Straw High-rise in fields

Have you noticed the shift from short cylindrical bales of straw scattered across harvested fields to tall stacks of cuboid bales?  And why do the farmers build them that way?  I met a chap in Hull who watched a tractor and specialised trailer collect one of these high-rise bale heaps in a single smooth action.  And he took pictures – and here they are:

tractor 1 of 5 (600 x 450)

Trailer rising up as tractor reverses towards the high-rise bale stack.

tractor 2 of 5 (600 x 450)

Side arms out to embrace the stack, still reversing.

tractor 3 of 5 (600 x 450)

Lined up, arms on each side begin to close around stack.

tractor 4 of 5 (600 x 450)

Gripped and beginning to lower the whole high-rise.

tractor 5 of 5 (600 x 450)

Tractor moving away before stack fully horizontal.  Who needs people when you have capital?

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More Yorkshire Art

This blog has been going on and on, so this is the last of our August trip to Yorkshire – a little compressed.

After leaving Hull we spent time at Cartwright Hall in Bradford where a new Hockney gallery has opened, but never mind the new gallery, the older parts had a couple of early Hockney paintings, almost his student days.

144. Early Hockney in Cartwright Gallery (600 x 384)

Elsewhere in the gallery there were interesting things to see.  The one below may explain the term “Going for a Burton”.

145. Gents toilet at the Cartwright gallery - the Burton Closet (600 x 517)

We also visited Saltaire where I skipped out of more Hockney and found the nearby Boathouse Inn which offered Rat Brewery’s White Rat – a delicious beer – as well as Saltaire Blond and Blackjack Brewery’s Dead Man’s Hand.  All with a view of the river Aire complete with ducks and geese.  Later wandered about admiring some of Titus Salt’s domestic architecture – taller boarding houses for single workers separated by terraces of overseers’ homes with tiny front gardens (below), and big semi-detached managers’ houses at the west end of Saltaire, with views (then) across open fields as far away from the noise and smells of the mill (at the downstream east end) as possible (further below).

146. Overlookers house in Saltaire 1 (450 x 600)

148. Managers semi at west end saltaire (600 x 400)

Wakefield and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park followed.  Lots of interesting new stuff but I really enjoyed seeing one of the original structures by Andy Goldsworthy – a tree in a drystone lined pit.

160. Goldsworthys tree in enclosure second (487 x 600).jpg

And we found this giant Kangaroo Rat outside a workshop now actually open to the public but mentioned by a member of staff as worth a quick sneek in.

161. Steel Kangaroo rat made at YSP workshops (600 x 584)



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Moved by a bridge, and some beer.

A day in central Hull started with a trip on the new Scale Lane swing bridge.  Its a tourist thing – no barge was coming but they open and close thew bridge whilst people stand on it.  That’s the kind of excitement Hull City of Culture has to offer.  So we went.

115. scale lane opening 4 (600 x 329)

So – we are on the bridge.  The gates have been closed on the end of the bridge and on the bridge approach and it is rotating about a vertical axis on the west bank, the extremity swinging to the south.  People can get on the bridge throughout the process at the west side – YES they can! Amazing what they can do these days.

117. scale lane opening 6 (600 x 397)

Nearly fully open now, looking south to the arch which is the flood defence thing and can lower a steel door into and across the river to temporarily stop very high tides flowing up the river Hull.  The next image was borrowed from the Sea of Hull exhibition.  There’s a really good video online showing thousands of naked blue people being ordered about – well worth a look.  Its both touching and funny.


After the excitement of that trip we walked north, through teh tourism centre of museums and old pubs into part of Hull, still beside the river Hull but now run down but with history, and some gems.

120. Old merchants House (600 x 499)

Backing onto the river, this Merchant’s house was once owned by a shipowner who owned, amongst others, the Bounty (as in Mutiny on the . . ).  Nearby is the equally fine Georgian Customs House.  Further on there is a school – now run as sheltered accommodation for the older folk – but as a school in the 17th century it was home to a young Andrew Marvell (his dad was Headmaster for many years).

