Still. Could be worse.

As in, this view is still. And it could be much, much worse.

Incoming from Mr A Contact. This gorgeous image of Ladybower Reservoir, just down the road from the family pile in Sheffield.

Gorgeous. A hint of frost on the fields in the (?)early morning sunlight. And that mirror in the middle is the water supply for Sheffield, Derby and Nottingham. It’s not quite “Antarctic Ice Shelf” pure, but it honestly can’t be far off.

Ja. Cape Town may be beautiful, but my home turf certainly has its moments too.

Thank you, Mr A Contact

Clive Weir is not a fanatic

I know this, because he says he is not. Right there in the second sentence of his fanatical rant. I know that Cliver Weir is in shock, because he says that before he says he’s not a fanatic.

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Clive is upset because Sheffield City Council made the decision to cut down some trees in Rustlings Road, Sheffield, despite a long campaign by some residents to keep the trees. The cutting down was done earlier this week, at dawn, by a private contractor – Amey – accompanied by a “massive police presence” (12 officers).
Given the unholy fuss about this seemingly underhand approach, one has to wonder why they went via this route. Perhaps because if they hadn’t, there would have been a riot. I don’t know, I’m just guessing.

Immediately after these sort of allegedly anti-environmental actions (I say ‘allegedly’, because the council are replacing the trees with… er… even more trees than they cut down), local news sites are a great source of amusement. I cut to the chase, and went quote chasing in amongst the looney fringe of the STAG (Sheffield Trees Action Groups) FB page.

I was not disappointed. Non-fanatic Clive Weir’s post was the first one I saw.

The word ‘fanatic’ is defined as:

a zealot, bigot, hothead, militant. Fanatic and zealot both suggest excessive or overweening devotion to a cause or belief. Fanatic further implies unbalanced or obsessive behaviour.

This obviously doesn’t refer to Clive Weir though, because he is not a fanatic. He does seem ‘somewhat disappointed’ with the city councillors though:

The people of Sheffield had an opportunity to rid themselves of the autocratic fascists that hide themselves under the banner of labour.

But wait, Clive. Knowing that they had this opportunity, they surely took it, right? Right?

What do they do?, vote them in again because they have been brainwashed by genetics to deny any competent dialogue .

Seems a reasonable excuse to me. But then I’ve been fortunate to avoid being brainwashed by genetics to deny any competent dialogue.

Or… or have I? [sudden concern]

Although I’ve been a microbiologist since I can remember, I have some knowledge of genetics through my degree in Biomedical Sciences, and I can only imagine that Clive is trying to hint at some sort of genetic brainwashing programme here, selective breeding or eugenics. It’s fanatical stuff.

Clive continues, wholly unfanatically:

I would need a lot of money to take on this bunch of knuckle dragging bipeds.To call them monkeys would do an injustice to the primates!

Which primates, though? Because both these groups are primates: the monkeys and the councillors. So are you saying that calling the monkeys monkeys would insult the councillors? Or calling the councillors monkeys would insult the councillors? Calling the monkeys monkeys would insult the monkeys? But they are monkeys. Eponymous disparagement. Is it rude if it’s the truth?
Ironically, monkeys mostly live in trees. Not in Rustlings Road though. Well, not any more.

And then, the bombshell:

What are you playing at you idiots,have you all got your heads up your own backsides, or too busy licking your fellow councillors?

For those of you who thought that Clive was some sort of fanatic (he’s not), did you get that? These are elected officials, paid to serve the people and they seem to be engaging in contortionism and somewhat iffy-sounding oral practices instead of voting not to cut down trees. Suddenly, Clive’s apparently misplaced anger is wholly understandable. Cutting down a few trees in a posh bit of the city has “pressed the button” and Clive is going to reveal all he knows about the goings-on in the Council Chambers. Already, we know that this includes bending, stretching, recto-cranial insertion and hot colleague-on-colleague tongue action.
Watch this space. Well, that space.

Clive needs to find peace. Mi Riam has him covered:

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I can’t help that we’ve been here before, albeit more locally. Perhaps some candles placed in the shape of a fish would work here too.

“We are one, we are one, we are one! Wake up! Wake up! Rise with the rising sun!”

That rising sun now far more visible thanks to the lack of arboreal obstruction, of course. So every cloud has a silver lining.
And you’ll be able to see them better too.

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I’m sorry, Carl? Gorilla? As in Gorilla gorilla gorilla? Do they really bulk buy a load of trees and start planting them either on common land or ask people if they can plant trees at the end of gardens?

I mean, I’m no expert on primates (although I now have a little more clarity on how not to insult them) (see above), but I’ve never seen this sort of behaviour on any of David Attenborough’s auspicious documentaries. I have a friend in the DRC – I’ll ask her if she’s had any gorillas come around and enquire about potential arboriculture opportunities.

I’m not promising any return to the entirely non-fanatical STAG page, but it would seem almost foolish not to, given the rich vein of potential blog-fodder on there.

In the meantime, go hug a tree. It might be the last chance you ever get.

Pocket knife maker

Nice piece this on the revival of the little mesters in Sheffield.
What are a “little mester”, I hear you ask? Here you go:

A little mester is a self-employed worker who rents space in a factory or works from their own workshop. They were involved in making cutlery or other smallish items such as edge tools (i.e. woodworking chisels). The term is used almost exclusively to describe the craftsmen of the Sheffield area, and is mostly archaic as this manner of manufacture peaked in the 19th century and has now virtually died out.

Except, as you’ll see from the first line, they are reviving, rising phoenix-like from the ashes as part of the craft/artisan revolution that seems to be taking over the whole planet. And the Guardian has got some great pics of Michael May – a cutler working in the little mester tradition in Sheffield:

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If you’re ever in the Sheffield area, you can see more industrial heritage – including several little mesters workshops – at the amazing Kelham Island museum.

Sheffield Paragraph

This, via Whatsapp late last night.
Usually when Mrs 6000’s married female friends message me late in the evening, I can’t share the contents.

This one is different:

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Struggling with the teeny text? Allow me to assist.

“He is very obviously common. His speech is uneducated, he has an accent, he is probably from some ghastly place like Sheffield, and he carries himself in an ungentlemanly fashion, and he’s probably something perfectly frightful like a Primitive Methodist. I will not have such people coming to this house and bringing down the tone of it, and I will not have you associating with them. We – you – have a certain reputation to conserve, a certain position in the world.”

Nice. Thanks for that, Louis de Bernières.

I’m not one to get into silly rows over heritage and stuff, but Wikipedia tells me that you were born in 1950s South East London and that’s hardly a shining example of loveliness, now is it? Additionally, I have no huge problem with you slating my perceived lack of education, my timbre or my general appearance based solely upon the city of my birth, but I draw the line very firmly some distance in advance of your “Primitive Methodist” slur.

That, sir, was below the belt.

I fear that this may only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unfounded defamation and character assassination of us fine, upstanding individuals from the Steel City, so if you have any other examples, please feel free to email me so that I can perhaps construct some sort of compendium of examples of this sort of libellous, pseudoxenophobic prejudice.

“Thanks” Carol

Memory Monday

Well, there’s Flashback Friday [is there? – Ed.] and Throwback Thursday, so why not Memory Monday?

Easy way to slip a quota photo in while I’m out hunting swimming with dolphins in the Indian Ocean. And since I’m writing this on Father’s Day (dolphins having comprehensively failed to invent wifi yet), here’s one of of my dad.

A belated Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.
And for more up to date photos, maybe check out my Instagram