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Saturday, 31 March 2012


'A host of golden daffodils, beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.'  
 William Wordsworth

'Daffodils, that come before the swallow dares and take the winds of March with beauty.'
William Shakespeare


Not one to be idle, even whilst on maternity leave, my daughter is involved in a campaign to make London safer for cyclists.  (There have recently been some terrible accidents and fatalities.)  It's something I am very concerned about as my daughter, her husband and my nephew all cycle regularly and it can be dangerous.  If you know anyone who cycles and/or lives in London, please encourage them to sign up to make the capital a safer place to cycle.  Take a look at the campaign video they've just made; it's worth seeing, especially as it features, in her on-screen debut, my darling grand-daughter.  :-)    Link to it here.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Mughal reflection

Bradford's Lister Park (where the Sport Relief Mile took place - see yesterday) was looking at its best last weekend in the spring sunshine.  Its centrepiece is Cartwright Hall, the city's municipal art gallery, built in 1904. Unlike some civic art galleries, I believe it was designed as a gallery rather than a grand house.  The park was once a deer park belonging to the Lister family, another of Bradford's textile dynasties.  The gallery has an interesting permanent collection which brings together works of art from many different cultures and periods and is carefully designed to be inclusive to the diverse ethnic groups represented in this very multi-cultural city.  The hall and the park have had a lot of money spent on them in recent years and have been transformed into a very attractive destination for an afternoon out.

My picture shows Cartwright Hall reflected in one of the pools in the Mughal Water Gardens, a synthesis of Islamic and Hindu architectural styles, forming a symmetrical series of canals, pools, planted and paved areas.  The Garden is intended to reflect the cultural heritage of the immediate area surrounding the park, where the Victorian terraces and villas (where Titus Salt and his ilk once lived) are now home to a large British Asian community.

I'm linking this to the 'Weekend Reflections' theme this week.  Please have a look at the other entries here, hosted by James.  There are always some great photos from all over the world.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Sport Relief Mile

Last Sunday in Lister Park in Bradford, several hundred people joined in the Sport Relief 2012 Mile to raise money for charity.

It was all part of a major BBC TV-sponsored annual charity fundraising effort across the country, in which celebrities get involved, thousands of ordinary people do sponsored runs, swims and all manner of other stunts and millions of pounds is raised for charities at home and overseas.

Sport Relief's 2012 total stands at £52,070,587.00 as I write this, with money still coming in.

The atmosphere in the park was terrific, helped by it being a lovely warm spring day.  Anyone can join in, from the oldest to the youngest, fit and not so fit.  People ran, jogged or walked - in sports kit, fancy dress or even their pyjamas.  There was a dance exercise warm-up beforehand and plenty of music and fun afterwards. A good day out!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

David Hockney at the Royal Academy

This imposing archway is the entrance to Burlington House, on Piccadilly in London, which houses several august artistic and scientific societies including the Royal Academy of Arts.  My main reason for visiting last week was to see the exhibition, 'A Bigger Picture' by David Hockney RA - who, of course, as 'a local lad' is much loved by us here in Saltaire.  (Salts Mill is proud to hold a large collection of his work.  Hockney was a close friend of the late Jonathan Silver, the entrepreneur who 'rescued' the mill.)

I was so excited to see this major exhibition of Hockney's landscape work, much of which has been created in the last few years especially for this show. The paintings, many of them large-scale and wonderfully colourful, were inspired by the Yorkshire Wolds, where Hockney now lives.  In fact, if it wasn't for Jonathan Silver they might never have been created.  It's said that David Hockney came back to Yorkshire from California to support his friend when he was dying from cancer, and began to notice and be inspired again by the Yorkshire landscape.

I treated myself to the exhibition catalogue and
thereby received a plastic bag to flash around too!
There have been many features and TV programmes about the exhibition.  Some of the critics seemed pretty underwhelmed (they often are!) - but I loved the works, especially the amazing series of 51 prints (made from drawings on an iPad) and one large painting recording the arrival of spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire.  In the majestic setting of the RA's huge main gallery, the pictures have a vibrancy and impact that I found really thrilling.  It seems brilliant to me that a man in his mid 70s should be using modern technology so skilfully to create such vivid scenes, bursting with life and beauty.  There were also some video works that I found equally enthralling, taken with nine cameras on a grid.  My reaction was more akin to this writer's (in a Yorkshire paper of course!)

