Sunday, 24 May 2015

Smart school

Even though it has been open about six years now, Titus Salt School still looks pretty smart and ultra-modern. It has such clean, graphic lines that even a photograph looks, to me, like an architect's drawing, complete with those spindly birch trees they always add. (NB: the photo was taken a few weeks ago, so I imagine those trees have a few leaves now). It is a school for students from age 11 upwards and specialises in Maths and Computing, though of course students study a whole range of curriculum subjects. It sits on the far side of Roberts Park, technically in Baildon rather than Saltaire. It's on the Coach Road, at one time the carriage drive to the grand house that Titus Salt Junior built (now demolished). I wonder what he would have thought of this 'on his doorstep'?

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Swanning around

I think this may be one of last year's mute swan cygnets on the River Aire, its plumage still slightly grey-brown and its beak quite pale. Swans mate for life and this one doesn't yet seem to have made a match. It was idly swimming up and down the river - swanning around, in fact!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Something old, something new

Sometimes I feel like I've photographed every square inch of Saltaire and its environs since I started this blog. Even those of my regular readers who've never set foot in the place must know it like your own backyard! So I'm always on the lookout for something new or different, whether permanent or temporary. This glorious tumble of clematis falls into the temporary category (and is it my imagination or does all the blossom seem particularly abundant this year?). The view down Moorhead Lane towards what used to be Saltaire roundabout (now Saltaire traffic light controlled junction, which doesn't quite have the same poetry...) is one I don't think I have photographed before. It is, however, a view that has only changed in the detail since the buildings were constructed in the latter half of the 19th century.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Vegging out

Saltaire's community vegetable and herb garden, in the corner of the Caroline Street car park, is in its second year. The raised beds seem to be coming along well already. Across the far side they have planted rhubarb and fruit bushes. It seems a small thing in a way but, like the Saltaire Canteen giving away food that would otherwise be wasted, it is quite a radical idea to garden a patch of underused land, growing things that basically anyone can help themselves to for free. And, like the Canteen, I imagine the joy lies as much (if not more) in the giving - developing the vision, putting in the hard work - than the taking.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Let there be light

Having chopped down all the trees on Victoria Road, the local council are now 'sprucing up' the area. They've planted a few (a very few) new, smaller trees at the top of the road by the almshouses and are reinstating the pavements where they'd been damaged by tree roots. Now they are replacing all the lamp posts with 'faux Victorian' ones. That has meant getting rid of the original Victorian cast iron lamps and also the concrete ones that were installed at some point in the past to supplement the little Victorian lamps.  (Both types are visible in this earlier shot.) The new ones are much taller, painted green instead of black (I gather they think they were originally green..) and have fancy twisted lighting filaments - perhaps they are 'greener' too? I haven't seen them lit yet but I'm told they have a brighter, whiter light. Of course, the originals were - originally - gas lights, so they couldn't go back to that! I suppose everyone will get used to them in time, though they look to me to be a bit out of proportion with the surroundings - or perhaps with themselves. (Surely with that length of stem the lamp should be a bit bigger?) They don't appear to be replacing the lamps down the drive to the church or those on the station platform, so anyone smitten by nostalgia can gaze at those instead.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Matchfit garden

Here's one of the gardens completed as part of the Matchfit competition - see yesterday.
Turf - check
Tree - check
Shaped and planted border - check
Surprise element - check. This one had a rather elegant dragonfly willow sculpture.

The other gardens looked pretty similar in design and execution, though some of the turf looked more expertly laid than others. The only difference was the surprise element - one had a piece of old tree root, one a plant pot spilling stones and I couldn't see what the fourth plot had... maybe they'd taken it away. Anyway, it seemed like a nice wholesome exercise and hopefully the four little trees will be allowed to remain there and grow.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Are you Matchfit?

I have often said there is rarely a dull moment in Saltaire and that was proven again the other day. I had to pop home at lunchtime to speak to my decorator. (Yes, I'm having lots of work done in the house. It will be nice when finished, though the mess on the way is testing.) I took the scenic route round through Salts Mill yard.  There were lots of people peering over the wall into the allotments and lots of flags too. Your roving reporter is always keen to find out what's going on so I asked someone with a clipboard, who looked as though he might know!

The answer was that this was a competition, under the banner 'Are you Matchfit?'  Shipley College was hosting the final of the Horticultural Skills element. Teams of students from various colleges' horticulture training departments were given a plot of land 4m x 3m and, in four hours, working to a drawing and specification, had to:
lay turf, plant a tree, cut and plant a border, choosing from an array of plants supplied - and add a surprise element of their own.

It was a beautiful day for it and they were all beavering away. I'll have to go back and take a photo of the finished results. (Hopefully they will leave them, at least for a while).

