Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The First Of Many Journeys


A car stands outside a back street shop. This is such an unusual sight that a crowd gathers and everyone is keen to be included in the photograph. This is a moment that will be remembered a long time; the day a car came to Halifax, or was it Elland, or maybe Brighouse.


A boy sits in the car radiating excitement. A girl sits alongside him, confident in the fact that this will be the first of many such journeys.

Once again, thanks to Rock Tavern Jack for the load of this old photograph.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A More Detailed Explanation Of Why I Never Got Around To Completing My Sepia Saturday Post This Weekend


I never got around to completing my Sepia Saturday post this week. There is a reason for this .....

Ever since Amy, our Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier died in May we have been trying to decide whether to get another dog or not. We have discussed it, compiled lists about it, thought about it ourselves, read books about it and consulted the odd oracle or two. It was all a waste of time, quite obviously, because the only decision we had to make was "when" rather than "whether". We eventually decided what type of dog we wanted and on New Years Day went to see some very young puppies out near the Lincolnshire coast. We fell in love with one of the puppies immediately (well, we fell in love with all of them but there are limits), and yesterday we drove over to collect her. Say hello to Lucy.


The plan was quite simple: we would drive over to collect her in the morning (X and H where somehow persuaded to come with us!), settle here down in one of the crates or dens or boxes we have been busily acquiring over recent works, and then get on with our normal lives. Which just goes to show how silly you can be. All plans to write my Sepia Saturday blogpost, eat a meal, watch War and Peace, or sleep have been progressively abandoned over the last 24 hours as we gradually remember what it is like to have a puppy in the house.


I am only able to write this because she is grabbing 40 winks after a full half-days play (and it is nearly 9.00am). Life as an Aged Parent of an eight week old chocolate-brown Miniature Labradoodle is certainly going to be challenging and no doubt exhausting in equal measures. But Issy and I wouldn't miss it for the world.


The Sepia Saturday theme image had a group of people posing in front of a house. One of the children was holding a puppy. Now what image could I have possibly used for that theme?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Moment In Time - A Moment In War


This is a photograph of some American troops taken during World War Two. I don't know exactly where it was taken, when it was taken or, indeed, who was responsible for capturing this moment in time. It came to me via that most modern of commercial conduits - eBay: a service which allows you to buy dollops of history for loose change. The very anonymity of the image provides you with a sort of freedom to explore - there is no one face you are connected to, there is no known tragedy to taint your investigation.


Cropping changes the context, creating a more focused image. Whilst the first image is about wartime logistics, the second is about wartime troops.


And the third is about people, people caught in a moment of time. A moment of war.


In case you are wondering where my Sepia Saturday contribution is this week, it will appear late on Sepia Sunday, for reasons that will become apparent then.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sepia Saturday 313 : Fear Not But Trust In Providence (And A Decent Lifeboat)



Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features two children who were Titanic orphans: along with their father they were passengers on the Titanic and whilst they were saved their father perished in the tragedy. It started me thinking about the dangers of the sea and that led me to another of the vintage postcards from the collection of my Great-Uncle, Fowler Beanland. The postcard features an illustration of a ship's pilot and a young girl, along with the first verse of a ballad written by the nineteenth century poet and songwriter, Thomas Haynes Bayly. The Pilot is the kind of ballad that gave the nineteenth century a bad reputation: a sticky concoction of melodrama and sentimentality. Brace yourself, here is the ballad in full:-


"Oh! Pilot! 'tis a fearful night, there's danger on the deep,
I'll come and pace the deck with thee, I do not dare to sleep."
"Go down," the sailor cried, "go down, this is no place for thee;
Fear not! but trust in Providence, wherever thou mayst be."

"Ah! Pilot, dangers often met, we all are apt to slight,
And thou hast known these raging waves, but to subdue their might",
"It is not apathy," he cried, "that gives this strength to me,
Fear not but trust in Providence, wherever thou mayst be.

On such a night the sea engulfed my father's lifeless form;
My only brother's boat went down, in just so wild a storm;
And such, perhaps, may be my fate, but still I say to thee,
Fear not but trust in Providence, wherever thou mayst be." 

You have to admit, it is hardly Bob Dylan! I tried to find a musical rendition of the song on YouTube in the hope that it might grow on me when I heard it sung, but nobody has dared to share one yet. Perhaps those two young children who feature in our theme image, feared not but trusted in Providence, who knows. But if they had placed their trust in the White Star Line providing sufficient lifeboats, that trust had been clearly misplaced.

