Picture of the day: Memorial, Sledmere [1999]

The fake Eleanor Cross made Eleanor cross

Back in 1999, Mrs Gnomepants V1.0 and I went to visit her granddad who lived in Scarborough. I think I’d never been to Scarborough before, let alone it’s Fair although we may have got the train there once before a few years previous, I can’t remember. I do have some vague memories of catching a train somewhere but that may have just been Wakefield.

Anyway, on this particular occasion we drove. As I hadn’t driven a car since 1995 (which felt like an aeon previous then) and, I think then, we didn’t own one so we may have hired one. Added to this, being a wary driver, I didn’t really fancy driving on motorways so we drove to Scarborough along A and B class roads instead which was fun, especially as we got to see parts of the UK we’d never seen before and that I’ve completely forgotten about since.

I think it took us 6 hours. Stan, Mrs Gnomepants v1.0’s grandfather, pissed himself at the totally unnecessary drive and route we had taken to visit him. A standard Motorway drive would have taken just under 3 hours.

This was the noughties. At that time there was no cheap satnavs, no smart phones and no Google Maps instead we used old fashioned AA roadmaps (dated 1992) and vague directions printed out from the pirated copy of the fledgeling Microsoft Routemap we had on floppy disk.

One place we drove through was Sledmere in East Riding of Yorkshire. I was so taken by this monument I stopped the car to take this photo with my newly acquired fancy Canon wind up camera with electronic zoomy lens. I later added it to my now defunct Haunted Inns of Great Britain website along with pictures of the Three Mariners in Scarborough.

The monument is a replica Eleanor Cross and you can read more about it here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Cross,_Sledmere

Picture of the Day: Farmer Stegzy, Hunningham [2013?]

Gerroff moy laaahnd

The Red Lion in Hunningham near Leamington Spa was once one of mine and the missis’ go to places to take visitors. They used to have these really cool comic book pages stuck to the wall in proto-hipster fashion and a slightly traditional menu. Then the frightful types swamped the town in their Audi people carriers with their children Flegm and Calendula , we moved and the pub became one of those places that serve plates with teaspoons of mushed up food topped with parsley for £50 a pop. 

Before that though, and possibly one of the last times we visited the place, we had a visit from my old pal Nick (now playing a grumpy political commentator/photographer/artist in the Scottish play) and we took him to admire the proto-hipsterishness. While there, we noticed there was a model of a tractor by the nearby river and it became the perfect photo opportunity. Surprisingly, I can’t remember the visit ever being in January and looking at the trees and stuff, I think the date on the picture is wrong.

Picture of the Day: Chips, Internet [2020]

Always been a crinkle cut kind of guy

Every so often I’ll see a cartoon or infographic I like and I’ll save it. I used to save them to use as teaching tools when I taught apprentices about social media and the internet. I guess old habits die hard.

I probably saw this on Reddit in 2020 though it may have been Twitter.

Picture of the Day: Icicles, Brierley [2010]

Icicles are twice as nicicles with Ricicles

Some of the coldest winters I’ve experienced were during my time in Brierley. Sure, they weren’t a bad a when I lived in Patterdale Road in Liverpool — as in no ice on the INSIDE of the windows or frozen toilets — but still cold.

I think, at the time, I wrote about how beautiful the snow was but I have no idea on which platform or incarnation of the Existential Compost I wrote about it on. However, you can still see these, and other pictures relating to the dreadful snowbound week I had here – https://stegzy.co.uk/2010/01/10/

Picture of the Day: Buses (2006)

Wait for ages then two turn up at once

Long term readers may remember that at sometime in the past I worked at the University of Liverpool. At that time we had a functioning society and government, social media was in its infancy and we had no idea that Zuckerberg was constructing the tools for the demise of democracy. In those heady halcyon days, then as now, we often struggled for content despite our shiney new multimedia devices and I would often randomly snap pictures with my Sony Ericsson K750i. Many of these pictures are now deleted but a few remain. Today’s picture is one such image. Sixteen years is a long time and much has changed since the photo was taken. Here is the latest view. Trust me…it is the same place…

All bus stop and no buses...
All stop and no bus…

https://goo.gl/maps/u1WMuiniPnXASwVN8

Ironbridge

The iron bridge in Ironbridge in Shropshire, UK was comissioned by Abraham Darby III, designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard and John”Iron Mad” Wilkinson and built by many forgotten, now nameless men of stout stature. Construction of the bridge started in 1779 and was completed in 1781 and it became the first cast iron bridge in the world.

I made this

It is well worth a visit if not to see the scenery but to step back and take in the vast human effort that must have been required to stick this thing together. Remember, one man did not build this alone, but many whose names we might never know. Indeed how many died, were injured or how much they were paid for assisting with its construction we will never know but the name Abraham Darby, the Elon Musk of his day, is taught to school children to this day.

It is worth noting that Darby was a Quaker so the men who constructed the bridge and those that made the construction materials were probably better paid than most of those workers in similar professions at that time, but still it was no doubt a shade of what they should have earned based on the profits that Darby et al made from charging people to cross the bridge. Should you wish to know more, or to point out my inaccuracies, please visit the site yourself or read about it on wikipedia.

