I live in a camper van with a West Highland Terrier for company.
My passion is creating images but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN

Tuesday 1 November 2011

TESTING FOR GAS (01/11/11)


image      We moved onto the Derbyshire/ Nottinghamshire border yesterday. We are just outside Silverhill nature reserve which until 1992 was the site of Silverhill Colliery. I was very lucky this morning. It rained half the night and was still spitting when I set off to scale the highest hill in Nottinghamshire……..not a massive undertaking as it’s only two hundred and a few metres high.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA       This sculpture by Antony Dufort is a tribute to the miners of Nottinghamshire. It was unveiled in 2005 and titled ‘Testing For Gas’. I have fallen for it. It’s cast in bronze and is about twice life size. He faces east and the lights are those of Sutton in Ashfield.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         This is not the best of images but will enlarge with a click.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      Very noisy but not much choice I’m afraid.



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere was an alternative……….flash at about quarter power………I’m not sure it’s improved things.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’ll stick with silhouettes. It was a bit chilly this morning.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I was lucky today as the mist rolled in five minutes after this shot. It’s raining again as I write this.

I get a bit upset visiting this area as during the miners strike it was like a war zone. The local miners have usually been very moderate unlike their neighbours in Yorkshire and Derbyshire who were anything but. This led to pitched battles during the 1984-1985 Miners Strike.

Silverhill picket - Dave Douglass

During a mass picket at Silverhill in Nottingham the colliery and the blacklegs were violently attacked, by the time the police arrived the pickets were already leaving, they thought we were going home, which we feigned. In truth was this was an evening hit squad raid and Harworth was the target. The blacklegs were already in their duds ready to descend on the evening shift, the pit was lightly guarded by a handful of police when the surprise invasion by hundreds of pickets swept into the village and attacked the colliery, forcing the blacklegs and police to scatter. The pit canteen and car park bore full measure of the pickets anger and a number of cars sat upside down while the local police station had been blitzed.

Of course such actions were not ‘organised’ certainly they had no official sanction from Barnsley the Yorkshire Area strike HQ. The picket co-ordinators had no idea of the previous evenings raid as they issued instructions for the morning picket target..Harworth Colliery !

By this time an army of very pissed off police was already all over the village, and the blacklegs were in foul mood too, our nerve was less than steely as we approached the village. I myself resolved to stay away from the picket line, having just got out of nick from a previous picket. It was to lead to a most embarrassing incident, with me digging a scab’s garden !

I was sitting on a garden wall, watching the day go by and had quite forgot what I was doing here, when I noticed the scab bus coming into the village. I immediately picked up a brick to persuade the pickets not to go to work and had ran toward the bus shouting persuasive words, something along the lines of "scabby bastards" as I recall. The occupants of the bus noticed me at the same time as I discovered, no it wasn't the scab bus. It was a bus full of Metropolitan Police just arrived from London and now they were pouring off the bus and pelting down the street, riot shields and clubs in hands after me. I ran and ran and unlike normally happens these buggers didn't give up and continued chasing me. I shot down a side street and there was a bloke up a ladder painting his house. I shot down the side of his house and round the back into the garden. I could still hear the police shouting "he’s gone down there, down that house" they were coming. Quick as a flash I had pulled my shirt off, picked up the garden fork and made as if I was digging the garden down by the rhubarb. Then the rhubarb rustled and a pair of feet and legs became visible, "piss off stupid get" it was another picket ! By this time they had arrived panting their clubs in hand visors down. I walked toward them, still pretending to be the house owner, trouble was I didn't really know what a Nottingham accent was like. "All-rieght" I droned in a voice I thought reminiscent of Ray Chadburn (the NUM Nottingham leader). Just then the bloke started down his ladder as the cops eyed me and the garden suspiciously. I walked up to the bloke and whispered, "I’m all right aren't I ?" "That just depends how you look at it he replied" "only I’m on afters at that pit in a minute" he was a scab ! Looking between the cops and scabs, I decided discretion was the better part of valour. "Look do you want your bliddy garden digging or don't you ?" I said.

I include this as it describes one of the lighter moments. The rest of the article is HERE. It is all over now or almost all over. It’s to be hoped we never need the coal which still lies beneath us.



  1. Lovely image of the statue looking into the sunrise Adrian.

  2. I like the statue in silhouette, and that story is pretty funny.

  3. Beaytiful pictures of the statue, and very good about the last story, lol.

  4. Keith, it was hard work getting it.
    Bloody scabs! to my eternal regret I was one. I believed in Thatcher. Too young to realize she was a fascist, souless, witch. It was the nearest I've seen to civil war.

    JoLynne, the story is funny,despite the bad writing and lack of editing. I love it. The reality was awful. Miners wives with children were picketing and being charged by police in riot gear on horseback.............Brave lads are the Met Police.
    The Nottinghamshire miners got what they deserved Michael Heseltine kicked them out of work five years later..........The Thatcher legacy will go down as an inglorious moment in our history. She keeps most of her ill gotten gains in the Bahamas, her son, a thick crook, lives where he pleases.

    Bob, I can go on about the mid eighties for ever. I don't hate or try not to but can understand the occupation of St Paul's. The riots. Fat Cats getting fatter. While the plebs take hit after hit.

  5. The statue is quite impressive and I think this is a splendid memorial and your photo do it justice!
    Like the story as well!
    Wishing you a "non rainy Wednesday"! :)

  6. Love the silhouettes of the minor mate, great photography!!

  7. A lovely post to read Adrian.. lovely images.
    As a heads up we have had beautiful weather in Manchester today.
    You should have turned left.

  8. Dee Bee, it will be a fine and sunny day.....yesterday turned out hot and sunny in the end.

    Kevin, thanks he is well worth a look and the paths are perfect.

    Andrew it eventually was very good here.

  9. Terrible, terrible times Adrian. I could write a comment here as long as your post but it will have to wait. I can't waste all morning enjoying myself in Blogland. I have a house to prepare for my evacuation to sunnier climes. I have, however, taken the liberty of 'borrowing' your last picture for a post this morning. I hope you will excuse the liberty.

  10. I like the silhouettes and the noisy one best. The noisy one has an atmosphere that gets lost with the flash but I can see why you have fallen for it.

  11. Graham, it will happen again.
    The new Tory party are so inexperienced. Like the last lot that caused the desecration and civil turmoil in this area. Thatcher wasn't bad, just pig ignorant. Dennis was consort to her devilish decisions. Dennis wasn't elected, neither was dithery Dave come to think. Politics shouldn't be the soft number for the unemployable.....the church fulfils that function. It's for folk that have succeeded and know how to succeed. Unfortunately it seems to have gone all tits up. Cameron not only can't speak............he can't speak the same rubbish twice. Nice little earner if one is a crook.
    No worries over the snap. you are more than welcome.

    John, I usually like art on a more surreal level. This piece is beautifully executed and blew me away.

  12. I like the silhouette photo but glad you showed the other ones as well. I like sculptures that 'tell a story'.

  13. Monica, I really only went out for the silhouette. I was waiting for light when I saw the cloud heading my way.

  14. It's the silhouette for me, it makes a dramatic picture. I have a thing about flash from about 3 or 4 cameras ago when the exposure was invariably a lucky dip. I know things have moved on a bit with technology but "elephants never forget" ... which brings me back to your text ....

  15. Jay, flash still is a suck it and see job for me. I try and bounce it and always use a diffuser, except today. this was the on camera flash at 1/4 power and is too harsh.