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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?

One green, 4ft high, plastic wheelie bin used for garden rubbish.

Answers to the name of ‘Bin’.

Bin was last seen yesterday lunchtime when left outside to be emptied by the local council garden refuse collection wagon. Usually Bin is quite happy sitting in the sunshine until being wheeled back into the garden.

Yesterday, however, after two hours Bin was gone, nowhere to be seen.

Neighbouring drives and gardens have been searched in a frantic effort to recover Bin, but to no avail. We therefore fear the worst. Wor ‘Bin’s’ bin nicked!

Ports, railway stations and bus depots have been alerted and people have been urged to be extra vigilant in the forlorn hope Bin is spotted. Reports that Bin is being held to ransom or merely gone away on holiday cannot be substantiated or ruled out.

Beggars belief that someone would actually steal it but they have, I kid you not. There doesn’t appear to be any other explanation.

PS – A phone call made to the council earlier today brought a promise of a new Bin which should be delivered and fully operational within the next 7 to 10 days. So feet up, no more gardening for a while!

Close to the sea and in a depression surrounded by sand dunes and hidden by the marram grass are the green huts of the smoke people. It’s where they live and work. Their chimneys aren’t smoking at the moment because during the day they rest, but return at night and it’s a different story for that’s when they are hard at work.

During the hours of darkness the smoke people collect the dirty black smoke that billows from the nearby works and take it home to their little green huts. There they wash and clean it before returning it all nice and fluffy white so the factory can put it in their chimneys during the day.

The ‘smoke people’ – keeping Teesside clean!

Words and photographs Copyright © 2014 by Antony J Waller

Fountains Abbey, Ripon, North Yorkshire

Fountains Abbey, nr Ripon, North Yorkshire

Yorkshire is the largest county in the British Isles and within its borders is some of the most beautiful countryside in England. ‘God’s Own County’ it embraces two National Parks, the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors, encompasses the magnificent Pennine Hills, miles of rugged coastline with high cliffs and sandy beaches and many fine villages, towns and cities. This county of the ‘White Rose’ with a rich historical legacy has a unique culture, humour and dialect all of its own.

And it keeps getting better. Named by Lonely Planet as one of their top places in the world to visit in 2014 Yorkshire’s “rugged moorlands, heritage homes and cosy pubs” made a spectacular backdrop for two days this summer for the Tour de France Grand Depart.

There’s no wonder so many people are flocking to Yorkshire and the spots I love so much.

And now I have just discovered these places are getting better too thanks to Yorkshire Water.

For not only is their ‘Blueprint for Yorkshire’   http://www.blueprintforyorkshire.com/ improving our water supplies and water management, but their investment in the countryside as one of Yorkshire’s biggest landowners means we can enjoy even more the natural beauties Yorkshire has to offer. And for those who love the outdoors just look at their ‘walks and leisure’ guide http://www.yorkshirewater.com/walks-and-leisure.aspx

As I said Yorkshire just keeps getting better and better!

And for anyone that still needs any convincing here are (though not in any particular order) a few of my favourite Yorkshire places:-

Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale from The Coldstones Cut

Brimham Rocks, Nidderdale

Brimham Rocks, Nidderdale

The fishing village of Staithes and the rugged Yorkshire coastline

The fishing village of Staithes and the rugged Yorkshire coastline

The White Horse, Kilburn

The White Horse, Kilburn

Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire

Salts Mill, Saltaire, West Yorkshire

Words and photographs Copyright © 2014 by Antony J Waller

NIK_11144

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them”

A Final Kiss Goodnight

My watch tells me it’s past midnight and time to go though my thoughts are far away. Such a still and calm evening for a night patrol. The air is warm and balmy, sticking to my exposed face and hands, tickling my senses with forgotten reminders of pleasures enjoyed long ago. A distant hill, a siren of the night, stands silhouetted by stars and a fading moon smiling at us from the horizon whilst darkness and shadow lie clasped to her chest hidden from us like a woman’s gown wrapped seductively over her outstretched form. It’s our mission to peer beneath, to look, to discover, to spot and to spy. You’ll do it within an hour, informs our Captain, and be back behind our lines for a Tommy’s breakfast. If you follow close no harm will come your way and no hazard will mar your path but avoid No Man’s land and a fatal smooch with the mud. Our chaps smile and raise a laugh. Trust in my words, have faith and keep yon distant hill always to your right. Now go, act swiftly lads, before you catch sight of dawn’s rays or hear the cock’s first crow. Speak softly with your cohorts and bring me back your account. Just watch for dawn, the enemy and that mud.

