I spent roughly half my life in Hull and the North of England and I could count the number of White Christmases on one hand. Cold, yes. Wet, yes. Bitterly cold, yes, but rarely white.
Yet most of the cards featured gabled houses with icicles dangling from the eaves. Horses pulling sleighs, and always masses of that frigid white stuff. Most of the yuletide snow I have seen is artificial and used for decorating business premises during the annual retail feeding frenzy, which we associate with the celebration of the birth of our Saviour if you think along those lines.
The myth of the White Christmas may survive as a folk memory of the 'Little Ice Age' from the 17th to the 19th Centuries. Between 1761 and 1814 the Thames often froze sufficiently for the populace to frolic on the ice, and glaciers extended and increased their mass in Northern Europe. A general freeze up and heavy snowfalls right through January were regular events.
There are indications of a mediaeval warm period and stories of Roman settlers in Britain planting vines and making wine. (Global warming is not a new thing). They would probably have left the place alone if they had checked it out during a cold period.
The remains of Iron Age dwellings dot parts of the Yorkshire moors even today left to the hardy moorland sheep for centuries.
Anyway there is a rarely satisfied nostalgic longing for snow in midwinter. It may look pretty from a warm interior but it soon gets into your shoes where it melts and chills the feet even if your footwear is sound, as it sometimes wasn't in my childhood and young manhood in the Thirties and Forties. On the whole I feel that snow in aerosol cans to decorate the windows and mirrors is the better alternative.
The oddity of celebrating a bygone event of little value in England is only surpassed by the practice of duplicating it in Australia where the climate in mid summer which happens in December, and where the heat can be in the 100 plus range.
My personal hottest Christmas was 111 degrees Fahrenheit with gusty winds carrying the smell of bush fire smoke into the heart of the city of three million people which is Melbourne.
I have an (artificial) tree lit up in a corner for my younger grandchildren and my wife who has happier memories than me of childhood Christmasses, avoiding the sad task of getting rid of a small dead fir tree and its brown, dried needles and out of place outside the pine forests of Europe where their green boughs were a reminder of the coming rebirth of green life in the Spring.
Every year most Aussies and Pommies alike eat a big roast dinner and a heavy pudding in sweltering heat (unless they have air conditioning.) often with a hot, gusty north wind rattling the doors and windows.
Articles - Made In Hull: Stories 1969 - 2005 Part 4 By Rich Mills
Through the large glass double doors I could see a number of other residents. All were transfixed by the pretty flashing lights emanating from the box in the corner, but I knew they were all fully aware of Laura and I approaching. We stood for a moment watching the specimens through the glass, briefly examining their static behaviour as they gave nothing away except a sense of loss.
Articles - Made In Hull: Stories 1969 - 2005 Part 3 By Rich Mills
Waiting in A&E. Too much time spent sitting, waiting, hour upon hour. I wanted to get up and leave so many times, but I knew that I had to stay and keep waiting. For all our sakes! The intensity of the situation made my head ache, but I breathed through it and sunk my head into my hands, still waiting.
Among the drawn-out periods of waiting there were breaks,
Articles - Ten Foot Titans By Rich Mills
Long summer Sundays when I was a kid were spent running around,
plastic machine gun gripped tightly in my hands, throwing myself onto
the hot concrete as imagined bullets flew overhead. Rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat.
Andy came running full pelt down the ten-foot, Uzi tucked close to his side,
spraying invisible hot lead along the side of Brown Owl's fence.
Jamie bursts out of his back
Articles - Charities - And Albert Foundation - Trading Roots at The Zoo Café
The Zoo Café on Newland Avenue in Hull is currently selling goods produced by the And
Albert Foundation ...
The founder of the And Albert Foundation, David Murden has been working for almost 15 years to
realise his vision of creating long-term ethical trade with villages in the developing world.
Fifteen years retail experience has
Articles - Made In Hull: Stories 1969 - 2005 Part 2 By Rich Mills
Much of the lower half of his face was carpeted with a dense mat of short-cropped wire.
Stroking his hand across his chin, he evoked a long distant memory of adolescent profundity.
Another's name floated into his mind, Pat, he'd always thought that was a girl's name,
short for Patricia. However Pat was also the name of his former college lecturer,
Articles - For Those About to Rock...We Salute You...Again! by Joolz
For those of a certain age and musical leaning, the name Trog Bar will hold great memories.
