Sunday, January 31, 2010



By Tahkcalb at b3ta.com
On This Day....



In 1995 Richey James Edwards of the Manic Street Preachers disappeared. Edwards had a history of self abuse which included burning himself with cigarettes and the notorious incident at a gig in Norwich when after being questioned as to the band's true punk ethics, he responded by carving the words "4 REAL" into his forearm with a razor blade, the resulting wounds required numerous stitches.

Edwards car was found abandoned close to the Severn Bridge, a taxi driver has claimed that he took Edwards on a journey around the Welsh valleys on the 7th Feb, but this and other claims to have seen him in the following years remain unsubstantiated.

Richey James Edwards was declared legally dead on 23rd November 2008.

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Very British Thing



John Carpenter's The Thing remade in 60 seconds. With extra silliness.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Not A Book Review



Just a progress report, War And Peace, what people say about this book mostly is "It's bloody enormous", and they are correct, my Penguin edition of War And Peace weighs in at 1445 pages of tiny print. I have been reading this gargantuan novel off and on since early December, and now with 1165 pages of Russian social life and Napoleonic strife behind me the end is almost in sight. Easy going it is not.

I am also wading through the 1001 Books You Must Read, unfair I say ! It isn't 1001 books at all, it is a lot more than that because quite a few of the books described are volume two or three of a trilogy, or part five of a seven book series, the very worst so far has been one volume from a series of fifteen novels. Now surely nobody in their right mind reads only the last book of a trilogy, and so I wonder, has anyone calculated just how many novels you would actually have to read to complete this mammoth task properly ?

And can I count War And Peace as five normal novels ?
It's One Small Step For Golfers....



French comic lunatic Remi Gaillard endears himself, or not, to local golfers.
Book Review : Cannery Row - John Steinbeck 8*



This is a wonderful little novel, set in a fictionalised street on the sea front in Monteray during the Great Depression (the time period of Steinbeck's novels Of Mice And Men' and 'The Grapes Of Wrath'), Cannery Row is a small community in which everyone just about gets by, and people are fairly content because they do not really desire things they cannot get.

The cast of characters are less defined than say George and Lennie in OMAM, but they are still warmly human and endearing, the homeless bums led by Mack hold to their own peculiar codes of honour and loyalty, the marine biologist Doc is loved and held in warm regard by everyone, Lee Chong the grocery owner seems to be the most avaricious of the group but even he is more humane than grasping.

Cannery Row ambles along, it is in the end the story of a party and how the various organisers and invitees find themselves there, it is warming and positive yarn of people finding comfort and happiness in hard times. That isn't to say that Steinbeck's portrayal of Cannery Row is in any way sugar coated though, from the married couple that live inside an old boiler to the homeless drinkers that drift from temporary job to ill thought out money making scheme, the hardships of 1920's America are put on open display.

I really enjoyed this novel, almost as much as OMAM, and I was charmed to find inside the book (and I cannot remember where I got hold of this second hand copy) a sales receipt from the Old General Store (formerly Wing Chong's Market), 835 Cannery Row, Monteray, California, price $1.75 (plus 11 cents sales tax), 24th Aug 1979.
On This Day....



..in 1980 Bon Scott sang for the last time with AC/DC when they performed at the Gaumont in Southampton, less than three weeks later Scott died after a party when he choked on his own vomit. Bon Scott sang on 6 studio albums for AC/DC, including Let There Be Rock and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, and helped launch the Australian band to international stardom.

AC/DC thought briefly about breaking up following Scott's death, but they brought in a new singer, Brian Johnson from Gateshead, and released the classic album Back In Black only 6 months later.
Off The Bone 2



This is the bruising at the back of my right knee last night, the bruising now wraps around the inside of my thigh with another dark purple, palm sized, bruise on the inside front of my thigh. All this from a cramp, albiet a rather painful one.

