Saturday, April 29, 2006

A view...

from a window at my little South Manchester street on this glorious spring morn. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 27, 2006

A bright sunny day...

in Manchester. For some reason this shot makes me think of the 1950's and hardboiled tales of menace and intrigue in the concrete jungle. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


think Misplaced Anger would be a great name for a band?

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Here's another photo of that...

Posted by Picasa

castle in East Yorkshire. The tower shown here was sans roof. Shoddy workmanship is probably the main cause, well that and the English Revolution. There were also a number of stone canon balls lying around, sort of thing a person might stub their toe on. These ancient types had no sense of health and safety what with all their garroting and slaughter and torture and gutting and gizzards and innards. Life in those days was a messy business and sticky too what with all that blood lying around.

I was in an old castle...

in East Yorkshire the other weekend and noticed this very thin door. I'd previously assumed medieval folk to be sturdy because of all the meat they ate, however this door might prove othewise, methinks. Posted by Picasa

I read somewhere that the rich, ie the type who owned castles didn't think much of vegetables and believed meat was the only food worth eating. I also read that they regularly suffered from chronic constipation. Serves em right. This doorway therefore was clearly designed for the non meat eaters, or thin folk, then again it might have been an arrow slit. Built just in case the non meat eaters ever acquired a taste for meat, sort of as a means of keeping them from the high table. In those times it was also a capital crime to poach deer though personally I've always preferred it roasted.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

North York Moors Pt II: The storm passed as quickly as it arrived and...

sunshine made diamonds of every drop of water that collected on the tips of grass, or atop walls or dripped from the country bumkin who was lingering when the car stopped. His badge said Country Bumkin *Third Class* and he'd been left outside as a test, the test being to notice the rain and come in. He failed yet didn't seem unhappy which I suppose is the main thing. I asked for a spade so the cat could be scraped from the front wheel and he observed.

"Take more'n a spade to put that right."
"Put what right?" I said
"That'm cat." He said nodding at the whiskered face peaking from under the same front wheel that hid the rest of its flat carcass.
"It's dead, I'm not trying to put it right."
"Ah," He said and wandered indoors.

I began to work the feline flesh from between the tyre treads, once unpeeled it retained a half moon shape. Later, a clever razor lamb slung beneath the cat's curved corpse cheerfully demonstrated paragliding to her mates. I remember thinking what a rare example of the virtuous circle, well, half circle.

Public houses on the North Yorkshire Moors have penchants for Toby Jugs. I'd noticed this previously in The Cracked Mind where a high shelf was lined with jugs representing famous breakdowns, pride of place went to a Norman Bates jug whose handle was a carving knife twisted through a shower curtain. Only The Slaughtered Lamb was without a display however on reflection I'm almost sure its high shelf was populated with grotesque enamel faces that made lewd suggestions throughout the time we were there.

Above this pub door creaked a wooden sign that carried neither name nor picture. I pondered the heavy board as it swung slowly one way then the other. The brickwork similarly carried no name and the unimaginative beer advert didn't help stating only "Beer, get it here." Unlike the other establishments we visited this pub had only one room with a rough bench laid over wooden barrels and rather than a high shelf populated by thematic jugs there was instead a low shelf upon which rested a single jug of enormous size. A further striking feature of the jug was it's resemblance to one of the villainous sheep we had passed earlier. I mentioned this to the barman who unabashed told me it was modelled on his cousin.

After this there seemed little point in asking for the menu.

