November week two

Click the pics to bigify ’em.

Click links to show ‘What Three Words’ locations. Don’t forget to click on the circle bottom right of the resulting map to show satellite view.

Feel free to ignore my scrawlings; I think the pics are worth a glance or two though.

A friend emailed me memories of her childhood in and around Derbyshire Lane and it’s got me thinking about my own younger years.

I was born in 1944 at home in my parents’ house at 38 Lismore Road in Sheffield. The house belonged to my father’s employers ‘B and J Sippel’; cutlery manufacturers. Don’t know what he did there – something managerial though. Back then the usual working week included Saturday morning when very occasionally I went to work with my dad while he worked at a tall standing desk.

The Sippels – Benno and Julius – came from Germany in 1931 to assist English manufacturers mechanize plated spoon and fork production by installing heavy-duty presses.  They had a flatware firm in London in partnership with the Celnik family, but when that broke up amicably in 1933 they opened their own works in Arundel Street in Sheffield.  By 1939, the Sippels had relocated to Cadman Street, where Sipelia Works was said to have the largest press plant for forks and spoons in the country.  It was claimed that the workforce had grown from about 75 in 1933 to 400 by 1939 (Sheffield Telegraph & Independent Trade Supplement, 28 December 1939).  The firm used the mark ‘SIPELIA’, with ‘DURA-CROMA’ on chromium plate and cutlery.  The Sippels became naturalised in 1946. From here 

Sippels’ factory in 1947

The gasholder in the background exploded in 1973 – I walked past it the day before.

Does anyone else remember grey flannel short trousers? No jeans or other long trou for us kids in the post war years. I don’t think jeans had been ‘invented’ then. From nappies until secondary school, it was shorts! There were also itchy grey socks that reached up to the knee held up with bands of elastic construction – knicker elastic?
Every school day I’d walk up our road and Carfield Avenue, round the corner, down Upper Albert Road, along Argyle Road and up Argyle Close to Carfield School. Firstly to the infants (Miss Rubery?) and later to the juniors where Miss Lidyard ruled our class with a rod of iron.

route to school

There was only one family on our road with a car – a Rover 90 or it might have been a Sunbeam Talbot 90 – the Ackroyds; although the Lepecks (sp?) had a motorbike and sidecar.

pic from Google maps

The school was divided in three distinct sections which didn’t interact at all: infants for ages five, six and seven; juniors from seven to eleven; and the seniors from eleven onwards. Those who passed the ‘Eleven Plus’ exam went from juniors to grammar school and never saw inside the seniors.

On with the pics:

Monday the Ninth

Pond, canal, Stubbing Lane, and on up to the pharmacy on prescription collecting duties.

Signs of autumn: tatty raspberries, loads o’haws, more lichen and raindrops clinging to a twig

Bramble bushes turning from green to red around the canal overflow., a gnarly tree’s branches reaching for the sky and a marigold – quite a large one.

Definitely the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
I don’t think that any of these pictures need more explanation, do they?

Thursday the twelfth

Walking round the pond, there was movement: this molehill was vibrating and growing before my eyes. While I was trying to switch to ‘video’ mode the movement ceased, the subterranean beast probably heard or felt my clodhopping footsteps.

There’s one particular hawthorn stump that is plagued with fungi. Most often it’s what I believe to be honey fungus but at the moment it’s ‘candlesnuff’.

According to the Woodland Trust: ‘This fungus has medicinal properties; it is both anti-viral and active against tumours. Although it is not poisonous, it is too small and tough to eat.


A lichen is not a single organism; it is a stable symbiotic association between a fungus and algae and/or cyanobacteria. Like all fungi, lichen fungi require carbon as a food source; this is provided by their symbiotic algae and/or cyanobacteria, that are photosynthetic. The lichen symbiosis is thought to be a mutualism, since both the fungi and the photosynthetic partners, called photobionts, benefit.
Which fungi form lichens?
Many unrelated and very different fungi form lichens, including mushroom-forming fungi, and especially cup-fungi. 98% of lichen fungi are cup-fungi, or ascomycetes. Fully half of all ascomycetes and one in five of all known fungi form lichens. Lichenisation is an ecological strategy, or a common nutritional mode among unrelated fungi.
What are lichen photobionts?
Lichen photobionts are the green algae or cyanobacteria that provide the simple sugars to their fungal partners. 90% of all lichens associate with a green-algal photobiont. About 100 species of photobionts are known, and the commonest ones are from four main groups. Lichen fungi specialise on particular photobionts. Typically they only associate with a small group of related species, though they may associate flexibly with different photobionts according to their environmental situation.
From here (who knew there was a British Lichen Society?)