123. More Charterhouse as was, where Marvell's dad was Master (600 x 350)

124. Marvell Plaque on Charteerhouse as was. (600 x 581)

Moving further north we pass a mill still in use.  It processes maize to create a range of products including polenta, various grades of grits for breakfast cereals, snack foods and the brewing industry and bran and germ for animal feeds – I know this because I checked the Maizecor website.  The mill has a bridge over Wincolmlee – that’s the name of the road – with some pleasing decorated cast iron brackets.

128. maizecor brackets 2 (600 x 509)

Then we reached the real destination, the Whalebone pub.

130. Whalebone pub and keg wall (600 x 536)

A young fellow has taken it on now and the range of beer has improved but the in-house brewery has closed.  Had Saltaire Galaxy Pale and Rudgate York Chocolate Stout before heading back into town.  On the way we passed a near derelict structure with a Blue Plaque.  It proved to be the site of an oil seed press manufacturers, but the plaque is because it is the first ever ferro-concrete building erected using the Hennebique System.

133. Hennebique ferro-concrete building (450 x 600)

Clearly worthy of the plaque you might spot at the right end of the building, about 12 feet up. In town there was a festival of food which included beers from Atom Brewery.  Their mobile keg dispense system pleased me.

135. Atom Beer van at Yum Foodfest (600 x 376)

But I chose to drink a cask ale celebrating the rescue of Dead Bod.

134. save dead bod beer at Yum Foodfest, Queens Gardens (415 x 600)

Its got the good hops I favour.  Dead Bod was a piece of graffiti on a corrugated iron wall at Alexandra Dock, due for demolition when Siemens moved in their windfarm construction plant.Why the enthusiasm for this bird I don’t know, but it is now installed in a trendy Hull bar.

dead bod bar

In the afternoon I went to look at Hull’s new Minster, Holy Trinity church as was, in its new flagged open space setting.

140. West end Minster woth Marvell sunnier (600 x 470)

That’s Andrew Marvell on the pink granite plinth.   The new square has a new water feature – several rectangles are cunningly awash with water which is moving all the time, but very shallow.  It generates some good reflections.

141. sky reflected in water feature Minster Square Hull (427 x 600)




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Daytrip to York

Park and Ride made getting into York easy and much quicker than the bus.  We drove north and west from Hull, skirting Beverley and climbing over the Downs, sorry, Wolds before dropping into the Vale of York at Market Weighton.    16 miles later we parked on the east edge of the city and hopped on a bus which dropped us beside the city walls which we walked around anticlockwise to Bootham Bar and the Art Gallery.

84. York minster from walls (600 x 450)

I’ll call this one ‘Minster across the pantiles’.  Later we decided not to go into the minster on the grounds that we had already spent some time in Lincoln cathedral.  Jackie and Marian walked around the Minster whilst I found a pleasing bar (Eagle and Child) just inside Bootham Bar to sample a couple of beers, specifically: Grapefruit IPA from Brewlab and Electric Bear’s Werrrd!, an unfined APA.

88. Alice staue from wall

Saw this from the walls – looks like Alice Liddell to me, but why here?  The art gallery had lots of Picasso pots (borrowed from Dickie Attenborough and his wife), and some fine seascapes by a chap called Henry Moore (not that one) plus a fine religious thing that made me think of Monty Python and their animator Terry Gilliam.

92. Martyrdom of St Clement by Bernardino Fungai 1460 - 1516 (600 x 396)

Its called the Martyrdom of St Clement (1460).  Around the Minster we found an obligatory sundial, in this case a pillar dial with 4 faces, but some bent and missing gnomons.

93. pillar dial by York Minster

Jackie and I decided to go into Clifford’s Tower, but Marian declined.  Not surprised really, it costs £6 to get in and its really just a lidless stone box on top of an earth pile, but free to enter if you, as we are, are members of English Heritage.

104. JJ and my foot in Cliffords Tower spiral stairs (600 x 475)

OK, it also has two spiral stairs.




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Spurn Point.

A sunny day for a slow drive east towards Spurn Point.  We paused at the village of Paull to look west up the Humber towards Hull.

60. from Paull a

Saltend oil terminal is nearest, Hull is just the soft blur beyond.  The upright clump of white in the middle is a group of wind turbine poles at the new Siemens wind turbine works – a bright employment opportunity in a still depressed city.

