I'd never realised how many different species lived in a small plot . The same with Caterpillars . I now am the proud habitat for the Mullein Moth , I keep  nettles and am rewarded this week with hundreds of Red Admiral caterpillars about to start their banquet . I admit here that I'm also adept at the mass slaughter of Large white Caterpillars which I squash. I do grow Nasturtiums to entrap them , and lure them away from my brassicas , but this week even I can't keep up with the voracity of the Pieris brassicae.    Here I digress to tell the tale of a Flower Arrangement I once did at St Oswalds . I was very pleased with it , as I only used leaves , cabbage leaves, broccoli leaves and other garden leaves in all shades of green . When I returned to water to arrangement mid week I was horrified that most of the leaves had been completely destroyed by caterpillars and there were droppings all over the beautiful wooden chest where the huge arrangement sat in less than glory .
  • Gardening alone on my plot gives me time to think and reflect. I sit for long ages just looking at the plot , at the shapes , at the colours , at the progress of time through observance of the growth of the familiar .
  • Exercise is good for my mental health . Here you might think I'm always digging and using lots of energy . I'm not . I don't dig , I mulch. The most exercise I get apart from using the shears to to cut  Comfrey, or the edging tool to the grass ,is the fast walk the mile to my plot from home . I walk it as fast as I can . BUT so tired have I been keeping up with watering the greenhouse everyday in July and August that Ive often had to run the car up to the plot .
  • I've spent a whole year with a notebook and pencil . One year ago my grandsons and I mapped the whole plot and with my template done I update my notes after my visits to the plot . Ive planned the rotation for 2018 . I have mapped every 2 months and noted all the successes and failures , yields and suggestions for improvements. 
So there we have it , my back end admission , that I couldn't have got through this year without my allotment . Its been my sanctuary . Time stands still when I'm there . I return home refreshed and positive . So as summer gives way to autumn I know that that less hectic jobs will satisfy too. I shall be moving the manure around, cutting down and pruning , planting the autumn Onion sets and Broad beans again and thinking of  my winter pursuit which will be re-learning to use a Spinning wheel . I'll have to do this at home , but all the mess the carding of my newly washed wool will be better done in my shed . I'll need to get the  greenhouse heater going now . Ive got the kettle .

Addendum . Well!well! Ive just had an email from someone wanting me to advertise Flogas Greenhouse heaters! Its only because they have a Royal warranty that I thought I'd name them 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hennebique ,it is then

Why do people get so steamed up about plans to build new houses ? 
Go ahead Allams , provide us with new homes around the Caroline Street site , it seems a small price to pay for the preservation of the only remaining building made using the  Hennebique construction , in the whole of Britain . so  what are the hidden agendas here?
  •  Will Rosedown and Thompsons be re-located to India , so what . Its no longer a Hull firm , and all the up and coming service industries employing people, are going to need houses within a walking distance from their offices in the newly regenerating City Centre. Why can't a wider picture be seen ?
  • Does our 'socialist' city still think that incomers on the rich list , and those not on the rich list but living in big houses in Sutton do not contribute to our City in any way , because they are rich . 
  • Are we too parochial anyway ? Thank you for your positive input for those who are refugees and migrants  Helena Spencer. The poor will always be with us , but the rich may be able to help . Information and balance  needed. 
I had no idea that reinforced concrete was discovered by Francois Hennebique , I always thought the Romans had discovered it , but have looked it up now and found it was Joseph Monier  . Perhaps Hennebique was the first to use reinforced concrete  for BUILDINGS. Since Hennebique's first Building in the UK , in Swansea has now been demolished  we surely need to keep our one . 

I was watching Time Team yesterday , where the Channel 4  team were excavating the very first Manchester Cotton Mill , which marked the start of Manchester as the worlds "first industrial city". Maybe a Hennebique concrete industrial building still standing , is well worth the preservation then , even at the cost of transformation . 

