Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Second act

The sun arrived late, after noon. The children were still at home, perhaps not yet noticing that a grey, wet morning had suddenly become a beautiful day. The children's playground toys rested silently in the shadows, taking a secondary role to nature's drama playing out on the hillside.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Birds on a wire

Betsy finds creatures in clouds (and vegetables!), RedPat finds colourful murals all over her home city. I did a bit of both when I passed an old rusting shutter. Bird on a wire? Chill to a clip of Leonard Cohen:

Sunday, 23 November 2014

God is love

It seemed rather poignant to come across this bold assertion painted on a rock in a shadowy, damp little valley on the edge of Shipley Glen.  Leaving aside the dubious wisdom of defacing a rock, even with such 'good news', it seemed to me quite a metaphor, especially seeing the bright sunshine up ahead. It brought to mind Psalm 23: 'Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me..' Having been through one of life's little spells of anxious times recently, I know how much the sense of God's love can help us through those valleys. Whether we're in the shadow or the sunshine today, we can rejoice and be comforted by the sure knowledge that God is with us.
Linked once again to Spiritual Sundays.

Saturday, 22 November 2014


The weather here has been incredibly dreary for the past week or so - at least when I have been able to notice it (that is, not stuck in an office with my back to the window).  I'm running very short of bloggable photos so I went out today with my camera. It was a misty, damp morning (of the kind that always gets that Steeleye Span song running through my head. 'One misty, moisty morning...') and the view over the Aire valley towards Bradford was decidedly moody.  Look closely at the skyline on the right and you can see the huge chimney of Listers Mill, as visible as it has been for the past 140 years since it was built... once the largest silk factory in the world.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Red reprise

Here's another photo I took a few weeks ago and never got round to using. It's nice to look back at blue skies...we haven't had one lately. This little rowan tree, which I pass every day on my way to work, has since lost all its glorious red leaves but the yellow berries hung on a lot longer, happily for the birds who like to feast on them.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Floating hotel

Gosh, it's a full three years since I first noticed the Lady Teal moored in Saltaire.  Perhaps I'm not very observant - though I don't spend all my time down by the canal, of course, so I may just have missed her visits. Here she was again, moored alongside Salts Mill. This was back in September, a photo I took on one of my lunch-time walks and then never got round to posting. For those that missed my original post in 2011 (here), this is a luxurious hotel boat that cruises the Leeds-Liverpool Canal from April to September, offering slow-paced tranquillity and a lot of pampering, by the sound of it.  It's still on my wish list....!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


For, behold, I will bring a flood of waters into Saltaire ...

I'm a member of a local camera club and it's a great place to learn new things. At last week's meeting one of our members was demonstrating some software and a few 'processing tricks'. So I thought I'd have a go at manufacturing some reflections. I think the end result is quite effective, though as a first attempt it is by no means perfect. (If you want to know how to do it too, google 'Creating a reflection in Photoshop' for a gazillion tutorials showing different ways of achieving it.)

Anyway, you'll be relieved to know that although we've had a bit of rain in recent days, Saltaire URC is not cut off by a biblical flood (and neither have we had animals entering, two by two). It's all a clever trick.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Spot the boat...

Love it or hate it, Are-Jay Bargie is here to stay and the milder weather has lengthened their trading season too. The ice-cream boat was given retrospective planning permission three years ago, having already traded from this mooring for two years on a British waterways permit. Councillors unanimously agreed that "well-maintained, single, 'traditional-style' trading boats should be allowed" at this spot, which is right in the heart of Saltaire, just in front of the church. I know many people find it very appealing and it perhaps brings visitors down to the canal. I was a bit surprised, however, to see how many 'add-ons' (sweet machines, menu boards and suchlike) have appeared lately - so that it gets a little difficult to spot the traditional boat underneath it all. Ho hum....

Monday, 17 November 2014

Saltaire's hole

I mentioned not long ago (here) the plans to redevelop the gardens belonging to Shipley College, building a teaching block for students with learning difficulties and disabilities. Work has started on laying the foundations. It all looks horribly dark at the moment and huge too... hopefully it will look a lot better when it is finished. I am of the opinion that Saltaire, despite being a World Heritage Site, is also a living community that has to move with the times. Its founder didn't shirk from making dramatic statements. But it's sometimes difficult to see how to marry the new with the old successfully. I hope this development will succeed in that but I am not certain yet. I can't say I honestly have a lot of faith in our town planners when it comes to making sensitive decisions.

They are currently working on a grand 'management plan' for the World Heritage Site with some interesting ideas like opening one of the village houses as a tourist attraction, opening a 'Saltaire Interpretation Centre' in the Victoria Hall, creating an interactive history trial around the village and building a major new community arts 'hub'. The plan is for the next 30 years though - by which time I will almost certainly be past caring!

Sunday, 16 November 2014


The church I attend has a Healing Prayer Team. They have recently asked the church photography group to supply some prayer cards that they can give to people after they have received prayer.  I have never done anything like this, but I thought I'd have a go. It seems there is a certain art in finding a photo that matches with the Bible verse. Some of the verses suggest a picture (straight paths, rainbows) but others, like this one, proved trickier. I've linked this to a blog called Spiritual Sundays where people can share pictures and scriptures, hymns or poems. It provides some inspirational reflections - and not just for Sundays.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Dark satanic mills?

Another iPhone shot, of THAT view (click label below for others), taken on my way home from work. I took the photo because I loved the sky and the reflected lights but in the finished image I like the graininess that the iPhone has rendered. It adds extra moodiness.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark satanic mills?

'Jerusalem' (words from a poem by William Blake, set to music by Sir Hubert Parry) has become a British anthem and one of the best loved of patriotic songs, played notably on the Last Night of the Proms.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Water, mill

Tranquil reflections give no indication that, just beyond the former mill building, the River Aire crashes over a weir, which I have photographed many times. (Click Hirst Weir label below). Actually I can rarely recall seeing such perfect reflections here before. There was hardly a breath of wind on this day.

Once a corn mill driven by a water wheel, the mill was converted to a paper mill in the 19th century. Intriguingly, it has faded white lettering on one wall that says 'Washed Cloths'.

For more lovely reflection pictures, go to Weekend Reflections, hosted by James.

[As a result of getting some unpleasant spam comments in the last two days, I am temporarily enabling comment moderation before publishing. Once I'm happy the onslaught has passed I'll go back to normal, as I do find moderation tedious and, generally speaking, unnecessary.]

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Over the bridge

If you're 5'5" like me, this is a view of Saltaire's Salts Mill that you never see... To take it, I had to balance my camera above my head on the parapet of the railway bridge and pretty much experiment in order to get the right composition. I guess the bridge has been built so high precisely to discourage photographers from climbing up to take the iconic shot of the Mill's long south frontage. It is, however, a view well-known to millions of TV viewers, since a similar shot appears in the opening video sequence to the nightly 'Look North' local news programme on BBC1.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Book ends

I showed this spot on my blog back in the spring when the bluebells were out (here). It seems fitting to feature it again, almost like book-ends to the year, as autumn brings a golden hue to the foliage, replacing those fresh spring greens. I love Hirst Woods at any time of the year. It's a privilege to have this small patch of ancient woodland, with its rich eco-system, virtually on my doorstep.