Notice that on the last image above there are pinkish areas of lichen. I wonder if this could be connected with lichen’s use as an indicator (acid – alkali). Litmus is derived from lichen and some bird and mammal urine is surely not neutral.

On the wall near Highground Bridge is a plaque that isn’t going to be repeated any time soon.

Have I mentioned how much I despise Brexit and its enablers?

In the narrow wood between the canal and the A57 Worksop Bypass there are many decaying trees – some sporting mossy covers.

Back at the pond there are a few, very few, convolvulus flowers still blooming.

Although the blossoms of the Field Convolvulus (C. arvensis) are some of the prettiest and daintiest of our native wild-flowers, the plant which bears them ranks among the most troublesome of weeds to the farmer not only creeping up his hedges, but strangling his corn and spreading over everything within its reach.
Its roots run very deeply into the ground and extend over a large area. It is, therefore, extremely difficult to extirpate, for the long roots are brittle and readily snap, and any portion left in the ground will soon grow as vigorously as ever and send up shoots to the surface, so that in a very brief time it is again spreading over the ground and climbing over everything in its way.
Its delicate creeping stems grow with great rapidity, either when found on banks trailing along the ground amidst the grass or climbing wherever they find a support. Their ends swing slowly and continuously in circles and twine round anything with which they may happen to come in contact. It has been found that a Bindweed stem in favourable circumstances will make a complete revolution in about 1 3/4 hours, which explains the rapidity of its growth.
The generic name of the plant is derived from the Latin convolvo (to intertwine), and is descriptive of its general growth, for it does not, like many climbers, support itself by tendrils, but the whole plant twists itself tightly round the object that supports it – ordinarily a stalk of corn, or some other plant or object of similar size: it is never found twining round anything of bulky dimensions, such as gate-posts, etc. Its English name, Bindweed, is similarly given it for its habit of twining round and matting together all other plants near it. The Latin specific name, arvensis, is derived from arvum (a cornfield), because this species of Convolvulus, though commonly enough met with in waste places, is one of the characteristic flowers of the cornfield.
From here

Friday the Thirteenth

An upstairs neighbour has a cat. It spends much of its time checking up on passers by.

I’ve seen mallards with similar swellings before but this is the first that I’ve managed to photograph (badly).
I’m told (Twitter) that it’s caused by ingesting lead.

There are a few, very few, bramble flowers still brightening sheltered corners. Don’t reckon there’s much chance of insect pollination so late in the year though.

Floating detritus in the canal – accidental still life.

A couple of carrion crows gleaning in the aftermath*.

*aftermath: new grass growing after mowing or harvest. OED

I’m still lichen hunting: a far from arduous occupation, although I do get some strange looks from passers by as I focus my lens into a hawthorn hedge.

A less than usual view of an autumnal oak tree

Just to finish the day, a couple of not nice pics of man’s hostility to nature:

Saturday the Fourteenth

More lichens

Another fave of mine: jew’s ear fungus.

Back for week three in a while!

Published by Roger

4 thoughts on “November week two

  1. An interesting and fascinating blog. Thank you for the historical memoir. I was working as radiographer in the A and E department of the Royal Infirmary when the gasometer exploded in 1973. They bought a few of the survivors into the hospital. I x-rayed a couple of them. The explosion must have been absolutely horrendous. Your old headmaster at Carfield, Mr Chandler, could access his garden via a stile just down the little lane at the side of my father’s shop.
    I love the lichens and fungi. Our back garden is plagued by convolvulus – it is impossible to eradicate. Don’t get me started on fly tipping!
    Have you noticed that the berries – hawthorn, rowan, cotoneaster, pyracanthus are all particularly prolific this year?


    1. As I said I walked along Effingham Street the day before – can’t remember why – the only time I can recall walking along there.
      Mr Chandler was a ‘working’ headmaster: each teacher – including him – had a class that they stayed with through their school life. Other teachers: Miss Hubbard, Mr Flower and Mr Collingwood. (all names subject to dodgy memory)
      There’s gonna be more lichens and such ’cause leaves drop, flowers and insects die off and birds hide away.
      Yes, the winter berries are abundant although I wouldn’t know a pyracanthus if one were to fall on me and the rowans have all been blackbirded.
      Fly tipping!.


  2. Like lichen.
    You’d think I would have unpacked and sorted my books by now. No.
    I wanted to see who published the lichen book but I can’t find it.
    The leaf still life floating on the pond is delightful.


    1. With a lot of books it gets harder and harder to unpack without being sidetracked into (re)reading and getting nothing done. Who knew there was a British Lichen Society? Seems a bit niche, no?
      I take a whole lot of useless pics to get one like the ‘still life’. Merely round the pond and down to town – about a mile – I’ll usually take about 150 pics.



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