Salts Mill in Saltaire is one of my favourite places the visit in Yorkshire, preserved thanks to one very rich Yorkshire man the late  Jonathan Silver,   and now a homage to Burmantofts pottery and the work of David Hockney  . The difference here is that Salts mill is surrounded by the model village Saltaire , making it a World Heritage Site, thanks to Sir Titus Salt (rich Victorian business man ). 
 For the preservation of the Rose Downs and Thompson building for the history of Architecture the surrounding proposed housing development must be worthy of its neighbour. So then , ecological building systems , energy efficient and sustainable design ought to be insisted on by the Town Planners.  The proportion of affordable housing for LOCAL people should be maximized .The Joseph Rowntree Foundation  Thinktank has much valuable insight and research on this subject ;  this foundation  also sprung out of the work of another very rich Yorkshire man .

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Progress on my Hay Meadow

St Nicks Centre for Green Living YORK

I was blown away by the info that at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales they are able to use DNA barcoding to determine the identity of the pollen and nectar that bees foraged for their honey making. In fact to widen all the scientific data, the NBGW is inviting beekeepers throughout the UK to send a sample of their honey for testing . I found this out by chance as I was watching last Fridays edition of BBC Gardeners World , see on iplayer Episode 15 of 2017. Of further and for me , and more important info, is that the preliminary results show that bees have a preference for UK Native hedgerow and woodland species . They prefer Hawthorn , Gorse and Dandelions , and of the cultivated plants like Peonies, Skimmias and Muscari. If ever there was a reason to let Dandelions grow on my Allotment that is it . I've watched scores of Bees on My Echium plants , now I think a few Gorse bushes need to be planted. (can also eat Gorse buds).and I'll not agonize over my Dandelions.

Last week I went on a training course in York for the National Plant Monitoring Scheme to learn more good practice for my Plant Surveys in Filey. In this hidden green heart of York are about 10 acres of woodland and meadow and a Study Centre. It is here that if I ever turn more of my allotment into a Hay meadow I could get Scything Lessons, but for now , on  my Meadow which is 1m by 5m I think a pair of shears will suffice . I never thought that what I'd read of in Lark Rise to Candleford  or Far from the madding Crowd could be a reality . My family think Im fast becoming even more of a nerd, and now that I have been given Jennys Spinning wheel and a bag of sheepswool I imagine that the idyll will be furthered by their dreading homespun scarves as well as hay filled pillows. Worry not family!

My own meadow is doing nicely , since I  seeded it in October last. I have to keep referring to the species list in the Seed Catalogue, and weed out all the self seeded weeds. Here the irony is not lost on me. Shepherds Purse, Sow thistles and Common Knotgrass are the main culprits and easy to spot and remove , though doing this takes a lot of time on my already precious time . All the grasses look the same to me as they are growing , I need a course on Grasses and Sedges alone . There is no sign of the Darling of the Hay Meadow , Yellow Rattle as yet, but I've done a belt and braces here and bought a couple a packets of it alone ,to re sow backend .  I shall be cutting my very own Hay Meadow in a week or too when the seeds are set . 

June 17

July1st 2017
Lots of the Nectar rich plants in the Seed mix are beginning to flower now so I can identify them . Ive let the masses of Scarlet Pimpernel remain as ground cover as next year it won't stand a chance except at the plot edges . Ive already spotted the Wild Carrot, Bird Foot Trefoil , Oxe-eye Daisy and Yarrow. Im secretly hoping for some Orchids to find their way to my meadow . Filey is full of them at the moment and not just in the secret places that Botanists keep to themselves, but on lay-bys near Primrose valley, behind Filey yacht club, and best of all in peoples lawns. 

I was delighted when a friend messaged me to say she had spotted some in a neglected garden where the lawn was uncut . I took a trip up to look today, and was delighted to see them .The former owner of the garden would have been delighted too. If the house comes on the market the announcement should include that the lawn contained Wild Orchids . I would buy it .