I'm so glad I was able to see the exhibition, despite the crowds (I'd have enjoyed it even more with fewer people to contend with).  When it is broken up in a few weeks time, I dare to hope that some of the works will find their way to Salts Mill, either permanently or temporarily.  Who knows?

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Platform 9¾

Here's one for Harry Potter fans.... Platform 9¾ is the secret platform on Kings Cross station from where you could board the Hogwarts Express if you walked directly at the solid barrier between Platforms 9 & 10. (Mrs Weasley advised that "you should do it at a bit of a run if you're nervous").  Some of the filming was done at the station and this plaque and disappearing luggage trolley are there to commemorate it.  Rather unromantically, it has moved around a great deal and is actually nowhere near platforms 9 and 10, having now been moved to the new concourse.  But there is always somebody having a go at storming the wall and it provides a good photographic opportunity, especially if you have Harry-Potter-mad kids.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Kings Cross wonderland

I had a day trip to London last week for a brief reunion with my sweet grand-daughter.  She's thriving and seems a happy little soul most of the time.  She has recently learned to squeal - apparently just for the fun of it! - and is getting very 'conversational'.  I was granted some delightful smiles.

I was happily surprised at Kings Cross, the mainline rail terminal where the Leeds train arrives and departs, to find the new concourse open.  Very smart and spacious it is too, a thousand times better than the previous cramped lobby and with much better facilities.  It made my short wait quite a pleasure.  I  envisage the view from the mezzanine floor will become a much-photographed scene, akin perhaps to that famous view of Grand Central Station in New York.  I tried and failed to get an effective picture of blurred figures hurrying.  It didn't quite work, as there were too many people standing still and that spoiled the effect.  I needed a tripod too but that's one thing I generally don't carry with me in London!

[By the way, can someone please tell me how I can fix my blogs 'comments' so that I can add a reply linked to each comment?  Alan, Betsy and others can do this but I can't figure out how to. 
Later... Thanks Diane, embedded comments have done the trick.]

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Light and shadow

(Hover mouse over image for the black and white version)

Because I'm me, when I download a day's worth of photos from one of my photographic explorations, I generally have a couple of attempts at more 'arty' shots, alongside the plethora of general record and landscape pictures.  I try to keep my eyes open for patterns and textures. This is Thornton Viaduct again.  I noticed in the strong, low sunlight that there were good patterns of light and shadow.  Then I couldn't decide if it looked best in black and white or if I preferred the colour.  See what you think.

This is the final day of the Thornton Challenge photographic experiment in which Alan Burnett and I agreed to explore the same village at different times and from our own perspective and then share what we each 'saw'.  For Alan's eye view, please go to his blog NEWS FROM NOWHERE.

I've had a lot of fun exploring Thornton, taking photos, writing the posts and, of course, seeing what Alan came up with too.  I hope you've enjoyed it as much as we have.  I think it proves the original hypothesis. (See here). Certainly in this series I think you can read, 'between the lines', quite a lot about the photographers as well as about Thornton.  I approached it like some kind of enthusiastic tour guide, picking out the highlights, bombarding you with historical titbits and determined to make you overlook the fact that your hotel is right next to a building site.  Alan, on the other hand, approached the assignment like a seasoned reporter, homing in on the underlying essence of the place and, with a journalist's flair for words, neatly summing up a world of truth in each pithy phrase.  Perhaps you need both of us really, to get a balanced picture.  The good news is that both of us will continue, in our own blogs, to explore our lovely home county of Yorkshire and we hope you'll continue on the journey with us.  Thanks Alan, and thanks to everyone who read and commented, for sharing this with us.  I've made some new friends and that's lovely. Maybe we should do it again sometime?

