Power in pictures

12 Dec

“Them smokestacks reaching like the arms of God, to fill a beautiful sky with soot and clay …” Bruce Springsteen, Youngstown.


Scruffily coal fired, German owned Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station is not visible in all these pictures. Just in most of them.

But from the moment my pal Bryan and I parked at Trent Lock – that watery crossroads where Trent is joined from the north by an Erewash Canal two miles after slinking by delipidated but characterful Long Eaton; from the south by Leicestershire’s pretty River Soar – to the first sip, at hike’s end, of a well earned pint in the Steamboat Inn, the slim phallus of its smokestack (lit at night for pilots descending to/ascending from East Midlands Airport) and elegant concaves of its eight cooling towers were never out of our sight. Not once. Their in-your-face placement, on a flatland topology where a javelin might sail through the airs of Notts County and Derbyshire before stabbing pit blackened horse pasture south of the Trent in Leicestershire, saw to that.


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Youngstown

4 Replies to “Power in pictures

  1. It’s strange, those steam billowing cooling towers cannot be anything other than a symbol of the environmental mess that we are in – and yet, on a cold damp day in the flat lands between two mature rivers, they provided vertical perspective and wind blown white clouds that complemented the fast flowing waters with their eddies and small whirl pools. I don’t think the day would have been the same without them!

    • Agreed Bryan. Though I wasn’t conscious of the fact as I took these and many more of the power station, they serve as visual metaphor for a tension long at the forefront of my thinking: between the ugliness of the world and beauty of life.

      Thanks for the walk. You were great company, as always.

    • Ha! I took several shots of that cat, Caroline. I think some of these stranded craft are the homes of humanoid, feline and canine alike. That motorbike in one shot is a clue, and if you look carefully at the picture above Felix, you’ll see planted spuds. I never saw a soul though as, leaving Bryan to check out a marine engineering works by the Soar – poignant moment, to happen in this day and age on blokes in oily overalls doing manly things with hefty tools and sparking cutting gear to put bread on the table – Jasper and I ambled through this field cum boat graveyard. Marie Celeste came to mind.

      Back to that pretty tabby though. It had been eying me for a while – more especially Jasper – from within the cabin before climbing out as depicted to defend its manor. I could have had better shots. For once I’d brought heavyweight kit but couldn’t be arsed to swing backpack from shoulder and go to the immense effort of fishing out Canon 7D with gorgeous 70:200 lens. Such a photogenic kitty! Such a show it put on! Laziness, in photography as in life, is the arch enemy of excellence.

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