Local Historian and Writer
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Welcome to Mike's Blog
This is like jumping into deep, icy water. I've no idea what it will feel like, but am full of anticipation of a shock.
I'm a bit of a writer and I do like to have my say. I think that when one reaches retirement age, but still aware that one doesn't know everything, one has the right to have one's say. We've lived life, endured life, survived life and not yet met death. So we could be said to know what we are talking about (well, in some cases, anyway).
I do have a website (www.freespiritwriters.me.uk) and I have definitely had my say on there. But on Bridlington.net I will confine myself to Bridlington matters, how they affect me and mine and how things should be done in a perfect world - which it ain't.
Diane and I went to see Greg Davies at the Spa Royal Hall last night. The show was packed and it was great to see the Hall full of buzz. Greg was hilarious and had all of us in stitches with his stories. He encouraged one or two people on the front row to be part of the show and they added to the fun. He introduced us to a new catchphrase, which was originated by his mother when she heard of some of his jokes for the show: "It's not normal, love." He went on to tell us that none of us was really 'normal' and all were a little odd in many ways.
After the show, we queued to meet Greg and for him to sign the programme. Earlier in the day I had left a copy of my book Bridlington Remembered for him and he said he had enjoyed looking through it.
All in all, a great night! Another feather in the cap for the staff at the Spa.
Watch out for a brilliant start to the 2014 season!
Sorry for the poor quality. A telephone photo, not one of the best.
Maybe two/three months ago, I was queuing in the Post Office for my pension. It was a Monday morning. I was chatting to a fellow I'd met occasionally, but I don't know who he is. We passed each other as I was at one side of the barrier and he on the other. Within a few seconds of losing sight of him, there was a sudden big thud behind me. I looked round and the poor guy was on the floor, breathing really hard. Staff and customers alike leapt to his rescue, made him comfortable, and then phoned for help. Eventually, I was served at the counter and left just as the paramedics arrived. And that was that. I thought he was a goner!
Today, as I was leaving the bus station, there he was in front of me, beaming and grinning all over his face. I couldn't believe it. How fantastic, I thought. Good to see you again, old pal. The best of luck!
Seeing your smile today really made my day!
Today I attended Bridlington School's Remembrance Day service. It was a bit like the assemblies I knew from way back when I was at school there, waaaay back between 1948 and 1952. In those days Catholics like me were not allowed to attend services of other faiths and I had to sit in an empty classroom until it was all over. I had no idea why, though. I just did as I was told. That doesn't happen now.
The two minutes silence was not interrupted by anyone. It was exactly as it should be and I congratulate everyone for keeping the peaceful atmosphere intact.
Afterwards, I enjoyed a cup of tea and biscuits and was able to chat to guests. Altogether a very satisfying experience.
I attended the Remembrance Sunday Parade today and was pleased to see such a large crowd. I placed two crosses in the special area, one for my grandfather John William Wilson, who died at St Julien, near Ypres, Belgium, on Sunday, 25th April 1915. It angers me still that while John William - along with eight others from the town - was being slaughtered on the battlefield, those at home were congregating in churches asking God to intercede. Answer came there none. And there never has been an answer, any day, any week, any month, any year, any decade, any century. Why do we still do it?.
The other cross was for young Second Lieutenant Topham Becher Dabridgecourt Hough, who died on 18th January, 1916, at St Eloi, also near Ypres.
I wish there was something other than a cross that was socially acceptable to leave.
Crosses left by families who wish to remember their loved ones.
The crowd of dignitaries around the Cenotaph.
Banners on display from various military organisations.
The bugler is sounding the Reveille.
The final words went to an elderly lady, who spoke eloquently and with feeling. She meant it, when she said: "When you go home tell them of us and say that for your tomorrow we gave our today."
If only the politicians didn't have to send out young men to die in battle.
I decided to have a cuppa today at Bondville Model Village at Sewerby. I'd learned that the tea room opened at 11am, but when I got there earlier the doors were open. I met the new owner of this great tourist attraction and we discussed the possibility of producing a model newspaper for the model village. I had copies of a couple of editions I did in 1990 and 1991.
I learned that Geoff and Carol Cooper were busy at work in the grounds tidying up for the winter period. It was a real pleasure to meet them again after such a long time. They recognised me, even with my burgeoning moustache. Geoff and Carol were the couple who built the village as Portminian way back in 1986/7. The village opening during 1988.
I learned that Geoff and Carol were helping the new owners to bring the village back up to a high standard. I really hope they are successful because the village is a delight.
Currently, chimneys are being clad in plastic bags to prevent the winter rains and snows from damaging the buildings, but the autumn sunshine still made the village look good.
If you can, please support the village. It is one of the best tourist attractions in the East Riding and should be on everyone's must-visit list.
Throughout the winter, the tea rooms will be open at 11am on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and will remain open at those times if customers support the venture.
Here's my tash! I decided to grow one for November. My mother-in-law has offered me a fiver already for testicular and prostate cancer research. If you want to sponsor my tash until the end of November, send me your contribution via PayPal at my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If anyone asks me why I was growing it, I was going to answer "I'm test driving it for the mother-in-law" but now she's been generous I'll have to think of anyone sarky reply.
I was thinking of colouring it too. But a friend advised me that any colour other than greyish white or whitish grey would really spoil my appearance.