Monday, June 12, 2017

Homage to Congleton and Angie Lewin

For years now I have always bought the porridge oats milled in Congleton, and not just because my sister has lived there for over 40 years and our mother was born in Cheshire. Congleton is a delightful and formerly heavily industrial town. We have got to know it over the years 
  • its green and lush countryside and views of the Cloud
  • the walk by the canal
  • the outlying picturesque villages and Rudyard lake
  • the pagan Maypole dancing ,embraced by church school at Astbury and made its own
  • the trips to nearby silk town Macclesfield
I love Mornflake oats for another reason . For many years now I have enjoyed the ARTWORK on the packet . It reminds me of the work of the artists at St Jude's Gallery and is just as good , stylised representations of plants very much 50s and yet right up to date.
I am peeved that this week I had to buy Quaker Oats , as Spar and Herons were right out of Mornflake  Oats, and for the first time in over 10 years . I hope the Mill in Congleton is OK and its just that their lorry is having its MOT, and its nothing to do with Brexit or the amount of rainfall on Scottish Oats last year. This is personal , I shall have to buy them online direct from their website if Filey shops don't get over the hiccup. 
I have a sweetener. We are going to the Ravilous exhibition in Eastbourne tomorrow as we are on a Royal Progress to Brighton for our youngest child's 40th birthday . He ticks the ARTWORK box in me as well , with Edward Bawden .

 Please don't change your packaging Mornflake Oats! Or use Angie Lewin , she was born in Cheshire. .

Sunday, May 07, 2017

The Scientific Approach

Alkaline ,OK then!
I'm trying to be more scientific and methodical on my plot. 
I know Dave was scientific and methodical ,innovative, and ordered, so the  legacy he bequeathed to me needs to be well used and stewarded. 
I have never been methodical and scientific before on other plots I have tended over my  years of horticulture. My new plot is such a fantastic inheritance that I'm trying my best to make sure I do everything well. Apart from the neatness that is. Bernard my allotment partner on the adjacent plot politely accepts that I hoe weeds but don't remove them , leave a trail of mud wherever I go and grow odd things that he considers weeds, like my patches of nettles for Peacock butterflies, and the wiggly edges of my side of the path. 
This growing season I have PLANNED. I have a notebook with my 3year rotation diagram, I sit in the greenhouse with a Cup of Ginger tea and write up my notes just before I go home . I am NO DIG CULTIVATOR. I am trying to garden by mulch and by not walking on the beds , efficiently laid out by Dave. 

It is the first year ever that I have had a designated Brassica Bed. 
I have some lovely plants which were sown in September and are now sturdy and ready for their very own bed. The label has washed off over winter, so they are either Purple Sprouting Broccoli or Calabrase. Now I enjoy my walk home with the chance to check out all the other plots and see how  others  have planted out their Brassica plants. I see that many have scattered a white powder around each plant, and I'm now checking that out. I seem to remember  Mr Wiles (of Lime Tree Avenue, Sutton)  our gardener  when I was a small child using Lime to improve the soil. I used to watch him all the time, poor man , and ask him questions. He used to tell me that one had to puddle in Cabbages so I do the same now correct or not stamping the plants firmly in. Just incase it was lime that I should put around my little plants I did a pH test. Here I am a reckless spender. I was carried away using the Marshall's catalogue buying seed potatoes that I spent £6 on a pH kit  . Yes it was fun to use, it brought me back to my A level Chemistry days in the lab, with the micro tubes when doing substance analysis.  It was only later that I also  remembered Litmus Paper, selling on Amazon for 99p for loads , which does just the same job.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The boys and my potatoes

Its 7 years since I managed a photo of all the Family boys together . I got a great surprise a few weeks ago whilst I was  quietly potting on my Italian Plum Tomato seedlings (San Marzano). First my son and partner  arrived, a surprise from Brighton,  then spouse, then grandsons on bikes and then son in law. I realised I had not enough seats for holding a salon on the allotment , I had not enough mugs and the kettle was too small. 

