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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Wet Wales

Holiday photos... But oh dear, this is not what you want to see when you're going on your precious annual holiday!  Even though you can appreciate it's beautiful really....

I did the lengthy drive from home to my holiday destination on the Welsh coast with the car's windscreen wipers going the whole time.  I'm afraid this photo more or less sums up the summer we're (not) having in Britain.  All to do with the 'Atlantic jetstream' being too far south, I'm told.  Let's hope it all cheers up for the Olympics.

As to the location of the photo, it was a lay-by on the A44, somewhere west of Llangurig.  It's actually very beautiful and wild scenery, through the Cambrian mountains, following the upper valley of the river Wye.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Town meets country

Still posting random shots.....  I've just returned from a holiday and enjoyed my 60th birthday celebration.  (And, hooray!  My daughter did manage to get us some tickets for the Olympics - basketball!)

I have now taken delivery of a new Mac (I decided an upgrade was going to be more cost-effective than a repair) but it will take me a while to get it up and running with photo software - and, no doubt, even longer until I've updated my skills and knowledge to cope with it.  I'm still able to post on my blog using my old computer, even though it is struggling a bit, so I should be able to keep things going until I get properly organised.

This photo shows a favourite spot of mine, up near Hirst Lock, where a footbridge crosses the River Aire and you can see the tower of Saltaire's New Mill in the distance.  It is a peaceful spot and feels like it might be right out in the countryside, but actually the bridge crosses to a housing estate and is quite a busy thoroughfare.  I had to wait ages until there was no-one walking or cycling over the bridge.  It bounces quite noticeably as people cross and that doesn't make for a sharp photo!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

High spirits

I've taken many photos of Saltaire's New Mill from more or less this spot - but I don't think I've ever seen anyone in the river before.  This was taken a couple of weeks ago and before the recent heavy rain (a month's worth fell in 24 hours), which has caused all sorts of problems across the region this week (see here).  It was a warm day and these boys had decided to brave the weir.  I would have thought there was quite a power to the water over the weir (there used to be a water-powered mill here and they are thinking now of installing a small hydro-electric plant) but they didn't seem to be having any difficulty.  Brave or foolhardy... boys will be boys.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Where the road runs out

Back in the centre of Saltaire at another bridge, though from this view you can't really see it's a bridge.  But this (with the Stables on the left) is where Victoria Road crosses the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.  At one time the road used to continue straight through where the sign now says New Mill, across the river and into Roberts Park.  But the cast iron river bridge was demolished in the 1950s and replaced with a footbridge.  I always like the view from here, with the patchwork of trees and then Hope Hill rising up behind.

Sunday, 24 June 2012


It has been something of a source of frustration for me ever since I was a child, that in one lifetime you can only touch a fraction of all that there is to be explored and known about in the world.  I have always had the sense that my experience is a mere postage-stamp-sized piece on the great postcard of life.

It was with something of that in mind that one day I stopped and really looked at this swing bridge.  Spanning the Leeds-Liverpool Canal just above Hirst Lock, it (or its predecessor) has carried traffic to the little mill beside the river for years and now to the few houses on that side of the canal.  I pass it so often that I hardly notice it, but in fact - small though it is - it is a piece of precision engineering.  It's designed to swing to the side to allow boats through, so every piece must fit together perfectly.  (See also here)

There must be someone somewhere who knows everything there is to know about bridges like this... I wonder what it must feel like, to be someone who knows everything there is to know about bridges like this....  Not that I want to be that person, but it remains a source of amazement and delight to me that people can be so different - aptitudes, skills, experiences, life stories.  Maybe that's part of why I enjoy blogging, because it allows me to glimpse some of the othernesses in the world.  It makes me stop and notice and think.

Friday, 22 June 2012

A profusion of flowers

There was (and I believe still is) an annual competition for the best kept small garden in Saltaire.  Since many of the houses don't actually have front gardens, it's worth creeping along the back alleys to find colourful sights like this.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Another random black and white photo that I haven't had chance to post before.  I was attracted to the shapes and I liked the contrast between the shiny metal and the rough stone.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Wot, no bins?