Saturday, 24 March 2012


A quaint row of old houses on Alderscholes Lane in Thornton, typical of the area with their solid stone walls and slate roofs.  I'm not very good at dating property but I imagine these were built in the mid 1800s, making them similar in age to the early parts of Saltaire.  When built they didn't have bathrooms. Just across the lane there are what were originally stone 'privvies' - draining directly into the little beck (stream) that runs through the valley.  I imagine facilities are rather better now!  The railway viaduct beyond was built in 1873.  It must have been quite a sight to see steam trains chuffing along overhead.

This is the Thornton Challenge - in which Alan Burnett and I agreed to explore the same village at different times and from our own perspective and then share what we each 'saw'.  For Alan's eye view, over the past few days, please go to his blog NEWS FROM NOWHERE. Though today he's taking a break to post his usual 'Sepia Saturday' entry - and that's well worth a look too.

Friday, 23 March 2012

City meets country in a village

Thornton is part of the City of Bradford Metropolitan area but is situated right on the edge, where countryside meets suburbia.  Consequently it only takes minutes to access green space with a more rural feel, where old cottages are clustered into tiny hamlets and you can glimpse views of the city beyond the fields.   Thornton Viaduct is a notable feature, its 20 arches snaking across the Pinch Beck valley.  Once part of the Great Northern Railway network, it has been disused for 40 years or so.  It is now a listed structure and there are apparently plans to open it to walkers and cyclists as part of the Great Northern Railway Trail. (The little pointy bit apparently on the viaduct is actually the tip of Thornton St James' church spire!)

This is the Thornton Challenge, Day Five - in which Alan Burnett and I agreed to explore the same village at different times and from our own perspective and then share what we each 'saw'.  For Alan's eye view, please go to his blog NEWS FROM NOWHERE.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

South Square, Thornton

The other 'must visit' place in Thornton (as well as the Brontë birthplace) is South Square, a visual arts resource centre and gallery.  It is the base for a coalition of artists and also holds meeting rooms, a print workshop and studio space, a craft shop and a very good vegetarian café. (I had the cheesy potato wedges with tomato salsa: tasty, filling and warming on a chilly day.)

The centre is housed in 19th century millworkers' cottages, which are now Grade II listed buildings.  It's a good place to wander round, quite quirky really... in parts of it you almost feel as though you're walking through someone's home that just happens to have artworks on the walls.  It has lots of entrances through the various cottage doors rather than one main entrance, and then all the rooms run into one another, so you are not quite sure if you've seen all of it or not!

The nature of the space allows several different artists to show at the same time so there is a wide variety of styles and types of work - including some photographs of Bradford's mills by Gemma Doyle, when I visited.  One of her photographs was shockingly similar to my own 'Saltaire's New Mill at night' - gave me a bit of a turn! - but it's such an oft-photographed scene and doesn't change much from day to day so I suppose there are probably quite a few similar images out there!

This is the Thornton Challenge, Day Four - in which Alan Burnett and I agreed to explore the same village at different times and from our own perspective and then share what we each 'saw'.  For Alan's eye view, please go to his blog NEWS FROM NOWHERE.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Ginnels and alleys

I really enjoy 'being a tourist' in my own area, exploring with my camera and getting the feel of a place.  Although I lived on the Thornton side of Bradford for a few years, Thornton village is somewhere that I have only ever driven through on the main road.  So it was fun to have a good old poke around.  I ended up with mixed feelings about the place.  It has a lot of history.  Some of the buildings are clearly very old and you can see, with close observation, how newer ones sprang up and gradually filled in the spaces (and continue to do so).  

This photo shows quite clearly how an old (18th century?) stone-mullioned window and a doorway are now almost buried beneath the road surface, which must have been laid much later, but is itself probably mid-19th century.

One of my main impressions was of how this ad-hoc development has left the village with no real centre and with a maze of little winding alleys (ginnels, in local terminology) and streets.  You can quickly get lost!  It's quite a contrast to the carefully planned layout of Saltaire, though many of the buildings date from around the same time.  In general it isn't a wealthy area and it has to be said that some of it would look better for a bit of sprucing up.  Somehow in these cool northern climes, decay looks simply grimy and (to me anyway) lacks the charm of those narrow old streets you find in, for example, Mediterranean areas.  (See here for one that Malyss recently featured.)  Or maybe I'm just not enough of a 'tourist' in my own patch.