That has all been rectified, I have brought more mugs and Ikea plastic beakers from home and Bernard my allotment partner has  brought us a garden table and chairs , thoughtfully weighed down against the very strong Filey winds.
 I wonder what else Bernard will be bringing . He marries Queenie in a few weeks and will be moving into her flat .  I see that pieces of wood are arriving , and a new assortment of Flower Pots. Bernard and Queenie are over 80 , and we are all delighted that he is going to have  a new partner in life. We've been Boxing and Coxing together on the allotment for over 4 years now in true G and S efficiency . We occasionally meet over the tea tray.  I follow his every direction and copy everything he does in the cultivation of Potatoes. I have never before been able to grow them on my part of our shared plot , they have always been ruined by slugs, but this year as I have taken over Dave's new plot to add to our empire  I have managed small rows of First earlies, Arran Pilot, Main Crop , Charlotte, and a row of Pink Fir Apple salad potatoes. I have adapted Bernard's method , sand and manure BUT I've done   the addition of a layer of comfrey leaves under the chitted potatoes prior to making the trench . Thanks go to Dave here for the fantastic bed of Comfrey. I'm also trying potatoes in Gro-sacks,  from the Marshalls Catalogue.  I am fascinated by the instruction  booklet, and keep looking at it, hoping that I'm adding the compost in the right way as I worry that I've covered up some of the foliage in a rough way . Common sense  is taking over, they are only potatoes for goodness sake! 

Addendum . I publish this post and see that it has crossed with Michaels post about their visit to Yorkshire too

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A walk up River

View from Scale Lane Pedestrian Bridge

I was peeved that I actually clicked on one of those Facebook quiz things this morning  which resulted in a Word Cloud with MOST USED words. I had to delete it immediately as my most used word was HTML. The algorithm  used for the calculation did not know anything about me as I never use the abbreviation , let alone remember how to do coding without a handbook . I know that I am out of touch and old fashioned now. Blogging is not the new black , but it is my black. I don't want to be a vlogger and although my young grandsons are vlogging away hoping to earning millions I have put myself at last in a box saying CONTENT , IT SUITS ME. I'M not getting maudlin either. Ive just reached my three score years and ten  and a calm and satisfied Peace has descended upon me. I have reached that I shall wear purple and spit in the street stage.  
I've not had time to share here recently , as Family Commitments  have come first , followed by my Sanctuary from them called the ALLOTMENT .

I completely muddled up my diary and so did not get to use my tickets for THE HYPOCRITE at the HULL TRUCK THEATRE , but did get to LA BOHEME at the Hull City Hall on the 21st March . Spouse was not well enough to come with me, but my Hull Sister  stepped in and accompanied me.  We did some great reminiscing about all the concerts we had seen over the years, of how even a City Of Culture could not support a Coffee shop nearby for us to meet at 7pm, and that although the New Theatre, the usual Cultural venue was not refurbished yet, the City Hall did a grand job . We loved the lack of curtains and watching the Scenery changes during the intervals, and remarked that the ancient Lavatory  facilities in the basement had not changed much in 60 years.
I spent the night at the Premier Inn near the Deep, as usual for Hull Trips. Pre Opera I managed to get a table for an excellent Homemade Curry at the Lion and Key in Scale Lane . Sister and I also remarked that we are strangers really to the pubs of the OLD TOWN, we were brought up never to go in a PUB without an accompanying man , Yes really!!

Crowle House 1664
Going back to Filey after a sound sleep in a room with spectacular morning views I planned a walk up river to discover more of the City which moulded me.  The evening before I had already discovered an old house I had never seen before, Crowle House . Here I stop and explain to readers who do not know Kingston Upon Hull. Hull was the most severely bombed City in Britain during WW2, and 95% of its buildings were destroyed or damaged.   I thought I knew all the Old buildings in the Old Town , but found this gem of a facade remaining in an alleyway just off the High Street and thus the River Hull . I left home in 1965 so my explorations then were limited.
I walked along the River looking its muddy best on a beautiful day with Magritte breadstick clouds, past the two bridges that once defined ones day , on time or late, dependant on a bridge remaining open for traffic.
So to Drypool Bridge, and looking for the DryPool which must have given the name, and the metal plaque of 1888 on the bridge which reminded me of my school badge which bore the same ship with the logo of the three crowns of Kingston upon Hull.
I  walked on past the well known and documented Georgian houses of Hull and Dock Offices until I reached one that looked old, and seemed to be occupied in part , but only Google Earth pinpointed its name for me - North Bridge House, Charlotte Street.

