Scaud Hill and Beyond – At My Leisure

scaud hill 1

ONCE we’re under way with this post and built up some momentum I’m going to tell you about Mr Ramsey. That’s Gordon Arthur Ramsey. Not the chef with the bad attitude. Another bloke. Anyway, the air feels like spring this morning. I’ve parked the car at the side of the B6277 near the head of Teesdale, County Durham, next to the mouth of an old lead mine at Ashgill Head. I like it up here. There’s a sense of openness and wildness. This is beautiful country but little frequented. There are a few whitewashed farms, almost as many Methodist chapels, and lots of ruined buildings – an indication that the population was once far greater than it is today. Life has passed through Teesdale in magnificent cycles, the same as it does in most places. Only we don’t always notice things spinning . . .

I head straight up the fell like a man who knows where he’s going, but I don’t because I haven’t much of a plan except to stand on the top of Scaud Hill, gaze over wild ground into neighbouring Weardale, and decide where to venture next. I pass some ruined farm buildings and follow old tracks that are long overgrown.

There is much evidence of 19th Century lead mining activity on the higher slopes of the moor. Some vertical shafts are still open and have been fenced off to prevent the unwary plunging to their doom. Scaud Hill should not be tramped across after dark. If you ever find yourself up here in bad visibility and you are in need of a pee, don’t leap over a fence for Christ’s sake.

The main adit level at Ashgill Head Mine, right by the side of the main road

The main adit level at Ashgill Head Mine, right by the side of the main road

One of the old mine buildings, now used as a storehouse for the local farmer

One of the old mine buildings, now used as a storehouse by a local farmer

scaud hill 4 scaud hill 5

Old lead mine shafts such as this pockmark the landscape like craters on the moon

Old lead mine shafts such as this pockmark the landscape like craters on the moon

scaud hill 7

I lobbed a stone down this shaft and counted to twenty but didn't hear it hit the bottom. It might still be falling

I lobbed a stone down this shaft and counted to twenty but didn’t hear it hit the bottom. It might still be falling

scaud hill 9

And here's another. Dangerous places these. Fall into them and you'll never get out

And here’s another. Dangerous places these. Fall into them and you’ll never get out

This might look like a harmless heap of stones but there is a reason it's fenced off. This is what's known as a bee-hive cap over a shaft. Sometimes, rather than just abandon old workings, the miners built a cairn over the top of a shaft – igloo fashion – to preserve the shaft and prevent people and animals falling down it. If you removed some of these rocks you'd be able to peer down a very deep hole. A more likely scenario would be you removing one or two stones and the whole lot – along with yourself – disappearing in a mighty great whoosh never to be seen again

This might look like a harmless heap of stones but there is a reason it’s fenced off. This is what’s known as a bee-hive cap over a shaft. Sometimes, rather than just abandon old workings, the miners built a cairn over the top of a shaft – igloo fashion – to preserve the shaft and prevent people and animals falling down it. If you removed some of these rocks you’d be able to peer down a very deep hole. A more likely scenario would be you removing one or two stones and the whole lot – along with yourself – disappearing in a mighty great whoosh never to be seen again

Let me tell you about Gordon Arthur Ramsey. When I was in the second year at Askam Junior School – which was 1965-66 – My Ramsey was my teacher. His reputation for being loud, pedantic and authoritarian preceded him. But like many teachers with similar reputations, when you got to know him you realised that this was part of his style. It was a front – and the genuine man was a much easier and convivial person.

At first we sat meekly in his class because we were overawed. Then, when he had our trust, he told his jokes, entertained, sowed his jewels of knowledge in his unique though abrasive manner and deftly nudged us onto the right course to being better people. Teachers like MrRamsey shape our lives.

On long afternoons when he was tired of teaching, Mr Ramsey would sit back in his chair and give us the benefit of his knowledge – life as Mr Ramsey saw it. He told us the world was changing fast. In the not-too-distant future, he said, we would all have more leisure time because machines would do all the work. We wouldn’t need employment. We could expect lives of leisure. I particularly remember him using that word. “Leisure”.

scaud hill 12 scaud hill 13 scaud hill 14 scaud hill 15 scaud hill 16scaud hill 31From the top of Scaud Hill I plod leisurely through banks of heather and across slippery peat sikes to the shores of Burnhope reservoir, above Weardale. My life of leisure begins next week, by the way, when machines run by unknown people in Wales – on far less money than me – snatch my job and hand me a P45 in recognition of 18 years’ service. I shall have leisure coming out of my ears. More than I can shake a stick at, I suppose.

