Lockdown week36


Earnshaw's Fencing, Midgeley

There's a new man in town and he's Indian.
Could be a challenge?

Honley and surrounds. Nice day, nice company, nice place.

The blog has supporters. I met Steve Flynn in the Coop carpark on Saturday morning on his way to the post office, not the coffee shop obviously. He is one. Listening to my supporters I get a range of criticism.
    "A bit deep this week." Robert Coombes on the benefits of Simon Barnes, sitting in nature (don't forget plastic bag).
    "A bit light." Clive Hetherington who once said he wrote a blog.

Balance then. Nuance maybe. So to some philosophy. Not easy. You might think philosophers had a comforting word or two for a pandemic?


A philosopher. German. I cannot claim to understand much of the language of philosophy. I even struggle spelling this guy's name. Alain de Botton 'The Consolations of Philosophy' tries to simplify stuff, but I'm not so sure.

One chapter is entitled 'Consolation for Difficulties'. Will it help during the pandemic? Something about happiness is not about gaining pleasure or avoiding pain. They live side by side, presumably in an uneasy balance and imbalance. They feed off each other, supporting and undermining. De Botton himself writes 'The most fulfilling projects appeared inseparable from a degree of torment, the sources of our greatest joys lying awkwardly close to those of our greatest pains.'

The pandemic is massive. I'm embarrassed by how few serious awkward moments we've had compared with bereaved families and people who have lost their livelihoods. What is the amount of hunger out there? I suspect there is an iceberg of unrecognised anxiety and depression. I forgot to mention all the youngsters. These are part of many 'normal' lives in 'normal' times, but the pandemic has amplified both the number and the severity. I don't think Nietsche has much to help except how we deal with our bit of the crisis will veer from brilliant to something else.

Time has become my greatest concern. The pandemic has stolen a precious slice of my time left. Yet it has resulted in a lot of free time, particularly now the garden does not need a lot of work. Time to reflect and to deal with intrusive thoughts. Events, random and unexpected, take up time. Writing blogs takes time. In older age there is a lot of behind and not much in front. Little forward planning and a vast amount of forgetting. Best stay in the present.

Victoria Springs from our knackered balcony


French. I'm now down to the quote, 'A virtuous ordinary life, striving for wisdom but never far from folly, is achievement enough.'
This does make me wonder. In these good words there seems to another question, as in what is virtue? The answer, 'behaviour showing high moral standards.' Then it's what are morals? Aristotle defines moral virtue as a disposition to behave in the right manner and as a mean between extremes of deficiency and excess, which are vices. We learn moral virtue primarily through habit and practice rather than through reasoning and instruction. Another attempt at answering the question, 'Morals are the prevailing standards of behavior that enable people to live cooperatively in groups. Moral refers to what societies sanction as right and acceptable. Most people tend to act morally and follow societal guidelines.'

Right and acceptable must be different depending where you live and in what era. There is more than a hint of the average in these words. What of excellence? Disaster must be its eternal partner. The nurses, doctors, researchers, everybody except us live way beyond the ordinary life. Whither Boris?

Mind you it has been said behind every great sportsman there is a tragedy and behind every great wealth there is a crime.


Greek. He has a happiness acquisition list.

(1) A hut (I would add a comfy seat, warm clothing, a plastic bag - Simon Barnes recipe for calming the restless mind. Out in nature of course. I have cultivated sitting anywhere)

(2) Friends

(3) To avoid superiors, patronisation, infighting and competition - anyone following Roderick Williams and 'British History in Ten Operas'? Peter Grimes written by Benjamin Britten. 1945 - end of WW2 and the decline of the empire. Set in beautiful Suffolk coastal village. Peter Grimes is a fisherman, flawed, uncertain, often in the wrong, an outsider who struggles to get along with others. He loses two apprentices whilst fishing. The villagers try him and he commits suicide. Rod tells us it's about exposing the life beneath - how can an individual be different? Britten and his partner were gay and conscientious objectors. What of today? Being different is a reason for national and international movements. Conflict and bullying by the villagers has been replaced by internet disagreement and 'cancelling'. 
I recommend the radio4 podcast. Art follows life. 

