A day out at the football, and it was Clare’s idea. She sits there looking rather amused at the boisterous but harmless fellow Morecambe FC fans who took over The Leopard pub near Doncaster station at lunchtime. The stencil of Pelé, to the right, also sets the tone. Sadly, no one was feeling as boisterous after watching a rather tame 1-0 defeat, but that was all still to come.
The gentleman with the somewhat alien purple hue and the ‘P’ branded on his forehead (this is what happens when you sit in front of the data projector) is Andy Burnham, the elected Mayor of Greater Manchester. For a politician, he spoke a reasonable amount of sense at the meeting I attended today. 40 people in a room, about the same number attending online — all expressing freedom of choice either way. Seems fair enough to me.
In recent years I have adapted my walk into campus so I don’t go down Oxford Road, but today was an exception, for trivial reasons. It’s the main thoroughfare between the two universities and the city centre, and walking along it today at least allowed an appreciation of the fact that there are people back in view, doing things, enriching the local environment. The big influx of students hasn’t happened yet — but next week this should be heaving. And it’s all the better for it. I heard from an academic colleague today about the research showing how lockdown, spending 100% of our time in one place, is devastating for our ability to actually form new knowledge and long-term memories. Why are there those who love it and crave it?
Anyway, no more pandemic politics for now. I merely regret, slightly, that the angles are not quite right on this one.
Wednesday 15th September 2021, 10.25am (day 3,674)
These fences along Old Gate are, doubtless, the prelude to the building of new flood defences in the town. Now one might consider this a good thing, particularly if one’s property has ended up under water on one of the four occasions (count ’em) that the town centre has been inundated even just in the lifetime of this blog (June 2012, July ’12, Dec ’15, Feb ’20).
But in the first place, one can question the necessity of these works — or at least, wonder why they have been prioritised over known strategies of flood prevention that could take place on the moors above the town. But that land is all owned by the Walshaw estate, who want to continue burning heather and ensuring the peat bogs don’t hold the rain that falls, because it’s uneconomic for them to do that; so they push the problem down-valley, and now Heben will push it further down, and unless we build walls all the way down to the North Sea, some poor bastard will get that water in the end.
Second, all this will most likely turn the pleasant, leafy environs of the Hebden Water into a stripped-bare drainage channel — as similar ones have in Mytholmroyd. If the foliage in the background of this shot is still there in a few months’ time, I will take this back. But I doubt it. So the attractiveness of the town centre (and it does matter — many of the shops here would not exist without tourism) will be ruined, and we’ll still be blind to the real causes of the problem; bad land management and climate change.
With my legs increasingly suffering from overuse and basic middle age, I went and paid £50 today to get legally beaten up by a masseuse. I think it helped; and your average dominatrix would charge a lot more. So I’m led to believe.
Spent most of the day until 2.30pm behind the wheel, and the rest sat at home recovering from the first part of the day. But this scene did cause me to pause on the way home, on the A702 just north of Biggar, in southern Scotland. I’m not sure I’ve quite captured the sunbeam effect, but I did my best.
A couple of thousand feet up a Scottish mountain (Mount Battock), populated almost entirely by grouse. There were no other people, which meant that the grouse were somewhat surprised to see me. And this beetle was crossing my path regardless of my own intentions, with this determined look on its little insect face. “You’re in my way — move, now.”
A 5am alarm call, pick up the car, pack the car, engage in a five and a half hour drive from home to Dundee (a pretty good run, in fact). Pick up key for Joe’s new flat, travel to said flat, unload car, hang around a bit to check all was OK and then…. well, what would you to do unwind from all that on a Saturday afternoon? Something different perhaps, but my habits are well enough ingrained. I did feel like this corner flag at Dundee Violet FC, however.
The colander. The multipack of Seabrook’s Salt & Vinegar crisps (this is a very Yorkshire brand, in case you did not know). Many more things that are not compressed enough to appear on this shot. He’s ready…. we think…. for tomorrow’s drive north, and for the weeks that are still to come.
The beginning of what will probably be a trilogy of pictures. On Saturday Joe leaves home — at least for university, in Dundee. We took him out for dinner tonight, not very far away (hence this also becomes the 1,500th Hebden Bridge picture to feature on the blog). Of course I sincerely hope this will not be his ‘last supper’. But whether he will ever live here again in the truly permanent sense that he has for the last 18 years, five months and five days (he has never lived in any other house than he does now) — who knows… But that’s the thing about the future, isn’t it? Who knows?