Thursday, 24 July 2014

Hirst Locks garden

The little garden that was planted by the Hirst Wood Regeneration Group a few years ago has matured nicely and has really improved the area beside Hirst Lock on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.  It's a pleasant 15 minute or so stroll from the centre of Saltaire along the towpath to the lock and the swing bridge - and there is often something to see there. Even if there are no boats, there are usually some ducks.  That makes it a popular destination for families, particularly at weekends, as it is not too far for little ones to walk. You often see kids on cycles too, as the towpath is good and flat.  I'm always glad when local folk take the trouble to make something nice to be enjoyed by others; the garden is attractive and quite well-maintained.

There used to be a small garden centre in that area too, but it is now derelict and becoming quite an eyesore.  Hopefully one day someone will come up with another imaginative use for that patch of land.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Practice makes perfect

A typical Sunday scene on the River Aire just upstream from Hirst Weir. It's where Bradford Amateur Rowing Club (BARC) have their clubhouse, built on land gifted to them in 1893 by Sir Titus Salt. This particular Sunday, those out on the river seemed to be single sculls, and there were trainers on the bank shouting out instructions. All the boats have names with 'Aire' in them - the one most visible in the photo was Solitaire.  Further along there was Heavyaire and Lightaire.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


Oh dear, I'm having one of those spells when every time I'm free to go out with my camera the weather decides to be horrible - and when I'm stuck in at work or otherwise engaged, the sun comes out and all is hunky-dory. On my way to meet a friend the other day, I was held up for ages at a level-crossing during a cloudburst. There are very few level crossings in this area; most of the railways go over or under the roads on bridges. This crossing is on the busy Leeds to Skipton line and every quarter of an hour or so the gates close for what feels like a good five minutes. (Perhaps not that long, but it feels like forever when you're in a hurry!)  Anyway, so desperate am I for pictures that I decided to use the time productively.

Voilà ... we have 'watching the rain fall'  and ... quick wipe of the windscreen, to show.... 'train passing'.

I do hope you enjoyed that. Right, we can continue our journey now...

Monday, 21 July 2014

This is Saltaire

Just on the edge of Roberts Park, across the river from Saltaire, there is a large and well-used playground with activities for all ages from the littlest toddlers to teenagers on bikes and skateboards. It has a curving wall to separate the skatepark from the rest, which has been painted numerous times. My favourite so far was a tiger's eye. The most recent mural was designed and executed by pupils from the nearby Titus Salt School, with guidance from local artist Tim Curtis. It depicts Sir Titus Salt himself and thus reminds visitors approaching Saltaire from the Baildon side of the river that they are entering an historic World Heritage Site.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Feed the birds

The local football pitches at Salts Sports Club have had all the turf ripped up and the ground reseeded this summer. So far I can see no sign of sprouting seed ... but there are an awful lot of fat wood pigeons hereabouts.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Uncle Tacko's Imaginarium

I popped into Shipley one Saturday to take some stuff to the charity shop (one of the many charity shops!)  [Note, I require a round of applause for starting to clear out some clutter, though I haven't got very far.]  Anyway, I found the town centre busy with street artists, musicians, magicians - and Uncle Tacko's Imaginarium. This mysterious tent pops up at festivals and delivers 20 minute family shows, to an audience of 20-30 seated inside, several times a day. And you never know what you are going to be treated to - magic, music, stories, puppets or even a flea circus! (I didn't know they still existed.)

Friday, 18 July 2014


I haven't seen much of this little one all summer - but whenever I do see her, she is never very far from an ice-cream!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Cars I have known # 2

At one point in my life, somewhere in the late 1970s, we had a car just like this, a pale blue Morris Traveller. It was much loved though not in quite such good condition as this one. Ours had moss growing on the window sills!  I can't quite remember for sure but I think that may have been the car that met a very sad end, when some hooligans set light to it outside our house.

For 'Cars I have known # 1' see here.  Isn't it awful when the cars you most fondly remember are 'classic' now (not quite vintage yet!) and featuring in car shows.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Postman Pat

Among the classic cars on display in Roberts Park the other Sunday there was this gorgeous little mail van, just like Postman Pat's, complete with the black and white cat. The notice in its window said that it was first used in and around Keswick in the English Lake District in 1939. (That same area, coincidentally, inspired the fictional setting of the children's TV programme.) Just imagine it pootering along through the pretty little lanes up there. In 1949 it became a milk delivery van, later sold to a farmer. It was rescued in a derelict state from a farm lane and has been lovingly and beautifully restored to an immaculate state.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Roses all the way

There's a lovely, meandering bed of pink roses in Saltaire's Roberts Park, in full bloom at the moment. It's always pleasant to walk along the promenade and see what's in flower in the carefully maintained beds. I imagine people have been doing just that for over 100 years, since the park was first opened. The Sunday I took this picture there was the added attraction of a classic car display drawing the crowds.

Monday, 14 July 2014

A tranquil pursuit

Just beside the cricket field, this gentleman was having a quiet time fishing on the River Aire. Perhaps the choice of spot was an insurance policy if the fish didn't bite. He could always turn his chair round and watch the match. I've seen lots of people fishing (correction, men fishing. I don't think I have ever seen a woman.) But I've rarely seen anyone catch a fish. The other day when I walked along the canal, the water was really clear. It probably hadn't had a boat through for a while. They churn the mud up. There were lots of fish visible, some really large ones too. It's the first time I've ever actually seen them, though you do see ripples where they pop up sometimes and I did once glimpse the splash of one jumping.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Summer cricket

I love walking round Roberts Park at weekends. There is always something going on, and often a cricket match underway on what must be one of the most picturesque cricket fields imaginable. Such a leisurely game, lots of walking about and chatting as well as bursts of activity. I enjoy settling down with a coffee or an ice cream outside the Half Moon Café and watching other people being energetic. On Sundays you can eat, watch cricket and listen to a bandstand concert all at the same time!

Saturday, 12 July 2014


More colourful flowers. These are varieties of chives, growing in the Wash House community garden in the centre of Saltaire village. Not only are they attractive but the leaves can also be used in salads and cooked dishes. (Note to self: Why don't I plant some of these in the backyard?)

Friday, 11 July 2014

Miles of bunting

Meanwhile, back in the village, the church drive is decorated in bunting too. I think it was originally put up for their recent church fête but it seems to have stayed... Perhaps they are also celebrating the Tour de France - or Wimbledon, or the World Cup, or the Great Yorkshire Show or even the Commonwealth Games. So many great events going on, a veritable feast! I was reading about a local manufacturer of bunting and flags. They can hardly keep up with demand this year. They must be delighted that everyone is in the mood to celebrate - and it does look festive.