Friday, 15 June 2018

Deborah Shine (ed) - Haunting Ghost Stories - Octopus - 1984 (Reprint)

Deborah Shine - Haunting Ghost Stories - Octopus - 1984 (reprint)

I don`t post reviews of books I`ve read unless they`re very fresh in my mind and unfortunately it`s a while since I finished this one.

Still, a few general comments may be helpful.

The `old guard` are well-represented here, with stories by Walter de la Mere, H G Wells, E F Benson, M R James, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, WW Jacobs and others. Speaking personally, I never get tired of writers like these. 

The remainder of the 32 stories are presumably by more recent authors.

For someone like myself, who consumes collections like this by the wheelbarrow-load, there are inevitably a couple of rather familiar tales, but not enough to take the edge off it.

There are a couple of stories I personally wouldn`t have included; Fame by Michelle Maurois is an agreeable short story, but not particularly haunting or even a ghost story, and Colin thiele`s The Phantom Horses because it doesn`t really go anywhere, and because the cod-German dialogue ("Now d`tub ve must fill mit vorter full up") will grate on the nerves of most modern readers.

In truth, not every story is in fact a ghost story but that`s not unusual with this type of anthology. For me anyway, there was a good mix of familiar and unfamiliar writers and I enjoyed it immensely. 

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Blands Cliff Murals, Scarborough

Blands Cliff is a cobbled street near Scarborough sea front and dating apparently to the 18th century. All I know about the murals is that they were done by artists local to the Scarborough area with work commencing in 2002.

Some refer to World War One and these incorporate contain passages of prose from those who were there, apparently including some from an ancestor of one of the artists. 

I`ve posted other pictures of the BC Murals on Facebook if anyone`s interested. 

Monday, 4 June 2018

In the Fog with H G Wells at Nottingham Industrial Museum

Nottingham Industrial Museum is one of my favourite places to visit. The museum itself is fascinating, it`s located within the grounds of Wollaton Park and there is a very good chip shop nearby.

On my most recent visit I had a quick look at the second hand book stall and was fortunate enough to pick up these fine items, IIRC for about 50p each.

I`ve read a small number of the early science fiction titles. They seem a mixed bag, with a tale by Grant Allen being the front runner so far. 

Richard H Davis, a new name to me,  was a popular and prolific author of the late 19th/early 20th century, though not primarily known for crime fiction. In the Fog, a story-within-a-story,   was first published in 1901 and was made into a film in 1911. It may be a while before I get round to reading it, but I`ll get there !

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Aqueduct Cottage, Cromford Canal, Derbyshire

Aqueduct Cottage, as it is known locally, is a derelict lock keepers` cottage located on a bank of the Cromford Canal.

A Member of the Friends of Cromford Canal told me that it has not been inhabited since 1974, that no utilities have ever been connected to the cottage and that after it fell into disuse it was damaged by a fallen tree, with no attempt to restore or renovate it since that time.

Blogger Peter Daykin ( states that it now belongs to Derbyshire Wildlife Trust (there is a nature reserve backing on to and overlooking the cottage) and refers interested parties to Wirksworth Parish Records and the Friends of Cromford Canal, though presumably the Wildlife Trust may also be able to help.

Recently the owners have had the building boarded up and commissioned local artists to do their thing to the exterior where possible.

Before it was boarded up I personally did enter it and explore a number of times. I now realise that may not have been sensible !

 I recall that although the first floor had presumably collapsed, you could see where it had been and the rooms seemed to have been quite a bit lower than would be usual in a modern home. The door I think was very low as well, though I have seen a photo of an occupant standing in the doorway and  it was in proportion to her height. I believe this tells us a lot about the nutritional realities of life for the Victorian poor, who were often considerably shorter than people are today.

I recall a metal bed frame rusting away inside the cottage, again too big for a modern child, too small for a modern adult. 

I may have some pictures of it from before it was boarded up. If I can find them, I`ll post them as soon as I can.  

Friday, 25 May 2018

Hyson Green scout Hut, Nottingham (Trafalgar Lodge)

Some time ago (12 March to be exact), I posted a picture of Hyson Green scout hut and said I`d take more pictures next time I was nearby. 

Slightly belatedly, it`s mission accomplished and here are a few more images.

I`ll also be putting a few on Facebook.

The Folly - The Ice House, Shipley Park, Derbyshire (Shipley Hall)

Known locally as `The Folly` , this building is actually the remains of an ice house used by the inhabitants of the now-demolished Shipley Hall. 

For anyone who doesn`t know, an ice house was a stone building used in those pre-fridge days to keep food fresh.

There are the remains of many ice houses dotted around the country. This one is unusual in that it was built from `clinkers`, waste from a foundry which has taken the form of a stony residue.

 I am told there is a house built from the same material somewhere in the area - West Hallam I think - and in Heanor there is a low wall alongside a tarmac footpath running from Ilkeston Road to William Gregg Leisure Centre along the edge of Heanor Memorial Park which I personally believe is also made of clinkers.