I have just remembered that I have recently booked a Baltic cruise for the summer, so I am off to source a copy of the music so that I can learn to sing it. Just the thing for the passenger talent contest. 

See what other Sepians are up to this weekend by visiting the Sepia Saturday Blog, wherever thou mayst be.

Friday, January 15, 2016

50 Brighouse Lads March Over The Bridge


The sun shone again today so I was able to walk down into Brighouse and take this photograph of the River Calder. Everything looks quite peaceful but the houses and businesses that line the river are still coming to terms with the effects of the disastrous flooding of three weeks ago. Both the coach firm and the climbing gym were badly affected when the river burst its banks and cleaning up and drying out is still taking place. Whilst the bridge that can be seen in the distance is still open (unlike Elland Bridge a couple of miles upstream which will have to be completely rebuilt) it is currently undergoing investigations by structural engineers because of a worrying crack that has developed (although this seems to have pre-dated the floods).


I decided to point my new mobile phone "Layers of History App" at the bridge and see what it came up with. It provided me with a report of a town council meeting which took place in May 1939 which showed that the town councillors of the day had foresight if nothing else. As far as I know, Rastrick Bridge was never widened nor was a new road built. If Bradford Road bridge does have to be closed, we may come to regret that Alderman' Clay's warning was not heeded.

NEW ROAD PROJECT. Moving the minutes of the Highways Committee, Ald. H. T. Clay said he considered the present minutes among the most important ever brought by the committee. There was a resolution that cottages on the Rastrick side of Rastrick Bridge should be bought. This would enable a new road to be brought down when the bridge was widened and thus provide an alternative route over the river if Brighouse Bridge were at any time under repair. 

Among other matters in the minutes was one to include the built-up area in the centre of the town in the townplanning scheme to be considered shortly The minutes were passed. The Mayor told the Council that today officials were to call in the district to find out whether steel air raid shelters would be required. He appealed to the public to give all the help they could to officials. 

Fifty Brighouse boys are to be provided with a week’s camp at Ilkley at the expense of the Brighouse Rotary Club. The Rotary Club's offer was accepted in the minutes of the Education Committee. 


The information of the fifty Brighouse boys marching off to a week's camp in Ilkley is a bonus and yet another example of why this splendid App is a must for all lovers of useless and inconsequential information.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Burnett's Patented Layers Of History App


I had an idea for an App yesterday. It came to me as I was aimlessly wandering down Sharrow Vale Road in Sheffield trying to fight off the cold and occupy myself whilst the GLW was looking in shops. Passing the splendid Lescar Hotel and cursing fate which meant that I was driving and thus unable to sample it's beery comforts, I started to ponder on the fact that buildings are layered in history. And the layers are rather like layers of paint on an old wardrobe: you can scrape layers off and discover the ones hidden below. The wondrous App of my invention would allow you to do this - you would simply point your mobile phone at a building (which would be identified by GPS which would then initiate a database search etc etc) and the layers would be revealed. Here is what happened when I pointed my phone at the Lescar Hotel.



SHEFFIELD CITY POLICE. 
TUESDAY.—Before the Stipendiary Magistrate. 
SUSPICIOUS. 
Charles Jackson, carter, Brincliffe Hill, was charged with stealing £20, the property of Arthur Collins, the landlord of the Lescar Hotel, Sharrow Vale Road. Mr. A. Muir Wilson appeared for the prosecution, Mr W. E.Clegg defended.
On November 13 the money was in cash box in the prosecutor's bedroom and at night was found to be missing, the room having been broken into. During the evening the prisoner, a friend named Needham, a man who is unknown, were in the house, and adjourned to the clubroom upstairs. Prisoner offered to pay for a quart for anybody who would play a "lively rough tune" Beer was supplied, and as the waiter was coming downstairs he turned round and saw the prisoner trying the door of the landlord's bedroom. Not long afterwards the stranger disappeared, and Needham went out with the prisoner, who was called away by a message - which proved to be false - that his daughter was ill. They joined the stranger, who had sent the message, and the three walked away together. The Stipendiary said there was a good deal of suspicion, but evidence was not sufficient to justify him committing the prisoner for trial, and he would be discharged.