63. from Paull d

In the far distance it is possible to see the Humber Bridge – its about 9 miles west of Paull.  Heading east over the flat vale of Holderness we reached Patrington where the elegantly spired church is known as the Queen of Holderness.  The King is many miles to the west, at Howden near Goole and Selby – I just knew you wanted to know.

68. Patrington church 4 (520 x 600)

Soon we had driven as far as the road allowed, found a place to park in a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust car park and set off on foot.  The road is no longer maintained so Spurn becomes an island during particularly high tides.

74. JJ and Marian at end of the road

Marian and Jackie at the end of the road.  North Sea on the left and the Humber Estuary on the right.  You might spot the lighthouse near the end of the point on the horizon to the right.

75. wind farm and groins

On the sea side there are the remains of what must once have been a substantial jetty.  Not just wooden piers but mass blocks of concrete and pipes of clay and plastic.  The distance has a windfarm, one of 2 big ones just off the coast here.  We collected pebbles as we walked.  You get a bigger choice of geology here where glaciers brought material from as far away as Norway, the Lake District and Scotland – some of them made it back to Brighton, by car rather than ice.

80. mirage across the Humber (600 x 371)

After lots of sand-slogging we reached the new sometimes-island but didn’t go as far as the lighthouse, and on turning back we spent more time looking across the mudflats and Lincolnshire.  The shining mud, or perhaps water, created a pleasing mirage effect, causing the distant shore to be reflected beneath itself.

We popped into the old seaside resort of Withernsea on the way home.  There are window displays in Hull’s Whitefriargate saying Withernsea is the Place to Be – believe me, it is not.  Though it does have sandy beaches and we did find a newish micropub.  The gardens of what used to be the Town Council Offices had a rather nice cast iron thing commemorating Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, complete with those scaley fish usually described as dolphins (as in Brighton’s emblem).

83. Victoria memorial at Withernsea


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Going to Hull and more.

We left Brighton about 7am with Marian driving and Jackie navigating – a route we had planned carefully several days earlier, mainly avoiding motorways once north of London and the Dartford crossing.  Arrived on the outskirts of Lincoln about 11am and parked at the bottom of the town so that we would have the big walk up Steep Hill to the cathedral.  Crossing a level crossing and the Fossdyke Navigation (originally a Roman canal) we know we are at the bottom of the natural gap in the north-south limestone ridge on which Lincoln stands.

1. Lincoln sculpturs

A big sculpture of (perhaps) acrobats spans the Fossdyke.  Near the top of Steep Hill we find, or I re-discover the Wig and Pen pub.  Sample all 3 of the beers on offer but Oakham’s Citra is best.  Then to the cathedral, paying to enter, but worthwhile.  Best bit of sculpture though, was on the west front – much of it new.

5. New carving west end Linc Cath

Is that Adam and Eve having their genitals savaged (on the left)?  Savage snakes do figure large for sinners.  But even being rescued by God looks gruesome, with repentant sinners being hauled out of the jaws of Hell whilst God stands on the prone devil.  We were all fundamentalists once, it took centuries to grow free of it.

Inside here is some beautifully bright stained glass, lots of pillars in Purbeck marble (brought all the way from the south coast about 900 years ago) and a great library designed by Christopher Wren and built, replacing the north side of the cloisters, in 1674.

10. nave b

In the middle of the right hand side, walking up the north aisle are Marian and Jackie.  The darker columns supporting the nave arches are Purbeck marble.  Notice how they appear whiter at the base, this is because rising damp has pushed salts out of the stone, discolouring and eroding the previously polished surface.  When they charged us £7 or £8 to enter they did observe that the place costs several thousand a day in upkeep and maintenance.

Down the south aisle, poorly lit, was a display of knitted Lincolnshire churches.  Yes – knitted churches!  Humans – impossible to figure.

21. knitted church a

Then it was time to leave, driving north to the Humber Bridge and Hull where we checked into the delightful largely Georgian Kingston Theatre Hotel and strolled down the old town cobbled High Street for fish and chips and a beer or two at the Lion and Key.  Had to eat early because they stop serving food at 7pm – very Hull.

