Thursday, 14 August 2014

Burrow Heights, Lancaster, UK

For quite a few years I've been able to see Burrow Heights from our house, but only recently allowed myself to consider that it has a flat top and "shoulders". I walked there today for the first time hoping it would look like an Iron Age hillfort, or a Roman marching camp, but it's surely too close to the Roman city of Lancaster to be a marching camp, unless, and like any other army they did this, it's a practice camp, i.e. the result of a training exercise.

The Roman road once ran close by and in 1981 a Roman coin was found on the northern slope of Burrow Heights. Lancashire County Council's website has a good shot of crop marks indicating the line of the Roman road just along by the junction with Burrow Heights Lane to the south of Burrow Heights.

It's tempting to consider that Burrow Road, instead of swinging down to the railway bridge (such bridges being very rare in Roman times), might have continued north from the sharp corner through a now blocked gateway and connected to Uggle Lane. (Uggle? Norse?).

BUT (1) it's Burrow Heights Lane that swings NW as if to connect through towards Aldcliffe Road (where in 2005 the Roman cavalryman's memorial stone was found).

BUT (2) a map dated 1675 shows, in its top lh corner, the main road following a line not very different to today's from "Gaugut" to "Scotford" (Galgate to Scotforth), via Highland Brow and Burrow Road.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Sunday, 3 August 2014

August in England

What an August day. It was as gloomy as November from morning 'til mid afternoon when sun returned hot and stinging through dustless air to be replaced within two hours by a rolling thunder review, middling heavy rain and forks of enlightenment. But that was five minutes ago and now the rain has stopped though it still rushes along gullies and whooshes over grids blocked years ago by neglectful privatised so-called maintenance.

And next day put me in mind of Blaenau Ffestiniog in the rain. Blaenau Ffestiniog where clouds are low and no less black than its broken-backed slate heaps, and in the corner of your eye whole mountains wait to slide and swerve down to sea level propelled by vast fountains of gloom, the frightful might of Snowdonia, and a general god awful grimness. Blaenau Ffestioniog where there are no spaces between raindrops and the only light available glints across the slab-staggering ground dimly reflecting from one sharp angle to the next.

Excepting the mid Atlantic, there is nowhere wetter in the world.

And so I reminded myself this morning when looking out on a sodding wet Lancashire.

Mood music:

Friday, 25 July 2014

The Things You Remember

In the early '80s there were two gay Cumbrian trawlermen who had a smart top floor flat with a great view north over The Mount and further on across the bay to Cumbria.

But imagine being a gay fisherman in Fleetwood! For a town to be more insular it would have to be on an island.

These blokes were rock hard and the big one was scarred by a snapped wire hawser right across his back. They had great stories including one slowly delivered about being trapped in an air pocket inside an upturned boat and almost no oxygen left and rolling a cig from your baccy tin and lighting it anyway. Then hearing the knocking of the rescuers on the hull.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

I Scored Four Courgettes, Man.

Every season we're in happens to be my favourite, but yesterday summer scored particularly high when we stopped at a garden gate in Scorton, (Lancs, UK), to buy 15 dahlias for £1.00 (dropped into an open topped honesty bucket), and I collected 4 courgettes marked "excess produce - help yourself". I've converted them into 1ltr of very good spicy courgette soup, more than half of which has already gone.

In our much too small garden there's a rhubarb forest next to the compost bin. I've just stewed some rhubarb - our third cropping this year - and now I find I'm beginning to wear the determined-to-look-unexcited grin of all those allotmenteers who at this time of year and right on through to October walk past our house laden with good quality, probably organic, and almost entirely free food.