For a goodly number of years, Trog Bar was the place to go on a night out if you liked your
music Loud and Rockin'.
The place itself seemed to act as a gravitational force to all with long hair, tattoos,
denim jackets and a preference for patchouli.
It wasn't the sort of venue
Articles - Made In Hull: Stories 1969 - 2005 Part 1 By Rich Mills
A romper suit with plastic feet, dancing to the transistor radio placed high up on the kitchen shelf.
We really did have a mouse that lived in the skirting-boards of the kitchen, didn't we? Lift the
lid on the Danset, slap on the vinyl, drop the needle. Here comes the crackling sounds of my
deep grooved and somewhat scratched Pinky and Perky LP, Jungle BookRead more...
Articles - Love Me, Love My Band By Lauren Speedwell
So I met someone. He was charming, well-read, funny and heartbreakingly cute.
He liked my Yoko Ono jokes and my love of lab coats.
I also think he could even put up with my snotty elitism when it came to music.
This is it, I thought, Romance at last! And I love romance.
If I could pick any line that describes my outlook on love, life and the universe it would be
Articles - My Saturday Nights By Harry Slater
We'd kill for the four o'clock stumble home at around one, when the cocktails are just about to kick in, and we're forgetting the indignity of cheap fucks bumming cigarettes off us.
Acute nihilism's filling the air, the kind of repulsion that drags you away from sense, sends your head spiralling
into the same unforgettable-dross filled rant about how we're all better than the people who are
Articles - There's Nothing Familiar Within 500 Miles! By Matt Hill in Thailand.
I finally managed to get a picture with some People in for you, this was taken
yesterday in my favourite tea shop.
The entire bill came to less than a pound, the tea's really thick and sweet, and
they leave plates of cakes, buns and somosas on the table in a clever ploy to get you scoffing.
So, I've hit the half way point of my time here and suddenly everything's changed -
when, at first, I
Articles - Hami Kurd's Response to "At a Turning Point?" by Gary Craig 25/7/05
This is a Hami Kurd response to the above report by Professor Gary Craig.
This was a research report on race relations in Hull.
It seems that Gary Craig has sentenced the research to be negative before he even
started writing it.
Below is what we think of it as a Kurdish community living in this city with normal
people of Hull, not behind nice desks and offices.
Articles - Concerned About Africa? A Chance to Help Hulls Twinned City
Hull is twinned with Freetown in Sierra Leone, a city which is trying to become a Fair Trade city like York.
Fairmade is a new business employing 25 people in Freetown; a place where everything, every day and every penny is a struggle. It's trying to do its bit to reduce the devastating poverty of the war torn West African country.
Help Sierra Leone
Articles - On 'At a turning point? The state of race relations in Kingston upon Hull' a report by Prof G Craig, 26 July 05
'What do you think about the state of race relations in Hull? Your chance to express your views.
Professor Gary Craig has been commissioned to conduct an enquiry into the state of race
relations in Hull'.
Prof Craig issued this invitation through the local press and radio and
Hull City Council departments and other
Articles - Funky's Matt Hill writes to us from Thailand By Matt Hill
Hey, Matt here :-)
I know it's been AGES since I sent some pictures, so I finally made myself take some -
you know what it's like, the weather's never good enough or you know the camera
won't do it justice, but the time has come.
OK, so you have to realise that these pictures aren't going to really impress you,
this place isn't big or clever.
Also, my digital camera disk keeps getting wet
Articles - Panic, Paranoia and Peter Levy's Top Lip By Joe Hakim
The world is a welter of conflicting fanaticisms - Betrand Russell
And so it begins...
You can feel it, a charge building - energy rushing up through our veins, a huge shock to the brain, fuse has gone, no light anymore. The smell of candle wax in your nostrils. Squinting in the dark.
The fuse has gone.
Articles, - The Drugs Box By Rich Mills
The Drugs Box; I'd heard of these things, I'd even seen one once, but never had a chance to have a go on one. So when I got the chance to see one in action I jumped at it.
As an ex Drugs Worker, particularly having worked with young people, one of these
would have been invaluable.
A fully interactive, touch screen, educational tool, ideal for use