Picture of the Day: Dead Horse, Brierley, Barnsley [2008]

Horse in a field
A horse in a field

Mrs Gnomepants v2.0 introduced me to a thing where whenever you see an animal in an old film, say older than 20 years, you point out to whoever is listening that the animal is dead now.

“But wait!” you say, “2008 is less than 20 years ago, ipso facto, you may be wrong if you’re about to say the horse in this picture is now the glue on the back of a stamp”. Ah but no. I know more than you….

Along the opposite side of the Lane with No Name to the houses were lovely undeveloped fields. Legend has it that this was the site of the former Brierley Colliery hence why no houses were ever built on it. Other tales and theories include a wealthy farmer buying the land for tuppence hapenny from the mine owners, an ancient covenant linked to Moses and aliens using it as a base to extract liver fat from rotund Yorkshire folk.

Regardless, in the field lived a couple of randy horses. Randy because one of them would be constantly trying to hump the other and would often make the most frightful noises. Today’s picture shows one of the horses.

Sadly, about a year after this photo was taken, some awful types poisoned the horse for some reason (Apparently this is a common thing to occur to horses according to a couple of horse owners I’ve spoken to since). But still, I was fond of the horse as it would often poke its head through the hedge to say hello when I was parking my car.

Picture of the Day: The Lane with No Name, Brierley, Barnsley (2008)

The Lane with No Name

I thought I’d resurrect this meme I started but didn’t finish last year again. Likelihood is I’ll probably do a few then stop again, but hey, I’m a busy badger these days what with all the zombie killing and space faring I’ve got going on.

Anyway, long term readers (hello if you’re still reading), will remember when I lived in Yorkshire, my house backed onto the fabled Lane-with-No-Name, an access route for brewery wagons making deliveries at the village working men’s club at the end.

As you may remember, the lane often featured in posts due to the hive of activities recorded on hidden CCTV cameras there – well, my webcam at least which I would place in the back bedroom window with motion sensing software recording any and all activity there.

Dodgy types those Yorkshire folks you know. They’d get up to all sorts of mischief all of which would be caught on my camera and discussed on Livejournal. — who could forget the timeless classics of G-the-Human-Dog having a crafty fag and weird badger thing…..

Badger? Cat? Snufflemonster?
Dodgy geezer smoking late at night. 604 views on Youtube. Wow!

Picture of the Day: The Green Man Of Brierley, Brierley, Barnsley, UK [2007]

Long term readers might remember Mrs Gnomepants V1.0 was a multitalented artist, but if you are new, this will probably be news.

This is the Green Man, taken today in 2007, which Mrs Gnomepants V1.0 sculpted out of clay for our second house, the one in Barnsley. It is a hollow plant pot holder with an entry on the top which you can’t see from this angle. We coated him in yogurt before putting him outside so that the moss would grow over his face.The idea was that he would age through time and become greener and greener with the moss and his ivy hair would  add to the effect.

I don’t know what he looks like now but I’m sure he’s doing well.

Picture of the Day: Load of Old Rhubarb – Brierley [2008]

Old Rhubarb

I love growing rhubarb me. I’m not overly keen on eating it, though I will, but I love growing it. 

My grandfather had a fine crop of rhubarb behind his greenhouse. My dad would often relate how he would have to go out with a bucket after the milkman’s horse so he could collect the manure for the rhubarb. He prefered custard though.

Today’s picture shows a crop grown from a head provided by old friend Carole. It has fired the rhubarb growing urge once more and, once I have a job, an income and allowed to go out, I intend to get a new head of rhubarb for our tiny garden. 

Picture of the Day – Desk of Hidden Objects, Brierley, South Yorkshire [2008]

Can you see the paperclip?

Randomly admist the photographs I often come across pictures of workspaces. It was often a meme on social media to upload a picture of your workspace for followers to see. In 2008 I was a full-time student, so this was my workspace in the back bedroom in my house in Brierley near Barnsley in South Yorkshire.

