Revisiting the National Waterways Museum


The canal basin

 Last year I visited the museum and promised myself I would return and this time take in a short trip on the canal.


Cooking facilities for a family on a boat

Considerable development on site has taken place, including the cottages that illustrate the changing living conditions for workers over a 100 year or so period as well as improvements / developments to some of the exhibitions.


“Legging” through a tunnel

The pump room is fascinating and it was just a shame that none of the engines were working. However, they do remind us of a bygone age when British engineering dominated the world and being a “skilled man” (no women of course!) gave you a degree of status in the community as well as enabling you to earn a higher level of wage.


The harsh life of families from not so long ago!

The main exhibition hall seems to have been expanded and there is even a section for kids to build their own barge using big rubber shapes.


Canal cruise and the inevitable graffiti

The most interesting exhibit for me was the one of the boy lying on his back on the barge with his legs up in the air to push the barge along in the tunnel, which many barges had to pass through (the longest in the UK is Stannage Edge on the outskirts of Huddersfield which travels under the Pennines for well over three miles).


Amidst a sea of green

A visit to the cottages is a must to see how the living conditions of workers changed over a hundred year period, I can even remember living in something similar to the 1950s themed room as a young boy.


A cottage from the 1930s

A short 30 minute trip along the canal is worthwhile, if a little uneventful, but do take note of the various bridges you will pass under, some are very old (over 150 years) but have stood the test of time.


They even have women piloting the boats………..

Refreshments were taken in the café and it passed the rigorous cappuccino test that I apply to all establishments. So, a very enjoyable day out in warm sunshine and under wispy clouds framed against an azure blue sky.


Inside the “pump house”


Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2016

Posted in Culture, Depression, Discrimination, Economy, employment, Equality, Health and Wellbeing, Industrial Heritage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What makes us English……..Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling

I have been asked on several occasions by friends and colleagues from abroad “what makes you English?” and I always struggle with the response. I could of course say that we are a proud nation, arrogant, insular, bloody minded but with the ability to send ourselves up and indeed laugh openly at ourselves. We are idiosyncratic, generous (to a fault) and open minded, but best of all we revel in the ridiculous but often funny things in life and celebrate things that foreigners look in amazement at, and think WTF!

One of the best examples of the “crazy English” is the annual Gloucestershire “cheese rolling contest” when thousands of people line a steep hill in Gloucestershire to watch crowds of thrill-seekers fling themselves down in pursuit of a wheel of cheese. The 8lb (3.6kg) Double Gloucester is chased 200 yards down the 1:2 gradient Cooper’s Hill at Brockworth every year.

Chris Anderson, 28, won the first two downhill races – his 16th and 17th Cheese Rolling victories in total. “It’s brilliant, I’m really happy,” said the soldier from Brockworth who serves with 1 Rifles,  who has now won 17 races in total, does not like cheese!
“My friend Izzy John sadly passed away recently so this is for him and his family. He won it multiple times,” he said. “Cheese rolling is really important to Brockworth. It got cancelled in 2009 and the organisers this year have done a brilliant job and I’m really happy to win it for the community.”

The official event was cancelled in 2010 over safety fears (so typical of this risk averse society we now live in)  when more than 15,000 people turned up the previous year to watch the competition. Since then it has been held unofficially with roads closed up to 2.5 miles (4km) around the slope, but the locals would not let the event die and took control of promoting and running the event.

Cooper’s Hill is 200 yards long and the gradient is 1:2, and the event now attracts competitors from all over the world with TV crews from across Europe also in attendance.
Warning signs are put up around the site warning spectators and competitors that they are attending entirely at their own risk.

So next time someone asks me “are the English mad?” I shall refer them to the above event (and video) and respond with a resounding YES!

Some info from BBConline


Posted in British, Culture, fun, Health and Wellbeing, Humour, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1940s weekend……in Ramsbottom and Rawtenstall


Entrance to Rossendorf Station (Rawtenstall)

 For the past 18 years East Lancs Railway has put on a 1940s weekend and each year the event has grown so that now thousands of visitors don silk stockings, Fedora hats and gas masks to step back in time for Ramsbottom’s 1940s weekend.


Defences outside the station

You are also certain to see people in traditional garb including Allied Forces uniforms, two-piece dress suits, fox furs and red lipstick to celebrate the event over the Bank Holiday weekend.


Inspection parade on the station

The nostalgic event is organised by the East Lancs Railway and Manchester Military Vehicle Trust to celebrate the spirit of the glamorous decade.


The train arrives……..

Visitors enjoy wartime re-enactments, vintage and military stalls and a full military parade as well as tunes from 1940s singers and musicians.


The local “spiv”

The award-winning event draws re-enactors to Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall, Summerseat, Irwell Vale, Bury and Heywood railway stations throughout Saturday, Sunday and this year Monday also.