I had blood tests at the Doc's yesterday, I can report it was red and not the green my wife was expecting. I'm still struggling to lift my right leg properly, but it is getting better slowley.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Off The Bone



Not the most attractive shot to start the week I'll agree, but that is the back of my right leg, and the hideous black purple bruise at the back of my knee is a result of the massive cramp I suffered last week, there is lighter bruising running up the front of my thigh as well. I'm going back to the physio today for more treatment, and of course my leg injury has put my posture out so my back trouble has flared up again, then it's off to see a doctor to try and find out why I get so much cramp.

Friday, January 22, 2010

9 Naked Men

9 Naked Men Just Walking Down The Road

NSFW, as it contains 9 Naked Men.

WTF Rating = Very High.
Vote Liberal Or We'll Shoot Your Dog

Some people should not reproduce.
Football, The Dangerous Game

Government Raises Threat Level



By Mofaha at B3ta.com


Vines at Mumm Napa Valley.
Ducks



On the river at Ilkley.
On This Day



"Remember on St. Vincent's Day,
If the sun his beams display,
Be sure to mark the transient beam,
Which through the casement sheds a gleam,
For 'tis a token bright and clear,
Of Prosperous weather all the year." - trad rhyme.

Well, here in Ilkley Saint Vincent's day has been grey, wet and dismal, so if the old rhyme is correct, don't bother dusting off your barbeque this summer.

Vincent of Saragossa was tortured on a gridiron over a fire, after his death ravens protected his body from scavengers until his followers could recover it. Vincent is the patron saint of both vintners and vinegar makers, so he gets the praise whether the wine is good or awful.
A History Of The World In 100 Objects



That is a Clovis spear point, as yet, I don't know why this particular object has any special importance in human history, but in episode 5 of the wonderful new Radio 4 series 'A History Of The World In 100 Objects' John Taylor, curator of the British Museum, and his team of experts will explain to me just why human society would not have arisen as it did without this item.

In Episode 2 (Olduvai stone chopping tool), Sir David Attenborough taught me why a piece of rock that I would previously have disregarded as, well, a lump of rock to be honest, was actually humanity's first cutting tool, how it fitted ergonomically into the palm of a human hand with a sharp edge exposed. I could probably listen to Attenborough all day, about anything as he has the most calming and lovely voice, full of gentle authority.

"Picking it up, your first reaction is it's very heavy, and if it's heavy of course it gives power behind your blow. The second is that it fits without any compromise into the palm of the hand, and in a position where there is a sharp edge running from my forefinger to my wrist. So I have in my hand now a sharp knife. And what is more, it's got a bulge on it so I can get a firm grip on the edge which has been chipped specially, which is sharp ... I could perfectly effectively cut meat with this. That's the sensation I have that links me with the man who actually laboriously chipped it once, twice, three times, four times, five times on one side. One, two, three ... three times at the other ... so eight specific actions by him, knocking it with another stone, to take off a flake, and to leave this almost straight line, which is a sharp edge." - Sir David Atttenborough.

In Episode 3 Phil Harding (whom you may know from Time Team) was on hand to create a hand axe and explain its uses. Harding is another great choice of scientific presenter, his sometimes comic West Country accent and phraseology belies a mind as sharp as the tools he talks about. Later in the programme Sir James Dyson (yes, inventor of that vacuum cleaner) speculates in an informed manner about the true nature of the hand axe, it is intelligent and fascinating stuff.

I am a big fan of the BBC and love its broad output, and this series suits me perfectly, intelligent and knowledgeable, presented in an interesting manner, accessible to all without being dumbed down, well done Auntie Beeb, this series is a winner.

100 Objects BBC website, Episode 1 : The Mummy of Hornedjitef, each episode has a full transcript on the site in case you miss anything during the broadcast.