North Bridge House looks as if it was once warehouses, its certainly Victorian and all I can find out at present is that its a listed Grade2 former Ship Supplies Warehouse, a Chandlers. I'm so glad it didn't get pulled down , its very ugly in an endearing way, Ive always had a soft spot for a Mansard roof, and way away from the Humber.

I found Charterhouse, Andrew Marvels home, a redundant graveyard once the overspill(!) for St

Scott St bridge 
Mary's Lowgate and walked up the river to the closed Scott Street Bridge . I'm hoping some of the City of Culture bounty will fall on Scott Street Bridge . A restoration would bring the  Old industrial area of Wincolmlee back into prominence . I started thinking of my grandfather , a ships Engineer with Wilson Line, and remembered his Indenture agreement  as he served time on land learning his trade. He was an engineer all his life,  working with Hull Corporation Transport in charge of Tram engineering   , and in his old Age till his death in 1960 still maintaining his 1930 Alvis , known as Wilfred . I also remember him running the old Singer Sewing machine with a bullet shaped spool running up Cotton  bedding sheets .

Still thinking about Grandpa Bruce I started looking up at the factories still around. Here the Bridge of Sighs across Wincolmlee of  Maizecor, still milling maize into Polenta and maizeflour  for snacks .

 I'm into the Industrial thing now , and turning away from the river back to Paragon . Firstly joy of joy ,
I see the start of Barmy (Barmston) Drain ! Friend at Barmston on the coast took me to Barmston Drain as it enters the North sea, well I presume its come all the way from Hull in a land draining scheme. I saw much more of it when I went with Hull sister to  Dunelm Mill in Clough Road on a new home buying spree. I now wonder if Great Grandfather the Chief Waterworks engineer for Hull In 1870s  to 90s  worked here on plans . He would have loved the nerd in me I'm sure.

Just one more old treat before heading back to the station . I found, just alone amongst Old garages and sheds this wonderful early Victorian house. I presume its listed, as otherwise why is it still there amongst the engineering works ?
Cooper Street, could move right in !

Im away from the river now, past Rose Downs and Thompsons and 
Prize for best Smokers Corner goes to Smiths 

Parkinsons engineering

Next time in Kingston upon Hull I'm going  to Neptune Street and finding Amos and Smith , where my grandfather learned his trade .

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A little sleuthing , a little light relief

David Hockney's brother and sister

It can all be done on a mobile these days, the Sleuthing research I mean . Put me in a strange environment and  I need books , maps, libraries, people , and binoculars. I like to know the Topography , History and Transport logistics of wherever I am . It must stem from my teenage Youth Hostelling days, or maybe I have it completely the wrong way round. Did Youth Hostelling emerge from the teenage desire to know the Topography and History of places I found myself in or would like to revisit to sleuth away for myself.

When I was fifteen and on holiday in the North Lakes with best school friend and my family , best friend and I would go every evening to the Moot Hall in Keswick for a  free lecture. We sat through 35mm slides presented by earnest men . I learned about the Ice Age and how it formed the Lakes, another night I learned about Geology of the Lakes, next would be History, then Industry and especially Mining and then the Coming of the Railways, Wainwright and Tourism .
My friend Christine and I would tramp the fells with my father's Bartholomew map , much preferred to the OS ones. We got lost in Grizedale Forest , picked Billberries at Tarn Howes, saw Pencils made at the Cumberland Factory and took endless trips round Derwentwater to Hawse End and the Lodore Hotel. We read Mrs Tiggywinkle and had tea with my aunt, the village school mistress at Newlands Valley , in her huge slate roofed house lit by candles , and heated by coal fires only. It seemed to be one long search for information to enhance the delight of the PLACE.

