I have this grand dream : I will simplify my life by consolidating all my blogging activity into one super-blog. It will be the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young of Blogs, the Three Tenors of on-line journalism. Some days it will feature photographs, other days it will rely on the usual fare of circuitous ramblings that I call writing. It will incorporate my efforts on Theme Thursdays and Sepia Saturdays and serve up the whole thing accompanied by a glass or two of my meditations on beer and brewing. But if it is going to work I need to master the art of balance : when featuring images, for example, I need to know when to stop wittering on and let the images do the talking.
I was musing on this problem yesterday whilst I took Amy The Dog for a springtime walk along the banks of the Calder and Hebble Navigation Canal just down the road in Brighouse. The canal is a grand old piece of industrial archeology, over 250 years old and brimming with history. The stone markers (above) that record the distance to the next lock deserve to be preserved behind a glass case in a museum, but - I am glad to say - are not.
Every time you come to a bridge you can trace where centuries of wear by the heavy ropes - used by horses to pull barges - have carved their story into the stone. You could sit a class of children around such stones and design a week's learning project on almost every aspect of science, history and art.
And there is the sheer tranquility of a place where a rich vein of nature intrudes into the original testbed of the industrial revolution. My third picture shows the lock-keepers cottage at Ganny Lock a few miles east of Brighouse. In the background you can just make out a featureless concrete warehouse defiling the rustic romance of the scene.
But hold on a moment. When the great eighteenth century civil engineer John Smeaton, designed the canal his proposals represented the very latest thing in technology. His plans were opposed by many a land-owner who believed his stone-lined cut would ruin forever their slice of nature. But Smeaton was a modernist who worshiped at the altar of progress. Not only did he build canals, bridges, harbours and lighthouses, he was also a noted physicist. Did you know, for example, that old John Smeaton was responsible for some of the most important developments in the theory of thermodynamics in the eighteenth century. Without his work it is unlikely that the Wright Brothers would ever have managed top get their plane to fly. It all revolves around what is known as the Smeaton Coefficient (k) in the equation L=kV2ACl, where L is ....... Alright, I will stop right there. I don't want to lose my balance do I? Especially when I am walking along a canal towpath.