It's looking a bit black over Bill's mother's
Why the ridiculous name?
Long ago, after climbing up to the top of Totley Moor, or Rud Hill or Stanage, a small group of walkers stopped and caught their breath, and took in the sights and sounds, and being Sheffielders, didn’t want to get too over the top and eloquent about the experience.
It was a cold and blustery day, maybe even in winter. “Hmm,” said one, raising their flat cap briefly and nodding at the approaching storm clouds.
“It’s looking a bit black over Bill’s mother’s.” The others muttered their agreement, and one of the younger members of the group marked down the phrase to remember and joke about later.
It’s as good an origin story as any about the title used for this home for some of my stories and news about getting out in The Outdoor City.
Some say the phrase ‘It’s looking a bit black over Bill’s mother’s' started in the midlands, or even Sussex, where my dad said ‘Bill’ had become ‘Will’ in translation to the softer southern climate. But it’s still heard here in Sheffield, where the people of Arbourthorne say they can tell the weather in half an hour by looking out their kitchen window.
I’ve been writing about the countryside around Sheffield for over 30 years, and more recently about how walking or cycling or running are the best ways to see it. The Sheffield Telegraph and now the Sheffield Tribune have been gracious enough to keep publishing some of my stuff, along with a few other local and national papers and magazines now and then.
But times are hard for local newspapers, not least thanks to social media billionaires who appear to care little about honesty and accuracy. So, inspired by the adventure of the Sheffield Tribune, I’m going to try writing here too, and hope you will subscribe.
All being well, I’ll keep writing for other local media outlets like the Sheffield Tribune and Sheffield Telegraph, but I’ll put some longer pieces and a few news updates here, and maybe after reading for a while, some of you will take out a full subscription and give me a few quid so I can make ends meet.
I’m really determined to keep trying to keep Sheffielders posted about what’s out there on the hills and moors and riversides, so please do spread the word.
Thanks for reading. Now get your coat on and get out there.