Today’s picture is also like one of those hidden object games which were popular around that time. How many objects can you see? Can you find the floppy disc? Can you see the Flexicurve? How about the USB vacuum cleaner?

The Old Grey Stegzy Gnomepants Test

So following the untimely passing of one of my fellow students, I have been digging around my old archive to see what stuff I have from the time.

One of my favourite all time things was when I directed and produced a “Live” broadcast as part of my Media Production Degree. The first we heard of it was when our lecturer, Alf, told us the previous day we were to be filming and mixing a “Live” performance of the Music students. I had always wanted to produce a music video and my this was my chance. However, before you judge, there are some things you should know:-

  • The whole thing was unprepared.
  • The musicians had never performed with each other as a group before.
  • The musicians had only 3 days or so to practice.
  • The sound mixing came from the Sound Technology students who also didn’t appear to be prepared (as you will hear from the video)
  • I started to get into the swing of it by the third set.

Anyway, as you will see, there are some talented people out there. I just wish I knew who they all were! If you know, feel free to post a link to the video on your Facebook.

Bands from stegzy gnomepants on Vimeo.

Goodbye Santor

This afternoon I packed the last few items into the van and waved goodbye to Santor aka Gnomepants Manor.

It was sad to see it retreating into the distance through the wing mirrors and slightly weird to watch familiar sights of Brierley pass by for the last time. Weird because when I moved there, I felt unwelcome, lonely and out of place. As I left, I felt sad because there was so much I could have done and yet so much that I could not have done had I stayed. At least I stand to get £13,000 as my share of the sale. Clair invited me in to say goodbye to the cats but as I was with my dad I didn’t want to keep him waiting and I didn’t want to feel sad that I probably won’t see Yoda or Mrs Mop again.

So as I left Yorkshire, for possibly the last time, and into the North West the clouds burst and in some twisted bit of serendipity, it pissed it down with rain.

So much has happened since 2006, so much is still to happen. I just hope that 2010 gets better for all of us.

Landscape

If I fell through a hole in time and travelled back 45 years. If I then looked out of my bedroom window across the field behind the lane with no name and beyond the field behind the field behind the lane with no name, not only would I have upset Mrs Edson’s daughter, but I would have seen the winch wheel of a pit stack.

Long but because I am nice I posted it here as well as on blogspot

>Landscape

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If I fell through a hole in time and travelled back 25 years. If I then looked out of my bedroom window across the field behind the lane with no name and beyond the field behind the field behind the lane with no name, not only would I have upset Mrs Edson’s daughter, but I would have seen the winch wheel of a pit stack.

As pinched from BAPIPHad I then gone downstairs and beyond the rear door of San Tor, tootled down the lane with no name and onto the corner of Church Street and Common Road I would probably have been able to see one of the largest collieries in the UK stretching out in the distance before me. There would have been power stations, winch houses, the constant drone of colliery activity and the like.

I would probably have seen a constant pedestrian traffic of orange overalls walking down the hill into Grimethorpe wherein those wearing the overalls would probably have stepped into a cage and travelled deep below the ground for a day of mining. In fact, had I gone to any number of places around the neighbourhood I would have seen similar sights of industrial activity. Trains and lorries laden with coal bound for the steel mills and power stations that peppered the vista.

People at a market I would have seen people milling about; doing their daily business with smiles upon their faces asking after neighbours and discussing Morecambe and Wise or some such. These same people would have been unaware of the devastation they would face over the next fifteen years or so. When their livelihoods were taken away from them by a government leader bent on revenge for the winter of discontent. A way to quell the voices of discontent and the socialism which threatened their brave new world.

Spin forward through time once more and where there was employment, there is but social decay in the shape of unemployment, bigotry and drug use. Houses that once were grand now look tatty and unkempt. Parades of shops that once boasted green grocers, fishmongers and butchers now stand boarded up and empty or populated by takeaways and offices of antidrug and employment building social enterprise groups. The contrast is vast.