Burnhope reservoir is a fascinating place. Visitors can expect to see a wealth of birdlife including chaffinch, robin, coal tit, great tit, goldcrest, redpoll, heron, teal and black-headed gulls, as well as the ubiquitous grouse. Roe deer frequent the vicinity, as well as common lizards; and red admiral, common blue and large white butterflies flit through the grasses. The Sitka spruce plantations are gradually being cleared and replaced by native trees such as rowan and birch. It would be nice to say Mr Ramsey was responsible for my extensive knowledge of wildlife – but he wasn’t. I’ve just read an information board near the Burnhope reservoir public toilets.

scaud hill 17 scaud hill 18 scaud hill 19 scaud hill 20 scaud hill 21Poor old Mr Ramsey. His take on life, his attitude and his optimism were forged by two world wars – when we all stuck together for the common good and strove towards a common goal. His logic was based on the achievements of a nation that pulled itself from the wreckage of the blitz to found a national health service, create public labour organisations to rebuild our factories and towns, take major industries into common ownership, reform the education system to benefit the many not the few, and create a welfare system to ensure the unfortunate would no longer starve as they had during the 1930s.

His vision of wall-to-wall leisure, where machines created wealth and everyone benefited, was born out of the naïve assumption that the ethos of public, government and municipal service would continue to embrace and uplift the masses. But the juggernaut has been hijacked by privateers and the atmosphere irreversibly poisoned.

Will I be regarded as a man of leisure next week when my private-sector employer dispatches my private-sector job to an office in Wales with the sole intention of maximising his profits, or will I be branded a workshy benefits scrounger and advised to get on my private-sector bike to look for work?

scaud hill 22 scaud hill 23Incidentally, Burnhope reservoir is quite an impressive structure. My walk takes me across the dam, which was built during the 1930s by municipal water boards and public water companies. It is now owned by the private sector Northumbrian Water Group, the chairman of which is Sir Derek Wanless, a past chief executive officer of NatWest Bank and a non-executive director of Northern Rock Bank until is sank into the effluent in 2007 and had to be bailed out with public cash and nationalised to keep it afloat. Apparently, Sir Derek was chairman of Northern Rock’s “audit and risk committee”. So that was a job well done, eh Derek? None of this is relevant, by the way, it just makes me feel better when I bash it into the keyboard.

Above the southern bank of the reservoir is a potholed road that heads south-west up Coldberry End and back over the fell into Teesdale. It’s a very pleasant road to follow in late afternoon sunshine. Up here the moorland birds are piping. But because there are no information boards I can’t tell you what they are. I should dig out my old Observer Book of Birds and do some research.

scaud hill 24

An old lime kiln

An old lime kiln

scaud hill 26

This is a pleasant retreat for the grouse-shooters. Do you know what the only difference between a grouse-shooters' hut and a mountain bothy is? The answer's in the next picture

This is a pleasant retreat for the grouse-shooters. Do you know what the only difference between a grouse-shooters’ hut and a mountain bothy is? The answer’s in the next picture

scaud hill 28scaud hill 29 scaud hill 30So Mr Ramsey got it wrong. He hadn’t foreseen his commonwealth being carved up by politicians and sold to their wealthy friends at bargain prices. His machines arrived, but they are all owned by rich people who award themselves big bonuses while food banks flourish and malnourishment rises.

I’ve worked as a sub-editor at The Northern Echo since 1995. The paper is owned by a company called Newsquest, which is turning over sizable profits. Our pay has been frozen for the past six years, with the exception of 2011 when we went on strike and won a two per cent rise. That same year the chief executive officer, Paul Davidson, awarded himself a 21.5 per cent increase, taking his top line to £609,000. The jobs of my colleagues in Darlington, and colleagues on sister papers in York and Bradford, are being axed and their work centralised in Newport, Wales. The top salary in Newport is £5,000 a year less than I’m on in Darlington. That’s how British industry works in 2014. It feeds off its staff to fill the pockets of its executives.

