A touch of colour in the kitchen. A touch of abstraction in the imagery. A touch of nothing better to do after another month of lockdown.
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We took the dog for a walk yesterday, up the hill from Copley. It’s a steep hill and hard work on the knees, but I had to run up there sixty years ago on school cross country runs, so I don’t see why my wife and dog should escape the same pleasurable experience. Before facing the hill we took a walk around St Stephen’s churchyard – I was looking for more pointing ladies, but that is another story. I couldn’t help wondering how they manage with burials now that there is only a footbridge over the river, but I am in no hurry to find out the answer. The graveyard looked almost Autumnal – just as if nature too had been in lockdown. I think the blue ribbon on the tree branch is something to do with thanking essential workers, which would be a nice thought. There again, it might be an abandoned dog waste bag, which would be a nasty thought.
A picture of Halifax taken from Southowram Bank at some time between the demolition of the old housing terraces that used to spread up the hillside, and the road itself becoming almost completely overgrown. That probably makes it some time in the 1970s. The mill that can be seen at the bottom of the cobbled road is the old Riding Hall Carpet mill. I worked there briefly a few years before I took this photograph, in the despatch warehouse on the ground floor, where we would load finished carpets onto the back of wagons. The mill was built into the steep hillside and the road wound around it like a piece of string. You could leave the despatch bay on the ground floor at one side of the building, climb up to the fifth floor and find another despatch bay leading straight out onto the road at the other side of the building. That’s Halifax for you!
A photograph of mine from the mid 1960s of the demolition of Parliament Street in Halifax. I’ve added a touch of colour because I am bored with Lockdown and I have nothing better to do. I find it a pleasing image, but I am well aware that others’ might not. It’s my calendar, however, and it’s me who has to look at it all day.
I scanned this old postcard of Bradford Wool Exchange yesterday and became curious about when it was built. I eventually found an account of the opening in the Bradford Observer of 14 February 1867 which I was intending to write about at great length and in considerable depth. And then the broadband service started playing up and I got involved in talking with a variety of real and virtual support workers. What I need now is not the beautiful building or the wise words of the important guests at the opening ceremony, but the pint of sherry that came free with the entry ticket!
The day is full of roadmaps to freedom and counting the days to normality. This could give rise to a philosophical speculation about the nature of freedom, but I will leave that for another day and go with a working definition, which is being able to take my grandson to the seaside, buy him some candy floss and build a sandcastle. Here’s hoping they will be castles in the sand rather than castles in the sky. Until that day comes, I will content myself with this reminder of the scene in Bridlington almost forty years ago.
Now here’s a thing! Just three days after discovering a pointing statue of Hope in Elland cemetery, I find a very similar pointing statue in Rastrick cemetery. My initial conclusions about the Elland Pointer was that she was pointing towards Ainley Top and the slip road onto the M62, but I have now reviewed my calculations, and I believe she is pointing towards Rastrick Cemetery – and consequently, the Rastrick Pointer! This is a discovery of major significance, because it reveals a series of nineteenth and early twentieth century veiled stone figures pointing out a clear route to …. where? I still need to carry out detailed geographical calculations on the Rastrick Pointer, but as soon as I know where the trail leads to, I will let you know.
I have just checked back in my diary, and it is a year ago today that we set out on a holiday to the Caribbean. When we were leaving, Covid was a bit of a novelty; something that might have been causing a bit of a stir in China and Italy, but didn’t manage a single column inch on the front pages of British newspapers. By the time we returned, a fortnight later, the reality of the crisis was beginning to become apparent, and the first cases were being discovered in the UK. Covid had become the real deal.
It seems so long ago, a holiday that took place in a world we have now left behind. Who knows when I will get another chance to visit my family members out in the Caribbean. I can, however, remind myself of them all with a photo from a previous visit, back in 2012. It is of the Bomba Surfside Shack in Apple Bay, Tortola on the BVI. Sadly, the shack is now gone (a victim of the hurricanes rather than Covid), but it sums up those lovely islands to me. It was the real deal.
I’ve always been rather intrigued by those Victorian gentlemen who used to go around saving lost souls. I have never aspired to provide salvation to that degree, but give me a sad and wanting old photograph, and I will grab the Photoshop Bible and get down to my devotions along with the most pious amongst us.
This tiny old photograph fell from the back of an old photographic album belonging to my Great Uncle, Fowler Beanland. Whether she was a relative, a friend, or a lover, I know not, but she didn’t deserve to be lost. Having found her, and smartened her up a little, I present her to posterity. She will now live forever more out in cyberspace, looking back at the world she once knew.