Category Archives: News From Nowhere

Breakfast On The Morning Tram

One of my favourite Stacey Kent songs has always been Breakfast On The Morning Tram, which was written by Jim Tomlinson with lyrics by Kazuo Ishiguro. I’ve always imagined some exotic European city setting, but having come across a short piece from 1918 in the Illustrated London News, I am wondering whether he had early twentieth century Halifax in mind! The text accompanying the illustration reads as follows:-

“An electric tramcar belonging to Halifax Corporation has been converted into a fully equipped travelling kitchen capable of supplying 1,000 portions. It has electric stoves, with current supplied from the overhead wires, and a 1,200 gallon water-tank. Meals are served from both sides and there is a cash office at each end. It can run to any part of the 33 mile system.”

Stacey Kent’s far more exotic version of the Morning Tram can be found on YouTube.

Town Halls, Sewers And Chapels

The Victorians were good at Town Halls: built with equal parts of civic pride, cheap labour and local taxes. Town Halls, sewers, churches and chapels – the Victorians were big on them all. Elland Town Hall never functioned as a seat of local government; but parts of it have been used as all manner of things over the years: from assembly halls to cinemas, from restaurants to tanning studios. Whatever the use – or lack of it – it remains a stunning building.

Pain And Suffering In Downtown Halifax Part II

This was one of the first posts I ever put up on my blog, I posted it fifteen years ago in 2006. It came to mind because …. this morning started with a visit to the dentist! Actually, in the intervening fifteen years the dentist has moved, even closer to the town centre. Whist waiting for pain and suffering in downtown Halifax Part II to commence, I took a walk, and, of course, took some photographs. 

I took some photographs here back in the 1960s and when I got home I looked some of them out…..

As it turned out, there was no pain and suffering on this occasion: the dentist took one look and booked me in for another appointment to do a filling in a few weeks time. Keep a look out for Pain And Suffering In Downtown Halifax Part III

Besides The Seaside

Another lockdown milestone. We went to the seaside yesterday, a day trip to Whitby to meet up with my son and his family who are spending a week there. Going for day trips to the seaside has always been a normal part of my life. As a child we would climb aboard my fathers’ various vans and cars and visit Bridlington or Scarborough. When my son was small we would do the same, and even when more exotic locations turned our heads, we would still regularly undertake the two hour drive to the seaside. Lockdown brought an end to such adventures, and the forced separation from the salt-sprayed, vinegar-chipped British seaside only served to increase its attractiveness. It was great to see the family, it was great to be back besides the seaside.

Kaleidoscopic Calderdale

A beautiful Spring day and a beautiful Spring walk through the Cromwell Woods that stretch from Southowram down towards Brookfoot and the Calder Valley. For some reason, I kept seeing patterns today and late at night those patterns became almost kaleidoscopic with a little help from Photoshop and a 18 year old Glengoyne Malt Whisky. Can’t decide whether to use them for wallpaper or a new shirt.

You Can’t Beat Tradition

The Theakston family have a long tradition of brewing in the North Yorkshire town of Masham, the original brewery having been founded getting on for two hundred years ago. I have a long tradition of taking photographs of pubs and breweries, these photographs of the Masham brewery and the nearby White Bear Hotel, were taken getting on for fifty years ago. You can’t beat tradition.

I Will Return

Whilst on a walk yesterday, I got to thinking about all the things I have missed over this last lockdown year. There are, of course, family and friends, holidays in the sun, meals out and parties at home. And there is the pub: that depot of contented neutrality, that refuge from the outside world; that reading room, that meeting space, that home from home. I miss your beery smells, your casual choice of pointless chatter or drinking peace. Soon, my friend, soon, I will return.

History Hits You With A Punch

We had a computer when I was at university. When I say “we”, I mean the university had a computer. Just the one. An enormous mainframe job which had a building to itself. If you were lucky you might get to use it once in your university career. When I say “you” would get to use it, I mean someone would use it on your behalf; normal folk weren’t let within an airlock of it. You could ask it to do things: not fun things like play space invaders or send messages to the other side of the world, but process data, calculate stuff, find patterns in numbers. Communications with the computer were by way of punched cards: bits of cardboard with holes punched in them. Once your data had been transferred to punched cards, fed into the computer and the results had eventually emerged from the other end of the machine you were given your bundle of punched cards to keep. They made good book marks. And then 51 years later, as you were sorting out some old books, one would drop out and history would hit you with a punch.

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