Take your eye away from the screen of your mobile phone for a second and glance up at the pub. That must be the landlord's bedroom up there, on the left - the one with the burglar alarm next to it. How fascinating you say to yourself, pleased as punch that you invested a few pounds in purchasing Burnett's Patented Layers Of History App.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Laying Down The Shawl Of Cynicism (Double Crossing 2)


DOUBLE CROSSING : CHAPTER 11 
2

Was it that mixture of cynicism and suspicion that had made her hold back last night when she recounted her adventures to to Cyrus and her Aunt Winnie. She had told them about Hanfstaengl but not about Tomlinson. She had told them of the loss of Elspeth Fromm, but had trimmed the story of her death of many of the more frightening implications. She had mentioned the blouse, indeed she had shown it to her aunt, but she had kept hidden - from both sight and the conversation - the curious document. It wasn't that she didn't trust her audience, it was more that she was practicing a sanitised version of her crossing in the hope that she would be able to adopt it herself. She wanted there to be simple explanations. She needed motives that were open. But she knew, deep inside, that the shawl of cynicism and suspicion would be difficult to lay down.

As she tried to sleep last night she had once again gone over the events in her mind, testing the various episodes in the hope of finding simple explanations. Eventually she had decided that she would tell her Aunt the next morning after breakfast. Cyrus had gone off to his own apartment after supper last night and announced that he would be out of the city for a couple of days.It was an ideal opportunity for Alice and her Aunt to rediscover each others' lives. But after breakfast was finished, Alice could still not find a form of words in which she could express her fears and her anger without it sounding like a second-rate film script. If Winnie had realised that something was troubling her niece, which undoubtedly she had, she had, more likely than not, put it down to the duplicity of Henry Carter and the manifestations of a freshly broken heart.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Council Ought To Get Some Ferrets


One of most delightful moments of all is when someone comes up to you in the pub with a little envelope containing an old photograph or postcard and says "you might want to put this on your blog". It happened to me last Friday at the Rock Quiz when my good mate Jack passed me an envelope containing a couple of old postcards and some old newspaper cuttings. I will get around to them all in due course, but the one I couldn't resist starting with is this fabulous old postcard dating from 1905.

Prominently entitled "Halifax Hidden Treasure" it is anonymous other than the initials WHS and a copyright warning. The reverse of the card is equally unassuming in terms of details of publishers or printers. All I can assume is that this was a self-published cartoon which was directed at concerns over the municipal budget in Halifax back in 1905. For those from beyond these shores I may need to point out that "copper" is a reference to copper coins and was a term often used at the time to mean small amounts of money. It would appear that in 1905, Halifax Corporation increased the local taxes (known as rates) in order to make up for missing funds. Whether the funds were missing because of incompetence by local government or, more likely, an expansion in the services provided and thus the budget of the local authority, I am not sure and we may never discover.

I have done a detailed internet search to see if anyone else has made reference to this postcard and drawn a blank. Perhaps someone will read this and be able to provide a better explanation of what issues were involved. Or perhaps the Council will finally get some ferrets to ferret out an explanation.

UPDATE
As so often, the internet community has managed to provide colour and context to one of my posts. Within days of the post first appearing I received an email from Stephen Gee:

"The 1905 postcard was drawn and produced by William Henry Stott of West Vale and Elland. Apart from producing many other simllar cards he kept a detailed diary from 1872 - 1935, over 10,000 illustrations and gave great insight into events such as WWI and others even earlier, e.g. The Battle of the Little Big Horn".

A few days later the following comment was added to the Blogpost by Christopher Blakey.

"The WHS was a chap called William Henry Stott. He was a noted local illustrator in Halifax during the late 19th and early 20th century. He worked for the Halifax Courier in the days when they would illustrate stories rather than photograph them.
He produced a series of satirical postcards about life in Halifax which were published by the Halifax Courier. He was also a noted local diarist producing around 40 volumes covering the same period. These were auctioned off a couple of years ago but I'm not sure who bought them.
He content of the postcard refers to the council debate on the rates increase in 1905. When asked why the cost was going up, another councillors is alleged to have responded that the increase was merely coppers and if people had a ferret under their mattress and behind the cushions, they would soon find the required extra money".

My thanks to Stephen and Christopher for that fascinating information.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Sepia Saturday 312 : Shape And Size And The Angel Of Enlightenment.


Our Sepia Saturday prompt this week features a photograph of a 1910 "pushball competition" at Miami University. I am not entirely certain what pushball is, but it would appear to involve a lot of grown men doing silly things with a ball. And that is just the description a lot of people  - uninitiated in an understanding of the finer aspects of sporting prowess - apply to the beautiful game of football (or, to those from foreign shores, "soccer").

