Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Right To Complain

"Im old, I'm poor, I'm out of work, and I'm in debt, and therefore I have a right to complain." William Cuffay, Chartist radical, 1788-1870.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Descending Great Shunner Fell

Jo on Great Shunner Fell

Walking Yorkshire - Lovely Seat, Great Shunner Fell

This is great, a day's walking in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, and good company in the shape of Godson Joseph. We parked the car above Butter Tubs and set off up Lovely Seat as a warm up to the main hill of Great Shunner Fell, Jo was already leaving me behind on the steep sections and I had an inkling that I might spend much of the day watching him vanish into the distance ahead of me.

Jo sat in the seat at Lovely Seat
A fast half hour saw us on the top, "Is that it ?" says wonder boy.  "Yes that's it" I replied, well, as soon as I got my breath back I replied. We set off back down and then started the longer slog up the splendidly named Grimy Gutter Hags to Little Shunner Fell and then up again to Great Shunner Fell.  This bit was the only section of the day where I could reasonably keep pace with the boy, in soft boggy sections having longer legs has a distinct advantage.  As soon as we began the steeper and drier climb to the top of the fell I was back panting at the rear though.

Field barn in Stock Dale

Lunch was had at the shelter atop Great Shunner, then came down the Pennine Way into Thwaite, returning to the car up Cliff Gate Road, and what an epic bit of walking this was to be. Jo set the pace on the way back up, and like Alberto Contador he excels on the hills.  The pace was brutal, we passed two other groups of hikers on the way, Jo flying past, me trailing in his wake with every movement of my head loosing drops of sweat, panting and gasping for breath.  Almost three miles of 1 in 4 uphill walking and he doesn't slow down once except for a quick peek into the scary drops of the Butter Tubs themselves.

Jo enjoying a pint at the Farmer's Arms, Muker
We drove into Muker for a pint of Muker Silver at the Farmer's Arms, but they were not serving food until later so we drove back down to Grassington and had a nice dinner at the Devonshire Hotel.  A nice day's walking, but it is obvious we shall have to do a longer route next time, at the end of the day I collapsed onto the couch and fell asleep, Jo went off for an hour's badminton to run off the excess energy he had.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Landscape

I have been out walking today, a whole day to myself to do what I would with.  So I drove up to Malham and went hiking, up to the Cove, then up the steps and across the moors to the Tarn, up and down a couple of small hills and then a gentle ramble back to the Buck Inn for a pint of local ale.

It might seem odd to some people, but the landscape in this particular part of the Dales makes me feel happy, when I see those steep sided hills with their numerous rocky outcroppings it makes me smile, and it makes me want to get my boots on and get up on the flanks and scars and just walk around.

It's great up here, the countryside has a special flavour to it, steep rolling fields bounded by dry stone walls, fields you cannot grow any crop in and no tractor could pull a plough over, but the grass will do for kine and ewes, when you can see it for the nettles and thistles.  The moors and meadows here are awash with wildflowers, white, yellow and purple the dominant colours.  Other life is abundant as well, flocks of birds rise from concealment in the grasses, spooked by the young Peregrines flying overhead and rabbits are everywhere.

I am very happy today, I have walked a few miles, didn't twist my knee, saw a falcon trying to bring down a dove in flight, and generally revelled in the marvellous scenery. Yorkshire, I love living here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gorse Flowers

Dandelion Head

Bracken Fronds

National Farmers' Union Stand, Great Yorkshire Show 2011

Junior Beef, Great Yorkshire Show 2011

Big Wheel, Great Yorkshire Show 2011

A Fantastic Road

"It is a fantastic road enough, in truth. On both sides of it are crouching armies, and their missiles have mingled on it for a year and a half. It is a great dishevelled highway, travelled only by bullets and by ranks and files of shells, that have furrowed and upheaved it, covered it with the earth of the fields, scooped it and laid bare its bones. It might be under a curse; it is a way of no colour, burned and old, sinister and awful to see." - Henri Barbusse, Under Fire : The Story Of A Squad.

The painting is The Mule Track by Paul Nash.
"Where I come from," interposes the poor Southerner, "holiday feasts last so long that the bread that's new at the beginning is stale at the end!" - Henri Barbusse, Under Fire : The Story Of A Squad.

Liar, n.

"Liar, n. An attorney with a roving profession. A journalist of any occupation, trade or calling." - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

East Africa Crisis

The worst drought for 60 years is taking place in the Horn of Africa, the toll of human suffering and death could be terrible, if you can spare some money to help please follow the link...

Disasters Emergency Committee East Africa Appeal

Happy Fete Nationale

Prise de la Bastille by Jean-Pierre Houel, who also did 'erotic' drawings of elephants, which is a creature even De Sade didn't get into his novels.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Even God Doesn't Want To Listen To Tory MP's

In my ongoing attempt to annoy/offend just about everybody everywhere I attended nephew Joseph's speech day at Ripon City Cathedral Choir School yesterday.  The choir and school band were awesome, headmaster Chris McDade's speech was informative and amusing and peppered with characters from Pixar films in order to keep the children listening.  The guest of honour was Ripon MP Julian Smith, whose speech was largely drowned out by a cloudburst that hammered down on the roof of the hall.