The bridge itself is part of a network of museums in the area including the amazing Blists Hill Victorian village and is well worth a trip.

https://www.ironbridge.org.uk/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Iron_Bridge

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/iron-bridge

Production notes: This film was filmed using my newly acquired camcorder on its first outing so its a little shaky despite image stabilising. I also edited it partly using the copy of AVID Media Composer that I accidently bought a licence for over Christmas, AVS4U that I bought a lifetime licence for back in 2008 and iMovie because I couldnt be arsed setting everything up to get the film produced. It’s not like I’m being paid to do these things you know….sadly…..

Magic Lantern

I used to love going to the cinema. When I was younger and lived in Woolton, I had the fortune to meet and befriend the projectionist at the Picture House, which often meant for the price of an hour’s talk about bicycles, I had free entry to what ever film was being shown. Moreover, Liverpool had a great selection of easily accessible cinemas. The Odeon on London Road, the ABC in Lime Street and the multiplex at Edge Lane all of which I would frequently visit.

Woolton Picture House

In my twenties, when trying to keep warm, I would take the bus into town and catch the afternoon show to take advantage of the empty seats and the warmth. As I got older, weekly visits became monthly visits and fewer. The habit broke on the move to Barnsley as the cinema became more of a luxury due to costs and lack of variety.

Then, of course, the paradigm of media consumption evolved. Films became freely available through nefarious methods and our CRT TVs changed into flatter wide screen affairs. The need to sit in front of a screen lessened and the cost of visits rocketed from £3.30 to upwards of £11. Moreover, the quality of films being shown decreased – gone were the innovative plot lines and artistic cinematography and in came the plot-by-numbers story lines, rehashed reimagining of classic films and over milking of cinematographic cash cows.

Some cash cows

Saturday I took myself to the cinema to see the long awaited next instalment of the James Bond saga. I had already accepted the new style brought about by the success of the Bourne trilogy and had become comfortable with the reboot but found it hard to ignore the join-the-dots “next location” storylines but regardless, I settled in for the show.

Before the lights dimmed the voice in my head was already cynically pointing out the annoyances with the whole cinema experience.

1: the cost. £12 compared to the £4 a shot of less than 20 years ago. Ok, this inflated price has brought about almost comfortable seating but I imagine the refits of cinemas are only a small percentage of the overall profits cinema companies make.

2: the price of treats. £8 for a bag of popcorn. Foolishly I’d forgotten to pop my own in my haste to leave in time for the showing.

Photo by Anna Tis on Pexels.com

3: the trailers. I have a system for whether I will go and see the film advertised. If I cringe – I don’t watch the film. Of the four films trailed I cringed at everyone. Including the new Ghostbusters, the new Marvel thing, something called Liquorice Pizza and The Matrix. 

Ghostbusters looks like someone saw Stranger Things and thought they had a good idea. Spoiler – they didn’t. Marvel stuff is predictable superheroes face adversity – adversity is defeated bollocks with no depth or plot. Liquorice Pizza seems like a touchy feely anachronism filled coming of age pile of shite and the new Matrix film will do to the Matrix what I believe (rightfully) the recent Star Wars update did to Star Wars. (I have so far successfully avoided the new Star Wars films because I didn’t want my enjoyment of the old series being spoilt like my enjoyment of Star Trek was ruined by the new Star Trek films)

4. Even though I went to the toilet before the film started, I became conscious that I would not be able to go again for another 2 and a half hours. Watching films at home, albeit on a smaller screen, does allow for the film to be paused when you need a wee something you can’t do with a cinema.

5. People getting up in the middle of a film to go to the toilet. – see point 4

6. The lack of mid screening usherette with ice cream refreshments. The Woolton Picture House still had this right up until the early noughties. I doubt they still do but it was always a nice thing to grab an overpriced ice cream and a drink mid way through a movie. 

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

7. The inability to nip to the kitchen to grab a snack/drink midway through a film. 

8. The movie plots being almost predictable enough akin to bestowing the powers of Nostradamus on the viewer. Indeed, I saw the end of No Time to Die about a third of the way through. The contrived plot and the “next location – action sequence – next location” sequence was boring to a point that I almost got up and left but being a tight git, I’m loathe to do such a thing. Originally, the plan was to also see the new Dune film but time constraints and not wanting the Lynchian version ruined means I probably won’t bother. 

No doubt in twenty years, I’ll look back at this entry from my high backed old peoples home chair where I am awaiting the surly Zoomer nurse to arrive to force feed me my pureed cabbage dinner. I will then remember the halcyon days of cinema going. Sitting in the dark, watching proper acting with proper story lines and best of all….an usherette with a tray of ice cream…..

My views on cinema in 2005

Picture of the day: Mary Janes, Cromer [2017]

A sacred place

Imagine the best fish and chips you’ve ever had. If it wasn’t from Mary Janes in Cromer, you’re wrong.

I believe that there is an ancient gnostic scripture held in the cathedral in St Davids that says eating fish and chips from Mary Janes in Cromer is akin to 400 pilgrimages to Rome. I was here in on this day in 2017. By all reckoning I’ve made something like 2000 trips to Rome now.

I am blessed and have the belly to prove it.

Behold its saintly visage.

Picture of the Day: Funicular, Lamport [2015]

Judging by the quantity of photos and films on the topic it seems that May is the traditional start of the Steam Rally season. I love going round steam rallys and looking at the old workhorses many fully restored and condemned to a life of display. 

Most of the time the motors are doing nothing but running but occasionally they power things. Like this funicular which I have seen in many steam rallys over the years, each one it looks a little more dog eared.