At almost exactly the same moment that those Floridians were hoisting that ridiculous ball into the air, a more sober group of young men from Longtown in Cumberland, England were sitting down to have their collective photograph taken. When I first chose this picture to feature - selecting it from the fine collection of picture postcards gathered by my Great Uncle, Fowler Beanland, I felt rather pleased with myself having discovered another old photograph of participants in the beautiful game from the Eskdale area of Cumbria. I had previously featured - way back in Sepia Saturday 27 in June 2010 - a picture of the Eskdale Juniors Football Team from the 1905-6 season.


But, as always for the scanner of old photographs, it is not the devil that is in the detail, but the angel of enlightenment. Look closely at the shape of the ball in that first photograph and you realise that it was not the beautiful game they were participating in, but its rougher first cousin - rugby football.


Whether the ball is round or oval shaped, whether it is big or small: the old photographs capture a unique moment of time and preserve them forever. To see more moments preserved, take a trip over to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.

Friday, January 08, 2016

A Postcard From The Shallows Of Indolence (Double Crossing 1)

Some years ago I decided to write a book on the back of a postcard, No, that is not quite true; it was on the back of several postcards - 148 of them before I got bored and gave it up. But it was a fascinating experiment and a wonderful aid to productivity, if not creativity. The picture on one side of the postcard would act as a creative stimulus - a set of visual guidelines like the faint parallel lines on a sheet of writing paper. The blank side of the card provided a potential target - I need only write to fill the space available. You still had the frightening experience of sitting down with a blank piece of paper in front of you, but at least it was only a small piece of paper.

Over recent years I have yet again been attempting to write a novel, albeit by more traditional means than my postcard project of twenty years ago. Eighteen months ago, this second novel ran aground in the shallows of indolence, abandoned at the end of ten chapters and 84,000 words. I have tried every approach I can think of to try and restart the project - every approach, that is, other than a return to the postcard approach. So I am going to give it a try.

I am not sure how many of these posts there will be, the chances are that you can't re-float an ocean liner with a few fake postcards to nobody. This little note is simply an explanation: the words will probably make no sense at all (after all, you are starting more than half way through a book you haven't read) and I don't expect you to read them (for the purpose of this experiment, it is enough that I write them). But, if nothing else, you might enjoy looking at the pictures.




DOUBLE CROSSING : Chapter 11

1
Alice watched the ducks move effortlessly across the water, jealous of their graceful indifference to their immediate surroundings. It was Sunday morning and the sun was set high above New York City and the trees of Central Park were filtering its rays, mixing two parts of sun with one part of automobile exhaust to create an urban cocktail that would have been a more suitable recipient of the name "Manhattan" than the more usual mixture of cheap whiskey and sweet vermouth. Alice had strolled down 5th Avenue from her Aunt Winnie's apartment, determined to take a walk in the park to clear her head of the detritus she had gathered during her voyage from Europe. She had quickly found the area of water simply called "Pond" which managed to feel as if it were 100 miles away from the bustle of 5th Avenue rather than just 100 yards.

She smiled when she saw the word "Pond" on the neat wooden board unsure as to whether it was a description or a name. She recalled that it was only last night that Cyrus Summersdale had spoken about a pond, and it took a fair amount of time and illogical deduction before Alice realised he was talking about the Atlantic Ocean. Perhaps to the citizens of this bright and vast continent, that body of water that separated them from Europe, was nothing more than a pond, and to the people that had driven back the frontier of what they saw as civilisation crossing that pond created no greater challenge than that being faced by the ducks in Central Park. But Alice had acquired more than her sea legs during her voyage from Cherbourg, she had acquired a fair degree of cynicism wrapped in a thick shawl of suspicion as well.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

All We Need Is The Memory


Normally you have no idea who is featured in the old photographs you buy in second-hand shops and on-line auctions, and often that is part of the fascination of them - the anonymity provides the blankest of canvases for your imagination. But in this case we know precisely who the two young children in this photograph are - they are the young cousins of Mary Emma Clayton of Norfolk Road in Sheffield.

