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Tuesday, 30 June 2015


I'm still involved in my online photography club, which consists of ten of us (living all over the UK and further afield) who post an image a month onto Flickr. We have a theme each month and then comment on each other's pictures, which is always an interesting exercise and a nice way to share. The theme for June was 'Green' and this was my offering. I thought that the stone and wood offset the greenery quite nicely.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Horsing around

I rarely have close encounters with horses. There must, however, be a riding school or livery stable in the Tong/Fulneck valley as there were fields full of horses. The footpath ran right through a couple of their fields and the horses were quite friendly. (I never find them as threatening as cattle sometimes appear.) Maybe they thought we had apples... some of them were following us around, looking hopeful. I thought the one above was a very attractive animal. The little brown shetland pony below was pretty too.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Summer meadows

A couple of pictures taken on my walk in the area between Tong village and the Fulneck Moravian settlement, south of Bradford. It's my favourite time of year, with an abundance of lady lace, buttercups and red campion in the meadows and hedgerows.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

A walk - Fulneck and Tong

I enjoyed a most pleasant walk with some friends recently, around the villages of Fulneck and Tong, south of Bradford. It's an area my friends know well as they lived there for many years, but despite it being only a few miles from here, I have only had a walk there a couple of times.

Fulneck, where we started, is technically in Leeds. It was founded in 1744 by a group of settlers from the Moravian church, descendants of the old Bohemian/Czech Unity of the Brethren. Housing and a school were built, as well as a chapel. The school continues as an independent day and boarding school for students and has taken over many of the buildings in the settlement, so that really Fulneck is now all about the school. The chapel, seen here with the clock tower, is a Grade 1 listed building.

Fulneck lies on the side of a pretty valley, through which runs Pudsey Beck. The historic village of Tong is on the opposite side. You can just see Tong Hall among the trees on the horizon, in the picture above. The whole area is subject to a planning battle at the moment, with developers wanting to build thousands of new homes in this area, which is at present designated 'green belt'. 'Green belts' were set up in the 1950s to protect green spaces and prevent urban areas sprawling out to swallow them up. With an urgent need for new housing, there is pressure on local councils to waive the rules.

The walk was circular and the village of Tong was a pleasant stop-off point half-way. There is an excellent tea-room, Goodalls, selling their own farm-made ice-cream. Cinder toffee flavour is to die for!! There's also a pretty cricket field; a very English scene, with cricket and the village pump.

Friday, 26 June 2015


Whilst you've been enjoying (I hope) Saltaire's colourful mini-scenes, I've been away on holiday. I'm also studying an online Photography course with OU (the wonderful Open University). The course continues for another six to eight weeks of hard work (though most enjoyable and instructional so far). I'm not doing much commenting on other blogs, I'm afraid. Apologies, I will resume when I can.

Added to that, my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters are moving house in the first week of July, from London back to Yorkshire. I'm delighted of course. I hope I shall see more of them, albeit for shorter periods of time. I'm interested to see what that means in practice for my accustomed rhythm of life but it will be lovely working it out so that it suits us all. I shall certainly be in demand during the 'moving-in' week for cleaning and childcare.

I have some holiday photos to share here and quite a few pictures from various lovely days out with friends. I might also share some of the photos I am taking as part of the course. But if I am 'quieter' than usual you'll at least understand why.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Saltaire Colour #11

Mono with a pop of colour.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Saltaire Colour #10

Quite subtle colours and strong shapes here.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Saltaire Colour #8

It's my lovely mum's birth date today. She would have been 88. She would have liked this photo so I am dedicating it to her.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Monday, 15 June 2015

Saltaire Colour #1

Wandering around Saltaire during the Arts Trail weekend, I kept finding myself drawn to little pops of colour and subtle colour combinations. The images don't need much explanation, so please enjoy this little series over the next few days.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Fireplace tiles

Back in Saltaire... Part of Salts Mill was once a residence and private office for Sir Titus Salt. No doubt he found it useful to stay there sometimes, rather than make the long journey back to his home near Halifax. I imagine there was a need to entertain visitors too. His quarters now house Saltaire's Tourist Information Centre and The Art Rooms studio and gallery but there are echoes of their history still visible. I was attracted by this old fireplace with its elegant Victorian tiles.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

The Lincoln Imp and a milestone

Inside, Lincoln Cathedral is soaring and light-filled with attractively coloured stonework and bright stained glass windows, including two lovely rose windows known as the Dean's Eye and the Bishop's Eye, both dating back to the late Middle Ages. In the Angel Choir (at the farthest, east end of the building) is a famous carving: the Lincoln Imp. Legend has it that two imps were sent by Satan to do evil work on Earth. They came to Lincoln Cathedral, where they smashed chairs and tripped up the Bishop. An angel appeared and ordered them to stop. One escaped but the other was turned to stone. Can you see him, just above the carved head? Many of our churches and cathedrals have 'colourful' carvings and gargoyles. The medieval stonemasons and woodcarvers must have had a sense of humour.

And this, folks, is my 2000th blog post! I never dreamed
when I started that I would go on so long nor enjoy blogging so much.
Another milestone...

