Like many people, I love a good bridge. I’d like to give some poetic reason, such as they’re symbolic of links between points in our life journey, but the simple truth is I just find them structurally appealing. Strong architectural lines with the added bonus of generally being near another personal favourite, water.
I’m lucky enough to live very close to the Humber Bridge, once the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world. Its arrival in the early 1980s put it firmly on the map as an iconic local landmark, for many, a comforting signal of home as it looms on the horizon after a long trip.
Seeing as I’m also a big fan of classical music, it was a given that I wanted to get tickets when the City of Culture team announced an event in conjunction with Opera North to walk the bridge to a unique, specially composed soundtrack: The Height of the Reeds.
Unfortunately, as tickets were free, they went swiftly and I lost out. Then, hurrah! They announced it had been so popular they were extending the run and this time I was in, albeit alone as we could only get hold of one ticket.
So yesterday, amidst the extraordinary heat we’re experiencing at the moment in the UK, I set off for a 5K trundle.
The simple Car Boot (or if you are in the US, the trunk); an area of your vehicle used for transporting suitcases and groceries, housing spare wheels and dirty kitbags. And if you’re lacking in seat space whilst trying to drive to that all important party, perhaps a small, willing friend might be found in there too (it has happened…).
However, to many here in Old Blighty, the noun for this humble storage space has been verbed-up into a national institution, with us spending weekends ‘booting’ as ‘booters’ and…um…’bootees’…
In America, it seems everyone loves a yard sale, a chance to offload some unwanted items and make a few extra bucks from the comfort of your own home, without having to wait for the eBay auction to end.
But us Brits would generally balk at the idea of inviting some random shoppers round to traipse through the prize petunias and churn up the freshly-cut lawn. Besides, one does not want the neighbours to see what type of tat we’ve had stashed in the attic!
So instead, we fill our car boots with precision that would make even a world-champion Tetris player envious, and trundle off to a nearby playing field before the sun comes up to do battle with…
The Bargain Hunter Horde!
Riddles and Puzzles. Ciphers and cryptograms. Mysteries and folklore.
I fancy myself as being quite good at working them out but in reality, I’d be kicked out of any lectures by Robert Langdon before even being allowed through the door!
But my lack of expertise doesn’t stop me wanting to conquer a coded challenge so when a local mystery began to unfold a few weeks ago, I was eager to get cracking.
It all started with a small news story, that gained momentum on social media, of some mysterious, ancient looking crates found in abandoned tunnels under The Land of Green Ginger.
Now, despite having a particularly magical (and therefore fictional) sounding name, this place does exist within my home town of Hull. A small street in the city centre, it is often attributed with housing the world’s smallest window, within the George Hotel.
The tunnels, among many beneath the city streets, were once possibly used for smuggling, as much of the now paved centre was originally the docks, and some were reportedly used by monks to move items from their monasteries. So, a discovery of this nature was not completely unusual but was nevertheless exciting.
I took my new little Sony CyberShot out for a walk along the beach, just after Christmas, so that I could get a first feel for it.
Have to say, I do enjoy having an actual zooming lens back despite so far only really using it on auto settings. The camera has plenty of functions I can play around with over the next few weeks though – just have to not fall back into lazy ways!
Cycling: I’m quite fond of venturing out on two wheels, tootling around and taking in the scenery.
But I’m certainly not an off-roader, bouncing through puddles and daubing my back in an unattractive streak of mud.
Nor will you see me donning an aerodynamic body suit and bending at an almost 90º angle over my handle-bars.
Nope, I’m much more a baguette (or a dog) in a basket kind of cyclist.
However, if last year is anything to go by, today will see a strange phenomenon that will survive across summer.
Much like how January seems to compel thousands into a gym, or everyone starts practising their back-hand (okay, just eating strawberries and drinking Pimms) around Wimbledon season, there is a sporting event beginning that will invoke enthusiasts to pipe themselves into colourful Lycra and ride around en masse, generally blocking the rush hour traffic.
The TOUR de YORKSHIRE!