You can subscribe to the series podcast for free with i-tunes etc.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Album Review : Babylon - W.A.S.P. 8*



The hardest sounding of the metal bands that arose from the glam metal scene that Motley Crue, RATT, Poison and Stryper also emerged from, W.A.S.P. have been around in one form or another since 1982. Babylon (released in 2009) is the 14th album from Blackie Lawless's men, and 27 years on from the band's beginning, it is one of the best albums they have produced to date.

The album is slightly short at only seven original songs plus two cover versions, but Blackie makes up for quantity with great quality, this is a prime cut of heavy metal steak, juicy and nicely aged. Blackie's vocals have softened a little with age, they don't quite possess that gravelly edge he started out with, but this isn't a bad thing, he handles the vocal duties well and the high pitched shrieks he used to let out have been replaced with a slightly more mellow, tuneful style.

The album features two covers, a completely pointless rumble through Deep Purple's Burn, and then a rather more entertaining take on Chuck Berry's Promised Land.

Of the new original songs, opening track Crazy is an instant W.A.S.P. classic, immediately catchy and was warmly appreciated at Hard Rock Hell last year. Babylon's Burning and Thunder Red are thumped out in great fashion, and don't panic about the lyrics, Blackie may have converted to Christianity and refuses to play to play the classic Fuck Like A Beast, but his lyrics are still steeped deep in the metal roots of fire, passion and destruction, it's all very manly.

A quarter century on then, Blackie a clean living Christian and who would have though that ? But with this current version of W.A.S.P. he has put out a really strong and entertaining metal album, good songs fill of fire, and dare I say it ? Brimstone. God bless ya' Blackie, it's great to have one of the metal stalwarts back on the top of their form.
Album Review : The Catastrophe EP 6* / The Division EP 7* - Waiting For Signal

For Fans Of : Third Eye Blind, Thrice, Circa Survive, Coheed & Cambria



The Catastrophe EP was Waiting For Signal's debut release in 2008, although the band label themselves as 'progressive' this should not be confused by prog fans as sounding anything like Marillion, Genesis or Yes, WFS are closer in style to Circa Survive and Thrice than they are to classic prog bands. WFS are from Kansas, they are a four piece contemporary prog rock band and as far as I can glean from their MySpace page, currently without a drummer.

In the age of digital dissemination of music, I am impressed at the number of new (or new-ish) bands who are producing very polished musical product. Waiting For Signal have put out two highly professional sounding EP's on their own label, WFS/Tunecore. Musically, they are easily equal to many bands that have recording contracts and label access to big studio production values, their sound then is really good.

WFS might be clumsily clumped into that awful, way too broad 'post-hardcore' tag, but that would be to deny their more tuneful, melodic style spearheaded by Gene Abramov's fine vocals.



Released a year later in 2009, The Division EP follows on nicely from the band's debut release, here though the guitar work is slightly more solid and edgy and the songwriting a little more polished which gives their sound a clearer style. The EP starts with Sign Of The Times, a nice little hook to open the song and then crisp, biting riffs with the vocals nicely high and vibrant in the mix, this song is a winner. Both EP's feature 5 songs, all of good quality with their second release slightly edging ahead of their debut.

Good music in the new progressive rock mold, Waiting for Signal are another band to look out for in the future.
Mothery



"Thick, mouldy, as of beer or vinegar when stale" - from Forgotten English by Jeffrey Kacirk.
Cramp

It's really painful, last night I had a cramp on the inside of my right thigh that made my scream like a little girl, it wouldn't go for the best part of a very painful hour despite hot water bottles and pints of tonic water. The half hour I did on the rowing machine yesterday isn't looking like such a good idea now, the cramp has seriously pulled the muscle, today it hurts to walk around and I can't lift my right leg to go up and down stairs.
Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz 7.2 Answers

1) Who is this man, and what does he have to do with an important milestone in the history of radio ? (2)



This is Giacomo Puccini, his opera Tosca is generally held to be the first ever public radio broadcast, it was transmitted by Lee De Forest on Jan 12 1910 in New York to the handful of people that were equipped to listen.

