Tag Archives: 47

The owner of the ‘Iron Post’

Friday 25th August 2017, 10.20pm (day 2,192)

Iron Post, 25/8/17

The Iron Post is a pub in Urbana. Many years ago — well, twelve anyway (in 2005) — this place saved our bacon on the 4th July when it was the only pub in the city that was open for food and drink. I also remember being here in 2006 and talking to this guy — he had a beard then — on the day that the state of Illinois passed the ordinance which forbade smoking inside any public building. It’s safe to say he wasn’t happy. He won’t remember me, but when I returned this evening for a beer and saw him sat in the far corner of the bar doing his books, or whatever it is, I recognised him.

And so ends the sixth full year of this blog. I set out to do one — I’ve done six. I may as well keep going, there are still things in the world worth depicting. Are you sticking with me? Good, let’s do some more.

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In Urbana

Thursday 24th August 2017, 5.00pm (day 2,191)

Urbana house, 24/8/17

I said yesterday that Champaign-Urbana was not much to write home about, but the ‘Historic District’ of Urbana (in the US, this means anywhere with buildings over about a century old) is an exception. The housing in those few square blocks is amazing. When I was here a dozen years ago I did get the chance to go in one of these, and they are just as impressive inside as out, even if they do have cellars that one imagines could be used for the final scenes of The Silence of the Lambs.

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The University of Illinois

Wednesday 23rd August 2017, 10.30am (day 2,190)

U of I, 23/8/17

Had I been doing this blog back in 2005 and 2006 you would have seen a whole bunch of photos of this place. I came at that time for a research trip, and incidentally on 5th July 2005 featured on the sports page of the local daily newspaper (this is true, and I can prove it…). I enjoyed it enough to feel that it was worth coming back for these few days between seeing the eclipse and going to do the work I have actually come to the US to do, which starts on Monday. As with many US university campuses — it’s an impressive place, a real monumental seat of learning. This building is the Foellinger Auditorium, viewed with a zoom down the length of the Main Quad.

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PK’s bar, Carbondale

Tuesday 22nd August 2017, 3.20pm (day 2,189)

PK's bar, 22/8/17

This bar stands across the road from Carbondale’s Amtrak station and was therefore a suitable place to wait for my train back north. It seemed to be the kind of place where most of the clientele probably never went anywhere else — so I kind of liked it. PK’s stands for Pizza King, by the way — the matriarch who ran the place explained to me that they started out being the first people in Carbondale to open a pizza parlour, but when everyone else started doing it, they decided to turn it into a bar instead. Which must have been a good move, because apparently that shift took place fifty years ago.

Carbondale also gains for itself the distinction of being the 200th different identifiable location to appear on this blog. Thus, about every 11th shot on here is taken somewhere different, which is a decent amount of variety, I guess.

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Journey’s end

Monday 21st August 2017, 1.25pm (day 2,188)

Eclipse, 21/8/17

It’s not quite 3pm here but considering this is what I came several thousand miles to see: I think we’re done with photography for the day, don’t you?

It was back in May 2013 that I saw the annular eclipse in north Queensland, and interesting as that was, it does not really approach the awesome nature of totality; the beauty of the corona and the ‘Baily’s beads’, light shining through valleys on the Moon’s edge, which I just about manage to capture here. And as I said about the Australian one — do you realise we might be one of the few planets in the whole universe to be able to see something like this, thanks to the coincidence that the Moon and Sun are the same apparent size in the sky? Lucky us. If you ever get the chance to see one — my advice is, take it.

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View from the ‘Saluki’

Sunday 20th August 2017, 10.15am (day 2,187)

Gilman, Illinois, 20/8/17

The ‘Saluki’ is the name Amtrak give to the 8.15am service that runs the length of the state of Illinois, from Chicago down to Carbondale in the south. I am reliably informed that this gas station sits in Gilman, Illinois, where for no particular reason — Amtrak trains often seem to stop for no particular reason — we halted for a moment or two on this Sunday morning.

Are there maybe too many wires in this shot? Are the perpendiculars not quite what they could be? Yes to both, but I still quite like this shot. Gives my day an ‘on the road’ feeling. Have you worked out why I’m in southern Illinois yet? Well, I’m sure you will do so tomorrow.

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Stopover (brief)

Saturday 19th August 2017, 2.20pm (day 2,186)

Toronto, 19/8/17

I could leave this city unnamed, as a test of your geographical knowledge… but OK, it’s Toronto, meaning Canada makes its debut on the blog. However, the fact that I should have been in a position to capture this shot at least 90 minutes before I did suggests that this country’s national airline might have done a better job with punctuality today. What should have been a comfortable stopover with plenty of time for lunch became a 45-minute plummet through airport corridors and some quality time with US Customs and Border Protection (who seem to have colonised their friendly neighbour to the north already). This is not going to be the least stressful journey I have ever undertaken, and it’s only half done yet.

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Rolling up

Friday 18th August 2017, 9.15am (day 2,185)

Cigarette break, 18/8/17

Well, I assume he’s rolling a cigarette, but perhaps he might just be playing a tune on the world’s smallest harmonica.

Last day in Manchester for a fortnight, anyway. If things work out — I have, let’s say, a logistically complex next 72 hours, but the payoff will be good if it does…

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The forgotten footbridge, Manchester Victoria

Thursday 17th August 2017, 8.50am (day 2,184)

Unused footbridge, 17/8/17

Whatever has happened down the years to the configuration of Manchester Victoria station, this footbridge is definitely less used than it must once have been. The only time it’s really worth using it is if you’re sat at the back of the 8:05 from Hebden Bridge, which stops on platform 6 and the principal footbridge gets clogged up with the contents of the full train, this one is slightly nearer. But hey, it’s got an interesting view.

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Invasive species

Wednesday 16th August 2017, 9.40am (day 2,183)

Himalayan balsam, 16/8/17

Ah yes, some good old Impatiens glandulifera, a.k.a. Himalayan balsam, our friendly local invasive weed which has taken over entire swathes of northern England; if you see this bastard growing anywhere near you, you should kill it — though apparently ripping it up just makes things worse, which is helpful. So don’t ask me how, maybe nobody knows which is why, soon, it will have taken over the entire island and I guess we’re just going to have to learn to eat it.

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