This is the Thornton Challenge, Day Three - in which Alan Burnett and I agreed to explore the same village at different times and from our own perspective and then share what we each 'saw'.  For Alan's eye view, please go to his blog NEWS FROM NOWHERE.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Brontë birthplace, Thornton

My usual start point in a place I haven't visited before is its history.  Thornton's main claim to fame is its Brontë family connection.  Four members of the literary family were born here at 72-74 Market Street.

In 1815 Reverend Patrick Brontë, father of the writers Charlotte, Emily and Anne, moved into this house (built in 1802 and at that time the parsonage) with his wife Maria and their older daughters Maria and Elizabeth.  In those days Thornton was little more than a hamlet; in 1800 it had only 23 dwellings (and three of those were pubs!)  The Brontës stayed for five years and then moved  to Haworth, and it is Haworth's parsonage that has the more famous association, as it is now a museum.

In the mid-1800s Thornton started to grow, as the local handloom weaving trade gave way to textile mills.  Stone quarrying and the mining of coal and fireclay were also important industries.  Growth demanded more local services.  The Thornton house was altered in 1898 when the front extension was built and it was then used as a butcher's shop.  It has also been a restaurant. The house was restored in the 1990s by the crime novelist Barbara Whitehead, and was opened to the public, but it is now a private residence.

For those of a curious mind, the Haworth Village website has pictures of the interior - see here.

This is the Thornton Challenge, Day Two - in which Alan Burnett and I agreed to explore the same village at different times and from our own perspective and then share what we each 'saw'.  For Alan's eye view, please go to his blog NEWS FROM NOWHERE.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Who'd have thought it...?

Some time ago, I happened to write on this blog:  "It's interesting, isn't it, how we all 'see' different things?  Take any two photographers and put them in the same place at the same time and, the chances are, each will interpret the scene quite differently.  I think that's half the fun of blogging, to see what others see through different eyes from our own."  My dear blog-friend, Alan Burnett, who lives not so far from here, responded promptly in the comments: "OK here is a challenge for you. Let us pick, at random, some village which is within a given radius of Saltaire/ Brighouse: both make our way there independently and record what it says photographically to us. We co-ordinate the subsequent post and test out your theory."  Well, I couldn't resist that, could I? - so we agreed to carry out the experiment, visiting a village called Thornton (on the edge of the city of Bradford) which is more or less equidistant between us.

Many moons passed... and a premature baby in my family and various commitments for Alan meant that it has taken us some while to achieve the assignment.... but, finally, we haveOver the next few days I will post some photos of what caught my eye.  (All were taken on February 19th).  Alan has agreed to do the same on his blog - go to NEWS FROM NOWHERE to see his side of the bargain. We visited separately and neither of us knows yet how the other approached the challenge.  It must be stressed that it's not a competition, more of an experiment.  I am looking forward to seeing the results and, indeed, to testing out my theory.

For starters, the above photo (self -portrait!) was taken in a tiny little park that does its best to be the centre of a village that really rather lacks a focal point.  It suggests that Thornton is perhaps rather a surprising place - and, in many ways, I would agree.  See what you think....

Sunday, 18 March 2012


A short walk beyond Saltaire's Roberts Park, to the north and west, you find yourself in a beautiful area of open green space and woodlands - Trench Meadows, the woods below Shipley Glen and land that was originally part of the Milner Field estate.  Much of this land had been acquired over the years by Sir Titus Salt, so even here there is a historical link with his name.  It's a very pleasant area for gentle walking and you quickly feel miles away from the urban sprawl.  I love the old stone walls, overgrown with moss and ivy, that mark out the field boundaries and the many little lanes that criss-cross the area.  Although there are still autumn leaves underfoot, some of the trees are showing the faintest signs of greening and the low sun peeking through their branches hints at the awakening of Spring.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Signs of Spring

Last weekend was bright and sunny, chilly in the wind but warm in sheltered spots.  It felt like all of creation was waking up and stretching.  Not that we've had a bad winter, far from it, it has been very mild, but even so the long dark days take their toll.  I went out looking for signs of Spring in Saltaire.  There were plenty of people about, enjoying the space in Roberts Park. (See my last two posts for a short biography of the man after whom the park is named.)  The daffodils are beginning to flower in sunny spots (and they're a cheery sight, aren't they?)  It was warm enough, too for a few folk to sit outside the Half Moon Café (though I did secretly want to shout "Go in, go in and look at my photos..." - ha!)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Sir James Roberts, family man