Children enter into the spirit of the weekend

Having missed last years event I decided that this year I would not, so off I set this morning and drove the thirty odd miles to Rawtenstall station which, when I arrived there had been captured by German forces in full dress and field uniforms.


The “Hotsie Totsies”….eat your heart out the Andrews Sisters!

At the side of the station was a recreation of a field hospital with several badly injured soldiers (models) and demonstrations of the kind of surgery that took place in such crude conditions. The mock-ups were quite gruesome but realistic.


A little jiving to the music of the Hotsie Totsies

I sauntered up the platform at the station, which was manned by German guards and awaited the arrival of the train. After about thirty minutes the “City of Wells” train arrived packed with people in military uniforms, 1940s outfits including very young children.


Smithy Mushrooms at the farmers market

On the platform a group of young ladies who go by the name of the “Hotsie Totsies” were serenading the public with renditions of Andrews Sisters songs along with stuff from Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman………….and excellent they were too. I think they said they came from the “mid west”……….I take that to mean the mid west of Lancashire.


Now that you have got to admire

Some of those dressed in uniforms and their partners started a little dance competition on the platform.


Have you ever seen four more elegant ladies…….incredibly cool hats


I had a little walk up into Rawtenstall but very little was open and they town did not seem to have embraced the 1940s spirit. However, the redeeming feature was that I came across a small farmers market and bought a lovely box of mixed mushrooms from Smithy Mushrooms Ltd at an incredibly competitive price.


The German officers

After walking back to my car I drove the few miles back to Ramsbottom, parked up and walked into the town. The station and the town were heaving with people, members of the American army were on guard at the station along with all manner of American Jeeps.


GI chats up local girl

There were also some beautiful vintage cars parked outside the station, a reminder of an era when engineering was king. And the ladies had really gone to town in their 40s gear…………I haven’t seen so much fur and fox stoles on display for many a year, but oh, so elegant.


One very happy customer

I spent about an hour just wandering around the station, watching the steam trains come and go and generally just “people watching” and all under a sunny and clear blue sky.


Vivre le France……..

All in all, and excellent day out and hearty congratulations to the organisers (East Lancs Railway and Manchester Military Vehicle Trust) who must have put so much work into this, they deserve all our support.


What a cool dress and outfit


Photographs (c) Kindadukish (usually available free of charge in most cases).





Posted in British railways, Culture, Education, Germany, Industrial Heritage, Lancashire, North of England, Photography, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are our students the most illiberal and wimpish ever?

Some thoughts from a fellow blogger who believes like me, that we are breeding a generation of wimps in our universities. God knows how they will cope when they have to go into the big wide challenging world……….I can just see the response of a line manager to an employees request for a “safe space” at work and trigger warnings if they are to be criticised.

Mike the Psych's Blog

group_of_protesters_1600_wht_9442I’m sick of hearing about safe spaces and micro-aggressions (and have posted on this elsewhere).

Not to mention the attempts to remove the  Cecil Rhodes statue at Oxford University by a Rhodes scholar Ntokozo Qwabe (talk about biting the hand that feeds you) backed by the new head of the NUS Malia Bouattia (who has been censured in the past for anti-Semitic comments).

We’ve also had feminists Germaine Greer and Julie Bindell and gay activist Peter Tatchell banned from university campuses because of their views on transgender issues. No platform is the new mantra for people trying to stop free speech or alternative views.

Now a survey of students’ attitudes towards free speech by the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi)  “Keeping Schtum? What Students think of Free Speech” reveals the shocking truth about present-day students.

They don’t believe in free speech.

Asking over 1,000 students in 100 British…

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Let us welcome Saudi Arabia to the 21st century…….



A father in Saudi Arabia has shot the doctor who helped his wife give birth, furious that a man was present in the delivery room rather than a female medic.

Dr Muhannad Al- Zabn delivered the baby a month ago at the King Fahad Medical City in the Saudi capital Riyadh. The husband arranged a meeting with the obstetrician under the pretence of thanking him for the successful delivery of his child, Gulf News website reported.

The two met in the garden of the hospital but mid-conversation the embittered man took out a gun hidden under his jacket and shot the doctor. He was given emergency treatment and put in intensive care where he was said to be in a stable condition.

A photograph of a young man purported to be Dr Al-Zabn, wearing a hospital gown and clutching his stomach, was posted on social media. The police later arrested the husband, who fled the scene after the shooting.

Saudi Arabia enforces its own brand of ultraconservative Islam, Wahhabism, under which women and men are segregated from a young age. Female citizens are required to cover up in loose-fitting clothes and are barred from driving. They are also subject to a male guardianship system which requires them to seek permission from their male relatives for everything including undergoing medical operations, opening a bank account and accepting a job.

Today social media users in the kingdom took to Twitter to express their horror at the incident, using the hashtag #agynaecologisthasbeenshot. Many called it “backward” and “shocking” but others said that it showed the need for gender segregation in hospitals.