In the 2000s+ , INFO related to  a stay in a strange environment may be accessed in additional ways. There is nothing for provoking study in me , as  a plaque on a wall. All my VAK learning styles now come into gradual use over a few days.
Here  is what tempted me yesterday .

I wonder if the security tapes of the Leeds Building Society   show hundreds of the curious, walking through their door to view the old stone neatly hidden behind the corner of the entrance. It might have been more sensible to have put the stone in plain view from the outside, but perhaps the establishment gets points for footfall stats like Filey Library might. So I now can get an idea of the extent of  medieval Leeds. I did a wander around Leeds bridge the other day trying to find Lamberts Yard, (where our Photograph was part of a Humans of Leeds exhibition several years ago)now not accessible  and for sale. The nearby Queens Court and Blayds yard gave me the idea however. Here I applaud the pubs and small cafes nestled amongst old domestic buildings in Georgian  LEEDS.  It can't be easy for them to comply with all the regulations both for Buildings and Health and Safety to provide good facilities for daytime and especially evening punters . Look up all you students of Leeds, enjoy the old bricks at the start of your nights out.

Sleuthing provided me with much joy at weekend .

The weather was mostly foul, but when Colin had this view from L19, I was entranced by the light shining on a lone gold dome to the West of the more obvious Parkinson building .  The search for the tower began . I googled gold domes in Leeds, victorian towers in Leeds, and got daughter to bring West Riding  Guide to the buildings of England,Pevsner, my 67 edition to the hospital . No mention there, and book now well out of date. 
Eventually after a huge thread (for me) on Facebook I was told it by husband of dear Leeds friend that the tower was the Clothmakers Centenary Hall. I walked to find it the next day, I walked  for ages in and around the University Campus next to LGI. Eldest Daughter held the fort at bedside of her Father.  Google Maps and Google Earth were no help, but after an hour of service roads , dead ends and wheelie bins I turned a corner , and there it was, like a pearl of great price for me on that Sunday . Its actually just a stones throw from the Tesco Express next to hospital , and now I see that Gold Dome everywhere.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Live chat

And I thought I could already do everything online!
Dear son-in law Nick  always uses the live chat portals when helping me to update software on my Mac or checking to see how I  get a PAC code  when I have one of my frequent thoughts on getting a Fairphone or a WileyFox phone .
 Nick and I are kindred spirits in the Research World. We both love Which and always try and buy their BEST BUYS. No need to buy the books or sign up for their website as Filey Library subscribes for us in the NYCC, maybe one of the only positives I can actually say right now ,as Filey Library becomes a Hybrid , and we lose well loved Staff members to cuts , and volunteers are trained up .

Librarian daughter tells me that the applying for Blue badges  and Bus Passes is big business in Filey Library where many of the  older population cannot work out how to do online at all.

Nine  years ago I offered lessons to Filey People , where they would bring their own laptop to St Johns and using the wifi there I would help them to update their skills . There was hardly any uptake in 2008, but now  many older people are finding that the ADMIN and RED TAPE and BUREAUCRACY of the 21st Century around all the papers necessary for their health and well being can be done very easily online , and so REALLY need the skills .

Ive been in the NYCC chatroom , that is where one asks a question Why hasn't  Blue Badge for spouse arrived yet though applied for 4 months ago ?
I just filled in the dialogue boxes as the conversation with JORDAN proceeded to successful conclusion . The Blue Badge is now en route. 

I am well pleased, THANK YOU NICK for all the skills I have gleaned from you over the years. Don't worry I'm not ready for Tinder . I've got fresh confidence however so I've done Time Machine on the Mac, cleared the pics on ICLOUD on to my portable hard drive so as to avoid paying for space .

Some things will never be the same without paper and pencil .

Measuring the plot

Boys and I had a good session on plot yesterday . They did all the entries and measurements so I can have a ground plan .This will help me each year to make  sure the rotation is done . We couldn't have done this online. I couldn't have done this alone . Building surveyors still need to be on site, still need to measure, even with laser equipment , and then the plans still might have to go on paper , and two people are usually needed in the field. 