An alley without rubbish bins... a rare sight in Saltaire! but nevertheless this is a characteristic view of the backs of the terraced houses and lends itself nicely to a mono treatment, I think.

For a more usual 'alley view', see here - and in answer to the comment asking how they empty the bins, I think the waste collectors (maybe even the householders?) have to manhandle them all to the end of the row and then back again.  I'm lucky in that my house, at the other end of Saltaire, has a back lane wide enough for the rubbish wagon, so I only have to put my bin outside the gate.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Old sea dog?

A walk along the canal towpath usually provides some colourful and interesting sights to photograph.  I have to confess that I'm not an especially 'doggy' person... We've never had a dog and so I'm not really tuned in to them.  But even I thought this one was rather attractive, and I liked the jaunty bandana. The dog didn't seem to mind my camera lens directed at him (her?) - alert but curious, and didn't set off into a frenzy of barking like the one further down my street does when anyone walks past.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Leafy lane

A random photo from my stock - Salts Mill from Albert Terrace.  Even at the heart of the built environment there is greenery and leafiness - one of the factors, in my view, that makes Saltaire such a pleasant place to live in and to visit.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Looks like my Mac has to go in for repair, so I am going to schedule a few random posts to keep things ticking over.  In theory I could try some 'extreme blogging' from my iPhone (to coin Alan Burnett's wonderful phrase) but I don't know if my techy skills are up to that!  Hopefully all will be up and running properly again soon.  In the meantime, enjoy this tranquil scene alongside Saltaire's two great mills.

Sunday, 10 June 2012


An attractive study in blue and white.  All Saltaire's street signs have recently been restored to copies of the original blue and white ones - see here.  Money for the project was raised by individual sponsorship of the signs - kind of 'adopt-a-street-sign', which I thought was rather fun.  It's nice to see a house number following suit.

Friday, 8 June 2012

The Wash House Garden

There has been some interesting e-mail correspondence going on about Saltaire's Wash-house and Baths, sparked off by someone who read my blog.  He is researching a book into Victorian Turkish Baths and got in touch with me to ask if I knew of any photos of the building.  It was demolished early in the 20th century, though the actual date seems somewhat unclear.  After I put him in touch with some of the enthusiastic and knowledgeable members of Saltaire's History Club, there has been much ongoing debate to try to clarify some issues like the date the baths were converted to housing, the date of their eventual demolition and the height of the chimney.  Plans were consulted, heads scratched, photos and drawings studied - and I think some progress has been made.  It's interesting that even in a well-researched and preserved place like Saltaire there are still mysteries to be cleared up.  For a fuller account, please read Roger Clarke's article in the June 2012 Issue (114) of the Saltaire Sentinel, our local newsletter, available in PDF format on the Village Website.

Anyway, after all that, I though I'd show a photo of the little square where the Wash-house used to be.  What was once a fairly drab area in the middle of the village has recently been turned into an attractive garden, with the support of a grant from our local Green councillors and some hard work by Friends of Roberts Park's Paul Haigh and others.  It is now being maintained by Paul and a group of volunteers.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

A tribute

Today is an exercise in synchronised blogging!  As many of you will know, News from Nowhere's Alan lives not far away from me - but until a couple of weeks ago we had never met, despite our project in Thornton (see here for details of that).  Among his many and varied interests, he's a keen collector and researcher of old postcards and, through that, he got to know Christine H, whose blog is The Daily Postcard. Christine lives literally on the other side of the globe from here, in Portland, Oregon, USA but when she and her husband came over to the UK on holiday recently, we all decided to meet.  They came Saltaire and we had a convivial chat over coffee in the Half Moon Café, after which I gave them a short guided tour of Saltaire.  To celebrate friendship, the three of us are posting the same photo today (of the three of us in Saltaire's Roberts Park).  Do visit their blogs too - Alan's here and Christine's here.

To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about meeting them but I needn't have worried because we got on really well.  It was hard to believe I hadn't known them all for ages - but then, in a way, I have as we've been reading each other's blogs for a good couple of years.  When I started blogging, I had no idea it would turn out to be such a sociable hobby, like having penfriends all over the world. 