Photograph © the Roberts family, used with the kind permission of Julia Bolton Holloway

Saltaire has a thriving History Club (see the village website) and several members are actively engaged in ongoing research.  I was fortunate to be able to attend the last meeting and obtained a hard copy of the latest in a line of 'Saltaire Journals' (which are also downloadable free from the website).  Researched and written by David King, it is entitled 'The Second Lord of Saltaire: the family history of Sir James Roberts Bart. JP, LLD.'  It makes fascinating reading, though I can only briefly summarise it here.  We should be most grateful to David for his painstaking research that brings to life a man whose influence on Saltaire was fundamental and important, but who has hitherto tended to be overlooked.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Sir James Roberts, businessman

Photograph © the Roberts family, used with the kind permission of Jamie Roberts.

Most people know of Sir Titus Salt's connection with Saltaire.  He pretty much ensured immortality by giving the village his name and that of the River Aire which flows through it.  It was his vision and his money that created the huge mill and the village around it, built to house his workers in much better conditions than those prevailing in the Victorian cities at the time.  Sir Titus's legacy is ensured.

The story of Salts Mill and Saltaire after Sir Titus' death is perhaps less well-known but still deserves telling and remembering.   (Click below to read it - a new Blogger trick I'm trying!)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Sustainable Saltaire

Having hung the washing out to dry (and don't you just love the fresh smell of air-dried laundry?) I think she had earned some time with a good book and a mug of tea!  These are the Stable cottages that look on to the drive of Saltaire's church, facing south and catching all the sunshine.  I expect the Victorian Sir Titus would have had harsh words about the line of washing!  He apparently had a rule that residents in the village could not hang their laundry outside (though I'm not sure whether people obeyed him or not).  Hanging washing outside the church on a Sunday would probably have cost her her tenancy!  Thankfully nobody seems terribly bothered these days and indeed, air-drying the washing outside is to be encouraged. There's a new push to make Saltaire a 'sustainable' community, to make the village more energy efficient and reduce its carbon footprint.

This weekend sees the launch of the 'Sustainable Saltaire' initiative in the Shipley College Exhibition Building: Friday 16 March 5-7pm and Saturday 17 March 9.30am-12pm.  People are invited to go along and find out more about plans for solar and hydro-electric power in the village, how to improve the energy efficiency and carbon footprint of your home.  There will be activities for all the family to enjoy.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012


I've said it before....  I feel so fortunate to live close to Salts Mill.  I can't think of anything nicer, especially on a chilly winter's day, than to spend an hour or so browsing the art and photography books in the 1853 Gallery.  The Gallery itself, though it's a huge space, feels quite cosy and intimate, helped by the lighting and the colours, the gentle music and the warm scent of lilies. My idea of heaven....  I wish I could tele-transport you there for a while.  My photo will have to do the job!

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed the unusual book-stand.  It's an old weighing machine, a legacy of the mill's history as a textile works.  It was made by Day and Millward, a Birmingham firm.  They won an award at the Great Exhibition in 1851 in "Section G: Weighing, Measuring and Registering Machines for Commercial and not for Philosophical Purposes"... ???

Advance notice of more festivities in Saltaire (we like them a lot!):
World Heritage Site Weekend - 20-22 April 2012 - with lots of activities planned around Roberts Park and the canal, and items from the Saltaire archive on show. 
Saltaire Arts Trail - 5-7 May 2012 - see their website for details.
Saltaire Festival - 6-16 September 2012 - see website for more information.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Twine and texture

Out for a walk, this caught my eye.  It's just a bit of baler twine holding a gate together, but I liked the textures highlighted by the strong side-lighting.   It somehow reminded me of one of those bright blue damsel flies you see around ponds in the summer.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Pictures from the exhibition: The Cellarium

Another of the prints from my exhibition in the Half Moon Café in Saltaire's Roberts Park, on until the end of this month....