Descending from the Moors we paused to watch another storm as it broke. A large bird circled casually on the updraft. Then driven toward us on a powerful squall the following words lashed our car with a ratatat of manic diction, "Cats!... dontcha just love em... Ha ha, ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha... "

It might not have been a bird.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Friday, April 14, 2006

Last Sunday I was driving...

across the North Yorkshire Moors with two friends looking for somewhere to have lunch. Beautiful countryside but no sense of how to feed hungry travellers. In Manchester pubs that serve food, SERVE FOOD! Not on the North Yorkshire Moors though. We visited a number of pubs that advertised food but did not serve it. Pubs in North Yorkshire only serve food between 12 noon and 2pm, not a moment before, nor a moment after. In our first pub The Cracked Mind, the waitress who took our order became distracted by a spider and never spoke to us again. We were shown the door by a cackling old crone with a single tooth who whistled about it being 31 years since she had last seen a dentist. Opposite lay The Dripping Innard which looked promising but for a scarred crone who wouldn't let us in. In the nearby hamlet of Much Weeing we found a hostelry called 'A Rotted Stump' apparently owned by MacDonalds so we gave it a miss. Some miles on we reached the ancient settlement of Jutting Mandible wherein was situated, 'The Slaughtered Lamb'. A place eerily familiar, more so when everyone stopped talking as we entered. Being only midday the locals soon ignored us and returned to their business. I remember the landlord as a strikingly hirsute man who responded to our order with growls and that pained look one gets when troubled with excess acid. Shaking his head and grasping in his paw a lump of chalk he scrawled across the bar, 'It's gone two'. Disappointed we drove away just as a mist rolled over the village until it seemed as if nothing had ever existed in that blasted place. Our Ordinance Survey parchment indicated a crossroads four miles further and we set off just as it began to rain. The high moorland was suddenly cut with jagged shadows as lightning flashed and thunder boomed. We drove on, following that crooked track past terrified faces of sheep that loomed then were gone, their fearful eyes bulging with every roar of the storm. We saw many stoats and some criminal sheep who were laughing just because they could. A group of razor lambs kicked down a section of dry stone wall for pleasure. Suddenly the narrow path gave way to a flat open area where centuries earlier a tavern and assorted buildings were built to serve what back then must have been an important junction. The road was very slippy but the pub cat provided extra traction when it became stuck under the front wheels, indeed were it not for that cat's sacrifice we might have carried right on through.

More of this in the next post.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Not quite a haiku...

a dark finger fell
high above Grassington one
late spring afternoon.

Friday, April 07, 2006

What the world...

looks like when April showers have passed.

Is it becoming obvious I've got a digital camera?

Monday, April 03, 2006

I remain to be convinced...

that Lourdes will be saved as the Catholic Church's premier attraction in France. Miracle Lite cannot be the solution, whereas a massive theme park can. With each ride designed to bring the average visitor closer to God could anywhere be more religious than the apex of a 500 metre high roller coaster just before the dip? Or anything so moving as the scream of pilgrims plunging headlong toward a pool of water that's been blessed?

When I was a child people would return from Lourdes with plastic Virgin Mary shaped bottles whose blue crown was the screw lid. Once I was given a tiny shrine with two lead doors that opened to expose a glow in the dark Sacred Heart. It disappeared around the same time the dog's teeth fell out.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

April showers...

yesterday in Crowcroft Park. The light was incredible changing from bright sunlight to dark and overcast in a matter of moments. A few minutes before this photo hailstones rattled down and a gale whipped across the park. The winter moment passed as quickly as it arrived until once again the sun shone.

5 minutes on and the light has become watery with no loss of contrast. I hear people whingeing about April's unpredictability but this is the very feature that most excites me. Spring is so dramatic, what other season can deliver winter energy and summer calm one after the other? Ah spring, washing Crowcroft Park, preparing it for the summer.

On a less cerebral note I understand from today's papers that the catholic church is changing the method by which miracles are classified. I gather it's something to do with competition between Lourdes and Eurodisney for tourists. Tomorrow I intend to say a little more about this because I think both attractions have something to learn from each other. For instance just as children are assailed by Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in Eurodisney why not offer pilgrims similar opportunities as they promenade toward the blessed shrine but this time using oversize Madonnas and maybe a few saints? It's a definite money spinner, more of which tomorrow.