But what do I care? Tonight I shall raise a glass to Mr Ramsey and all teachers like him. Bring on the leisure, that’s what I say. My new adventure is about to begin.

scaud hill 32

Advertisements

About McFadzean

Alen McFadzean, journalist, formerly of the Northern Echo, in Darlington, and the North-West Evening Mail, Barrow. Former shipyard electrician. Former quarryman and tunneller. Climbs mountains and runs long distances to make life harder. Gravitates to the left in politics just to make life harder still. Now lives in Orgiva, Spain.
This entry was posted in Caving, Childhood, Environment, Hiking, History, horse gins, Industrial archaeology, Life, Mountains, Newsquest, Northern Echo, Politics, Ranting, Redundancy, Ruins, Second World War, Unemployment, Walking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Scaud Hill and Beyond – At My Leisure

  1. teigl says:

    I wish you all the best in your new adventure. Many of us have betrayed folk like Mr Ramsay…by voting for short-sighted gain and selfishness instead of the bigger picture, but as usual you write in such an entertaining and informative way that while I was getting angry about your predicament I was also fascinated about the places you were visiting. Mines, built on the backs of exploited folk by capitalists who raked off big profits. The wheel turns full circle…soon we will be back in the victorian era. Anyway, another great blog post!

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Iain. Thank you very much for your comment. You’ve hit on an interesting theme there. I’ve lost a job – but at least my predicament doesn’t compare with the lot of the poor people who strove to feed their families during the harsh days of the Victorian mining era. At least I’ve got a roof over my head, and food and heating, and little chance of being turfed out of my home. That puts things into perspective. Really, by comparison, I’m pretty well off.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  2. Hanna says:

    It’s a lovely enthusiastic story Alen with a little tiny bit of wormwood, and an explanation why the herb was going with the story…
    I was totally overawed like you were over Mr. Ramsey, of all the birds I thought you had seen and recognized 🙂

    Information boards can save us from many mistakes on the roads of life, just not when it comes to the great place to work.
    Otherwise it would have been convenient if there outside The Northern Echo had been an information board that indicated that you would get a P45 in recognition of your good work after 18 years.

    I understand that mine shafts may be sensible to avoid. Or it is likely that a long time will pass before it is your turn, if you need to go and powder your nose 🙂
    I am happy that you did not jump over the fence leisure or not.

    All the best,
    Hanna

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hanna, you are like a blinding light in a dark cellar, with your humour and goodwill penetrating the darkest corners.
      I have decided that information boards should be erected everywhere. They would make life so much simpler. I could have done with a few of them placed at strategic positions along the road of life. But perhaps I wouldn’t have taken much notice of them.
      But you can rest assured that I won’t be jumping over any fences. Clambering over them unsteadily is hard enough.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  3. Hi Alen, I hope all goes well for you and it won’t be long before things turn around for you. There are an amazing amount of mines and old building scattered all over the North Pennines. You think at times that you are in a landscape untouched by human hands but there must have been a great deal of industry going on in these hills.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Mark. Good to hear from you. I’m not too worried about the future – it’s more the indignation of it all that gets me down. But I shall get over it. The North Pennines are beautiful and seemingly untouched, as you say, until you start poking about and realise that it must be one of the most exploited landscapes in the world. I’ve been back up there today and didn’t meet another solitary walker. It is the perfect place to get away from anything you want to get away from. I feel a bit ashamed that I’ve lived in the area for nearly two decades and haven’t bothered to explore it more than I have.
      Cheers, now, Alen

      Like

  4. I love this post Alen…so much so I read it twice. The photos are superb (if that is you next to the mine shaft then you also wear the same colour buff as I do). I love these open moors with no one about. I really wish you all the very best for your new adventure. Good Luck

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi James. Thanks for that. Yes, that’s me next to the mine shaft. And may I say you obviously have an expert taste in buff design. We ex-potholer types know a thing or two about fashion, don’t you think?
      And thanks for your best wishes. I am treating redundancy as an adventure and a new opportunity.
      Cheers now, Alen

      Like

  5. rthepotter says:

    Astonishing photos as always, a great pleasure for those of us who can’t get there. Starting life over … never easy, often productive, so all best wishes for it. Spit on their doorstep as you go, mind 🙂

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Rebecca. Thank you for your comment. Yes, starting life over. It suddenly sounds scary. But, it’s happened before and it’s always turned out for the best. I shall look upon it at a challenge – mainly because it is. But we need a challenge to waken ourselves up occasionally, and I reckon I need waking up.
      Spit on their doorsteps. It’s a long time since I’ve heard that expression. I’m going to use that.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  6. qdant says:

    A life of leisure Eh ! Whoosh ! where did that go ?
    I see you didn’t break into Lord Snots grouse-shooters’ hut
    but if you’d have stuffed the padlocks with pieces of ? (baco foil works)
    they would have to ! you could have been stuck outside in a blizzard
    Your going to be rich in time poorer in money. But you can’t buy time !