Next day Jackie and Marian went to the Deep – a sort of aquarium with Earth history museum.  I went for a stroll down memory lane, to the Avenues where I was brung up.

32. westbourne av fountain

Had my tonsils out in the local hospital behind the fountain in the middle of Westbourne Avenue.  There used to be 3 of these cast iron birds and mermaids fountains in the Avenues, but even when I lived there (back in the 1960s) there was never any water involved, no fountaining took place.  Incidentally, Philip Larkin died in this hospital in 1985, there is a plaque on the wall of the staff carpark telling us so, part of the Larkin Trail.

Left Westbourne Avenue and wandered down Victoria Avenue to look at the main house of my youth, number 33, before walking on to the main shopping street, Newlands Avenue, where the last railway to be built in Hull passes over the road.  The walk took less than 30 minutes and crossed almost the entirety of my childhood play and exploration area.  There is clearly some local pride in place hereabouts, note the planting at the foot of the bridge abutments.

43. Newland av planting 2

This last railway was ‘The Hull and Barnsley Railway’, and was completed in 1885, linking west Yorkshire with a new dock on the Humber.  But it never actually got to Barnsley.  It got near, to somewhere called Stairfoot apparently.  ‘Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs’, as my Nan used to say when amazed, puzzled or confused.  They only got permission to build the line if it was done without any level crossings, Hull was covered with them from earlier railway developments, and they were slowing down the growing road traffic.  The solution was to cross urban Hull on a long embankment, and bridge the roads encountered.  Next to the bridge is a little bar called Larkins Bar though it was not there in his day.  Their beer mats quote his lines:

Why should I let the toad work

Squat on my life?

Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork

And drive the brute off?

I has a bottle of Japanese witbier to celebrate effective pitchfork use.




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Three days in an open top car.

Day 1: Horsham to Burley via Hinton Ampner and  Winchester.  South to the A272 – a delightful road on motorbike (I had one once, and 50 mph on a winding but broad road feels great) or in open-top car.  One hour and 42 miles later we arrived at Hinton Ampner, a pleasing house and especially gardens, for – after the obligatory 20 minute queuing – a cup of coffee.

1 Hinton Ampner long walk (600 x 450)

There is a sundial at the far end of the above grassy path, but I have other things to show.  Drove on to Winchester for lunch and a look around the cathedral.  This turned into lunch (at the oldest inn in town – the Royal Oak) and a look at the cathedral.  They wanted £8 each for us to look inside.  Perhaps we should have pretended to be Christians and gone in free to pray, but we turned out to be travellers and walked around it instead.

8 winchester cath odd message (600 x 407)

This bit of cryptic carving sums it up.  Before 1640 there was effectively a public right of way through the cathedral, but the bishop decided to open up an exterior route through the cloisters for travellers, so that only the faithful coming to worship would go into the church.  The hand pointing left is for the faithful, and some clever up and down reading tells them:  ILL AC PRECATOR or ‘over here to pray’.  The hand pointing right (with a big stick) reads: HAC VIATOR AMBULA or ‘by this way traveller walk’.  We did that.  We found pretty precincts, a bubbling chalk spring and a car park where we left the MG.

12 Graham at the wheel (600 x 450)

The sun was still shining as we entered the New Forest, which as we know is neither new nor that much a forest.  We explored some pretty forest routes and found a shop for a bottle of whisky (for after drive nightcaps) before finding Burley and the Burley Inn for a few beers, supper and a few more beers.  After a full English we set out for the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

Look at that word – 8 letters, 6 of them vowels!

The older vehicles pleased me the most, with two Brighton references worthy of note.

15 Nat Motor Museum Magnus Volk (600 x 388)

‘The first practical electric road carriage was built by Magnus Volk of Brighton in 1887’  Sadly the model on show is from the US of A.  Magnus sold one of his electric cars to Abdul Hamid II, Sultan of Turkey, and he went with it to Constantinople to demonstrate it to the Sultan.

17 Isetta car (600 x 539)

The new Isetta Square near Brighton railway station is in commemoration of the works which stood there in the late 50s and early 60s.  Three wheeler Isetta bubble cars were assembled in Brighton.  It was an Italian design, bought by BMW who were desperate to sell vehicles after the war.  In the UK they built a 3 wheel version to attract a lower road tax (as a motor cycle), but in the rest of Europe they had 4 wheels.