We know this because the original photograph was converted into a postcard which Mary sent to her friend Francis Mills who was in the Royal Hospital Annex at Fulwood in Sheffield. The card was sent in 1912 - although I suspect the beach photograph predates that by a decade - and at the time the Fulwood Annex was a convalescence unit for the main Royal Infirmary. We used to live quite close to Fulwood and by then it was very much part of the city of Sheffield as against being "out in the country".

We will never know if Francis recovered and moved back into the city or got to ride a donkey on Morecambe sands. But we don't need to know - all we need is the memory.


Tuesday, January 05, 2016

On Youthful Passion And The Aroma Of Boiling Wort And Hops


Youth is a time for falling in love. Whilst middle age can be devoted to fame and fortune and old age to remembering where you left your false teeth: youth is the time to open your heart to passion. As a young man I fell in love with breweries. I realise that this may make me sound a little odd, but there is something about breweries - the sensuous curves of the mash tubs, the promise of pleasures to come, the light headed response to those special aromas. Whist my peers were lusting over whatever pop princess or film starlet was in fashion at the time, I was out taking photographs of breweries. 

I was reminded of this youthful eccentricity only yesterday as I scanned some old negatives I shot in the 1970s which feature the old Albion Brewery on the Whitechapel Road in London. It was - and to a much lesser extent, still is - a magnificent building which displays much of the grandiosity of nineteenth century brewery architecture. This was a time when both brewers and breweries were getting bigger and anxious to display their commercial superiority (in sharp contrast, it must be said to today when brewing is returning to its small-scale roots). Some of the old Albion Brewery still exists - the fancy bits have been converted into desirable residences whilst the boring bits have been converted into a Sainsbury's Supermarket.


To get a feel of the old brewery at the hight of its fame, when it was the commercial home of Mssrs Mann, Crossman and Paulin, you need to turn to that bible of brewerama - Alfred Barnard's "The Noted Breweries Of Great Britain and Ireland (1889-91)". Barnard devotes three chapters to the Albion Brewery - here is just a short extract:

"Breweries have certain peculiarities in their external appearance, whereby they are easily distinguishable from any other industries. They are mostly lofty buildings with tall chimney shafts and large windows, and from the ventilating louvres of the edifice there is generally issuing forth a cloud of steam from the boiling wort and hops, which fills the air with a most healthful and appetising odour. This establishment was no exception to the rule, and its buildings form a conspicuous object in the locality. It is situated in the Mile End Road, close to the old turn-pike gate, and covers nearly five acres of ground. In olden times the brewery was almost hidden from the public road, for where is now the noble entrance and spacious courtyard in front of the brewery, formerly stood a row of alms-houses, next to which was the counting house, brewery-tap and the "Blind Beggar" public house, the latter still in existence"

Barnard was well into his fifties when he wrote this, but still you can detect that youthful passion that we both obviously shared. Whilst it will be a long time before I will ever bring myself to mourn the standardised and anodyne output of those grand nineteenth century breweries, the buildings had a magnificence without equal in the world of today.

Monday, January 04, 2016

The Curious Case Of The Cow In The Tap-Room

Our local Calder Valley has suffered from some very bad flooding over the Christmas period (check out Tony Zimnoch's excellent Blog for a flavour of what has been going on up the valley). Living on top of a hill, we have been lucky, but local towns such as Brighouse and Elland have been badly affected (although not as devastated as those higher up the valley such as Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd).

Whilst no way denying the undoubted reality of climate change, I did toy with the idea that what has actually changed is not the occasional experience of severe weather events, but our almost obsessive reporting of them in a world where every mobile phone user is a potential film cameraman in touch with a plethora of TV news channels. I therefore decided to dig down into history using local newspapers in order to find equally devastating flooding which only achieved a few column inches in the local newspapers of the nineteen and twentieth century.

My first discovery was that there were not as many reports of extreme flooding in the local Calder Valley as I had imaged there would be (thus partly disproving my pet theory). In order to find something on the same scale as the December 2015 floods, I had to go all they way back to November 1866 when floods once again, caused chaos in the area around Halifax. The article in the Leeds Mercury for Monday 19th November 1866 bore an uncanny resemblance to what has been written over recent days.