“In order to avoid these problems and to avoid embarrassment, obstetrics should be limited to women, men can only do caesarean sections,” one Twitter user said.

In a similar incident a husband in Saudi divorced his wife over the high cost for an operation to help her lose weight. The obese teacher went under the knife in Riyadh at her husband’s request who said she was too fat to be his wife, Gulf News reported. After the operation the husband’s pleasure quickly turned to anger when he was handed a £14,500 bill for the work. He quickly divorced her saying he would rather spend the money on a new home.

Source: Timesonline

Posted in 21st century, Abuse of power, abuse of women, Islam, laughable., Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tony Christie……it’s not what you think!

The name Tony Christie conjures up images of a bygone era in popular music particularly the 1970s when he had hits with songs such as “Is this the way to Amarillo” and “Avenues and Alleyways.” His career slowly declined and he ended up living in Spain, just occasionally appearing on the cabaret circuit.

It wasn’t until Peter Kay the comedian did a version of “Amarillo” that some interest was shown in Christies career, and as a result of the comedy records success he went back on the road.  He also proved enduringly popular with a brace of modern musicians, each eager to pay him vocal respect. Christies son Sean hit on the idea of a collaborative project, and in 2008, Tony released Made in Sheffield, which featured contributions from Jarvis Cocker, Arctic Monkeys and Richard Hawley. “That was a nice thing to do,” Tony says, “because it gave me a chance to show what I was capable of. I think for too long I was thought of as a rather cheesy 60s popstar, but Made in Sheffield allowed me to prove otherwise

51tNPe4BGUL._SX425_.jpgMade In Sheffield is a concoction of homegrown talent, bringing together an array of songwriters, musicians and lyricists. The album was recorded and produced in Sheffield, utilising the highly talented musicians born and bred in the city: Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker, Phil Oakley, Alex Turner and Roisin Murphy are some of the collaborators on this remarkable album.

No matter what material he sings, the one thing that is impossible to deny is that Tony Christie has one of the best voices in popular music. I urge you to put aside your prejudices and listen to this wonderful album, and in particular “Louise” (with some wonderful trumpet playing by Guy Barker) to the ecstatic “Born to Cry” featuring a sumptuous arrangement and stunning guitar work by Richard Hawley  (yes, that Richard Hawley).

Watch the lovely video I have posted of Tony singing Born to Cry featuring images of him and the band and the city of Sheffield.

Posted in Art, Music, Uncategorized, Yorkshire | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eyam, the plague village……..and a story of self sacrifice

It’s hard to imagine that the quiet village of Eyam, off the A623 in Derbyshire, could have such a fascinating, yet tragic story to tell. But …. at the end of August 1665 bubonic plague arrived at the house of the village tailor George Viccars, via a parcel of cloth from London. The cloth was damp and was hung out in front of the fire to dry, thus releasing the plague infested fleas. On 7th September 1665, George Viccars, the first plague victim, died of a raging fever.


As the plague took hold and decimated the villagers it was decided to hold the church services outdoors at nearby Cucklett Delf and, on the advice of rector William Mompesson and the previous incumbent Thomas Stanley, villagers stayed within the confines of the village to minimize the spread of the disease. Cucklett Delf was also the secret meeting place of sweethearts Emmott Sydall, from Eyam, and Rowland Torre, who was from a neighbouring village. They would call to each other across the rocks, until Emmott Sydall herself became a victim of the plague. Six of the eight Sydall family died, and their neighbours lost nine family members.


To minimize cross infection, food and other supplies were left outside the village, at either the Boundary Stones, or at Mompesson’s Well, high above the village. The Earl of Devonshire, who lived at Chatsworth House, freely donated food and medical supplies. For all other goods, money, as payment, was either purified by the running water in the well or was left in vinegar soaked holes. The Riley graves, close to Riley House Farm and approximately 1/2 mile from the village house the bodies of the husband and six children of farmer Elizabeth Hancock. All died within a week of each other. Because of the high risk of infecting her neighbours she had the traumatic task of burying them all herself. Even more tragic is that the infection probably came to her family when she helped bury another villager’s body. Twelve months after the death of George Vicars, the plague was still claiming its victims, and on 25th August 1666 Catherine Mompesson, wife of the recently appointed rector William Mompesson (aged 28) , died of the plague. She had loyally stayed with her husband and tended the sick, only to become a victim herself.



The Plague in Eyam raged for 14 months and claimed the lives of at least 260 villagers. By 1st November 1666 it had run its course and claimed its last victim. Eyam’s selfless villagers, with their strong Christian convictions, had shown immense personal courage and self sacrifice. They had prevented the plague from spreading to other parishes, but many paid the ultimate price for their commitment.

One finds it difficult to envisage such self sacrifice by a community in this day and age.

Posted in Church, compassion, Forgiveness, Pennine hills, Pennines, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment