‘Just Hanging Around’ A Gateway Having Read All the Signs, 22nd June 2016

Hanging Around on Tankerville Terrace again.

‘She doesn’t make a sound/She’s just hanging around/ She’s just hanging around …’  So ends the first verse of one of my favourite Stranglers’ songs: ‘Hanging Around’ a track from Rattus Norvegicus, their debut studio album released on 15th April 1977.  Despite being only 14 at the time, I remember it pounding out at our school disco, oblivious back then to the fact this would become one of the highest-selling albums of the punk era in Britain.  Punk had attitude! Tons of it!  And some of it must clearly have rubbed off on me.  Because here I was on Thursday June 22nd, despite all the signs, STILL hanging around.

Ironic notice: “Are you speaking to me, sign?”

But if I hadn’t been just hanging around with my camera that day, I would never have noticed a little white laminated sign tied onto a wonky street post, virtually under my nose, next to the second site access gates.  It was very interesting.  And it was new too.  Planning permission was now being sought to make this entrance permanent.

A Planning Notice is now beside the temporary second gate.

The aim had always been to have a second carpark access for NHSG to allow the school minibuses to pick up and drop off pupils inside.  Everyone knew this wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion.  However, it was interesting to see that things were really moving forward now.  And, as if by magic, as I turned to my left, the gates were opening.

‘Open Sesame!’: Peter Wilson has appeared.

It’s been so long since Peter featured in the blog, you’d be forgiven if you’ve forgotten him.  No longer ‘My Gateman’, but still doing the job for Wates of course, Peter was just about to allow a trade lorry to leave the site that afternoon.  The smile on his face is genuine: he couldn’t believe the serendipity in the timings either.  What luck!  I was going to get a new photo opportunity for the blog after all.  Because, as the sign says, you mustn’t reverse without a banksman!

Despite the fact that Peter, like everyone else on site, was quite prepared to let me in, my word is my bond.  Also, I was really starting to enjoy the subversiveness of using my ingenuity to create stories.  Whilst the gates were open though, I asked Peter to take the camera to grab a shot of the traditional lime mortar repairs to the boundary stone wall.  You saw this work being done, thanks to Giuseppe, a while back, but here are Peter’s efforts from that lovely sunny day.

The old merging with the new: in the wall as in the buildings.

On afternoons such as this on Tankerville last summer, it seemed all I needed to do was point my camera at the abundant greenery all around me and I was gifted some really super shots for the archive.  Two of my favourites from Thursday June 22nd I’m inserting below.

‘The force that through the green fuse drives the flower/ Drives my green age;’ (Dylan Thomas: 1952, 1953).

As I noted last time, Mother Nature is a powerful force.  She can also be a little quirky too, of course.  Whilst natural greenery is always beautiful to see, sometimes it can get itself into very odd places.  I’m not sure the Northern Renaissance architectural features of our old building were being greatly improved by the little green flourishes!  Clearly there was work still to be done ‘up high’ on ‘The Old Girl’.

But what of Giuseppe?  And the stories his camera can tell us of the progress being made behind the doors of the buildings that week?

Open doorway: so near and yet so far away…

Unbeknown to me at the time, it seems that very day Giuseppe was (to quote ‘Hanging Around’ once again) ‘high above the ground.’  And not on the roof of the Main building this time, but atop the new one.

Hanging around up high: a splendid view of the new roofline.

To come full-circle with this post, as we can see from the final image, Giuseppe may have been up high ‘but his eyes [were] on the ground.’  And, just by chance,  while he was hanging around with some other guys up there, he took this shot of the builder’s yard on site (aka the Church High tennis courts) looking east towards the temporary gate where, as you already know, I had started off ‘just hanging around’ ….

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