Monday, 30 August 2010

The Bells of... St Mary's

St Mary's Church, Lowgate, Kingston upon Hull

I said in yesterday's blog we were going to visit St Mary's Church in the centre of Hull near to the old town. My son and I did indeed and a handful of volunteers were on hand to open the church for passersby when we arrived. The church itself has undergone some restoration work, but inside is in desperate need of serious attention. The atmosphere inside is pleasant and welcoming and we were unofficially 'guided' by Judith Preston Anderson, a former Churchwarden and now helper/cleaner and a woman with a passion and a great deal of knowledge about her church.

Looking toward the alter

Although the date church was consecrated is uncertain, what is certain that it existed in 1327 and just 6 years later baptisms, burials and other services were permitted. The tower was added in the 15th century and fell down in 1518 - strange that the same thing happened to the church of St Mary's in Beverley two years later - Jerry builders!

A detail of the stained glass window with the small windows in the middle the oldest of the glass, the three crowns symbol of Hull and to the left, an old Royal coat of arms.

William Wilberforce's grandfather was a Churchwarden at St Mary's. The church has gone through several periods of upheaval and uncertainty and although the church miraculously survived serious damage in World War 2, there are less than 100 people living in the city centre parish today and I am told that a recent Sunday service had 22 people including clergy and the choir. The epitaph on the church's website states: "The future is full of question marks, as the past is full of interest and inspiration. And the past is present here and now. Above all, the same God is very present ... This is not just a "museum" - but a church."

One of many 'grotesques' in the church on the walls and perhaps you can see the poor condition of the wall and the carving is starting to deteriorate.

The reason my son and I visited the church was that my son bought an antique book recently, Tickell's History of the Town and County of Kingston upon Hull. This book is 200 years old and in great condition. The book itself is dedicated to William Wilberforce, but inside the book was a printed flyer addressed to Sir Samuel Standidge, Mayor of Hull at the time of publication, 1796. This is almost certainly the book that Standidge had and the flyer itself is a rare object.

Sir Samuel Standidge was born in Bridlington, East Yorkshire, UK in 1725. He served his apprenticeship at sea and by 1749 he was a Captain. In the Georgian period, Standidge was recognised as the father of the whaling industry in Hull and made a success of it despite his fellow merchants thinking this was a bit of a barmy venture.

Standige lived in the High Street, at number 1 and the house is still there today. He bought a house in the East Yorkshire countryside in Holderness to the east of Hull at a village called Thorngumbald with 200 acres of land to play with. His house was built from the bricks of a demolished leper house! Standidge was also a farmer and in his spare time was Sheriff of Hull, an Alderman as well as the Mayor.

The wall memorial to Sir Samuel Standidge

Eventually Captain Standige was knighted by George lll. Standidge died in 1801 and left £75,000 in his will, an enormous sum today: £2,412,750.00 in fact. He was married with just one daughter. There is a memorial to him in the church as well as to his son in law, his only daughter and his wife. He is buried in the north aisle – or so we thought. In fact his floor gravestone is now outside in the small graveyard attached to the church, exposed to the elements with the engraving slowly fading away. His bones were probably reburied in the church’s other graveyard, some half a mile away.

On the way back to the car, I spotted this familiar alley way, one of many that interconnect streets in the old town. This one is called 'The Pathway' and is on Bowlalley Lane.

This was a useful visit and I hope you found it interesting. It’s the first time I’ve ever been in St Mary's and I was both delighted and concerned; like Holy Trinity down the road, money needs to be found sooner rather than later if it’s to survive.

History on our doorstep.

Chat soon


Sunday, 29 August 2010

Incy Wincy Spider's Hideout Discovered!

Not blogged for a week, then two in one day! I've always believed if you ain't got anything to say, don't say it and it has been such a routine time, there's nothing happening that I think would be of any interest. However today, as a measure of how really exciting life is, i thought I'd share with you a couple of things.

My son and I went into Hull to get some film developed for him. He's just bought a 360 degree camera and we went to the Chinese restaurant for lunch while we waited for the first film to be processed. It was a lovely meal, we collected our negatives, bought a new camera bag for me and then went off into the old town of Hull to see if St Mary's church was open.

Sadly, the church was just closing for the day, but this is indeed an old church and within it lies a monument of a certain civic dignitary who lived in hull going back 200 years and ended up as the town Mayor (it was a town in those days). We are going to visit it on Bank Holiday Monday to see the monument and I'll report on the trip and give you some history of this lovely old building and why we're going to see the monument tomorrow.

