Kinder Scout

A favourite Derbyshire walk through the years, perhaps a metaphor for life.

Looking west along Seal Edge towards Fair Brook Naze on the far right

The bleak Kinder moorland can be incongruously beautiful on a fine day, but it was not like that on my first visit in 1974. It was dark and grim, covered in cloud, difficult to know where you were heading. As we ascended Fair Brook, veils of thick, grey mist closed around us, washing away the last of the autumn colours. Drizzle drifted down from the plateau, permeating our cagoules and soaking my canvas rucksack. It had been drenched so often it was beginning to smell like a bag of old socks. It could have been a metaphor for my life at the time: three jobs inside a year and a pointless, wasted term at teacher training college (read on …)


School Metalwork

MetalworkForgeBy the time Tinpot Thompson had finished describing the gruesome horrors of the metalwork shop, we were too scared to move. He went over and over all the ways to hurt or injure yourself: cutting your skin on sharp edges, scraping it on rough surfaces, hitting your fingers with a hammer, trapping them in pincers, burning your flesh with a hot soldering iron, melting it with molten metal, ripping off your scalp by catching your hair in a machine, or your hand by catching a sleeve, … the list went on and on. It was so terrifying that not a single one of us thought it amusing when he ended with “… and remember, before you pick up any metal, spit on it to make sure it’s not hot.” (read on…)

The Day We Saw The Queen Mary Sail

RMSQueenMary(and C. P. Snow’s surprising digital footprint)

My dad was captivated by ships from childhood, when ocean-going liners were surely the most exhilarating machines that would ever be built. It was at least partly the reason we found ourselves on holiday near Southampton, the first time we had ever been so far from Yorkshire. Once there, it was inevitable we would visit the docks.

As we approached Ocean Terminal, three towering Cunard funnels told us the Queen Mary was in port. Small boat owners vied for passengers to take on sea trips to see her sail that same afternoon: an opportunity not to be missed (read on …)

What Is Wrong In This Room


Brian’s Blog recently reminded me of the puzzles in Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia.

Browsing Volume 3 a month or two ago, I came across the puzzle “What Is Wrong In This Room?” which invites you to find seventeen things wrong in a drawing of, presumably, a typical early twentieth-century sitting room. It struck me how different it is from today’s homes, so different that finding all seventeen is nigh impossible (read on …)

Ray Gosling’s Goole

RayGoslingGoole1975In 1975, Ray Gosling made a film about Goole: a place I used to know well. Its people were appalled. They had been looking forward to a film about a pleasant little town on the banks of the Ouse, with friendly folk in homely homes, about canals and railways, brave mariners who sailed the North Sea, the strange salt and pepper pot water towers, and the proud rise of a town from nothing to one of the country’s busiest ports in less than a hundred years: the story of the port in green fields. But Ray Gosling was never going to stick to that (read on …)