We were barely gone a quarter mile when a waning moon and dark clouds scudding across an ever darkening sky brought that driving, soaking rain and hid our hilltop lovely from our sight. Shrub and scrub and rock and sapling marred our trail and all the while the clock is slowly and silently ticking. Our band of six is down to four as night plays its tricks and dances in our midst. Soon with no cry or sound of warning the four becomes two, spectres vanishing softly in the swirling mist. Still it rains and a light wind begins to moans laughing at our plight and pulls down the shawl of night till we two stumble and fall. Totally lost, I am now alone with no map or compass, no waypoints, no hill to my right to act as my guide. And dawn becomes impatient.

Mud, it’s found me. That thick, cloying stinking wet earth. It sucks at your boots, grabs at your limbs, drags you down, holds you tight and saps your soul. No slipping its fingers or flying its grasp. I’m caught in No Man’s land with dawn rushing ever closer. How inauspicious and there seems nothing I can do.

Oh how I wish I could fly, not back to the trenches, to my position and my chums or to my captain. No, fly further afield and back to my old roost, to my home to be once again with my loving folk, my kith and kin, to kiss my darling wife. Alas a vision too for here comes yawning day.

Dawn is born and proclaims its birth bringing forth a scream of purgatory on the lips of warriors raising Cain on wings of war. This ignominious doom, inglorious failure, I can’t escape; I daren’t call out, just shrink ever deeper into this muddy morass. And so I succumb to this brown liquid death, its touch warm and soft upon my lips and so in one last fatal drink I slake my thirst and sooth my throat and toast my tomorrow.

My final kiss goodnight.

 

Words and photographs Copyright © 2014 by Antony J Waller Continue Reading »

The Tour de France Grand Depart came to Yorkshire this weekend, and what a weekend it was!

Two stages; Leeds to Harrogate, 190km on Saturday and York to Sheffield, 201km on Sunday. And the crowds turned out in droves to watch. Estimates put the number of spectators at over 2.5 million.

What a weekend, what an experience, what a thrill to see the whole Le Tour circus pass by.

With road closures and expectations of high spectator numbers we set off early and arrived in Masham North Yorkshire and parked in a large grassy field at 6.00am, to sit and watch the rain come down. But not for long, it soon brightened up and after a welcome sausage sandwich from the local butcher’s we set up deckchairs by the roadside within sight of the 18th century stone bridge which crosses the River Ure and waited…and waited.

And we were not alone! How the crowds flocked to Masham. Good natured, banner waving and colourful, full of humour and anticipation.

By early afternoon the ‘caravane publicitaire’ started to trickle past, soon becoming a flood as all manner of cars, vans and mobile adverts tooted and honked their way by. Police motorcycle outriders high fived the crowd, everyone cheered and waved, then Le Gendarmerie and the red ‘officiel’ race car.

Then suddenly – whoosh – the race leaders and the peleton…..and Le Tour had gone, passed by in a cacophony of noise!

By eck, it were reet grand and I’d definitely do it again. Vive Le Tour, allez Le Tour, retournez au Yorkshire bientot!

Enjoy the images.

NIK_11463 - Copy

Words and photographs Copyright © 2014 by Antony J Waller

 

A replica Hawker Hurricane sits atop the Theatre Royal in York to mark the 70th anniversary of French airmen being based in the city.

The hurricane will also be the focus of a flypast over York by a Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight during the second stage of the Tour de France Grand depart on 6th July.

 

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