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Angel of the North

As public sculptures and works of art go the ‘Angel’ is unmissable, quite literally so. Approach Newcastle upon Tyne in the north east of England by road or rail from the south and you can’t fail to see her welcoming embrace!

Standing on a low hill at Gateshead on the south side of the River Tyne and said to be the largest angel sculpture in the world the Angel is made from 200 tonnes of steel and stands 20 metres tall (65 feet) with outstretched wings of 54 metres (154 feet), almost on a par with a jumbo jet.

The iconic ‘Geordie’ landmark was designed by sculptor Anthony Gormley, built in Hartlepool and erected on site and completed in February 1998.

Whether you love her or hate her you certainly can’t miss her.

 

 

 

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The Yorkshire Dales prepares to pull on its autumnal coat, near Muker Upper Swaledale.

 

 

 

 

But watch out, there’s a black sheep

on the slates!

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I am sure there are many of you (particularly men) who will identify with this.

One minute you are shopping with your wife; she’s by your side or just a couple of feet away, then suddenly ‘Poof’, she’s gone.

In the blink of an eye your wife has completely disappeared, nowhere to be seen. You hunt high and low, walk the aisles, and then just as suddenly she’s there, in front of you.

I was remarking to my neighbour about the phenomenon, asking if he had experienced it.

“All the time, mate, especially in supermarkets and clothes shops. You know how they do it, don’t you?”

“Err, no”, I replied.

“A cloak of invisibility. They slip it on in shops when, just for a second your attention is diverted, and that’s it; gone, nowhere to be seen. The other day it was 40 minutes before she took it off and re-appeared!”

She fancies you!

“I reckon she fancies you.”

“Who does?”

“The White Queen”

“Nah, I’m just a mere pawn. Not me mate.”

“I’m telling yer. She fancies you. I saw her wink.”

“You reckon I’m in with a chance then?”

“Well I wouldn’t say no. I’d prostrate myself at her feet any day.”

“Oi, you two, keep it down. King’ll hear you. Anyway he’s after her.”
“He’s already got a Queen.”

“Not for much longer. Anyway she’s never at his side. Always dashing off that one. Two Knights and a Rook she had last time. Gave the Bishop a nasty scare too. That’s what I heard.”

“It’s all going off on here, innit.”

“Yep, no time to get board!”

 

A new prototype farm bike is undergoing trials to replace the traditional tractor and are said to be going well.

Designed to appeal to the Green lobby this pedal powered tractor is currently being tested on the uplands of North Yorkshire. Totally reliant on human combustion it will make many traditional farming activities performed by diesel guzzling tractors obsolete.
Said local farmer Walter Hutton, “I would never have thought it possible but the local topography of the Dales makes these new machines great to use. You fair whizz down the valley sides and before you know it and in no time at all you’re back up t’other side at the top again.”

Two seater and multi seated versions will follow soon allowing heavier farm machinery to be used and a ‘sky bike’ version for seeding the clouds with rain is also on the drawing board.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFacing the sea on a bench overlooking the bay in a North Yorkshire town sits a giant steel sculpture.
It is of a man on a bench. One shoe lace is untied, his overcoat open to the elements, cap pulled slightly down over his forehead, one hand dangling in the air, arm draped across the top of the bench, the other gripping a walking stick.
This is Freddie Gilroy, the son of a Durham miner who worked as a brickie at the local colliery. Just an ordinary man from a poor background.

Then one day he went to war and his life changed forever.

On April 15th 1945 the British 11th Armoured Division entered and liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and the horrors that lay within. Freddie Gilroy was one of those soldiers.

One month later Freddie ‘celebrated’ his 24th birthday, still within the camp.

When he was interviewed in the 1980s by a journalist he admitted that on every birthday since he had sat and cried.
Freddie Gilroy never married and died of cancer in November 2008.

The statue, ‘Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers’, is by sculptor Ray Lonsdale and is his memorial, “ not just about Freddie Gilroy but represents all the normal people that were pulled out of an ordinary life and forced into a very extraordinary and dangerous one during the World Wars.”

Words and photographs Copyright © 2014 by Antony J Waller

 

It is reported in the news today that the mayor of Calais has threatened to block the port unless Britain does more to control the number of illegal migrants.

Evidently there are up to 1,300 migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa causing havoc and creating many problems there as they try to get illegally the channel and into Britain. I am sure it isn’t very nice for the local inhabitants of Calais. But why should you expect us to bale you out.

How did they get to Calais in the first place? They didn’t just magically appear there; they crossed your borders, probably from Italy or Spain where you turned a blind eye and watched them catch trains to Calais in the certain knowledge the problem will become someone else’s.

So why didn’t you, the French, intervene and stop them before they reached Calais?

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