(4) Thought - seems a given, but I've had enough philosophy for one day.

(5) A reincarnation of Giovanni Bellini's Madonna - must be good.


Happiness may be difficult to attain. The obstacles are not primarily financial - Phillip Green and his Mrs. eat your hearts out.

Avoiding superiors and 'superior' people I recommend so I don't come into contact with patronising people. The rest goes without saying - best retire to the hut and sit in the present.



Posted by 

The sound will need a tweak. I did it several times and then lost the will.

Canal, rail and road in this latest Jenson Bancroft brio track. I'm not sure they all existed together in quite this manner, so a bit of poetic/romantic license. It was about freight and in the 1850s when my kin the hand-loom weaver was in his pomp, it was changing to rail from barge. The raw wool would have been locally sourced. The final cloth would have been taken by the middle man/merchant/clothier to the market where buyers would place their orders. The cheaper cloth was made up into garments locally. Higher quality cloth, worsted, was in demand nationally and internationally. The canal and rail networks would thus have had their textile role. The waterway through line to Lancashire, via Standedge, was completed 
in 1811. Otherwise the Aire and Calder Navigation. By 1830, Huddersfield was integral to a complex canal network. The Lancs and Yorks railway, opened 1847, was the only coast to coast route just then. 
  Made in Huddersfield was the designer label of the time.

Meltham Park

Spot the Almondbury Casual. A social Sunday afternoon cricket team formed in the 1950s. The early membership looks like the captains of the textile industry and their suppliers, at leisure. Along with hockey, golf, rugby union and soccer. I have been bruised quite a bit for likening them to the middle classes that emerged in the late nineteenth century. No need to rehearse this. They did have rules and meetings where minutes were taken. Plenty of golfers and public school men. Sons, other relatives, workmates, wives and spectators played, some excellent cricketers, others making up the numbers. For the majority, it was completely unserious. Sadly today's youngsters do not have an interest in travelling to a country house for a non-competitive game of cricket. For further information about the casuals, clic here.
Angela Sewell reminds us of happy times with the Casuals. Quite right. Can I also say that many guys got an opportunity to play when they weren't regular cricketers. Availability was key, not ability.

The men are made of concrete and the makeover was done with acrylic paints.

Lockdown week33/34

Dave's Notebook.

Boris - more U-turns and changes of mind. Trump is a poor loser and and crazy. We are just getting on with it. Possible opportunities to complete some unfinished business. Not during the first lockdown because we were enjoying ourselves in the garden too much. I really could do with cleaning up all the mess on my computer and being clear what I use it for. Hmm ...


I used to do clinics in Dewsbury when captain four stripes was still training in SW Spain - ah heady days, in Spain that is. The Dewsbury muslim ladies wore masks. I had to engage seriously with their eyes. Very powerful, and credit to them. Same thing now in shops and the playgrounds. I don't sense power though, I simply don't recognise people I know very well. A bit like the elderly lady who went to the supermarket with her husband - all masked up. Did the shopping, came home. Took masks off, wrong husband.


Two videos from Forgetmenot Team Sheila. Bottle decorations.


Keith Barnes U3A sent us this (music appreciation group). 
It's not getting any longer either with this 
so-and-so pandemic.


See the new post about hand-loom weavers as an antidote to my more normal chatty blog. It asks some questions in the end - worthy of comments.

Poignant 'Festival of Remembrance' and 'Remembrance Sunday'. 11.00am, I stood outside on the deck. A bugle played somewhere down in Holmfirth.

I've just twigged that the pictures and succinct bits of text on the posts of the BBC website are enough. Clic and there is more information, but you already know what it's about.