The old part of the town (which goes back to about 1215 originally) still has narrow streets and cobble stones, old tall buildings and fascinating architecture. The picture above is just one view of Bishop Lane which leads down to the High Street, one of the oldest streets which served business carried out on the river for centuries.

The second bit of excitement was my greenhouse has had a makeover with new shelving! I know how to make the headlines. The greenhouse is a lot tidier now but the tidying process was rather creepy. I was sorting the pots into size and i heard this pitter-patter - i kid you not, and I turned to see a spider the size of a rat run across a plastic bag! It had a saddle on its back! Now I'm not frightened of spiders, I wouldn't invite one for tea you understand, but the sight of this one made me shiver. I eventually found it hiding under a pot and threw it into the flower bed.

Chat soon


It's NOT Cricket Sir...

Autumn has definitely arrived. There are strong winds, my grass is full of leaves and the flowers are looking jaded. When the BBC weatherman mentioned a 'touch of frost' last night you know that the time for checking the central heating clock is upon us.

I guess that's something to do with age. My own medicine would normally be 'put a jumper on' and save a few bob on heating bills, but I'd rather go into a warm bathroom and a warm, dry towel at 6.30 in a morning.

I won't dwell on this today, but waking up to the news that there are allegations of spot betting fixing in the England Vs Pakistan 4th test at Lords leaves a real sour taste in the mouth. Spot betting isn't about the outcome of the match, but about what you do during the game, like when to bowl a no ball, or allow yourself to be bowled out. This may not have an effect on the outcome of the match but hits at the very heart of the integrity of this great game. As I watch the teams come out to play this morning's session, the commentator said that it was a '...gloomy day at Lords, in more ways than one' So true.

I bought a new lens for my camera over the weekend so I need to go and get a new camera bag. I'm taking the opportunity to nip in and use Sunday shopping to get a new bag and have a Chinese lunch at one of these places where you can eat as much as you like for £7. I won't be eating masses because I'm still being careful, but having a variety of food is a real treat.

The 'new' cats are in a playful mood today and are play-fighting each other and for the first time they have both been chasing their own tales which is indeed hilarious and good entertainment. They have been out in the garden, under supervision and Jack has already been to the top of the Norway Maple tree, some 30 feet in the air.

On Friday night, a work colleague who was starting her maternity leave held a 'leaving do' at an Italian restaurant in Beverley and my meal which (in English) was Mediterranean chicken was sublime and not too expensive. The group (I don't know, probably twenty) went to a very nice but noisy pub afterwards and again, I realised that my age stood in the way of having a good time and I left early leaving them to socialise in a very noisy, crowded and hot pub.

Hope you have a great Bank Holiday weekend (in England & Wales), lets hope for warmer weather for this last of Bank Holidays before Christmas.

Chat soon


Sunday, 22 August 2010

Spurn Point - a Walk in Paradise...

Above - deserted fabulous east facing beach at Spurn point at 10.30 in the morning at low tide

(NB Blog updated April 2012 after pictures mysteriously disappeared)

What a fabulous day today (Sunday), summer has returned for the north of England, albeit for the time being and I picked the best day of the week to go for a walk with a good friend at Spurn Point in Yorkshire.

Click on any of the pics to enlarge them...

This is a walk which is great with a friend or if you like your own company, it's an ideal place to clear your thoughts and relax.
Take sensible shoes and protection against sea breezes and you have a choice, a walk along the roadway. a narrow single concrete track, or do what we did because it was low tide, walk southwards along the eastern beach, round the head of the point and back up the western shoreline. It's one of the best kept secrets with miles of lovely beaches - virtually empty except a handful of people who are into the secret.

If it's su
nny, like today, take sun cream, windburn/sunburn is a possibility. Why Spurn Point? It's famous for birdwatching and it's looked after by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and if you take a car on, it'll cost you three quid for the day. Please note, no dogs allowed.

One of many typical breakwaters protecting the delicate headland on the eastern North Sea facing beach.
Note the red seaweed washed ashore...

But for me, who is largely ignorant about birds except the garden variety, it's the magnificent views across the River Humber toward Lincolnshire, down the river to the Humber Bridge far to the west and out into the vast North Sea with dozens of huge ocean going ships trading their way acros
s the high seas. There is a lot of other wildlife other than birds including a vast array of insects, butterflies and moths.

Take plenty of time to get there by car, the latter part of the jour
ney past Hull from the West is on pleasant but winding country roads with lots of 30 mph villages to drive through. We started the journey having parked just inside the entrance to the park and walked southwards along the eastern beach. There is a fantastic vista out into the North Sea and there were a lot of large ships heading south and some waiting to get into the Humber to the ports, but the bigger the ship, they then need a pilot and they often have to wait until one goes aboard.

Sands were clean and there were a lot of attractive worn and weathered
breakwaters which added much interest. The sun was shining and the reflection from the sea was very hot. We passed the lighthouse which still works and can be seen from high ground from dozens of miles away even from the Yorkshire Wolds. It's automated now, no staff populate this old building. We only saw a couple of people on this leg of the journey which was easier walking on the shoreline where the sand was firmer. There are a few stones around of interest and we found an ammonite, a popular fossil.

Lighthouse seen from the eastern facing shoreline

Towards the head, you pass the coastguard station, a modern square grey building which has a magnificent view of the whole area. Approaching the head, the flotsam and jetsam increases with a few plastic bottles, crates, rigging, but nothin
g that spoils the scene because most of it is hidden by small rocks.

Fabulous beach at the head, looking out to the North Sea

The sand at the head is magnificent, clean and wide and the sea is a lovely translucent green, a vivid comparison with th
e brown muddy waters of inland Humber water. There were a few more people here, perhaps four of fives groups of families, lost in the vastness of the available sand. We had a lovely lunch of home made sandwiches and fruit while sitting on a breakwater watching the water, following a DFDS container ship going into the Humber and looking at fair weather cloud scudding by.

A Humber Pilot cutter going back to base passing a large ship travelling up the Humber...

We passed the Lifeboat, bobbing serenely on the calm sea and the pilot boat station at the end of a long jetty.
The walk then turns north and we walked along the western side of the point with vast open gorgeous sands at the low tide, Gulls walked along the shoreline and there was lots of empty crab shells, a feast for some lucky birds. We passed the houses of the brave Lifeboat staff who put their lives at risk to save souls at sea. My thoughts went to my mother, who as a member of the Cottingham Women's Lifeboat Guild, has raised thousands upon thousands over the years to keep these boats at sea.

The Spurn Point Humber Lifeboat

We walked back onto the roadway for the last half mile of the walk back to the car.
Google maps indicate we walked about 9Km and we sauntered really in parts and sat and had a longish lunch break. Starting at 10.30 am and finishing at 2.40 pm, this was a very comfortable walk in excellent convivial company on a gorgeous day.

The view north along the western shore, under the jetty which leads to the Pilot's cutters and the lifeboat, and homeward bound

A Mr Moo's ice cream at the cafe just a couple of miles up the road was very welcome and a great end to the day.
If you have a spare day - go for it - nature is amazing, but here's a word of warning. Don't go there if it is going to be stormy, the water can wash over the road in high storm weather and the road has been washed away in the past (rare event, but you don't need to be caught up in it).

Enjoy the week ahead.

Chat soon


Saturday, 21 August 2010

Eh Up, How's Thee?

Not blogged for a week, it’s been very busy indeed what with one thing and another, but work is busy and making me more tired than usual.

I was musing the other day however what it meant to be a Yorkshireman. Don’t groan if you’re not from Yorkshire, there’s a question for you at the end and your contribution about your own roots is very welcome.

Yorkshire, the biggest county in the UK, for those not in the UK, it consists of four counties, East Yorkshire (where I am) North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire and all four make up the one generic ‘Yorkshire’ area. In years gone past there were three ‘Ridings’ – meaning three, probably from ‘thirdings,’ East Riding, where the council still calls it as such, West Riding and North Riding.

What does it mean to be a Yorkshire person? I guess that varies from person to person and whether or not you dwell in the past, present or both. I am one who values the past, but very much lives in the present. Here’s a list of Yorkshire connections and see whether or not they mean anything to you in your daily life; some you will know very well, other less well – they are in no particular order.

Yorkshire Pudding, Illkley Moor (with or without your hat,) Scarborough Fayre,
Def Leopard, Humber Bridge, Sheffield Steel,
Yorkshire Play House, Alan Bennett, The Shambles,
Aire & Calder Canal, Rother Valley, The Barnsley Poet,
York Minster, Leeds United, Gordon Banks,
Giggleswick, White Rose, Fountain’s Abbey,
Betty’s Tea Rooms, Richard lll, Whitby Abbey,
Yorkshire Dales, Spurn Point, Sir Patrick Stewart,
Beverly Minster, Andrew Marvel, Hull Kingston Rovers,
Last of the Summer Wine, William Wilberforce, Tetley’s Beer,
Mick Ronson, Yorkshire TV, Monty Python’s four Yorkshiremen sketch,
Beautiful South, Rowntrees chocolates, Pontefract Racecourse,
Geoffrey Boycott, Bronte Country, Pennines,
Castle Howard, David Hockney, Yorkshire County Cricket Club,
Wensleydale cheese, Rhubarb Triangle, Emmerdale.

There are thousands of others of a similar nature, I’ve just picked a few you might have heard of.

Now it’s your turn, no matter where you are from in the world, even if you are not a registered follower, please spend two minutes with just one of the most famous things that others in the world may know from where you either live or from where you were born and add a comment below. I am very grateful – it would be lovely to hear from you.

Have a great weekend

Chat soon


Saturday, 14 August 2010

A Loveliness of Ladybirds

The cats have started to be allowed to venture into the garden. Their first tentative steps on wet grass was quite amusing, they didn't like it and ended up like dressage horses prancing up and down trying to find the patio.

They are getting more adventurous. Jack is the climber and has climbed most of the larger shrubs and smaller trees and thank goodness, he got himself down too. Jill, pictured above, found the fish pond in pretty quick time and she liked the waterfall upon which she is sat.

The plague of greenfly that everyone was talking about has come to a temporary stop while the weather suddenly dropped ten degrees and the rains came (at last). People at work have also been talking about there being no ladybirds about. Well, I was deadheading my dahlias today and found a whole loveliness of them (what a wonderful collective noun) feeding on the black fly. Great to see. In fact the whole garden is full of them.

I hope you are enjoying the weekend.

Chat soon


Friday, 13 August 2010

Elusive Perseids

If you look VERY closely, (I think most of you can click on the pic to enlarge it) I have captured a tiny, small baby of a meteor at the top of the picture to the left of centre. This was taken from the Hessle High School playing field in East Yorkshire looking eastwards around 11.10 pm on Thursday 12 August 2010 using my Canon EOS 40D on 18mm wide angle lens for around 2 minutes on bulb at f3.2 with 800 iso.

There were dozens, but every time I pointed my camera in one direction, a bright one came in another part of the sky etc etc. Twenty pictures later, a very cold Rarelesserspotted trudged home and here we are putting them on this blog one hour later.

The problem was there is so much light pollution and high cloud cover flitting across the sky, that I was lucky to get anything.

The bottom picture, I just like even though there is no meteor.

Chat soon


Saturday, 7 August 2010

Hedgehog Day...

After a hectic day yesterday (Friday - on an extra day off) trying to catch yearling fish in my pond, it's nice to settle back into a weekend routine. I ended up getting some assistance from my youngest son and brother in law next door to try to catch fish in the pond that are about a year old with a view to putting them in the smaller pond. We ended up emptying the pond of plants to try to catch the little buggers (about an inch long and dark coloured) and we were still not totally successful. Messy, dirty and wet, but fun and rewarding, (where have I heard that before!)

I went out late last night after dark to check the pond lights and I bumped into a young hedgehog on the patio. I asked it to wait while I went for my camera and it obliged and was still there when I came back - and the above pic is the result.

We've had hedgehogs in the garden for years, some much much larger than last nights little thing and often in twos. We always know when they're about because they set the security lights off.

The photograph below is a small water lily I bought this spring and to put it into context, this is about the size of a 50 pence piece.

There are some very dramatic black clouds drifting by from west to east this afternoon and although we've had an odd short shower, no much-needed rain has arrived. Still, it's warm and pleasant and nice to wander about without a coat on.

A bit of atmosphere would be good - I have a paranormal investigation tonight.

Regular readers know I like a bit of fun with the sexes ( I don't discriminate - I take the mickey equally out of men and women) and today I thought I'd have a go at what women say and what they actually mean.

"Do what you want." MEANS "You'll pay for this later."
"Do you love me?" MEANS "I'm going to ask for something very expensive."
"We need to talk." MEANS "I'm going to witter at you."
"This kitchen floor is so hard to clean." MEANS "I want a new house."
"Can we just be friends?" MEANS "I'm never going to let any part of your body ever touch mine."
"It's not you, it's me." MEANS "It's you."
"I just need some space." MEANS "Without you in it."
"We're moving too quickly." MEANS "I'm not going to sleep with you until I find out whether or not the dishy guy at the gym has a girlfriend."
"Hang the picture here." MEANS "Hang the picture there."
"Be romantic, turn out the lights." MEANS "I think I'm putting on weight."

Chat soon


Friday, 6 August 2010

257 (Goths don't read this)

Welcome to the 257th blog. No significance at all, just thought I'd mention it. In the year 257, according to Wikipedia, the Goths were building a fleet on at the Black Sea and then the Goths separated into the Visigoths and Ostrogoths. I hope that makes sense to someone, it doesn't mean anything to me.

Poor old Goths, they were then defeated in the same year along the Danube river by Aurelian (Lucius Domitius Aurelianus - Roman Emperor at the time,) so they were obviously having an up and down year.

It's at times like these when you realise (well, I realise) what a poor education I must have had because I had no idea that 257 (CCLVII in honour of Aurelianus) was a prime number, a Fermat prime, a Proth prime and a Pythagorean prime. To put the icing on the cake of mathematical mumbo jumbo, it's an irregular prime, balanced prime and a long prime. Now here's the thing that astounds me - the next prime number is 263 which is 6 away, it's also officially called a sexy prime! This is true - Wikipedia says so. I'm sure you guessed it's also a Chen prime, Eisenstein prime and a Pierpoint prime. I've got a headache!

If you think I have too much time on my hands to come up with this cobblers, it's because I have. I've taken the day off to help around the house and I've just sat down for half an hour for my first cuppa of the day and popped the cricket on the TV watching England take Pakistan apart on the first day of the second test.

Tasks so far, car into the garage for 8 am (the engine warning light came on on Wednesday night and the handbook helpfully says this may mean that emissions are not good and if I carry on driving I may cause irreparable damage); walked to the village bakers for bread cakes for lunch, butchers for meat for sandwiches and home for 8.45 am. Tidied the house (mother and father coming for a sandwich for lunch and to see number 2 poorly son), emptied the dishwasher, refreshed the bird feeders and some other ancillary bits and pieces. The fishpond was half emptied, the fish taken out, examined, the new fry and last years new fish taken out and put into a smaller pond. I am now going back to work for a rest!

Enjoy your weekend.

Chat soon


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Happy Lammas Day

The above picture I took at a factory site not too far away from me. I hope they never need to use the gate in an emergency.

White rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit. Here's looking forward to a warm sunny August and wishing these overcast skies would clear away for a while.

I've learned something new today and that's about Lammas. No, not a South American camilid (llama) but Lammas, the festival of the wheat harvest and the first of the season's harvest festivals. Today is Lammas Day.

The tradition was (and perhaps still is in some parts), to bring a newly baked loaf made from the new crop of wheat to church. In contemporary Paganism, the festival is called 'Lughnasadh' celebrating the reaping of the grain, a celebration half way between the Summer Solstice (longest period of daylight) and the Autumn Equinox (equal daylight and night).

There is an 'Ould Lammas Fair' held at Ballycastle in County Antrim in Northern Ireland at the end of August on the last Monday and Tuesday, which sells, among other things livestock and traditional foods. This fair is a remarkable 400 years old - well done for tradition, long may it last. It even has its own ballad written by the late John Henry MacAuley who, sadly, never lived long enough to enjoy its fame.

The other thing I've found out today, and this is closer to home, is that in 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act came into force and abolished slavery in the majority of the British Empire. The link to my area is that its chief mover William Wilberforce was MP for Hull and his former home in the High Street in Hull is now a museum dedicated to his fight for the abolition.

The way things are going in the public sector, I'm not sure I'll have a job this time next year, so I've been doing some work on interview techniques. Here's some things NOT to say to a prospective employer:

Who's the old hag in the photo frame on your desk?

I never work in the afternoon, I'm usually too drunk.

I'm only here because there's nothing good on TV.
Which route do the cashiers take to the bank?

The last six jobs I've had, I've walked out with £50,000 for wrongful dismissal.

Voices in my head told me to come for the interview.

So, dog breath, what sort of salary will I be on?

Where, in God's name did you get that bloody awful tie?

Was I supposed to declare my police record?

I'm here because I'd heard nobody does much work at this place.

Chat soon