>Let’s do the time warp

>You may have noticed that I have several nicknames for where I live, so I thought I’d start with a bit of a geography lesson. Make notes, I may quiz you once this has dropped off the front page. :o)

Geography lesson
My new home town is Barnsley, or The Land That Time Forgot. The town where I work, Rotherham, is The Land Not Far Behind. My village is Great Houghton, or The Back of Beyond (sometimes also called Brigadoon due to it having its own passage of time as well as its own weather front). The road where I live is The Road to Nowhere, because it’s a dead end. The actual dip where my house is, it being at the bottom of said dead end, is Baggins Bottom. And the place that I work (Swinden Labs) is known as Sleepy Hollow. Solihull, from whence I came 6 years ago, is Civilisation.

I’m really not being mean when I use these terms of endearment. People still wear shell suits, many are still one car families, full mains water only arrived in the village when the pits closed in the mid-1980s (many residents reminisce about the “soft, sweet water” – pronounced watter to rhyme with clatter – that came from an overhead tank at the “top of road t’ pit”), full mains electricity arrived as late as 1973, and the pace of life is so slow it’s horizontal. Traffic? They don’t know the meaning of the word. Oh yes, and we have horses – horses to pull carts, horses to ride, working horses.

Hey, perhaps one of these can be used as the basis for the new blog name. Tales from Baggins Bottom, maybe? Hmm, I like the Tales from part and am trying it out for size. (Was going to change it to Baggy Bottom but think Baggins has more of a hobbit-like feel to it.)

Mention-of-snow alert
The biggest gripe in both towns these past 2 weeks has been the lack of grit on snowy and icy roads, but The Land That Time Forgot has been ahead of The Land Not Far Behind, which was quite a surprise. I’d seen reports, but experienced it for myself last Friday when I ventured out of Baggins Bottom for the first time.

Only 2 or 3 cars have made it out of our dip, so naturally the snow is still quite deep there. It’s now either very wet or very hard, though, so cars aren’t getting stuck like they were. The roads in and around The Land That Time Forgot are clear, as well as in The Back of Beyond. I was surprised this morning when I headed out, though, that The Land Not Far Behind seems to have finally caught up. However …

Time warp
Here is a prime example of the kind of time warp in which I live – although it could also be something technical, I’m just making light of it. :o)

This morning, I passed a gritter. Yup, you read that correctly. I passed. A gritter. Only it wasn’t quite a proper gritter that has a little attachment thingy on the front for a plough or a whirly thing on the back that scatters the grit while driving at around 10mph. (What about my technical terminology, eh?) No, this was a flat bed truck with a drop down back flap and two men. With a shovel and a pair of feet each.

Pause a moment while that registers.

Forgive me, but aren’t we a First World country living in the 21st Century?

Rock salt
I’m probably being unfair, but it made me smile while I thought of it. I actually think this is the rock salt that’s been donated to several cities across the country, including Sheffield and Leeds, that has to be mixed with coarse sand. It may be of the wrong texture or something to be used in traditional gritters and I heard it can’t be used on major roads.

Nice to see something being done at last.

I did have a mini-skidlet on the side road leading to Sleepy Hollow, but it was a straight forward one and only for a few yards, as opposed to the 180 degree turn I made during my last and only previous skid in Civilisation more than 20 years ago. That one scared me so much I learned, very quickly, how to deal with a skid.

Saying that, I heard they had it quite bad back in Civilisation yesterday, with buses and cars unable to move along one of the major arterial routes due to lack of salt/grit.

Waifs and strays
It has often been my wont for attracting waifs, strays, loonies, and other lost causes. This morning it was another stray cat. I’ve seen this cat a few times since (Fats) Domino came to live with us, but it’s always been a bit timid. This morning, however, it came quite close and I was able to see a trail of blood down the side of its face. There’s quite a lot of blood coming from the ear, and I’m hoping it’s coming from a tear – as ear flaps do bleed profusely – rather than from inside the ear.

The cat was as timid as ever, but it did come to eat some meat Domino had left plus some cat biscuits I tipped into the empty dish (in the yard). What worried me more was the copious amount of water it drank. Cats are known for being able to find water and I don’t often see them so thirsty.

Fed and watered, it wandered off and I’m hoping it will be ok and maybe find its way back home. When I fetched the water bowl back in, blood had dripped into it, so this is a fresh wound. Hopefully the cold temperature will reduce the risk of infection.

I made it in to work in the end, even though I left later to allow the ice to melt a little, and when I got here it took 40 minutes for my computer to boot up. It seems we had a connection problem between here and the Netherlands, although yesterday people from work were coming in to the blog from Scunthorpe for a change. It took me about 35 minutes to get here. I should have called ahead and asked someone to switch on for me, it would have been almost ready by the time I got here then. ;o)

We could get on locally and email between us, but at around 11am UK time our connection came back. I typed this up in Word and copied and pasted it into the blog once we were back up.

Today’s jobs include more amendments for the confidential job in my own time, and website work in day job time.

So, the address for where I live is:

“Baggins Bottom”
The End of The Road to Nowhere
The Back of Beyond
The Land That Time Forgot

And the address for where I work is:

“Sleepy Hollow”
The Land Not Far Behind