Saturday, 24 March 2018

Bridge shadows

The Three Rise Bridge in Bingley, a pedestrian walkway over the busy Bingley bypass, is not the most exciting or beautiful bridge structure I've ever come across but it does cast quite interesting shadows on a sunny day.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Three Rise Locks

Bingley is rightly famous for its Five Rise Locks on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. A little nearer to the town centre, there are also these Three Rise Locks, just beside the Damart mill. Like the Five Rise, they opened in 1774 and were a major feat of engineering at the time. Both the Rises are 'staircase locks', which means the upper gate of each chamber forms the lower gate of the next chamber up.

The metal bridge rising up on the left of the photo is the Three Rise Bridge, a pedestrian walkway over the relatively recent Bingley bypass road (which, ironically, goes right through the centre of the town, as opposed to bypassing it!). The bridge replaces a much older thoroughfare that went under the railway line, through a dark tunnel, and was known for some reason as Treacle Cock Alley. I do think they ought to have named the bridge 'Treacle Cock Bridge' - much more fun.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

First crocus

After a week or two of bizarre weather, alternating between snow and bright, springlike sunshine, the spring bulbs might have been forgiven for shrivelling up and retreating underground again. These crocus (crocuses, croci?) in the centre of Bingley were putting on a brave show. 

The stone structure in the background is the old Butter Cross and market buildings. Bingley was awarded a market charter over 800 years ago, which gave townspeople the right to hold a market. They would have congregated around the Butter Cross, which indicated where the market was held. Fresh local produce - butter, eggs and milk - would have been laid out around the steps of the cross. The cross itself possibly dates back to the 13th century although the roof over it and the adjacent hall came later, in 1753. These ancient structures have been moved around the town as development occurred and new roads were built. They are now in the open area at the centre of town near to the Bingley Arts Centre, and a regular market is still held beside them to this day. See here for an interesting article about the history of the butter cross and market. 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

More playing

Just for fun, here is the same image I posted yesterday and I've added some texture, colour and a few 'birds'.

When I was confined to the house by the heavy snow for nearly a week, I kept boredom at bay by reading and by playing around with photo editing. I tried to motivate myself to do some 'spring cleaning' of the house. I managed to do one room!

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

More weather

My online photo group theme for February was, appropriately enough, 'weather' - and this image pretty much sums up most of February's weather round here, until the snow arrived. It's easy enough to capture fog, even rain - but wind is harder to convey in a still photo. I was quite pleased with this depiction, which I think does suggest the howling wind on top of the moor, bending the grasses and twisting the few hardy bushes that manage to survive up there, some 430m above sea level. I'm never sure why the wind doesn't blow the fog away but I suppose you're really inside a cloud up there!

Monday, 19 March 2018

Sophisticated tastes

We were going to have lunch in the garden centre café. It was heaving with people and had a long queue, and there was little on the menu that appealed. (My grandchildren are never very enamoured with the usual fare on the 'children's menus'.) However, M spotted an ice-cream van and so (on the grounds that life with Gran is meant to be an adventure and slightly naughty things are occasionally allowed), we had an ice-cream for lunch! (Plenty of fruit, veg and protein was consumed at other times during the day, no worries.) There were many products specifically aimed at children but, rather to my astonishment, she chose an Almond Magnum. You can see she enjoyed it and not a drop was wasted! She's a surprisingly neat eater for a small child.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Garden centre delights

Last Saturday, when I was over at my daughter's, I took my youngest granddaughter out for a few hours, to allow her mum a few hours of peace with the poorly older one. As it was raining quite heavily, we went to a local garden centre, a huge place full of many things to entertain and delight a three year old. It had trolleys designed as cars that the child could 'drive', so we had an entertaining time walking up and down the aisles with one of those. Once that palled, we explored the tropical fish section and were both hugely amused by the fancy goldfish. They had such funny faces.  There was aisle after aisle of statues, ornaments and toys for kids, dogs and cats, as well as all the actual plants. M was deeply interested in the stone chips used for mulch on some of the big pots. They came in different colours and varied shapes and she very carefully selected one and then proceeded to carry it round in her fist for the rest of the visit.

Outside in the car park there were a couple of vintage steam vehicles with lots of moving wheels, shiny pistons and a very loud steam whistle! The colourful one in my photo appeared to have been brought from Australia, according to its paintwork.

(Thank you all for the lovely comments yesterday.)

Saturday, 17 March 2018

More snow! and a milestone

More snow! We had another flurry of quite heavy snow late last week. It didn't last long but it came just at the time people were trying to get to work and school one morning and so it proved hugely disruptive all across this region. I was shocked to wake up to this view from my bedroom window, but at the same time very pleased to know that I didn't have to go out at all.  Loving this retirement phase of life  :)

I wasn't going to bother to post this photo but since then (and thankfully after the snow went) I've been at my daughter's, caring for the older of my two granddaughters, who finally and feverishly succumbed to the nasty flu-type bug they've all had. She's getting better now, thankfully, but it's rare that children have a fever for six days running, in my experience. Anyway, I hope that my family will get back to normal now that they have all had and recovered from the virus in turn. So far, I don't appear to have contracted it and I'm hoping I don't, despite several exposures to it. We grandmas rock!