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Danny, thank you for the best laugh I’ve had all day. Funnily enough, I was out on the tops again today and thinking about (Lord Snots) grouse-shooters’ hut and wondering if I had been a bit too harsh on him. But you’re right. Anyone stuck up there in a blizzard would perish trying to seek shelter. We’d find a frozen body and fingernails stuck in the door hinges.
      I came across another grouse-shooters’ hut today near Cow Green reservoir, at the head of Teesdale, and this was locked up but there was a room at the end that was open and served as a shelter for walkers (Raby Estates. I think that’s Lord Barnard as opposed to Lord Snot). That’s more like it. A hot dinner and a bottle of merlot would have made it more acceptable, though.
      “Rich in time poorer in money”. That reminds me of a saying we had in the shipyard at Barrow if you were planning to take an unscheduled day off: “Money in the bank of health”.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  7. Shame he wasn’t right really – I could do with the rest of my life at leisure – but obviously with enough to live off which is never going to happen. I was going to ask you about your looming redundancy – a week to go eh? I hope you find something better – or better still, I hope you find you can remain at leisure and not bother finding something better! 😉
    Carol.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Carol. The last option sounds right up my street. I’ve had 41 years of continuous work and it doesn’t get you anywhere except keep the wolf from the door. I’m working on a new way of life that involves shooting the wolf. There are a lot of rich people in this country who’ve never worked as hard as you or me and they never will. I’m going to find an alternative lifestyle. If Jeremy Clarkson can build a hugely successful career on saying stupid and offensive things then there must be other ways.
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

      • Actually, on the subject of Jeremy Clarkson, even though I find the guy totally banal and irritating, I’ve felt sorry for him recently. Who would ever know that using an old kids’ rhyme to pick one or another thing (eeny meeny miny mo) and commenting on a tilting bridge could get you into so much trouble?! The world’s going nuts!
        Carol.

        Like

  8. Jumping over a wall for a pee could bring a whole new meaning to the term ‘long drop.’ Another fascinating exploration of a fascinating area, complete with reservoir dam. (Every walk should have a reservoir dam.)

    Your analysis of Mr Ramsey’s prediction is spot on; made at a time when there was real community and co-operation, who could not be optimistic about the future, who wasn’t lulled into a false sense of altruism. And here we are in 2014, back in 1849 but with smartphones. I fear it’s going to take another cataclysm to correct the corporate imbalance that’s lifting the 1% into a parallel universe.

    After I was made redundant in 2012 I went through the whole spectrum of feelings: anger, confusion, regret, betrayal, but with a bit of freelance work under me I decided to spend twelve months deciding what I really want to do in life and now I think I know. (Self publishing.) My advice, unless you have expensive committments (and you lot looked like The Committments in that blog post caving in Ireland) is take your time and look for what would make you fulfilled, If you ask me you could be sitting on a publishing goldmine with all these blog posts. There’s a series of bestselling books here I reckon.
    Chris

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Chris, I’m going to think long and hard about your last paragraph. My wife and I did a bit of self publishing during the late 80s and early 90s, and it was quite successful. It paid for itself and made a bit of money on the side. But it was too much to handle with work commitments so we let it wither on the vine. It was good fun and I regret letting it slip.
      And as for looking like The Commitments – hmmm. So long as I’m not the bloke with the droopy moustache.
      Cheers, Alen
      PS: I’ve just discovered, courtesy of the automatic spell-check, that Americans spell moustache without the “o”. They say you should learn something new every day.

      Like

  9. Ash says:

    Another brilliant post! I was made redundant in 1996 after 30 years in a career I thought (when I started) would last until retirement! I had one job for 30 years & then 6 jobs in the last 18 years! I still have dreams (nightmares) about my redundancy but find walking the only cure for my depression. Walking & being out on the land is the ONLY cure! By the way, Askam School, who was Askam? Surely it wasn’t Roger?