2863774968_178f84e4be Travel to Liverpool 30 years ago and similar sights would have been seen, instead of coal miners you would have seen dock workers. Sheffield and Doncaster, steel workers. Newcastle, ship builders. The Midlands, motor industry.  An industrial past so memorable yet so long gone.  All gone. Thanks to the brave new world instigated by the Thatcher and perpetuated by the Blair governments.

Sure, industry would have struggled to compete with low cost foreign imports. It was a natural shift from production to service industries. However the speed in which the transition took place was so swift that few were prepared for the following years. This wasn’t 100 years ago, this was twenty to thirty years ago. Heck, even during my education traditional jobs such as butcher, baker, factory worker and the like were still discussed. Now, most of these jobs don’t exist.

Who to blame? The governments? They were the ones that set this passage in motion. The people? Reluctant to pay more for goods produced on home ground they would prefer cheaper imports to paying to maintain other peoples lives. Nobody? A natural transition that occurred as predicted by Marx? I can only speculate.

But what is clear is that since the industry was taken away very little has been put in place since. Sure Liverpool’s main industry now is education and tourism. Sheffield’s it could be argued is sport and culture. But places like the Midlands and Barnsley remain places difficult to find work in. Even the brief respite of call centres which have since been outsourced overseas only provided negligible difference.

As the population continues to grow unsustainably. The economy will continue to falter. Socialist ideals such as national health care and education  now too expensive at current prices will require more and more funding. The future is bleak, the future is most certainly not orange. Taxes need to increase. With increases in taxes, salaries will need to be increased. As salaries increase so will the drain on GDP. Inflation increases, held off artificially by government backing supermarkets and industry will surge and rocket, things will be bad.

Let’s think about a pie. Mmmmm pie. It is a nice pie. We all want a slice of this pie but some want bigger slices than others because they think they deserve a bigger slice. So to cater for the demand on pie we bake a bigger pie. But then people say that they want a piece of the pie that is comparative to the slice they think they deserve. The circle continues.

But let us go back to South Yorkshire and look around.

Think of the seaside town that is no longer popular with tourists. The once grand and splendid arcades now shuttered or populated by pound shops. The streets of dilapidated guest and boarding houses now multi occupancy dwellings inhabited by ne’er-do-wells, the down at heel and misguided immigrants. Pensioners wander the streets or sit outside once proud homes dreaming of times past when the new housing estate was once the local lido. Think of how this once popular place was alive with people happy and at peace now degraded, it’s heart ripped out by cheap foreign holidays. Then consider this seaside town land locked. You might now be imagining somewhere similar to Grimethorpe, Goldsthorpe, Mexborough and the like. Once proud pit villages populated by hard working proud people with facilities to cater for them provided by the pit owners.

Take the pit away and these places become that landlocked seaside town. The streets once burgeoning with shops now boast 1001 curries, kebabs and tanning salons. The schools once constructed in an age when architects considered the art of the building design instead of functionality now empty, burnt out or demolished. The churches whose congregations once boasted over 200 parishioners per service, now guarded by razor wire and awful looking grills to protect the already damaged stained glass windows. The pit itself, long cleared away, the ancillary buildings few of which remain are but depots for reclamation yards or meeting places for drug addicts and the destitute.

This is the brave new post war post industrial England. Sure there are sleepy villages, vibrant cities and bustling market towns in well to do areas, but for every Harrogate, there are many more Grimethorpes. These deprived areas like a rot will take a lot more than money, social schemes and the like to treat. With the decline goes pride, with pride lost there is little but apathy, with apathy comes decay. The wealthy international companies know this and they feast on the decay with their burger shops, their big name brand supermarkets, their "you must buy this because you need it" attitudes. Sucking the communities dry of the wealth which is then sent south or overseas and not reinvested in the local communities. We really only have ourselves to blame.


Cross posted to my Livejournal.