I keep thinking winter must be over and I'll be able to get out and take some more springlike shots. I'm running very short of pictures. But no... we now have a forecast for more snowfall over this weekend. Sigh...

I have just noticed that I have now passed the '3000 blog posts' point. This is number 3005. Who'd have thought, way back in 2009 when I started, that I'd still be blogging some nine years later? Certainly not me. I had no idea that I'd find it such fun and such an absorbing hobby. Many thanks to all my blog friends, especially to all my long-term readers.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Warriors all

Although I took lots of photographs of Anthony Gormley's art installation 'Another Place' on Crosby beach when I first visited last year (see HERE), I could not resist a few more shots this time. The iron men look so different in different lighting conditions and according to the height of the tide. They are also being corroded by the sea as time goes on. Some of them are now tilted at drunken angles, as they have been shifted by the currents.

It was somewhat poignant to have seen China's Terracotta Warriors and the Iron Men in the same visit. They were conceived for very different purposes, over 2000 years apart and at different ends of the earth, and yet perhaps there are invisible threads connecting them.

'Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior.'    Carl von Clausewitz

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Seaside shadows

A couple of shadow pattern pictures that I spotted whilst out in the sunshine by Crosby beach, near Liverpool.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Beside the seaside

I stayed once again with some friends near Liverpool, in a house that overlooks Crosby beach. We had a lovely beach walk, in the sunshine, though there was a biting wind. It's a refreshing novelty to have so much sky and light. Living in a valley, I'm used to the horizon being quite high up. You might just be able to see, in my photo, one of Anthony Gormley's Iron Men (see here) as well as the wind turbines out in the Mersey channel.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

62 Falkner Street

Recently on TV (BBC2) there was a wonderful programme called: 'A House through Time', presented by David Olusoga. It traced the history of a house in Liverpool: No 62 (formerly 58) Falkner Street, and the stories of its inhabitants from when it was built in the 1840s right through to the present day. Of course, I went to find the house.

Built as a home for a well-to-do merchant, when Liverpool was a great trading port for the British Empire, the presenter traced its owners and tenants and told their fascinating stories. There was a customs clerk with a taste for fine furniture and a lavish lifestyle, who went bankrupt; a young couple who rose from being servants, through hard work and clever financial deals, to having great wealth. There was a cotton broker who made a fortune from the slave trade, ended up in a debtors' prison and then fled to America, abandoning his family to the workhouse. Then it became a boarding house and there were many tenants, as the house and area (and Liverpool) suffered in the Great Depression. The series uncovered divorce, family violence, honourable people and ne'er-do-wells. The house was almost flattened by a bomb in Liverpool's Blitz during WWII and then almost demolished in the 1970s. Saved by an enterprising group of local activists, the house was converted into a home where creative people lived: a successful playwright and a young, gay restaurateur who died of AIDS/HIV in the 1980s.  Nowadays it is a single dwelling once again, home to a middle-class family, as the area has been cleaned up and gentrified. The research involved was amazing and I found it a most educational and enjoyable programme, a very painless way of learning history.

I hope they do another series about another house somewhere. If you get chance to watch the series, do. I'm sure it will be repeated sometime.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Liverpool doors

There is often something appealing about doors (and windows) and I like taking photos of them. Maybe it's wondering what lies inside or the fact that, although they all serve the same purpose, there are so many different designs. Even among those ostensibly similar, each one is unique. There are some grand old houses in Liverpool with grand old doors on them. Here are a few.

The door above belongs to The Hardmans' House, a property now owned by the National Trust. It is a Georgian house that was the home and studio of a 1950s society photographer. I'd have liked to visit but it was closed for the winter and anyway, as it's so small, one has to book ahead. 

For some reason, I'm particularly fond of yellow doors. I was going to paint my front door yellow at one time - until my mother told me the colour attracts flies and that put me off that idea!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Art in the Cathedral

Like most of our cathedrals, Liverpool holds some interesting art and sculpture and continues to invest in modern pieces. I very much liked the installation above. It honours former Bishop of Liverpool (and professional cricketer), David Sheppard (whom I mentioned yesterday), and bears the text from Jeremiah 29:7: 'Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you... and pray to the Lord on its behalf.' I've included the full description below, with apologies to those reading on phones! (Incidentally, the former Dean, Justin Welby, is now our Archbishop of Canterbury.)

The towering west 'Benedicite' window is stained glass designed by Carl Edwards. It has underneath it a pink neon sign that reads: 'I Felt You And I Knew You Loved Me.' That is a work called 'For You', by the artist Tracey Emin, first displayed in 2008 when Liverpool was the European Capital of Culture and now a permanent installation. 

On the exterior, above the West Door, is 'The Welcoming Christ', a huge bronze by Dame Elisabeth Frink, installed in 1993 and one of her last completed works.