Sunday, 23 July 2017

Dancing in the street


Not having TV or social media folk had to make their own entertainment in the old days. In Yorkshire and North East England they came up with this, it's called rapper sword dancing. It involves five dancers, five double handed steel blades and a guy on the pipes or maybe an accordion playing a catchy rhythm. They whirl around, leap over one another and weave to and fro never leaving go of the handles and trying not to decapitate themselves as they go. The dance ends with the blades intertwined in a star-like figure which is then held aloft as if the solution to all life's problems has been found. It is profoundly pointless and that I suppose is the point as, having made the star, they start all over again, always twirling, twirling, twirling ...

These guys were part of the three day Hull Folk and Maritime Festival which this year I managed to get to see part. There was folk singing on several stages. Not really my scene. I don't mind a bit of the Irish pipes, (Planxty and so on) but modern "folk songs" make me want to reach for the mute button. But then there were lots of folk dance groups doing their thing in various spots across town. Now somehow this appealed; the often bizarre costumes, the music: all good stuff. Below is a sample. 









And last but by no means least ...


Now this being Hull the city of culture as well as all these delights the BBC Proms was being broadcast from the stage in the dock and the UK Pride festival was being held in Queen's Gardens.  I could post about them now but I think I've gone on too long as it is...

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Going up fast


I last posted about the new "swanky" hotel on Ferensway back in April when it looked like this. Since then the rooms, which consist of prefabricated boxes, have been slotted in and now the exterior cladding is going up. At this rate it should be ready just in time to miss the end of the year of culture.

The Hull Daily Mail has redesigned its website and so doing seems to have made unobtainable pages from the old site. As a consequence the many links on this blog to the HDM will probably not work. I don't know why they've done this, I'll ask them what's going on but do not have high hopes.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Rosebowl Fountain one more time


I've shown this fountain several times before. I like it, that's a good enough reason for me to post it again

The weekend in black and white is here.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Flor'ull clock


If the C of C can spend a small fortune on silly Hull puns then I'm making no apologies for this. The design of this years display is, of course the logo for the culture fest that you may have seen here or here and rightly ignored. Oh look, is that the time? must dash ....

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

You are here


If by some misfortune you find yourself at the wrong end of Whitefriargate and feel a bit weary and lost then this helpful tourist map on the old Britannia Building Society will set you straight. It shows some of the notable landmarks and surprisingly the casino on George Street who presumably are sponsoring this thing. It occurred to me that  about 80-90% of the whole of this blog can be positioned on that small map. I must get out more.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

I have a little list


That's the long list of empty buildings on Whitefriargate, poor Demon Trading has been added, closed because of high business rates (well done Hull City Council) and fall in passing trade due the recent year long city works (again take a bow HCC!). Even the website no longer works. But all is not doom and gloom, no sir, because we can take one off the list. A charity shop will be taking over in the store next door but one to this. 


This art deco style building was, I recently found out, the original BHS store built in 1934 and stands on the site of the original frontage of the George Hotel which in turn stood on the site of the residence of an Elizabethan businessman. (Did I mention Whitefriargate goes way back?). The current BHS store is on the larger list of empty buildings in Hull but disappointingly not on the list of nine buildings given listed status in an announcement today, the campaign to save the BHS mural continues.


Monday, 17 July 2017

Red Bridge


This much graffitied footbridge over the rail line to Bridlington connects Hotham Road North with Priory Drive (not with Hotham Road South, no sir, that would be too obvious). Although provision for cyclists to push their bikes is given most I saw chose to carry their machines up and over. As for the wheelchair bound amongst us ... well a long diversion I'm afraid unless you've got a very strong friend.



Margot took these while I stood in the rain and moaned.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Small Decoration, Nothing Fancy


At some point in time whoever owned 61 Whitefriargate took it upon themselves for whatever reason to embellish the rather plain fa├žade with a little decoration. Nothing too extravagant, mind you, nor too noticeable. And so there it is, this tile or moulding, a foot maybe eighteen inches in height, clinging to the wall all by itself alone. It just sits there, in splendid isolation, beneath a burglar alarm of an adult games facility (amusement arcade to you and me), unnoticed by the all crowds that no longer parade down Whitefriagate, slowly crumbling into oblivion. 


