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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Church and pub

Church and pub, two traditional cornerstones of English society. Early spring sunshine always brings out the crowds, though I did think people were a little optimistic to be sitting drinking outside the pub. The wind was decidedly chilly. As my daughter observed, at this time of year there are only two sorts of people... those who are over-dressed and those who are under-dressed for the temperatures. This is a different view of Skipton's Holy Trinity Church, which I have have shown before on this blog. It stands in a prominent position at the top of the main street and beside Skipton Castle.

Monday, 29 April 2013

An outing!

At long last the spring seems to be arriving here... enough, at least, to entice me out.  My first trip was to nearby Skipton. My ulterior motive was to buy some shoes. Skipton retains a good mix of smaller shops and independents. I've always found it a manageable place to shop; it's not too big to be overwhelming. It has a really good open-air market too. Disaster then, to discover that my favourite shoe shops had both closed since I was last there. A sign of the times I'm afraid. The other sign of the times is finding myself in that uncomfortable age bracket where many clothes and shoes are just 'too young' for me now (I don't want to be 'mutton dressed as lamb', as the saying goes) and the opposite extreme, the 'classics' option, is way too old. I neither want tight, slim-leg trousers (pants for my US readership!) nor elasticated waists.

I took solace in framing up a few photos. Skipton is always good for a cheery picture, with lots of activity around the canal basin.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Round towers

I am always intrigued by this pair of semi-detached houses near the centre of Shipley. They have a most unusual design with round towers and a metal-railed balcony with a design of entwined Yorkshire roses. I'm sure they must have an interesting history but I have not been able to find out anything about them. Sadly they have seen better days and could do with a bit of sprucing up.

Saturday, 27 April 2013


Shipley College, based in Saltaire, offer a floristry course. I imagine it was their students who created this Easter/Spring inspired display in the window of the Old Dining Hall. I liked the way it linked with the reflection of the old lampost and the Salts Mill building across the road.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Small is beautiful

Miniature daffodils fit prettily into even the smallest of Saltaire gardens. Spring flowers are a welcome sight after the very long winter. I'm frustrated with myself that my own small garden does not in the least resemble this. Must try harder!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


A few sunny and somewhat warmer days have encouraged signs of spring in Saltaire. This cherry tree seems to have started blossoming from the ground up - do they always do that? If they do, I've never noticed before. It reminds me of the coming of Spring in Narnia!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Keep your eye on the ball

I am admiring of those who can juggle. I have always been one of those folks who can't catch for toffee. Throw me a ball, some keys or anything and I will drop it. After being the butt of other people's scorn as a child, the inability has now become part of me. I have a sneaking suspicion that with a lot of perseverance I might master the skill... but since there are many skills I feel would be more valuable at this stage of life (most DIY skills for a start... why don't they teach you to use a drill or screwdriver at school?) then I shall pass up the chance to learn to juggle. I was happy to be entertained by this gentleman, who was delighting travellers on the Shipley Glen Tramway at the weekend. He started with three, then four, then five balls - although one of them did keep going missing in his hat brim. LOL.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Saltaire at play

The chilly, dull weather last weekend may have prevented the advertised cricket match (which was to have been played in Victorian dress). It did not deter the many children who swarmed all over the playground next to Roberts Park. That playground must be one of the best uses of public money ever... It's always packed with children and young people enjoying the imaginative pieces of equipment and the skateboard ramps.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Saltaire Village People

Continuing the alpaca theme (see Wednesday) this is the one that actually lives in the village!  He was guarding the bandstand, where some children were busily creating their own little decorated cardboard alpacas to take home. He's got his beady eye on you....

Thursday, 18 April 2013


I know I have mentioned the iron footbridge that links Saltaire with Roberts Park, crossing over the River Aire. I'm not sure whether I have ever posted a photo of it before. It was built to replace a road bridge that came straight down from Victoria Road, crossing to the left of this picture (see here for an artists's image of that). The road bridge was declared unsafe many years ago and demolished. Its replacement is functional rather than beautiful. The opposite is true of the host of yellow daffodils dancing in the foreground.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


The Greenside Alpacas were visiting Saltaire again as part of the World Heritage Celebrations. It always feels good to see them. They remind us of the debt that Saltaire owes to its founder, Sir Titus Salt's persistance in experimenting with spinning and weaving their wool. He eventually discovered how to make a fine, lustrous cloth that Victorian ladies coveted and that made him a fortune. Their wool looks soft enough to make me want to run my fingers through it, but in fact alpacas seem a bit skittish and not overly fond of being stroked. They had also been very messy with their food (hay) so that both their fleeces were covered in bits!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Let the fun begin

The annual World Heritage Celebration in Saltaire took place at the weekend. OK, last year it was held (just) a week later, but then there was a green haze on all the trees and the spring flowers and blossom were out in abundance (see here). In contrast, this year we still seemed entrapped in winter, with bare trees and an ongoing chill and greyness to the weather (though it has turned a bit brighter since). It didn't prevent some folks turning out to enjoy what was on offer in Saltaire (and buying hot snacks from the ice-cream boat!)  There were exhibitions, music and children's activities - but it didn't seem to have anything like last year's buzz to it. Maybe it's just me feeling lacklustre, but I don't think I'm alone in that. I could hardly be bothered to take any photos... most unlike my usual self. (There was one photographer working hard. If you look closely at my photo you'll see him at the far end of the boat. It is a fellow blogger, Martin, who does the 'Bradford, My Town' blog.)

I have featured The Kennet before. It's a barge of the type that once plied up and down the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, ferrying goods. Now beautifully and fully restored, it functions as a museum and educational space. The white tent alongside was promoting the work of the Canal and River Trust, the newly-created charity that now looks after Britain's network of inland waterways.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Come in!