2) What name should be top of this list, what is the list ? (2)

.........
Southampton
Doncaster
Millwall
Croyden
Fulham
Foxdens

Arsenal top this list, this is the all time Women's FA Cup Winners.

3) Where in the world is this ? (1)



Wellington, New Zealand.

4) Who carried around the embalmed head of her executed husband around with her for almost 30 years, after her death the head was reunited with its body in London church tomb ? (1)

Elizabeth (Bess) Throckmorton, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh.

5) Who is this ? (1)



Country singer Reba McEntire.

6) What alphabet is this ? (1)



Cyrillic.

7) The Mayflower took English Pilgrims to found a new settlement in America, but who was its captain ? (1)

Christopher Jones

8) What is the common link between Gaudeloupe, Martinique, Reunion and French Guiana ? (1)

These are the Overseas Administrative Regions of France.

9) How many counties are there in the Republic Of Ireland ? (1)

26

10) This is a famous youth leader, who is he ? (1)



Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scout movement.

Quiz 7.2 Points

Mr Moosehead 10
Dave Podmore 9
Tony Gott 7
Lyle 2

Quiz 7 Leaders

Mr Moosehead 19
Dave Podmore 15
Tony Gott 12
Lyle 2

Question 4 caused problems, it was the name of the wife I wanted, not the original posessor of the head. Where are the girls this year ? It's a rather blokey affair so far.

Well done everyone, the next round will be up soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010




Yes folks, it's an election year, Smarmy Dave or bloody useless Gordo, because let's face it, despite the minority like myself who are willing to vote for a third party, we really only have a two party system in the UK, and what an awful choice it is.
The Long Ball Game

Yorkshire teacher does 163ft throw-in
Book Review : Le Dossier (How To Survive The English) - Sarah Long 3*



Purportedly written by Parisienne sophisticate Hortense De Monplaisir and then translated by Sarah Long, this is supposed to be a humorous look at life in England from a French point of view. What is is in reality is a 250 page diatribe railing against virtually every aspect of English in a withering and belittling manner.

It is glaringly clear that the author has an axe to grind against her Southern middle class upbringing, but by couching this point of view as that of Frenchwoman abroad she does herself, and her readers a disservice. The book is short on real humour and rapidly becomes a bore to read as Hortense moans her way through life in London.

A far funnier novel about Anglo-French relations would be Stephen Clarke's A Year In The Merde, Clarke might be baffled by our neighbours, but at least he doesn't detest them.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weeing My Way To Fitness

Sorry, daft pun, that should be Wii-ing. I bought Meg a Wii for Christmas with the Wii-Fit and balance board thingy, both us would like to get a bit fitter and shift a bit of weight and it because having the Wii ready to use rather than having to make time to go to the gym seemed a good idea.

One week of exercising in, and I have to say I'm hooked. I realise that there is a lot of conflicting opinion and research and just how good, if at all, Wii exercise is but to judge by how I ache pretty much everywhere today from my Rhythm Boxing and Rhythm Karate session yesterday, it must be doing me some good. The Wii records how much exercise you have taken each day, it recommends new exercises for you, and as you get better at a particular exercise it ups the resp/time to suit your increased fitness.

The other great thing is that some of the games are such great fun, predictably I am rubbish at most of the balance games, but it isn't stopping me from having a go. Yoga for example, I though to myself, how difficult can a bit of yoga be ? I mean it's basically just standing around isn't it ?



Here is a young lady following her Wii instructor into the tree pose, if this picture were of me doing the same thing, I would be just out of picture to the right having fallen off the balance board, again. Yoga, it's harder than it looks, although it probably shouldn't be as hard as I make it look. Your ever patient fitness instructor will helpfully pointing out things like "Hey, you have stepped off the board, come on, those muscles won't exercise themselves you know." The normal response to this is "I didn't step off, I've fallen over the bleeding coffee table and got my head stuck down the side of the settee."