We returned home the other day to find that snail mail really existed!
October seems so cold and wet. After three weeks in Nevada and Arizona I shouldn't be surprised. For twenty-one days the temperature was way up in the eighties, even the mid-nineties when in Phoenix. We didn't see a cloud until the last but one day, and cloud all the way home.
We were lucky enough to visit many tourist attractions while staying in Las Vegas. That place is outrageous! We visited several of the main hotel/casinos and contributed some of our holiday money into the greedy jaws of the one-armed bandits. Never mind putting pennies and ten-pence pieces in machines in the amusement arcades at Bridlington. These places had machines for a dollar, five dollars and in some places fifty dollars a spin. Mind you, the rewards if you won on a fifty dollar machine were enormous. We didn't go mad, just enough to say we took on the might of the machines - and lost! After all, Las Vegas is built on losers' money.
We met friends with a car, and they took us to many tourist attractions: Grand Canyon (although we arrived there ten minutes before sunset), the Meteor Crater (one mile across), Tombstone (of Gun Fight at the OK Corral fame, where I saw the newspaper office which published the report of the gunfight), Nogales (half in Arizona, half in Mexico), the Titan Missile Museum, Butterfly Wonderland, the airfield for the Commemorative Air Force in Mesa (Phoenix), Clark County Museum (where we were warned to watch out for rattlesnakes in the grounds), the Mob Experience (where we were met with actors portraying the original villains of Las Vegas - that was fun!), a ride in the lift to the top of the Eiffel Tower (half-size, in Vegas), saw the fountains of Hotel Bellagio (great stuff!), and the volcano at The Mirage (amazing!). We even had a helicopter flight over the Hoover Dam.
We had a few days, too, at Laughlin on the Colorado. We had a two-hour fast boat ride down the river toe Lake Havasu City, where we crossed the London Bridge.
The picture below shows part of Las Vegas and the Excalibur Hotel (the fancy fairy-tale castle), New York New York Hotel and Casino (the Statue of Liberty of the New York skyline), and the end of the MGM Casino complex. The roads between these buildings are all three-lane carriageways in both directions. You cross the road by bridges.
The whole experience was amazing. Ask anyone who's been there.
I am in the process of uploading photographs for Panoramio, in the hope that they will appear on Google Earth (I have a lot of other photos there).
We saw so much over there, but we missed an awful lot, too. We'd like to go again.
On 23rd August I lost my internet because the modem failed. The replacement arrived only yesterday. I've written to Tesco saying that I thought the service was less than satisfactory but I don't expect a reply. And I lost all my work on an external disk. Yes, I know I should back everything up, but we all get lazy about that. Anyway where would I store umpteen gigabytes of work and photos? It would cost a fortune wherever I went. That's why I have two external hard drives, one for work, one for photos.
One of the pleasures of summer is the sight of butterflies. These whispy creatures flit by our window and settle on these flowers quite often. I spent a happy few minutes trying to capture their elegance. There are lots of technical problems involved in capturing the correct butterfly image. Either the camera doesn't focus close enough, or the light is from the wrong angle and there's not enough of it to use a fast shutter speed and a small aperture to have as much depth of field as possible. However, the recent summer sun has allowed some decent butterfly images to be made.
This is an enlargement from the picture above.
One day I came across this gentleman waving his arms around in the middle of Quay Road. Out came the camera, and I found he was trying to herd two ducks back to safety. The ducks were determined to cross the road, ignorant of the dangers. After some time, the ducks were on the pavement, but seconds later they were making a break for it again.
I didn't see what happened as I had to be somewhere else.
I had to be in Scarborough on Friday last week and I waited for the Scarborough Flyer to arrive. It was hauled by Union of South Africa, a Gresley A4 Pacific express locomotive. It was great to see a 'Streak' in action but I must admit I didn't feel quite the same as I did when I was a trainspotter as a pimply schoolboy. I videod the train as it came towards the station and I was rewarded by the streak's chime from its whistle. Nothing sounds quite like that.
My day out to Scarborough was for more train-spotting. The Scarborough Flyer was hauled by one of Stanier's Duchess 4-6-2- locos The Duchess of Sutherland, No. 46233. The packed train arrived at three minutes to one. (There's a clip on YouTube. Search for Duchess of Sutherland, Scarborough). When the passengers went off in search of fun and food and frivolities, the whole train reversed back down the line where the loco uncoupled to turn round on the turntable. The whole lot was then backed into the station and the train was due to leave again at four minutes to five.
I didn't stay for that but had a wander through the town. I bumped into this man:
You have no idea how angry this made me. Someone, somewhere in this man's past, had put this thought into his mind and now he's stuck with it. Poor chap. He's worse off than I was and I was brought up a Roman Catholic! That was bad enough, but to believe that the world is coming to an end, well that's laughable! Despite all previous warnings and premonitions, the world hasn't come to an end and it isn't likely to, unless we humans do something utterly stupid like blowing the place apart with bombs to prove "My god is better than your god!" Or there is an asteroid with our name on it.
Anyway, I had a browse in WH Smith, and when I got back onto Westborough, he'd gone. Perhaps raptured into heaven, or just got fed up with the whole idea and gone off for a bacon sandwich. I sincerely hope he's OK. But maybe it was me, maybe I spoilt his whole day when I spoke to him.
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