I did get to see the remains of Beaulieu Abbey.  Completed in 1246 and demolished after dissolution in 1538 – just 292 years.  It was a big Abbey church- 110 metres from west end entrance to the east end of the presbytery, plus all the other abbey stuff – including hospital, rooms for visitors and all the religious life functions as well as the farming lay-brothers stuff.


The above plan comes from the website – thank you guys.  Leaving the New Forest after coffee I blundered with the map.  Instead of taking us under the A30 into the northern part of the National Park, I got the wrong minor road and we accessed the A30, all the way to Ringwood.  It was quick anyway.

25 ringwood to BF roads 2 (600 x 475)

Soon back on track for Blandford Forum for lunch.  After 12 miles of minor roads WNW from Ringwood we turned SW on the A354 (above) straight into Blandford – a fine Georgian town it tells the visitor.  And the main church proves it:

26 Blandford Forum Georgian church (552 x 600)

Parking proved a problem, but it was free at the (Georgian) Crown Hotel so long as we ate there – so we did, before continuing direct to Dorchester.  We checked into the Wessex Royale Hotel (Georgian as well) before walking the streets for beer and a venue for dinner.  There is a brew pub in town called Tom Brown’s which had a couple of excellent beers, and a little way west was Goldie’s offering traditional ales as well.  But we did not find anywhere interesting to eat.  So it was the hotel restaurant which offered good things – scallops (with a bottle of white) and bacon and chicken salad (with a bottle of red).  Preceded by G&T and topped off with whisky in our room a good night’s sleep was guaranteed.  After a whole kipper for breakfast we waited a while for the rain to stop before setting out for the Cerne Abbas giant.  I would show you a photograph but the weather was so misty it was barely (and I mean barely) visible.  His head and club being further up the hillside were invisible, his more famous attribute was standing proud, but on its own hardly worth showing you.  We took a rural and high altitude route north and east through low cloud until we descended near Sturminster Newton and made our way across the north side of Blandford Forum and onto the Wimbourne Minster road for Kingston Lacy for culture and coffee.

34 Avenue of trees Kingston lacy estate 1 (600 x 550)

The beech trees above are part of a 700+ avenue planted along a 2.5 mile private toll road built in 1835 for William John Banks across his Kingston Lacy estate as an income generator.  He spent most of his life spending family money on improving and embellishing the Kingston Lacy house – first cladding the brick building in stone.

36 Badbury Rings (600 x 249)

Part way along the beech avenue this Iron Age structure is seen (hiding behind the tree).  It is Badbury Rings, a defensive fort whose site shows evidence of continuous occupation from the earlier Bronze Age through the succeeding Roman occupation (several Roman roads meet here).

37 Kingston Lacy formal garden (600 x 450)

This is a view from inside Kingston Lacy house.  William John Banks spent a few years abroad in his youth and sent all kinds of antiquities home.  In 1841 he was found guilty of sex with a guardsman (such things being illegal then) and escaped jail by going to mainland Europe.  From there he sent home plans and commissioned many expensive items to be installed in the house.  Banks died in Venice in 1855, the National Trust guide does not record what happened to the guardsman.  The NT marks the 50th anniversary of the easing of the law regarding male homosexual sex by flying a Pride flag over the house:

pride flag over KL

After the obligatory 20 minute coffee queue we headed east, finding a back road route across the River Avon 2 miles north of Ringwood, and entering the New Forest for lunch at the Red Shoot, Linwood.  The weather had become murkier but we resisted putting the lid up, relying on air flow of forward movement to lift mist and fine drizzle over our heads.  The plan worked fine at 45 mph and above, less well in traffic in Winchester, and when passing under trees on the A272 where falling drops were too big to be swept aside by the airflow.

41 Still misty, sometimes nearer rain (600 x 410)

Above: leaving the New Forest in moister weather.  But we got back into Sussex where the rain had been and gone, reaching Graham’s Golf Clubhouse for a pint of recently rarely seen but delicious Belgian orange and coriander witbier Hoegaarden.

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