So, a Wii, cheaper than a year's gym membership, although with less pretty young women in tight leotards, and when you think you'vd had enough exercise, you can load Resident Evil up and shoot your way through the zombie horde.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Clagham



Newcastle dialect word for hard toffee, also known as clag-candy, lady's-taste, slittery, tom-trot, treacle-ball, and toughy.

A list of Durham dialect words

Up the Raw, down the Raw,
Up the Raw, lass, ev'ry day,
For shape and colour, ma bonny hinny,
Thou bangs thy mother, ma canny bairn.

Black as a craw, ma bonny hinny,
Thou bangs them a', lass, ev'ry day,
Thou's a' clag candy, ma bonny hinny,
Thou's double japanded, my canny bairn.

Up the Raw, etc.

For hide an hue, ma, bonny hinny,
Thou bangs the crew, ma canny bairn,
Up the Raw, maw bonny hinny,
Thou bangs them a', ma canny bairn.

Lyrics to the folk song Up The Raw from Folk Info.

Thursday, January 14, 2010



By Pandemonium In My Underpants over at B3ta
On This Day....The All Souls Mallard Song



Supposedly, in 1437 when All Souls College in Oxford was being built, a mallard had become trapped in a drain, the mallard was of such 'swapping' size (striking / magnificent) that the good fellows made up a song about it and instituted an annual duck hunt complete with a Lord Mallard carrying a dead duck hung from a pole. The whole thing sounds as if Terry Pratchett (in the photo) made it up for one of the Discworld novels.

The Griffine, Bustard, Turkey & Capon
Lett other hungry Mortalls gape on
And on theire bones with Stomacks fall hard,
But lett All Souls' Men have ye Mallard.

CHORUS:
Hough the bloud of King Edward,
By ye bloud of King Edward,
It was a swapping, swapping mallard!
Some storys strange are told I trow
By Baker, Holinshead & Stow
Of Cocks & Bulls, & other queire things
That happen'd in ye Reignes of theire Kings.

CHORUS

The Romans once admir'd a gander
More than they did theire best Commander,
Because hee saved, if some don't foolle us,
The place named from ye Scull of Tolus.

CHORUS

The Poets fain'd Jove turn'd a Swan,
But lett them prove it if they can.
To mak't appeare it's not att all hard:
Hee was a swapping, swapping mallard.

CHORUS

Hee was swapping all from bill to eye,
Hee was swapping all from wing to thigh;
His swapping tool of generation
Oute swapped all ye wingged Nation.

CHORUS

Then lett us drink and dance a Galliard
in ye Remembrance of ye Mallard,
And as ye Mallard doth in Poole,
Lett's dabble, dive & duck in Boule.

CHORUS
A man goes out golfing. He is on the second hole when he notices a frog sitting next to the green.

He thinks nothing of it and is about to shoot when he hears, "Ribbit 9 Iron."

The man looks around and doesn't see anyone. Again, he hears, "Ribbit 9 Iron."
He looks at the frog and decides to prove the frog wrong, puts the club away, and grabs a 9 iron. Boom!

He hits it 10 inches from the cup. He is shocked. He says to the frog,
"Wow that's amazing. You must be a lucky frog?"

The frog replies, "Ribbit Lucky frog."

The man decides to take the frog with him to the next hole.

"What do you think frog?" the man asks.

"Ribbit 3 wood."

The guy takes out a 3 wood and Boom! Hole in one.

The man is befuddled and doesn't know what to say.

By the end of the day, the man golfed the best game of golf in his life and asks the frog, "OK where to next?"

The frog replies, "Ribbit Las Vegas ."

"They go to Las Vegas and the guy says, "OK frog, now what?"

The frog says, "Ribbit Roulette."

Upon approaching the roulette table,

The man asks, "What do you think I should bet?"