A modern-day Lowry view of the new Trinity Leeds centre, as shoppers hurry into the mall through one of its eight entrances. In the far background you can see one of the many very beautiful old red-brick buildings in Leeds city centre.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Holy Trinity Church and a horse

Trinity Leeds is named after the nearby Holy Trinity Church, whose distinctive 'wedding cake' tiered steeple can be seen through the shopping centre's glass roof.  The church is Georgian, dating back to 1727 and the worshipping congregation shares the church with a lively community arts centre, a successful partnership to ensure that the old building retains a valuable place in the heart of the city.

The sculpture inside the shopping mall is an enormous 15m high horse - Equus Altus (High Horse) - designed by Andy Scott. Gleaming silver (I'm not sure what it's made of... steel, presumably) it towers over the shopping area. It is inspired by the historic use of packhorses as transport within the city of Leeds, especially related to the textile industry.

I should have made clear that the new mall is not an 'out-of-town' shopping centre but is actually right in the heart of Leeds city centre. But that doesn't alter the fact that it skews the locus of shopping within the city and leaves other shops empty as stores have shifted to the new area. It may have an effect on those businesses located on the periphery.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The holy Trinity

Leeds has a new temple for those who like to shop til they drop. Trinity Leeds shopping centre opened at Easter, the only new shopping mall to be completed in Western Europe in 2013 and the first in the UK since 2011 when Westfield opened, adjacent to the London Olympic Park. It had 130,000 visitors on its first day and a week or so later, when I went, it was still very busy, despite it being a really cold day. In fact I thought it was freezing inside. The fancy glass roof doesn't completely seal the whole thing and there are large areas where the wind whistles through. Many of the new restaurants have 'outdoor' seating areas but they were not using them. I'm not an enthusiastic shopper and I was fairly underwhelmed.  The shops are just newer, smarter versions of the same old high street names, and indeed their former premises in the city are now empty so it seems to have merely shifted the locus of shopping within the city. (There is, however, a brand new Apple store.)

It means Leeds now ranks (reputedly) fourth in the UK as a shopping destination (after London, Glasgow and Birmingham). Yet another huge gulf is opening up between Leeds and nearby Bradford, which still has the infamous 'hole' where a shopping centre was going to be built.  There's no way back for Bradford, I fear.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Let us eat cake

I've been meaning to visit this café on Gordon Terrace in Saltaire for ages... It's funny, isn't it, that you don't necessarily frequent your local cafés and attractions, unless you have visitors to impress!  It always seems a super-indulgence to eat out, when home is just around the corner.  But my friend and I decided we deserved a super-indulgence, after the long winter we've had. Cue frothy coffee and cup-cakes.

Jeanette's Cakery has been open for a good year or so, and is usually pretty busy (always a good sign). Inside it's a visual treat, decorated in kitsch 1940/50s style (including the waitresses), with mismatched florals in the Cath Kidston tradition and lots of bunting, pretty flowers and sweet vintage crockery. Drinks are indulgent (Love Potion No 9, anyone?), cupcakes light and delicious. Because all the baking is done on the premises, there is an ever-changing menu, with some really attractive and unusual cakes. Mine (pictured) was a pear bakewell: kind of almondy with a sweet chunk of pear right in the middle. You can also get sandwiches, snacks or a full traditional afternoon tea.  And (oh joy!) you can buy little hampers of cakes to take home too. It was my first visit, but it certainly won't be my last.

It has been a chilly weekend but at least the sun shone and it did start to feel a little more spring-like. Hooray.

Saturday, 6 April 2013


Not far from Bradford's university campus, the observant visitor walking down to the city centre might notice this poignant memorial. It marks the spot where PC Sharon Beshenivsky was shot dead at point blank range and her colleague PC Teresa Milburn seriously wounded, by armed robbers who had just stolen £5405 from a travel agent's premises. Both the police officers were probationers, responding to reports of a disturbance. PC Beshenivksy was the seventh female police officer to be killed on duty in England and Wales. Six men were subsequently arrested and convicted. One of the notable aspects of the case was that CCTV and number-plate recognition technology was used to track the men as they made their getaway.... a stark reminder of the amount of surveillance in our city centres, and perhaps a vindication of it.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

In balance

One of several modern sculptures dotted around Bradford University's campus, this one is called 'In Balance'. Designed by Richard Thornton and constructed in stainless steel and bronze, it is a loose depiction of a globe, with different segments finely balanced on each other. The etched surfaces suggest some of the different areas of study within the university.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Blue sky thinking

Another view of part of the University of Bradford. It is a largely science-based university: engineering, computing, life sciences, management studies, social and international studies. The block on the left houses the Department of Health Studies. Bradford was the first university to establish a Department of Peace Studies, and is still the largest academic centre in the world for studying peace and conflict. There is also important research in cancer therapeutics, among many other areas of excellence.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Alma Mater

Jack (Hartford Daily Photo) asked me recently how I came to live in this area. I was raised in the Midlands but came to study at Bradford University (many) years ago and I've stayed in Yorkshire ever since. I had a little nostalgia trip recently, up to the main university campus. It has grown over the years. The core of this block, the Richmond Building, was there when I was a student but it has had a face-lift and a magnificent glass atrium now sits where the all-important Students Union bar used to be! The beige bit on the very right hand side was/is the main hall - scene of many a lively rock concert in my youth and, later, the hall where I shook hands with Harold Wilson (who was the University Chancellor at the time) when I received my degree. I actually studied at the School of Management, which is on another site, but the main university campus was the focus of much of my social life. Ah... those were the days!