"Several parts of Halifax parish suffered much by the flood on Friday, though fortunately the town escaped with scarcely any damage. A few of the mills upon the banks of the Hebble were inconvenienced by water entering the premises, yet the damage was comparatively small. Calder Vale was the great scene of the flood. Half of Todmorden (that portion in the Burnley valley)was entirely inundated. All the streets were some feet under water, scores of families took shelter in the upper storeys of the houses, and the bottom rooms of the mills were flooded, some of the machinery being nearly embedded in sand. The three principle highways into Todmorden, namely the Halifax, Burnley and Rochdale roads, were all impassable and people had to walk upon the railway...
At Eastwood the valley became impassable. The waters of the river and the canal mingled, and the highway was several feet under water. Here a publican saved his cow from drowning, and for the rest of the day kept her in the "tap-room" of his hostelry. Another man took some pigs upstairs. ... At Hebden Bridge the lower part of the town was flooded. The warehouse of Mr Thomas Barker, Hanging Royd was washed down and a large number of pieces carried away. Mytholmroyd was badly flooded, many of the houses being under water. The turnpike was impassable and the valley was covered with water to far above Hawkesclough...

Several mills at Elland were flooded, and a number of places at Brighouse. From below Brighouse to Todmorden the appearance of the Calder Vale was that of a series of lakes."

It would appear that history has repeated itself some 160 years later, although whether or not I will find a rescued cow in the tap-room of a pub up in Eastwood remains to be seen. In the interests of  historical research I will head up the valley looking for the pub in question ... once the waters have gone down.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Sepia Saturday 311 : Eiderdown And Out


Our first Sepia Saturday theme image of 2016 features a colourful shop front advertising a tempting variety of fruit and vegetables and I am matching it with a less than colourful photograph of what I assume is a shop front which appears to be selling a selection of blankets and eiderdowns. I am not sure whether I need to explain what an eiderdown is - the pace of change in fashions and language seem to convert the familiar of my youth into instant history - but think of it as a kind of quilt which, predating central heating, lay on top of the usual collection of sheets and blankets.

From the size of the crowd, I can only assume that some form of street auction was taking place, although a number of other possible explanations might spring to the fertile mind. This, of course, is the delight of unknown old photographs - their significance is constrained merely by the extent of your imagination. The image is from an old tiny negative which was part of a large job lot I recently bought on eBay. I would guess that it dates from either the 1930s or 1940s and I suspect that it is a street somewhere in Britain, although I have no evidence at all to support this.

Stripped of its time, its place and its significance we are left with just the image itself to enjoy, along with some delightful speculations as to what the two chaps in the centre foreground are talking about. Such speculation is the stuff of Sepia Saturday, and more of the same stuff can be found by following the links on the Sepia Saturday Blog.

Friday, January 01, 2016

In Which The Author Reveals Details Of His Grand Blogging Plan For 2016

It's the 1st of January, the start of a new year, and tradition dictates that my post has to be dripping with resolutions about being a better and more consistent blogger. This year I don't think I will even bother listing what I would like to achieve over the coming twelve months: I have decided to create the list in mid-December instead so it can look back and more accurately reflect what I have actually achieved. Released from the need to construct any such one year plan, I can better concentrate on the things this Blog should be focusing on - meaningless speculation, idle tittle-tattle, and the unfettered exploration of the irrelevant.

Perhaps I should start with my hand. I had an appointment at the hospital earlier this week and they seemed quite pleased with its progress even though, to me, it feels like my hand has been replaced by a useless lump of swollen lard. I had hoped that the recovery process would be analysed by a series of high tech investigations and scans, but the surgeon took a brief look at it, bent my finger straight with all the enthusiasm of a member of the Spanish Inquisition and said things seem to be progressing well and to report back in another six weeks. I am supposed to have physiotherapy, and each night I have to wear a splint on my hand in  order to encourage my finger to straighten. I can't help thinking that the joints in my little finger would respond better to the carrot rather than the stick, and I am tempted to ditch the tortuous splint and replace it with the promise of a tumbler of Laphroaig if my finger makes efforts to straighten its act whilst I am asleep. Disappointed in not having a hospital scan of my finger to share with you, I decided on a do-it-yourself approach using my desktop flatbed scanner. The results seem quite effective - I must suggest it to the local hospital as a potential way of saving money.

In other news, we are actively investigating the possibilities of a replacement for the irreplaceable Amydog, I am still trying to cure myself of the addiction of buying boxes of old negatives on eBay, we have booked a cruise for later this year .... and a great flood of Biblical proportions has beset Yorkshire. Perhaps I will get around to discussing some of these at greater length in posts to come - it all depends what is in the Grand Blogging Plan for 2016, the details of which I will formulate in twelve months time. For the time being .... A Happy and Peaceful New Year to you all.