The frog replies, "Ribbit $3000, black 6."
Now, this is a million-to-one shot to win, but after the golf game the man figures what the heck. Boom! Tons of cash comes sliding back across the table.

The man takes his winnings and buys the best room in the hotel.

He sits the frog down and says, "Frog, I don't know how to repay you, you've won me all this money and I am forever grateful."

The frog replies, "Ribbit Kiss Me."

He figures why not, since after all the frog did for him, he deserves it.

With a kiss, the frog turns into a gorgeous girl.

"And that is how the girl ended up in my room Elin...... So help me God or my name is not Tiger Woods.."

(Thanks to Bill Steel for that)
Human Tragedy On Vast Scale In Haiti



If you can spare a few quid....

Christian Aid Appeal

Medicines Sans Frontiers appeal

Red Cross Red Crescent appeal

Oxfam appeal

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Top Ten Places In The World That You Cannot Visit

You are not allowed here.

Some of this list is really interesting, but I'm not sure about the quality of the research as I know quite a few people who have been inside #1.
Explosions

Seeing as some of the mad fireworks videos I have posted recently have been some of the most popular things on the blog, how about this.......



Or this....

Bookcrossing



I'm sure everyone who attends a Bookcrossing meet up goes with the idea that they might get rid of more books than they collect, that's certainly the idea that I set off with last night. On the train in to Leeds I found a discarded Jeffrey Archer short story collection, and having read the first short on the journey, decided to keep it.

Then at Bookcrossers, held at PIN Bar in Leeds, there were just so many interesting looking books...
The Illuminatas Trilogy which I read years ago but remember as being fun
Penguins Stopped Play - bunch of mad cricketers attempt to play a game on each continent
I Search Of Mihalo - Dolores Pala
Popular Music and Youth Cultur - Andy Bennet(*)
Diary Of A Young Girl - Anne Frank (*thanks to Sian for the these)
Looking For The Lost (Journeys Through Vanishing Japan) - Alan Booth
Two Caravans - Marina Lewycka (I loved 'A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian')
Ceremony - Leslie Marmon Silko
Gould's Book Of Fish (A Novel In Twelve Fish) - Richard Flanagan

So with those added to my 1001 shelf, that's about half the year's reading ready.

Bookcrossing.
On This Day



In 1404, the 'science' of alchemy was prohibited by law in England.



Showing that Royalty were above both the law and common sense, monarchs up to Queen Elizabeth continued to employ alchemists to try and fill the royal coffers with gold.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz 7.2

The rules....

Please don't put answers in the comments.

E-mail your answers to me with QUIZ 7.2 as the title, yorkshiresoul@gmail.com, on/by Wed 20th January.

Don't supply multiple possible answers, I will mark them all as wrong.

1) Who is this man, and what does he have to do with an important milestone in the history of radio ? (2)



2) What name should be top of this list, what is the list ? (2)

.........
Southampton
Doncaster
Millwall
Croyden
Fulham
Foxdens

3) Where in the world is this ? (1)



4) Who carried around the embalmed head of her executed husband around with her for almost 30 years, after her death the head was reunited with its body in London church tomb ? (1)

5) Who is this ? (1)



6) What alphabet is this ? (1)



7) The Mayflower took English Pilgrims to found a new settlement in America, but who was its captain ? (1)

8) What is the common link between Gaudeloupe, Martinique, Reunion and French Guiana ? (1)

9) How many counties are there in the Republic Of Ireland ? (1)

10) This is a famous youth leader, who is he ? (1)



Please don't put answers in the comments.

Good luck.
Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 7 Restart

Part 1 Answers


1) Name both of these actors (1 point), and the film they are appearing in (1 point) ?



Gregory Peck and Larry Niven in The Guns Of Navarone.

2) What is the highest known mountain in the Solar System ? (1 point)

Olympus Mons on Mars.

3) Residents of which part of the world call this flag their own ? (1 point)



Colorado, USA.