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Ash. I wasn’t going to mention this, but seeing that you’ve raised the subject of depression I will. One of the many downsides of redundancy is depression. I’ve had redundancy hanging over me like an axe since the first wave struck my company in 2009. Two years ago I had two months on the sick with anxiety, depression and work-related stress. Last week my doctor diagnosed me again with acute anxiety – technically I finish work next week, but I’m not going back, I’m slipping away under the radar. Walking really does help. That sense of freedom and connection with the land and the open sky is the perfect cure. I intend to do much, much more. Thanks for that.
      Askam-in-Furness is seven miles north of Barrow-in-Furness, at the southern tip of Cumbria. I’d never heard of Roger, but Googling his name I see there are schools named after him.
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  10. qdant says:

    Hi Alen I’ll stick another comment on to post this link about huts on the moors
    http://teddytourteas.blogspot.co.uk/2011/05/teddy-tours-acoras-scar.html
    I tidied up and left a note saying thank you for not locking it, and that I’d bodged/repaired the back corner boards with some old nails I’d found and straightened with a rock for a hammer

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Danny. That’s a great read and with great pictures. Pity about the poor pedlar. Not to mention the moles. I’ve left a comment.
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  11. qdant says:

    I only heard of the Pedlar from the bloke doing the flint arrow head searching, on finding the skeleton he informed the police who excavated to find the leather satchel containing needles, pins, etc, and his boots, still well preserved which gave a clue to his identity, but I can’t find anything else ? though searching I came across this :-
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/35933/35933-h/35933-h.htm
    and now that you’re a Gentleman of Leasure ! with plenty of time !
    cheers Danny

    Like

    • McEff says:

      That looks interesting. I shall take a look at that, Danny. Mind you, I might just have to take up peddling myself. Is there a market for needles and pins these days?
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  12. Chris G says:

    Your Mr Ramsey reminds me of a teacher I had in my second year in senior high school (although it was 10 years later than your experiences) In a similar way Mr Maw had a reputation but once you got to know him he had a dry sardonic sense of humour. He would sit in front of us and say “I dont know why I am bothering to teach you lot anything. By the time you are all my age machines will be doing everything for you.You will be able to attach an aerial to your head and talk to someone on the other side of the world”. We would all think “silly old sod” but in some respects he got things right.

    I always remember him handing out copies of the play The Long,the Short and the Tall and encouraging some the class (all lads from Yorkshire) to try to do the parts of the Welsh and cockney soldiers with the authentic accents.until he was satisfied with the pronunciation.

    Good luck for the future Alen, I hope everything works out for you.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Chris. Your Mr Maw sounds the absolute double of Mr Ramsey, right down to the dry sardonic sense of humour. Teachers like that left lasting impressions on us and changed our lives. The world is a much better place for them having passed tthrough it.
      Thanks for your comment, Alen

      Like

  13. David says:

    I recon all schools had a Mr Ramsey, our was Mr Bell.

    I suspect a lot of the clones that pass for higher management nowadays don’t even care about the impact they have on peoples lives. No doubt they will wake up one day and realise they have wasted their whole lives on work and it serves them right.

    Your redundancy will probably be the route to a better life, even if you have to be careful with money. I simply walked out of my last job as a teacher after getting attacked for the second time in a year. It is amazing how much easier it is once the strings of the old job have been cut. You can move forward once that happens.

    If you are up in that that part of the Dale again the trig point on Great Stony Hill is a nice viewpoint.
    Good luck for the future.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi David. You’re absolutely right about the management types. I’m officially out of it today and feeling better already. I have been ahowered with positive advice and I mean to act on it.
      I was back up Teesdale a couple of days ago for another great walk. I didn’t realise there is so much of interest and antiquity to see. Great Stony Hill sounds like it should be climbed for the name alone. I see I passed within a short distance of the summit. I really should have made the effort and visited the trig point.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  14. Greg. says:

