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Mission creep

3 Dec

To the sickening braying and howling of a pack wild animals filled with an unsatiated blood lust the Commons after a ten hour so-called debate that was a litany of hypocrisy and cant, voted yesterday to make our streets safer by making the streets of Syria considerably less safe. The RAF likes to practice its killing in the skies over Hull and East Yorkshire presumably because our skies are so similar to Iraqi and Syrian skies.

Yet Another Charity Shop

1 Dec
Charity shop, Hallgate, Cottingham
The long running slow-down in economic activity has been a boom time for charity shops, they were the fastest growing retail sector last year and there’s over 9,600 of them throughout the land or so I’ve read. They’re in every town and on every high street. In Cottingham there are seven that I know of, that’s more than one in ten shops devoted to raising funds for some cause or other. Now a connoisseur of these places would say that the slightly seedier the ambience the better the bargains to be had and it’s a real bad sign when the professionals move in and a Mary Portas style makeover happens. This means higher prices, less stock and a reduction in customers. This one has opened recently for some local charity and has a nice mix of books, bric-a-brac and clothing. All very pleasantly and unprofessionally arranged to appeal to the browsing passer-by on a gloomy afternoon.
‘Shop window’ is the City Daily Photo’s theme for the first day of the last month of the year. See what goodies are on display here.

Fountains and youth

24 Nov
Queen’s Gardens, Hull


23 Nov
Creyke Beck, Cottingham

Stick up a fence, slap on a yellow sign and hey presto the world’s a safer place …

Christmas Creep

19 Nov

It may seem odd to a youngster  but there once was a time when the Council did not put up lights and decorations for that consumer fest at the end of December. No, that particular madness started some twenty-five or thirty years or so ago after some shop keepers in Saville Street took it upon themselves to light up their street in mid December (J’accuse! ). The Council were then arm-twisted into putting up lights all over the town centre and to stick a tree in Queen Victoria Square. (One year the tree was so scrawny it had to swapped for a better one)
The lighting-up ceremeny became a bit of a feature with stars being hired to turn up on the City Hall balcony and flip a switch (Stars such as Rolf Harris!!! those were the days!). There’d be a big fireworks display as well. Thousands would turn up to be entertained. And gradually the switch-on date drifted into November. 
With austerity the displays began to be recycled and the stars were replaced by much cheaper ‘civic dignitaries’ (I love that phrase, who uses it these days?).
This year on the 12th of November that is 6 weeks and a bit before the actual day the mayor of this town flipped the switch to set off a three minute firework display and light up all the glittery  pap of the season. Now, as the town is engaged in self-renewal, the ceremony was moved to Queen’s Gardens rose bowl fountain and there’s four trees instead of one and the lights, I’m told are better than ever, (I’ve not seen them yet) and I’m just so excited I can hardly wait for Santa to bring me my presents as I’ve been such a good boy all year … what! it can’t still be November!

The street with the hall

17 Nov

Hmm maybe the signwriter who came up with this didn’t understand that ‘Hallgate’ is not the gate of a hall but the street with the hall on it, in this case Cottingham castle, long gone. Or then maybe she/he did and could’nt give a monkey’s either way; it’s not important in the grand scheme of things I must admit. And don’t be misled into thinking this is some ancient watering hole. I remember it was Hallgate bookshop not so many years ago; books to beer is progress of a sort…
After I’d written the above I realised I’ve posted this pub’s sign before some five years ago, it was looking a tad tired then. I think I prefer the new one. The cameras are still there, keeping us safe from whatever.

The Operation Was Successful, But the Patient Died …

16 Nov

King Edward Street opened early 1900’s to connect Prospect Street and Queen Victoria Square. When I came to this town in the early 80’s it was a bustling place with plenty of traffic and pedestrians. But then traffic became a dirty word and so for the past twenty or so years one half of it has been bricked off in the grand pedestrianisation scheme. Now the Council are finishing off the job by paving over the rest of the street and the remainder of Jameson Street that had escaped that unpleasant fate. A slow, lingering death awaits the area. I think if the Council want to bring back life to this place they could do worse than follow the most successful shopping street in the country. Nobody would dream of bricking over Oxford Street,  would they?