This, then, is a tribute to my two blog friends, whose anecdotes, insights, postcards and photographs enrich my life immeasurably - and to blogging too, which has opened up whole new worlds of enjoyment (and indeed the world itself).  As Alan said when we met, some of our 'normal' friends, we suspect, think blogging is a bit of an odd thing to do ... we know better!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Golden orb

Well, my Royal Jubilee was all rather laid-back.  In the end I couldn't even raise the energy to climb Hope Hill to see the beacon being lit on Monday night. (I was enjoying the televised concert from outside Buckingham Palace.)  There wasn't a great deal happening locally... I think Saltaire has had enough Festivals in the last couple of months.  There was supposed to be a 'Big Lunch' party in Northcliffe Park on Sunday but it rained heavily all day here, as well as in London, so that was all a bit of a damp squib.  I spent all afternoon glued to the TV, watching people getting very wet in boats on the Thames.

So the only bit of sparkle I can offer is this golden orb suspended outside one of Saltaire's old shop properties that has now become a studio for a portrait photographer.  I'm not sure if the orb is permanent or was associated with the recent Arts Trail.  Either way, it provides an interesting reflection of Titus Street.

Let me just mention here too, that I'm having some problems with my Mac starting up at the moment.  So if one day it fails to start up completely, I may disappear from blogland for a while.  Don't worry - my postings and visits this month will be sporadic at best anyway, as I'm having a holiday and celebrating that big birthday.  All being well, everything should be back to 'normal' (whatever that is) by early July.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Diamond girls

The Queen and I have little in common except a name - Elizabeth - and a diamond celebration this year. A lot of little girls born in 1952 were called Elizabeth, I think.  (It's my second name.)  I was almost a year old on Coronation Day (2 June 1953) and, judging by the photo, I had more of a capacity then to get into flag-waving mood than I do now!  I am trying... wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and a red jacket today, and I spent yesterday afternoon watching the Jubilee Pageant on the Thames in London, on TV.  Such a pity about the Great British weather, for everyone involved.  I would have felt a lot happier had the Queen sat down on her 'throne' on the barge, allowed someone to tuck her up in a blanket and wrapped her hands round a mug of hot tea, while she watched it all.  As it was, she stood and looked chilled the whole time, remarkable for a lady of 86 but, I felt, rather above and beyond the call of duty.  But then, she's made of sterner stuff than I... It was so cold and wet here in Yorkshire that I'm ashamed to say I had the gas fire on!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Keeping fit

My preferred way of keeping fit is nothing more demanding than a good walk as often as possible.  Others choose different sports and at weekends you can usually see a few rowers practising on the River Aire through Hirst Woods.  Bradford Amateur Rowing Club has its clubhouse further along by the weir so on this stretch of the river you can observe everything, from very experienced crews to complete novices.  I've quite often witnessed a dramatic capsize, though thankfully they seem to surface again quite quickly!  I am frequently amused listening to the coxes shouting at their crews.  This one saw me with my camera and shouted: 'You're on camera - look amazing!'  I hope you agree they do look amazing. LOL!

Saturday, 2 June 2012


At Dowley Gap, just before you reach the bridge in yesterday's post, the Leeds-Liverpool Canal passes over the River Aire on an aqueduct.  It was constructed in the 1770s, pre-dating Saltaire itself. Unlike some, it's not a great soaring structure... indeed, on the canal you might hardly notice it is an aqueduct and from the river it is hard to see the whole span of it.  My photo shows the main arch with the river flowing through.  I didn't think I had the patience to wait for a boat to pass over, though it would have made the picture a good one.  You may be lucky to see a boat but there aren't that many passing through; it's not an especially busy canal.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Boat and bridge

Just before the Dowley Gap Locks, the towpath crosses over the Leeds- Liverpool canal, necessitating this pretty little bridge (to enable the boat-towing horse to swap sides... see my post of 23 April).  To the left (off-camera) there is a small mill, now converted to a residence.  The narrowboat moored alongside perhaps belongs to the home-owner.  It all makes an attractive scene in the spring sunshine, with perfect reflections in the still water.

I'm linking this to Weekend Reflections - click here to explore more lovely images from across the world, on the theme of reflections.  I usually ignore the Daily Photo theme days too (not being officially a Daily Photo)  but this would fit June's theme of tranquillity very well.