The weekend in black and white is here.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

New Eyes Each Year


Yet Another Larkin Event! It seems you can drive out Larkin with a pitchfork but he still comes straight back in. So this is the New Eyes Each Year thing at the Brynmor Jones library at Hull University. As Margot quipped "New Eyes Each Year" sounds like a good line for an optician and indeed there are plenty of Larkin's spectacles on show along with his shoes, razor, trousers, crayons and so on, there's even an x-ray of his head!. If, like me, you are a gawper at the debris of other people's lives then you will find yourself in a rich seam. If however you need to know just what each display means then pick up the informative pamphlet that is available or ask the helpful assistants. I found it an interesting half an hour or so; my one gripe was the ambient music. I know Larkin couldn't go a day without jazz but there can be too much of the damn stuff. But that's a petty grumble, I wear a hearing aid; normal ears might not notice it so much. So what does the passing visitor learn from all this? That he was an obsessive, a hoarder of books and correspondence, he had big feet (I'm saying nothing but he did have three lady friends on the go at the same time) and a large collection of ties; other than that his bric-a-brac is pretty unsurprising middle class stuff. Overall it's a satisfyingly dull exhibition, really, and somewhat depressing; a bit like his poetry.


Some of his books, all catalogued of course, he was a librarian after all.


Some Beatrix Potter potteries.


Mr Larkin's Olivetti word processor. (Margot took this)


His hedgehog killing machine along with an early draft of Toads.


Margot took this. She claims it's somewhat sinister but I think it's just a depressing collection of neck wear.  


Trademark spectacles.


His middle name was Arthur


He was given this little Hitler by his father so it's no surprise he kept it. It's more camp than Kampf.


I thought this was a nice chilling touch. Larkin died sometime between 2nd and 3rd December 1985. He never did get his pension.

Friday, 14 July 2017

T.W Postern Gate


I wonder when Postern Gate became the one word Posterngate in use these days. No matter, it is of no importance. The mysterious T.W I've heard stands for Trinity Ward a reference to the Trinity House mob who ruled the area back in the day or perhaps (and more likely) that Holy Trinity Church is just across the street. I'm sure I've shown a bit of this building before ... ah yes here it is.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The right to bare arms


"The police are the public and the public are the police ..."
                                                                                                             Sir Robert Peel

In this country, well in Hull anyway, the sight of armed police patrolling the streets was until recently thankfully extremely rare. We don't much want guns on show in public for obvious reasons. The Humberside force does hold the record for the highest use of tasers in the UK but that is another matter. After the Manchester attack in May this year, however, Humberside Police have been keen to show they are protecting the public with little displays of force like this in Queen Victoria square. I'm not quite sure what good they think are doing by standing around armed to the teeth like this. I've seen pictures in the paper of them posing with children and tourists in a blatant PR blitz. I suppose they get the chance to chew the cud with colleagues, stretch their legs and get some welcome sunshine on their arms. I have to say I didn't feel very protected but then I didn't feel very threatened either.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Poundland Blues


I've shown this magnificent store before when it was a 99p Store just about to be taken over by the more upmarket Poundland. It seems that take over hit the profits of said Poundland hard (84% decline) and as a consequence this store is now an ex-Poundland (call me a cynic but I suspect that was always the intention; takeover and close down the competition is the way of the business world). And while I'm here and going on (and on) about Poundland the other store I posted about on Ferensway has also been closed and is now to be a gym and sportswear shop (how exciting!). So now the city of culture will have to make do with only one Poundland. Can things get any worse?


Margot took this symphony of blue.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Sweet Chestnut


Hull Council has been planting replacement trees in recent years and a favourite of whoever is in charge seems to be the Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa). At this time of the year it is in full (and I do mean full) bloom. The trees are covered in hundreds of spiky flowers. The bees love them. They do however have a peculiar but not unpleasant scent which some say smells like semen! I haven't noticed any fruits in the autumn as yet but with global warming no doubt folk will gathering up the nuts for roasting. Sweet chestnuts are supposed to be long living; up to 2 or 3,000 years, so these could be the Council's best investment to date. This plant is not any relative of the Horse Chestnut which I posted earlier this year; eating conkers is definitely not recommended.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Edward Booth, fireman


On our way through Spring Bank cemetery yesterday I came across this unique memorial which I hadn't noticed before. I think I might have remembered a steam train on a gravestone. Anyhow the web is a wonderful place and after two  little clicks it provided me with this site which tells you all you need to know about the sad demise in 1906 of young Edward Booth, fireman, in a rail accident and the subsequent improvements in rail safety that followed. Thanks for this work must go to the Friends of Hull General Cemetery and to W.P. Everingham & Sons Ltd, a local firm of monumental masons.