I have looked up the 'Matchfit Skills' website - and there are lots of similar vocational competitions being held throughout Yorkshire and Humberside in various disciplines: Business and IT; Construction; Cultural and Creative Arts; Engineering; Hair and Beauty; Health, Social and Child Care; Hospitality and Catering; Science; Sport and Public Services. They are aimed at inspiring and stretching the students studying vocational courses in our Further Education colleges. I'm sure these folk would be able to take pride in what they were achieving.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Advance Notice - LOTS to see! 23-25 May

Photo © Paul Barrett

After a break of a year, the Saltaire Arts Trail returns over the coming bank holiday weekend: 23 - 25 May. There is LOTS going on, with the wonderful 'Makers' Fair' in the Victoria Hall and the ever-popular Open Houses, where original art and craft of all kinds is displayed in village houses, whose brave owners throw them open to the public (and pray for dry weather!)

For full details please see the Saltaire Inspired website - and if you are anywhere near Saltaire, take it from me.... you'd be MAD not to visit!

Equally exciting is a 'fringe event' (all the best festivals have 'fringes') taking place in St. Peter's Church, Moorhead Lane, 23 - 25 May. The small photography group of which I am a member is holding an exhibition of photos, celebrating our first ten years of meeting as a club. All are welcome, free entry - and again - why would you want to miss that? See here for full details.

The photo we're using to illustrate the exhibition is a wonderful Yorkshire collage by one of our members, Paul Barrett. Doesn't it make you want to explore Yorkshire?

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Music and cupcakes

There was music at the dragon-boat festival too. This is a player in the Hall Royd Band, well wrapped up against the cold. They cheered everyone with some lively tunes and it's always good to see the bandstand being used by a brass band. I'm not sure what the instrument is; perhaps a euphonium but I find them hard to tell apart from tubas...

If music is the food of love, cupcakes are the food of treats. There were some pretty ones on offer in the food market. It's a good job I can't eat such things. (I have to stick to gluten-free). I'd probably have ballooned to the size of a small elephant if I could eat cake, as I have quite a sweet tooth.

Bradford is twinned with the town of Hamm in Germany, and there was a team from Hamm in the dragon boat race, cheered on by their city's mayor. They did rather well, coming second. Perhaps in honour of that there was also a stall in the market selling traditional German sausages, which smelled very good.

Friday, 15 May 2015

More dragons

The dragon-boat festival had lots of fun things for children to do. Most of them seem to love getting their faces painted and there were some particularly artistic efforts on show, painted by volunteers from the Dockfield Road Creative Arts Hub. That's an interesting community venture, with a building that provides practical work space for a variety of artists working in different disciplines, as well as a theatre group called Q20 that specialises in event management and promotional entertainment. They were the group behind last year's Shipley Street Arts Festival, which I gather is planned again this year from 26 - 28 June.

They had a stall where you could make your own paper dragon, so I had a go at making one to post to my granddaughter. It's a long time since I did any colouring-in. I'd forgotten how soothing it is! I omitted to take a photo of my dragon before I parcelled it up but it was similar in concept to the one below.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tai Chi in the park

As part of the dragon-boat racing festival, there were several other attractions in Roberts Park, including a market and lots of food stalls. I don't usually need to eat and drink 'out' in Saltaire as it's so close to home but I was so cold that warming my hands on a hot coffee was very welcome.

I enjoyed watching a Tai Chi demonstration. It was Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan, to be precise, though I don't know enough about it to understand what that means. I once participated in a short Tai Chi workshop and really enjoyed it. It's a gentle and meditative series of controlled movements, good for promoting suppleness and balance, though it is also a form of martial art for self-defence. Most of the people taking part seemed to be quite mature. I have wondered whether to try it, it seems a good form of gentle exercise for oldies like me!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Here be dragons...

Great excitement in Saltaire last weekend... There was dragon-boat racing between various teams competing to raise money for the Lord Mayor of Bradford's 2015 Charity Appeal. Twenty-two teams took part in various heats over the course of the day and the eventual winners were Appleton Crusaders, a team from a local academy school. 

This was the first ever such event to take place in Saltaire. It was planned to be held on the river in Roberts Park but heavy rain overnight caused flooding and dangerously strong currents, so the decision was taken to hold the races on the canal instead.

Despite the freezing cold (two fleeces, a jacket, woolly hat and gloves! and I was still chilled to the marrow by the time I eventually returned home) and a day that started very dull and rainy, there were lots of spectators. They would not let the general public on to the towpath, so everyone was crowded around the bridge and it was pretty difficult to get a good view.

One of the boats overturned, but I didn't get a photo of that! Thankfully the canal isn't really very deep and all the competitors managed to scramble ashore.

I think this may become an annual fixture as it seemed a really popular event. The total raised for charity is thought to be over £20,000. Another thing to put Saltaire on the map. Never a dull moment round here!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Quack, quack, quack

These ducks were going quackers, paddling in the mud and play-fighting. The mud on the female's neck and back is the result of some amorous behaviour on the part of one of the males! Looks a bit smug now, doesn't he?!

My online photo group theme for May is 'Three' so this could well qualify as a possible entry.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Peerless pieris

It's a case of win some and lose some for the houses bordering Yeadon Tarn. Win because the setting is so attractive, looking out across the lake, lose because on the other side is the airport with its attendant traffic and noise. From a distance I thought this vibrant coral red was an azalea in bloom, but on closer inspection I realised it's a pieris and the red is the new leaves, not flowers. Glorious colour though.