Hometown Prettiness

While we’re suffering the slings and arrows of the outrageous thirties, the UK has had a horrible, horrible winter. Much of which has been beautifully documented by flickr user karl101.

These are two of my favourites, snowy foggy view and ferris with moon, but his whole photostream is well worth a (long) look.

Snow-ta Photo

I’m watching Tranmere v Wolves in the FA Cup (and currently Tranmere are all over the visitors like an aggressive gravy) so I’m giving you a snow-ta photo.
It’s like a quota photo, but with snow (see what I did there?).

This is one my Dad took on New Year’s Eve. Beautiful.
My parents arrived back home on 10th December from a 6 week tour of  Australia. It was 3°C in Sheffield that day and it hasn’t got that warm again since. The forecast until Friday gives a daily maximum of 0°C or below.

Happy days.

What were the skies like when you were young?

What were the skies like when you were young?

They went on forever – They – When I w- We lived in Arizona, and the skies always had little fluffy clouds in ’em, and, uh… they were long… and clear and… there were lots of stars at night. And, uh, when it would rain, it would all turn – it- They were beautiful, the most beautiful skies as a matter of fact. Um, the sunsets were purple and red and yellow and on fire, and the clouds would catch the colors everywhere. That’s uh, neat cause I used to look at them all the time, when I was little. You don’t see that. You might still see them in the desert.

Of course, there are no deserts in Sheffield, where I grew up. And while there may have been little fluffy clouds, there were (of course) a lot of days with grey clouds and even some with no clouds at all. Much like Cape Town, where I am now – although I can’t actually see a single cloud out of my study window right now.

One thing I remember seeing a lot of as a kid in Sheffield was vapour trails from aircraft passing far overhead on the Great Circle Route. That’s one thing that you don’t see in Cape Town. Geographically, it makes perfect sense: to leave a vapour trail, a plane must be above 8,000m (26,000ft) and why would any plane be over Cape Town at that height? Where would it have come from and where would it be going?
The planes we see here in the Cape (like this example from today, which was what got me thinking about this) are generally on their way in or out of the local airport.

That’s what makes this photo by arepeegee particularly special – because it has vapour trail, elements of a sunset and it’s taken in Sheffield.

I almost felt homesick, but then I looked out of the window at my no clouds and had another beer and things were all ok again.

Half a world away…

A couple of photos taken this morning.
One of mine, taken in Cape Town, featuring my boy and False Bay:

And one of my Dad’s, taken in Sheffield, featuring his back garden:

And although for many it might seem to be a no-brainer, I’m actually struggling to decide where I would rather be right now…

How did I miss Richard Hawley?

One of the most difficult things about emigrating is keeping up with things back home. Sure, you want to embrace the new lifestyle and the culture of your new home, but that doesn’t mean that you should completely lose touch with the land of your birth.

And thus, when I find myself watching Sky News and finding out about a musician I’ve never heard of – the surprise nominee for the Best Solo Male at the upcoming BRIT Awards – and he’s from Sheffield, I know I’m letting it slip a bit.

Richard Hawley is 41 years old* and has been working in music for years as a session musician for the likes of REM, Gwen Stafani, Nancy Sinatra, All Saints and Arctic Monkeys.
His first solo album came out in 2000 – long before I left the UK, but he’s achieved little commercial success. His albums to date have all had a Sheffield reference to them, including his 2007 offering Lady’s Bridge, promoted by the release of special edition Henderson’s Relish bottles. Too cool.

But it was his comments on Sheffield’s steel industry that made me laugh. He, like me, gets a little depressed and nostalgic when he goes to Kelham Island Museum. As he points out:

Working in Sheffield’s steel industry was a job that had dignity.
Can you see there being Call Centre Museums in 30 years time?

“Look, that’s where your dad plugged ‘is phone in”
“I can remember, me laptop used t’ sit rate ‘ere”

No, because those jobs don’t have dignity. No-one wants to remember them.  

As for the music – Roy Orbison meets Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey and Nick Cave. Perhaps a little Country/Folky/Pub Crooner for some, but it’s worth a listen anyway. Plenty to watch and listen to on YouTube.

I won’t mention his taste in football clubs. He has none.

* so getting on a bit… (P.S. Hi Ant! *grin*)