Boys and I are not going to upload or download anything . I have a notebook and paper and decent 2Bpencils. When I  get to Leeds tomorrow and am waiting for spouse to have his TAVI heart procedure at Leeds General Infirmary over next few days, I shall spend my time in waiting enjoying transposing the measurements to a FAIR COPY . No computers will be involved. The rest of the time, 2 to 4 days we have been told , I shall enjoy the Museums and Galleries of Leeds in between the strict 2pm to 4pm  and 6pm  to 8pm  visiting times and browse the Computer Department of the new John Lewis , offering a 3yr extended warranty on Pcs and Tablets and debatably the  best prices in UK at present .

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Filey remembers the Hull Blitz . #Hull2017

Hull Blitz from Cammish Family 

Our family parrot the much loved Polly died during the last war , not through old age , but because her diet of oranges and bananas was withdrawn and she would not eat the substitutes. 
That is one of the few stories we Bruce children of the 50s were ever told of the  1939-45 WAR in Hull by our Grandfather. From our father and aunt we gleaned more, 
  • how our father had to be careful cycling to the docks seeing to telecommunications , careful not to set off unexploded stuff
  • how one lemon would make lemon curd , lemon meringue and the skin wiped round the nails to improve the look of them .I ask you , 1 lemon?
  • how the Morrison shelter was in the breakfast room of Church Mount and Grannie had to be wheeled in her wheelchair and how the time before the All Clear was usually spent playing cards
  • How wonderful a real egg was
  • How counting the seconds after a Doodlebug cut out was the most frightening thing in the whole war in Sutton
  • How father went to work at the telephone exchange all day and fire watched in Sutton  many nights
  • How visitors from the College , a couple of hundred yards away from Church Mount  would always bring their ration books with them in case they couldn't get home
  • How the pantry window still had the criss cross tape across it in 1986 

Fireman Eddie Cammish 
We only heard random and seemingly trivial stuff, and now that I am in my riper years I wish I had  asked more questions. I blogged about this once before and can add little to my meagre knowledge .

This is not the case with friends in Filey . Joanne and Ian Cammish at Cammish Outdoors shop have plenty to tell . 

Joanne writes of Ians Dad

Hull Blitz.
Hull 1941

The year was 1941 this was the year where Hull suffered the most bombing and night raids ,most nights in the early summer onwards the young Eddie Cammish of Filey was a fire man in Hull for the war effort at that time one Sunday night in particular he re counted to me that he had a 24 hour pass home ,as he left Filey for Hull walking up Station avenue(FILEY) the sky was already a light from the bombing that was to greet him on his arrival . As the train neared Hull the whole of Hull seemed to be ablaze, he went out of the front of the station many bombs had caused serious damage and bombs were raining down on him as he ran to the top of Spring Bank (Blundell’s yard) the fire station buildings were damaged too, his fellow officers shouted come on Eddie were off just now so he jumped on the engine as it took off. the scenes were of blasts and carnage all over their first job was a wholestreet that had been blown to bits, with a lonesome armsaluting 
heavenwards ......There was no body attached ....all through the night the Salvation Army tea wagon stayed by their side as they tried to dig bodies out of the mayhem, constantly at their side offering support tea and sandwiches, and they didn’t leave till they were all done. Eddie would be very emotional when recounting these tales .he always donated to the Salvation Army; they were very dear to his heart.

Hull Blitz  photo from Cammish's 

My friend Mick Corner who grew up in Beverley tells another story of the Hull Blitz. He tells of relations who lived in the Boulevard, and being completely bombed out set out to walk to Beverley but were turned back from doing so( as road blocks contained the city -my understanding). The family did find a way out and turned up at Beverley with nothing but the clothes they stood up in , and covered in black soot. 

Ive blogged about this today as I was so moved by the MADE IN HULL installation and light show in Queen Victoria Square .