4) What is the largest living thing ? (1 point)

The Honey Fungus, Armillaria Ostoyae, the largest example of which spreads beneath 2,200 acres of Oregon forest.

5) What is this wonderful building, and where in the world is it ? (1 point)



This is the Hemispheric (or, La Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias) in Valencia.

6)What human made artifacts can be seen, with the naked eye, from the moon ? (1 point) *I should have made clear, artifacts on Earth, and as I did not various other answers were suggested, sorry folks, I'll try to keep the questions more exact.

None at all, the Great Wall of China is a myth.

7) Who is this ? (1 point)



Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

8) What is similarity links the Italian regions of Umbria, Aosta Valley and Piedmont ? (1 point)

They are all land locked.

9) Who is this ? (1 point)



Indian cricketer Sourav Ganguly.

10) Which of these are Chinese inventions ? (1 point)

a) Glass
b) Chop Suey
c) Rickshaw
d) Fortune Cookie

Chop Suey was called Tsap Seui, meaning 'various scraps' and originates in Canton, glass was invented in Egypt, the rickshaw by an American living in Yokohama, and fortune cookies by Japanese restauranter in San Francisco.

Quiz 7.1 League

Mr Moosehead 9
Dave Podmore 6
Tony Gott 5

7.2 coming soon......
Book Review : A Bicycle Journey To The Bottom Of The Americas - George J Hawkins 6*



I enjoy adventure books, tales of people who go out into the world and do something extraordinary, and Hawkins' tale of his bicycle marathon from Anchorage in Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina is the story of a remarkable physical and mental achievement, it's just a shame that Hawkins' narrational skills don't match his cycling prowess.

Two things really annoyed me about this adventure log, first is Hawkins insistence on noting exact mileage, now I'm quite geeky, and I certainly would log how many miles I had travelled each day, but, I would put '64 miles today' and not '64.37 miles today'. Nobody cares about the .37 George. You would think that with this obsession with mileage, Hawkins would document the rest of his journey in similar detail, but when it comes to recording dates Hawkins is wilfully elusive, there is barely a marker in the whole 400+ pages for when he reached a particular place or indeed how long the whole journey had taken.

That aside though, as I read on through the diary I began to warm to George J Hawkins as a person, judging by the ease with with the author was regularly invited to stay and dine with strangers en route he must be a pleasant and charming bloke in the flesh, its just that he whinges and gripes a bit too much on paper.

The journey seems dull in places as George cycles through hundreds of miles of dull middle America, and then becomes frightening as he narrowly escapes hoodlums at South American border crossings. The mental strength and self reliance that Hawkins shows is admirable, to press on day after day, month after month on your own not knowing whether the next section will bring more boredom, hardship or even disaster. Hawkins biked on through illnesses, although he seems to have remained largely injury free.

This is a fairly good book, but a good ghost writer would have made the author's sterling achievement much more gripping.
Suffer Little Children



V is for Victor squashed under a train.

Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies, 26 small children perish in rhyming couplets.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Walking Yorkshire - Middleton, Ilkley Moor

Well, I have no customers due to the snow, so I might as well get out and do some walking, and last week we were blessed with some very cold but still and sunny days. Out walking on Tuesday it was so cold that my breath froze my beard, Arctic exploring in Ilkley !



If you're a farmer, work has to continue no matter what the weather, in these fields above Middleton the farmer has been out muck spreading, it will get into the soil, eventually.



Looking down Keighley Old Road into Ilkley with the US listening station just visible on the moors opposite. It was a great afternoon's walk along the top of the moor, but the snow had drifted to thigh deep in places and it was tremendously hard work.



The Cow And Calk rocks above Ilkley, with decapitated snowman in the foreground. It had been around -8 during the night so the snow had turned light and powdery, easier to hike in than the heavy wet stuff.
Messages In The Snow



Sad face and happy face on Keighley Old Road.



Sheila loves John.



John loves Sheila, written in a field in Middleton.