Friday, 15 December 2017

A day in Barrow...

I'm lucky to be in Barrow-in-Furness. There seems to be a bit of ‘play’ in the Romahome steering, and I want to get it sorted before I put too many more miles on the clock. I’ve left it at the Citroen Garage in town, where I’ve had work done before. So I have a day in Barrow, with my camera, laptop and radio (England are still ‘holding their own’ in the Perth test match)…

If anyone searches the Alamy database, with the words 'dogshit' + 'windfarm', I'll expect a sale...

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Third test...

When days look a bit grim, and winter stretches out so very far ahead, I remind myself that I don’t have to wear a Christmas jumper or negotiate the festive pitfalls of an office party. Full of cold, so an early night beckons. The test match starts in a few hours, so I hope to be listening to Alistair Cook and Joe Root taking the Aussie bowlers to the cleaners. I can dream…

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Ulverston...

As a rule of thumb I assume that the interior of the Romahome stays about 5℃ warmer than outside. Woke up this morning to find that, according to my thermometer, the cabin was a chilly -1℃, and the temperature outside was, as anticipated, an arctic -6℃. Thankfully I have a good sleeping bag and duvet. I drove to Ulverston this morning, keeping to the main roads; this is not a good moment to follow the satnav lady’s whimsical choice of ungritted by-ways. Having breakfast in the café at Booths. The cabin is now 20℃, and I plan to get some writing done.

My nomadic existence has at least one unanticipated consequence: I’ve come to realise that mild asceticism helps to keep the mind active. If I was living in a warm, comfortable house I’d just sink into a sofa and never get up…

Monday, 11 December 2017

Hull, Helen & Halifax...

Spent the weekend with Helen in Halifax. Good to be in the warm while the temperatures are plummeting. The weather, though cold, doesn't look too bad, so I'm heading for Cumbria...

Friday, 8 December 2017

Bramhope Tunnel...

Licensed this pic today: the memorial to the 24 men who died while constructing the Bramhope Tunnel, on the Harrogate railway line. The monument, a faithful replica of the tunnel’s northern entrance, with crenellated towers, is in Otley churchyard…




Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Fine dining...

Stopped for a snack at another lay-by diner; made out of a shipping container, it has an air of permanence. Instead of racist banter they had a baffling menu. I didn’t ask what a ‘Spam Tower’ was, and settled instead for a crispy bacon sandwich and a mug of tea. I’m a big fan of these roadside cafés. They’re cheap, cheerful and serve generous portions; best of all there’s no dress code…

A great little pub, at the scruffy end of town: the Whalebone, Hull...


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Kate Rusby...

Had a couple of days in Sunny Halifax, seeing Helen, other chums and Kate Rusby, who was appearing at the Victoria Theatre. None of us were aware that it was a Christmas show… until we saw the life-sized Rudolph the Reindeer on the stage. No problem; Christmas carols represent the acceptable face of the festive season, and Kate - and her band - rattled through a repertoire of (mostly) lesser-known carols and Christmas songs (though three different versions of While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night was probably two versions too many). Some of the songs were augmented by a brass section, which helped to provide a Christmassy ambience. The band came back for an encore, all dressed up for a nativity scene; Kate, with wings and a halo, was the archangel Gabriel.

It was a very enjoyable evening, though I wish she’d just sing the songs and forget about the between-song banter, which isn’t very funny or interesting. She’s long been a purveyor of unamusing anecdotes, which just kill the moods which the songs evoke; it’s a shame that no one told her, years ago, to concentrate on what she does best…

Choir in the Piece Hall, Halifax... raising money for Overgate Hospice...