Saturday, 16 January 2021

Hang on, I *have* been to Bradford

I have just been re-reading about my Big Day Out to Saltaire, and I realise that, by the same token as I have been to Bristol - i.e. being dropped off at the station - I have been to Bradford. For what I had forgotten was that after attending the organ concert, and then going for a bite of tea in Shipley, I had missed the train from there, and David gave me a lift to catch one at Bradford. Sadly I did not take a photograph of Bradford Interchange in the dark. So, Hull is absolutely, definitely and unequivocally the largest town I haven't been to.

I recall that when I was at Huddersfield, there was some discussion about whether it was the largest town that wasn't a city - with plenty ready to claim that it was. The ONS figures DG cites suggest, however, that - at least now - it is vary far from it, being 11th in the list once cities are discounted.

And on that basis, the biggest town that isn't a city is in fact Reading - the putative destination for my next Big Day Out (along with Ladybank, when Edinburgh start stumping up for me to attend exam boards again). At present I am averaging one Big Day Out every two years, so at that rate I should have completed them all by 2385. Perhaps I should hurry up a bit.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Have I been to Bristol?

I'll try not to get into the habit of just responding to Diamond Geezer's posts, but a couple of days ago he had a cracker, which along with its follow up yesterday has been keeping me intermittently entertained ever since.

His question was 'what is the largest town (or city) you haven't been to?', and he helpfully provided a list of the hundred biggest towns and cities, by population, as defined by the Office for National Statistics. 

I cast my eye down the list and Bradford, at number ten, leapt out at me as somewhere I haven't been. Bradford was the stumbling block for quite a lot of people, being populous, but not necessarily popular.  This would only count as somewhere I have not visited if the population of Bradford does not include the population of Shipley or Saltaire, both of which I have been to. I have tried looking at the data to see whether it does, but it defeated me.

If it turns out that I have, technically, been to Bradford, then the next biggest place I haven't been to is much more definite - Hull, twelfth on the list. I'd love to go there one day, but it is, for no more than geographical reasons, the sort of place that you have to make a deliberate visit to.

However, when I went back to post my comment, I looked at the list again and saw Bristol at number 4, and I thought, hang on, I haven't been to Bristol. I have changed trains there many times, mostly on the way to Newport, but the rules are clear that changing trains doesn't count.

I think DG's comment


may have been aimed at me.

But then I thought about it some more (I said it kept me entertained for days) and I remembered this photo:

And indeed, this post.

Changing trains doesn't count if you don't leave the station, but given that under his own rules DG has 'visited' Southampton by virtue of slipping out of a station side exit, briefly, then being this far away from the station must count, even if that is where one has just been dropped off by the rail replacement bus.

So although I would very much like to go back and explore properly, I have, unequivocally, been to Bristol.

(Interestingly, my visit to Bristol came about as the result of my second Big Day Out, and to Bradford (or at least close) as the result of my first.)

Thursday, 14 January 2021



We had quite a few hours of snow today, which has settled (or stuck, as they say up here). I don't know what other areas have had it - my colleague in rural Derbyshire at about 9:30 hadn't - which is the opposite way round to usual. By the time it stopped it was a good couple of inches deep, possibly more. It was nice, looking at it and knowing that I didn't have to set foot outside the door. I haven't even unlocked the back door for two days (and the front door, of course, is never unlocked - this is Walkley).

I wonder if it will still be there in the morning.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021


 A few weeks ago, Firefox pointed me to this article by Joanne Limburg. It's about - among other things - the experience of being (female, late-diagnosed) autistic. I'd already read some of Limburg's work - her first memoir, on living with OCD, The Woman Who Thought Too Much, and her book of poems, The Autistic Alice, although I didn't make the connection when I first read the article. Limburg is a writer, and works in a university - and this is important, because so much of what is written about, and for, and even by, autistic people, about us and the world of work, ignores the professional workplace; as if, perhaps (and maybe this is true) we had fewer problems than someone being coached to stack supermarket shelves.

The article said so much that I have wanted to say to people at work. I can write, but not as well as Limburg, and also - sadly - people are more likely to take something seriously if it is written and published by a third party, rather than sobbed at them in frustration by their slightly odd colleague who 'makes them feel uncomfortable.' So I shared it with t'Boss, who agreed, and soon I shall share it with my other colleagues. But that isn't really the point of this post.

The article was in an online magazine which I hadn't previously come across, called Aeon. Firefox Pocket clearly did a good job in bringing it to my attention. Unusually, for me, I signed up for their daily email of articles, and find I have had something to read over breakfast every day - ranging from what neanderthal women did, through flirting and courtship in the eighteenth century, to scientific discoveries and political theory - written and edited by academics and experts, free and with no ads. So yes, I recommend it.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021


According to my colleague Simon, today is National Soundcheck Day.

I think this was last held eight years and a month ago. 

Monday, 11 January 2021

Sunday, 10 January 2021



The Lenten rose is somewhat early this year.