Trawling through the Archive this afternoon, looking for a picture of an Ulster linen-weaving machine with a teapot balanced on it, I came across this. It will particularly appeal, I hope, to those who have ever ascended Wardley Hill in Rutland before it was obliterated by a three-lane blacktop that carved a new and utterly boring route up to Uppingham through the limestone escarpment. The road sign indicates the turn into a little lane that led into Wardley village itself. Why I was lurking in a ditch on a late summer afternoon has escaped me, but I think it was something to do with trying out a new telephoto lens on my Pentax. Always a slow gear-grinding haul for lorries, every year they would get stuck in the heavy falls of snow we once had, drivers having to sleep in their cabs with just a tartan-patterned Thermos for company. "Wardley Hill is still blocked", Radio Leicester told us, and we thought of all those Leyland Comets, Guy Warriors, Seddons and Albions disappearing under blankets of piled-up snow. In this photograph it's a much kinder day in 1978 as a Foden tanker (fleet number 147 for truck pedants) transports Heygates Flour eastwards. Or it might have been empty, we shall probably never know. All I do know is that I went "Yes!" when someone lit that bonfire at the bottom of the hill.
Great Marlborough Street, London
4 days ago