The stunning vaulted roof of the Cellarium at Fountains Abbey (North Yorkshire) survived amazingly intact after Henry VIII's brutal dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century. It was here that the lay brothers of the Abbey ate, slept and socialised.  Now it's home to several protected species of bat.  Patiently waiting to take a photograph without any people in it (difficult on a summer weekend), I had time to enjoy the serenity of this huge space.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Park at the heart....

Bradford Council has recently spent a good deal of money constructing what will be known as 'City Park' .... 'a park at the heart' of the city.  They have developed the area outside the City Hall into a leisure area with a large mirror pool, fountains and lights.  The pool can be drained to provide an arena for concerts and events.  There has been a great deal of controversy over it.  Whilst I think the finished effect is attractive, I do wonder if there were things that the money might better have been spent on, as the city centre in general is very run-down.  Nevertheless, I hope it does what the planners intend, in providing a focal point, encouraging investment and cultivating a sense of pride in our city.  It has its official opening on 24 March.

I was passing through Bradford city centre the other evening on my way to my Camera Club meeting.  I realised that the light might be just about right for some photos, so I lugged my camera and tripod down there.  In fact I could have done with arriving a bit earlier, as the sky soon got too dark, but it was worth the experiment.  It's quite photogenic and I will have to return again and take a few more shots.  I'm still experimenting with night photography.

This view is looking away from the City Hall towards the Alhambra Theatre and the old Odeon (another decay story).   For a similar view in daylight, see here (Martin's Bradford blog).

This is my entry into 'Weekend Reflections', a weekly themed grouping of photos across many blogs.  Please visit some of the other entries - click here for the link.

Friday, 9 March 2012


It's Showtime! Never let it be said that Saltaire is a backwater when it comes to performing artists - just look at this line-up.  It's only a pity that half of them are dead...

The Old Tramshed - which was at one time exactly that - is a thriving bar and restaurant at the top end of Saltaire.  It gets somewhat mixed reviews on Trip Advisor but I hear that it has improved a lot lately and they are trying new ideas.  It's quite a large space inside (see this photo) and The Gallery restaurant upstairs now holds art exhibitions of work by artists from the locality and further afield, which change every six weeks or so. They also have a programme of 'Dinner and Show' music events, including the tribute acts listed above.

I've mentioned The Old Tramshed before - see here for another photo and more info.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

House of Fabrics

Saltaire's history is tightly interwoven with textiles.  The village owes its existence to Sir Titus Salt's vision for a huge mill that would bring together on one site his entire woollen manufacturing business.  Salts Mill was in business from 1853 until 1986, producing high quality cloth that was exported across the globe.

It seems fitting therefore that Saltaire should still have a thriving textile business - though this one is a retail outlet.  House of Fabrics is a treasure trove of furnishing fabric and associated accessories, cushions, trims, curtain poles - everything needed for beautiful soft-furnishings in the home.  If you can't find something you like, amongst the thousands of rolls of fabric and swatches on display, then you must be really, really picky!

I am trying to summon the will to redecorate my sitting room this spring.  I've decided that choosing new curtains is the first step to take, so I paid the shop a visit.  That bit isn't hard; it's a wonderful shop and a delight to explore.  What is hard is making a choice from all the delicious and varied fabrics on offer - do I want traditional or contemporary, plain, patterned or textured...? Oh my!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Arrested again

I see this view so often - daily, sometimes several times a day - that you might think I wouldn't really notice it anymore.  Familiarity is supposed to breed contempt, after all.  But there is something so imposing about Salts Mill that it still has an impact every time I see it.  It's an arresting sight.  I love the way different weather conditions, light and seasons subtly alter it too.  In the winter when there are no leaves on the trees to obscure the detail, you notice the relationship between the church and the Mill much more.  Saltaire United Reformed Church is opposite the Mill, across Victoria Road, and is itself an imposing building  - but because the Mill is so vast and because of the steepness of the hill down towards the canal and river, the church tower looks small and insignificant in comparison.  This photo shows less than half of the south front of Salts Mill.  For a panoramic view, see here.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Bad news and good news

There was bad news and good news.... The bad news was that I had gone out in bright sunshine without an umbrella, leaving a line of washing happily drying in the sun.  Then, all of a sudden, the sky went black and there was a terrific downpour.  I got soaked and, by the time I got home, the laundry was wetter than it had been coming out of the washing machine! Ho hum...