At the garden party afterwards I happened to remark, in my normal quiet and mouse-like tone ""Even God doesn't want to listen to Tory MP's" which sent my dear sister scurrying away in embarrassment. I was also the only bloke there not to be in jacket and tie, mind you, at least I had put a shirt on, to begin with I was wondering whether the Iron Maiden or Wildhearts t-shirt would be most appropriate.

If you ever get to go to a Cathedral Choir School event, not only do they have the best school choir ever, but they have the best caterers as well, the flapjack and the chocolate brownies were so wonderful that I was forced to eat 6.

Superhydrophobic Carbon Nanotube Array

Who are EDL ?

Friday, July 08, 2011

It Is Forbidden To Kill

Medal depicting VoltaireImage via Wikipedia"It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."


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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Man Amongst Men

Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)Image via Wikipedia
“In order for the artist to have a world to express he must first be situated in this world, oppressed or oppressing, resigned or rebellious, a man amongst men” - Charles Baudelaire.
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The Slave Ship

Slavers throwing overboard the Dead and Dying — Typhoon coming on by J M Turner, 1840

Seven Types Of Rhyme


• bit bat = alliteration

• cool food = assonance

• knack sock = consonance

• sock rock = full or strict rhyme

• crick crack = half , slant or para-rhyme

• knack gnat = reverse rhyme

• wood would = identical rhyme or rime riche

Stress, Unstress, Repeat

“As a stressed syllable ends, other things being equal, to be pronounced with higher pitch than weak syllables, a purely ‘iambic’ line will tend towards a higher tone at the end, but according to general phonetic laws this is a sign that something more is to be expected. Consequently it is in iambic verses easy to knit line to line in natural continuation.” – Otto Jesperson, Notes On Metre, 1933

Speaking A Thing Makes It Real

“ ‘Expressing’ emotions is certainly not the same thing as arousing them. There is emotion before we express it. But as we express it, we confer upon it a different kind of emotional colouring; in one way, therefore, expression creates what it expresses, for exactly this emotion, colouring and all, only exists so far as it is expressed.”  - R G Collingwood, The Principles Of Art, 1938

Birthday Presents

Many thanks to my family and friends who were so generous on my birthday yesterday, I will enjoying the wine, whisky, tame dragon and kindle books soon.

Dad & Shirley, Brian & Kath and Morag also got me some book vouchers and I have been up to the Grove Bookshop already to exchange these for the following...

I Used To Know That - English : Stuff You Forgot From School by Patrick Scrivenor
50 Literature Ideas You Really Need To Know by John Sutherland
Penguin Rhyming Dictionary
A Race For Mad Men : The Extraoridinary History Of The Tour De France by Chris Sidwells
Why God Won't Go Away : Engaging with The New Atheism by Alister McGrath

Real Bales

These were in a field close to Ilkley Lawn Tennis Club, you don't often see proper oblong bales like these any more, most farmers seemed to have switched to the giant wheel shaped bales.  When I was a child there was a big field behind the Red Lion in Burley (which is a new housing estate now) and we used to play there in the cutting season, building castles from the hay bales.

Streetlights 1

Just messing around with the camera on my mobile when wandering back from the pub, I liked the way the camera distorted the lamps into flying saucer shapes.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Day One - Contador, Petacchi et al Hate Spectators

It was an astonishing first stage in the Vendee for the wrong reasons as the 2011 Tour de France began its 19 days of toil yesterday.  The peloton set off along beautiful French coastal scenery, a three man breakaway set off and stayed out until only a few kilometres from the end, then, with the pack together and rolling at top speed, the unexpected occurred.

Philipe Gilbert wins the opening stage
As the peloton swept past, a spectator inexplicably turned to watch them and stepped into the cyclists, she was struck forcefully and the rider ricocheted into the pack bringing down dozens of other riders and blocking the road.  When the chaos cleared, a group containing Alberto Contador, Roman Kruziger, Alessandro Petacchi and a host of other big names were a minute off the lead.  Worse was to come as a second crash at the head of the group halted them for a second time.

Philipe Gilbert for Omega Pharma Lotto sprinted over the line on a grade 4 hill finish and managed to make a clean sweep of the senior jerseys. A group containing Contador and Sanchez rolled over 1' 20" behind, a far larger margin that the one with which Contador one the TdF last year, he is going to have a huge struggle trying to make up time on the other top riders.  Philipe Gilbert entered the race as favourite, and some great form mixed with a dollop of good fortune has seen him atop the first day's standings.  Can he wear the yellow jersey all the way to Paris ? It is just possible.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Tour De France

Ivan BassoImage by Petit Brun via Flickr

I like football, I love cricket, and I love the TdF as well, I am really excited for this year's race.  My stage by stage poster is up on the wall at work, I have done a cash sweep for the staff in which I've got Ivan Basso's Liquigas-Cannondale team and my wife is looking good with Leopard-Trek and their awesome line up of the Schleck brothers and Fabian Cancellara.

Running from Saturday July 2rd to Sunday July 24th 2011, the 98th Tour de France will be made up of 21 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,430.5 kilometres.  It is the most demanding, the most grueling event in sport, up and down mountains and through the beautiful countryside of France.  I'm all set for 21 days of pelotons and breakaways.

Pictured - Ivan Basso

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