2024 has started and there are lots of good films to watch! Here’s a bunch we’ve seen at the cinema this year…
A nice round trip from the middle of Malton down to Westow and back. The first good stretch follows the course of the river Derwent Southwards. We’ve had some miserably wet weather and then some very cold weather afterwards. It’s a good thing we did - if the lakes of mud weren’t frozen this might have been really difficult.
Eventually we part from the river and cross a couple of fields to go past St Mary’s, which is a fascinating little church in the absolute middle of nowhere. It’s sadly kept locked, but we had a look at the graveyard, which had stones dating back to the 18th century.
We stopped for a pint in the Blacksmith’s Arms in Westow (Ossett Blonde). It looks a nice pub, but was more restaurant focussed than we were going for.
The walk back was fairly straightforward - we climbed up the hill and just took a fairly straight line back to Malton. It crosses a farm or two, some fields of (very excitable!) horses and through the middle of a golf course.
Not sure! We stayed in Malton so didn’t need to park
It’s a good long way, with a lot of it along a muddy riverbank.
A large part of this walk is very nice. But an equally large part is not. We start on the canal and potter North along it for a good way. It’s nice. When we leave the canal though, it starts to get less lovely. I’ve nothing against Altofts, but the little alleyways we squeeze down are a bit grimy.
When we finally get out of the town and into the fields, things don’t improve. There are tall metal fences hemming the path in on both sides. It skirts some quarry works, ducks under a pylon and spits us out onto a road that is covered in rubbish. There are no buildings for a good distance in any direction, but half the world has emptied their bins here. It’s grim.
The path next to the railway line is flooded so we take a longer route, into Normantofts. Apparently Queen Victoria stayed here once on a trip to the North. But its mining heyday is long in the past.
We loop back into some woods - where we once met a silent man carrying an axe - and carry on to the edges of the nature reserve. From here, things look up. There are some pretty trees, a high bridge over the river and then we rejoin the canal.
Public car park by the Stanley Ferry pub.
Easy. Mostly flat.
A (mostly) bright and sunny day. A nice loop around Newmillerdam, taking in the lake, some woods, crossing the old railway line and wandering through the abandoned buildings in Seckar woods. Nice walk.
Public car park by Newmillerdamn. It’s not huge and does get very busy.
Easy. Mostly flat, mostly not too muddy - even after weeks of rain.
For everything else that 2023 may have been, or not been, there’s been a lot of excellent music. Here we are at the end of the year. Grab your headphones, hide from the world outside. Here are my favourite records of the year.
Shit and Shine - 2222 and Airport
S&S produces a lot of music, and a lot of it has never really connected with me. But this one does. By turns full of good beats, funny stories and weird noises. Excellent stuff.
Squid - O Monolith
I don’t love this quite as much as their first, but its still great. Spiky, post-punk loveliness.
Memorials - Women Against the Bomb
I was surprised by how much this stuck in my head. It’s the soundtrack to a film about the Greenham Common protests and isn’t subtle at all, but I keep finding myself singing little bits of it.
Lankum - False Lankum
This is my kind of folk music. Macabre, dark stories, told over shuddering bass and weird noises. Fabulous.
Hey Colossus - In Blood
Short and sweet, walls of fuzzy guitar noise.
Meatraffle - Superstructure
Cracking post-punk tunes with some wickedly funny lines. As you’d expect from a band called Meatraffle.
The Loving Paupers - Ladders
Gorgeous NY reggae. Their first album is equally good. Get to know.
The Mountain Goats - Jenny From Thebes
It’s the Mountain Goats. It’s a polished one, with horns and all. I love it.
Overmono - Good Lies
This is an absolute gem. Sits alongside Bicep’s Atlas in my mind, and that’s high praise.
Warrington-Runcorn New Town Development Plan - The Nation’s Most Central Location
Understated electronica. This one pulses and bubbles and fizzes. For fans of Pye Corner Audio, Demdike Stare and the like. I love this sort of thing.
Mungo’s Hi-FI - Past and Present
Mungo’s are a reliable source of bangers, but this one is wall to wall greatness. Absolute stomping tunes.
Reverend Kristine - SAVED
OK, this won’t be for everyone. It’s deeply weird and not an easy listen but its fascinating and very memorable. I love it. Very hard to describe. Give ‘All of my friends are going to hell’ a listen.
Belbury Poly - The Path
Sleeper hit for me. It’s very understated. All gentles tunes with a little folksy storytelling. Worth giving some time to. I love all this hauntology business.
Jellyskin - In Brine
Leeds Leeds Leeds. Bringer of Brine was my most listened track of the year, and ‘I was the first Tetrapod’ can’t have been far behind. Stomping techno-tinged wonky pop tunes.
James Ellis Ford - The Hum
I know nothing about this. Don’t know anything about the artist. Can’t remember how I found it. But it’s great.
Goat - Medicine
Everything these folk make is excellent and this one goes hard. Psych-folk? Alt-fusion? Chant-rock? The internet has no idea how to classify them. It doesn’t matter. This is ace.
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