Yesterday -- and I will confess rather unusually for me -- I managed to resist temptation. Very lost and tramping disconsolately through Hull city centre in the pouring rain, I came across a line of black taxis waiting in the square on this dripping bank holiday Monday. With ten miles or more still to walk, I thought about it for a moment...but then decided -- in the interests of actually completing the journey entirely on foot as I originally intended -- to carry on. This was fortunate because it stopped raining half an hour later, and Hull -- which once must have been a splendid Victorian city -- has many fine old buildings and monuments to admire.
One statue I passed commemorates the three crew members of "the ill fated trawler Crane who lost their lives in the North Sea by the action of the Russian Baltic fleet, October 22nd 1904". Apparently the Russian fleet, lumbering half way around the world to the Far East, mistook the English trawlers for Japanese warships, and opened fire. The great fear of mariners in those days was of the newly invented torpedo, and the Russians bombarded the Yorkshire fishing boats in panic, killing three men. The so-called "Dogger Incident" nearly led to war between Britain, which at the time was allied to Japan, and Russia. The Russian fleet sailed blithely on, only to be completely destroyed the following year by the Japanese Imperial navy at Tsushima Strait.
Another impression of Hull: after limping over the Humber Bridge two days ago, I made my way to my chosen B&B and then decided to visit Hull Royal Infirmary for further repairs to my right foot. At the Accident and Emergency reception, a tall security guard kept a watchful eye on everything. His role soon became evident, for within a few minutes a youth stumbled in, delivered a volley of foul abuse at the hospital staff on duty, and was thrown bodily out while the rest of us -- mostly drunk and disorderly -- snoozed on the benches or stared innocently at the floor. After a while I was ushered in to meet genial Dr Hossain from Hyderabad, who decried the falling standards in his city and then prescribed medication for the offending digit.
B&Bs vary greatly. The one I am staying in today is clean and comfortable, but the instructions in the bathroom are odd: "In the interest of yours and other guests enjoyable stay here. Please don't not put anything, other than toilet roll down this toilet".