    Hi Alen according to the Tory press you will be much better off on the dole. No, hang on a minute, you have to be an immigrant. Damn.
    When I was poorly I had no enthusiasm for anything, including walking, so if it helps get out there.
    It took me a while to feel better, but when I see school kids now I wonder how I stuck it for 21 yrs.
    When you publish your book I’ll definitely buy one, I’ve said for ages that your writing is much better than the rubbish in the outdoor mags.
    Although from Tebay I went to Kendal Grammar school and my inspirational teacher had the old fashioned nick name of Whacker Whilkes. I think he had been named years before as he had come back out of retirement and was a throwback to a bygone era. If you got him going he would spend a full lesson telling stories and puff away on his pipe. I still know how to put a metal rim on a wooden cart wheel thanks to Whacker.
    Good luck, I don’t always comment but I read them all with great pleasure and admiration.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Greg. Good to hear from you. Thanks for cheering me up – as always.
      Whacker Whilkes sounds like a proper teacher. He sounds very much like Mr Ramsey, the type of person who could talk for hours and fill your head with all sorts of snippets of information that you could never learn from anywhere else. Great blokes. We had another called Totty Lindow, a maths teacher with a wooden leg. Very strict on the outside, but when you got him talking the hours just passed like minutes. Those were the days.
      When I need a rim putting on a cart wheel I’ll drop you a line.
      Cheers, Alen

      Like

  15. Jo Woolf says:

    Hi Alen, By the sound of your replies to the above comments I imagine you have already been ‘released’, in which case I wish you hope and exciting new beginnings! I can only agree with the suggestion of looking at the wealth of information and stories here on your blog, with a view to publishing. Or approach other newspapers with ideas for regular columns, walking features etc. I’m sure you’ll have thought of that already. Do not jump down a metaphorical mine shaft! Stay positive and believe in your talents. On your post (excellent as always), I had a similar head teacher in primary school and he would spend Friday afternoons pontificating (just had to look that word up in case only Popes could do it). The only difference is that I never paid him any attention so I have no memories of what he said. Secondly, I knew for sure that you were quoting an information board, or had swallowed a bird book, before you admitted to it.
    This is the time to ask yourself what you REALLY want to do, and go for it! All the very best, Jo.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hiya Jo. Yes, I was released on Tuesday but recaptured by JobCentre Plus yesterday. I’ve been jumping through digital hoops ever since. The things you have to do these days to prove you’re looking for work. It’s a full-time job in itself. I hope they don’t stumble on this blog because they’ll assume I’m not spending 24 hours a day looking for work and perfecting my CV.
      Ah yes, the information board. A man who has scarcely mentioned wildlife since 2009 suddenly reels off an entire eco-system. It was a bit of a give-away, I suppose. I’m glad that I owned up to it!
      I shall take your advice and remain positive. I have had gloomy moments but they soon pass. There is always plenty to keep me occupied. For instance, I’m on child-minding duties for the rest of the afternoon. That will wear me out.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  16. Stevo says:

    Howdy Alen,

    Stumbled upon your site while googling Bloworth Crossing, and I’ve been reading for the past hour or so. It’s 3am and I want to go to sleep, so I think that must be an endorsement of sorts.

    Looking forward to reading more stories and (as it happens) unfettering my aching joints and limbs in the Durham hills soon. You may see a portly middle-aged man, howling into the void (usually about 1) the failure of capitalism; 2) my ankle; or 3) why don’t Nescafe make those magic cans of instant hot coffee any more. More usually about the first 2, to be honest. Three things just sounds better.

    Sorry about the job. Hope something turns up.

    All the best.

    Steve

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Steve. Thanks very much for your great comment. You’ve made a bright Sunday morning even brighter.
      I missed out on the Nescafe cans of instant hot coffee. That one must have passed me by like a low-flying grouse.
      Middle-aged men are the future, if you ask me. We can grumble like hell but we’re not bitter with it, and we’re not affraid to have a good laugh at ourselves.
      All the best, Alen

      Like

  17. Hi Alen,
    Just a thought, there could be some sort of a monster or a never been discovered organism living in that bottomless-like shafts. 🙂 I wonder how they’d built that shaft. There must be lives that were sacrificed while building those dangerous shafts.
    God Bless on your new adventure. Hope all goes well for you.

    Like

    • McEff says:

      Hi Loty. I don’t know about monsters but I have certainly seen strange forms of fungi in those deep places, from little mushroom-like organisms to brilliant white mold that covers rock walls and ceilings. It can be a strange environment in those old lead mines.
      Many miners lost their lives in those places. As well and the obvious dangers of rock falls and explosions, lead poisoning and lung infections were also fatal conditions. The average life expectancy of a miner during the 19th Century was 45 years.
      Thanks for your good wishes, Alen

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s