Margot took the close up.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

WW on Chants Ave


I'd seen this Wilberforce thing on Chanterlands Avenue before but never had a camera handy so today armed with a new-to-me Fuji I was prepared.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Suffer the little children


So now there are eight reflection pools (at great expense)  in the space outside Holy Trinity Church now known as Hull Minster (which has more resonance?). Anyhow these are supposed to give people a "chance to reflect on their busy lives and their place in God's world". We could reflect that this space was used as a weekly market place but Hull Council decided against such a vernacular use and it has stood empty for twenty or more years. Yeah, well whatever: the people of Hull are now left with eight square puddles that refill every now and then and not surprisingly those who like that kind of thing like that kind of thing.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

Slow Motion


Given the eternity that they are intended for these stones are rightly taking their time over falling down.

The theme for the first of July is 'motion'.

The weekend in black and white is here.

Friday, 23 June 2017

One year later and ... what?


Anniversaries come round so quickly these days, I must be getting old. Can it be a year since we strolled down to the polling station and made a mess of the world by voting to leave the EU? With the shenanigans in Brussels and Downing Street, the departure of one prime Minister, the humiliation of a second,  and the decline of the seemingly invincible Tory hegemony into a rudderless collection of loons and fools kept in office if at all by the even more bizarre (if that were possible) Democratic Unionist Party the year since the utterly unnecessary Brexit vote has been entertaining if completely unproductive with regards to leaving the EU. The UK Government hasn't got a clue what it wants to do (if it has it hasn't told anyone) or how to go about getting it and neither does it have the power at home to come to a decision on hard or soft Brexit or anything in between really. We shall see if the Queen's Speech gets past the Commons; if not then who knows what will happen. Another election or a minority Labour Government led by a man who was described as unelectable by the vast majority of his own MPs only last year. Add to all this events such as terrorist attacks and the appalling loss of life in a fire in a London tower block and it's clearly going to be a long hot summer for whoever is in charge which is as it should be.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Aristocrats


Allow me, if you  will, to have my annual rant against hot weather. It's 29C and stinking humid as hell and I'm hating it. I know, I know 29C is just warming up for some places but this pale psychrophilic Englishman much prefers 19C;  actually now I come to come to think 9C is just dandy. To add to the misery everyone is supposed to be happy now summer is here: oh look! blue skies and barbecues and relaxing in the glorious sunshine (sunshine is not glorious it's a vile irridiating emission from the furnace in the sky and it can bugger off). Stuff that for a game.

Deep intake of breath ...
aaand relax ...

Where was I? Oh yes
These common gulls were taken by Margot in wonderful cool March. It's difficult not to see them as laughing at something, the human condition perhaps or the Brexit talks that finally start today, the PM who is afraid to show her face in public ("strong and stable"), that bloke from Hull and Hereabouts; there's so much to choose from. Or maybe they've just heard the dirtiest joke ever.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

An Old Stinker


Some birds have different or dialect names. Where I come from, Hartlepool, these beautiful birds are known as stinkers; civilised folk call them starlings of course. They used to be much commoner than they are nowadays with flocks in winter of thousands but now you are lucky to see a hundred or so wheeling around.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Another Blackbird


As the theme for this month was Nature I think I'll take a little break, put the blog on autopilot and post a few bits of nature for the next few days.


Margot took this.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Blackbird


Not really in the mood for this blogging game so here's a blackbird to be going on with.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Lord bless us and save us


They say confession is good for the soul and I confess I got it wrong along with just about every other pundit (some of whom were even paid). The electorate had a simple job to do, pick a government, any government, but somehow it chose not to do its job. Well fine, so be it. Oh the Tories are still there for sure but only by going into into bed with Northern Ireland's Calvinist loony party and then only by the narrowest of margins. The general view now is yet another election and soon. How exciting! This church's wayside pulpit may have the answer to the country's present political entanglement, but somehow I doubt even heavenly intervention is going to clear up this little lot. Meanwhile I'm sticking to forecasting what's for dinner.