The good news was: this gorgeous double rainbow appeared over Saltaire.  I wasn't in quite the best place to photograph it and it soon faded, but for a few moments it was glorious.  And I always think that rainbows are very good news indeed.

"When the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between me and all living beings on earth.  That is the sign of the promise which I am making to all living beings."  Genesis 9:16-17

Monday, 5 March 2012


Well, I'd love to have been outside all weekend taking photos, but....

'The trouble with living alone is that it's always your turn to do the dishes.'   (Anon)

and make the bed and do the laundry and the ironing and clean the sink and vacuum and dust and defrost the freezer and all the other chores that seem necessary to prevent one's home sinking under a pile of clutter and grime.  It would be better to do these things on a rainy day but somehow a bit of sunshine lifts my heart enough to tackle the bigger jobs (as well as pointing up the dust and smears!) - Spring Cleaning indeed.  So I had a VPD ... A Very Productive Day....on Saturday.

'Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it.'  (Anon) 
'My second favourite household chore is ironing; my first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.'        (Erma Bombeck)
'Nature abhors a vacuum - and so do I.'  (Anne Gibbons)
'My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.'  (Erma Bombeck) 

Anyway, I could see no reason why I shouldn't still take photos, even if I was inside for most of the weekend!

PS So busy indeed that I missed a steam train coming through Saltaire.  Martin at Bradford, My Town caught it beautifully.  Sorry I missed it!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Pictures from the exhibition: Letting off steam

From a station (yesterday) to a train today....

I think this is the train photo Cranberry Morning was referring to in her comment a week or two ago.  It was taken this time last year at a KWVR Steam Gala Weekend.  The engine let off a rush of steam before setting off on its journey up the valley.  The scene has a timeless quality.  The low sun was so bright that I could hardly see what I was photographing - but sometimes you just get lucky!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Transit patterns

Another York photo, but this one's just for fun.  It's the roof of York's main rail station: a wonderful soaring, sweeping glass and iron structure, made all the more interesting by being curved to follow the tracks.  The station was opened in 1877 and had 13 platforms at that time, making it then the largest station in the world.  It was designed by the architects of the North Eastern Railway, Thomas Prosser and William Peachey.

York is still an important rail junction, being about half-way up on the London-Edinburgh main line and joined by cross-country and trans-Pennine routes too.  (Probably why the National Railway Museum has its home in the city.)  I pass through it quite often and rather like the ambience of the station.

A postscript - relevant to the WV debate - here's a comment that the Blogger spam filter siphoned off for me today:  'On speaking terms the homely correct hair spark, the arable land and combustor farmers are embowed at thrusters, headed for a level.'  Where do they find them?!

Friday, 2 March 2012

York's Walls

Over a week's worth of photographs of York and we have barely scratched the surface of all there is to see and do in this lovely city.  I would echo what 'Cranberry Morning' said in the comments a few days ago - for any visitor to England, York (and Yorkshire) is well worth a trip.

In this photo you can see a very small part of the ancient walls of the city.  The city has been walled since Roman times, and has more of its walls left intact than any other English city. That means that you can walk for a couple of miles, around a large part of the city, and see the views from an elevated position.  The walls are punctuated by medieval gateways known as Bars, several of which remain, and which controlled access to the city.  You can see the galleries from where missiles and boiling oil would have been dropped on attackers, and hear gruesome tales of the severed heads of traitors and criminals, left on spikes at Micklegate Bar as a warning to others!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

College Street, York

This could almost be a rural village scene but in fact it's in the centre of York.  Tucked away behind the Minster is St William's College (below) a beautiful timber-framed building dating back to 1461.  It was built to house the Minster's Chantry priests (who were paid to chant masses for the souls of the dead) and is now the Minster's tea rooms and restaurant.  It is fronted by a little green with its sundial.  Behind is York's National Trust shop - a source of attractive gifts.  You can also see lots of bikes... York is a university city in a relatively flat area and as such is a popular place for cycling.