Friday, 12 June 2015

Cathedral Close

The buildings that make up Lincoln Cathedral's precincts, known as the Cathedral Close and Minster Yard, are particularly attractive. Some date back to medieval times but of course some have been altered and others built since then. There are walls and several 'gates' too, like this one known as Exchequergate. The horse and carriage provides guided tours around Lincoln.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Lincoln Cathedral

The castle walls give by far the best vantage point from which to see the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral. Originally begun on the orders of William the Conqueror and consecrated in 1092, the rounded arches of the West front date back to this time. A fire and then an earthquake in 1185 meant it required substantial rebuilding and this was done in the Gothic style with pointed arches and flying buttresses. Conservation work on our great cathedrals continues all the time. It is rare to see one without some scaffolding somewhere! Seen from this view, you can also enjoy the clustering of narrow streets and clay-tiled roofs around the cathedral precincts.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Victorian prison

Within the walls of Lincoln Castle is a restored Victorian prison, designed to keep prisoners separate from each other to avoid corrupting influences and to encourage repentance and reformation. It has the only remaining 'separate system' chapel, built with individual enclosed stalls so that prisoners could only see the chaplain and not their fellow prisoners. The interpretation is excellent and very educational. Children can dress up as prisoners or staff members and there are interactive touch screen displays and lots of stories about the people who were held there, some children as young as eight. Fascinating. 

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Lincoln Castle

Lincoln has a fine castle, originally built by William the Conqueror in 1068 on the site of a Roman fortress. You can clearly see, in the photo above, the original 'motte' - the earth mound on which the Norman castle was built. Of course, it has undergone huge changes over the years and many structures have been added to the original.

It has recently undergone some restoration so that you can now walk the entire circuit of its great stone curtain walls and explore its towers and dungeons. At one time public hangings were carried out there, witnessed by the townspeople gathered in the streets below. There is a graveyard within one of the towers, where some of those hanged are buried.

Lincoln has one of the four remaining original copies of the Magna Carta, the charter of liberties agreed between King John and the barons exactly 800 years ago, which enshrined the principle that the monarch had to act within the rule of law and gave rights to 'freemen'. It influenced the American constitution and even today it stands as an important symbol of liberty. It is now housed in a purpose-built vault within the Castle so that visitors can see it and learn its history.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Moo-ching about

I spent a few days recently at my sister's home in Lincolnshire. It couldn't be more different from my home area in Yorkshire. Whereas it's all hills here, there it's mostly very flat. There is a string of 'cliff' villages that meander south from the city of Lincoln itself, along a ridge of higher ground known as the Lincolnshire Edge or Cliff, giving amazing views westwards across the Vale of Trent. It's an area of mostly arable farms and the yellow rape flowers add bright colour to the scene at this time of year. It's probably my favourite time of year, when the hawthorn is in blossom and lady lace fills the field margins. Our walk was slightly enlivened by these calves. (That's probably not the right term for the critters but, as a townie, I'm not up on the precise language!)

Sunday, 7 June 2015


The little community garden at Hirst Lock has matured and is looking very pretty; it's hard to remember now that about four years ago it was quite a bleak and bare area, until the Hirst Wood Regeneration Group decided to create something for people to enjoy. Behind it the wildlife reserve is coming along well, though it looks a bit too manicured at present. I suppose getting the hard landscaping of walls, seats and paths in place is important and the planting (and wildlife hopefully) will soon establish itself to soften it all.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Vintage bus

Inevitably, given its attractive situation, Saltaire's church seems to host quite a few weddings. It's not often that you see a vintage bus parked there though. The scene looked rather good, I thought. Congratulations to the happy couple, whoever they are.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Twisty wisty

One of the big end-terraces at the eastern boundary of the original Saltaire village (this house) has a larger garden than most. It is carefully tended and has colour most of the year round. At the moment this gorgeous old wisteria is in blossom. When the flowers have faded, the sculptural shape of the plant's twisted stems still adds interest.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The 'Fringe'

All the best festivals have a 'fringe' - and Saltaire Arts Trail is no different. There were a number of other exhibitions - Leeds Photographic Society on the top floor of Salts Mill, Saltaire Art Club in the Methodist Church and my own church's photography group exhibition in St Peter's Church. I was pleased with the way it looked once we had got all the photos displayed and gratified at some of the comments made about my own work. We had quite a good number of visitors too, so it was worth the effort.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

But is it art...?

Saltaire Arts Trail 2015 - an 'added extra' in one of the Open Houses. This reptile (lizard?) was, perhaps understandably, a greater attraction for the little girl than all the fine art displayed in the room. I'm not actually sure what it is, exactly, but it seemed quite happy to be stroked. Maybe they should consider having a 'pets trail' as an additional feature of the festival...

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Mark Rowney

Saltaire Arts Trail 2015 - Also part of the Rural Crafts Re-imagined... tour, Mark Rowney's leatherwork, carved and painted using traditional saddlery techniques, was stunning in its detail. The bird and flowers (above) was one of six individual panels in a door, each panel unique but complementary to the others. The bird and foliage below was a beautiful bas-relief.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Lizzie Farey

Saltaire Arts Trail 2015 - I was very much drawn, this year, to the sculptural works, many made of natural materials. These baskets and spheres are by the sculptor Lizzie Farey. Lizzie first learned the craft of traditional basketmaking and has branched out (!) into weaving these organic sculptural forms, drawing inspiration from nature and from a deep relationship with the materials she uses, many of which she grows herself. She uses willow, but also birch, heather, bog myrtle and many other woods from Scotland, where she now lives. The sphere on the right was my favourite - made of pussy willow, the white dots are the soft, furry catkins. I also loved the woven basket in the foreground of the large picture - it had a timelessness to it that was most appealing to me. It looked as though it could have been made at any point in history from medieval times onwards. 

Lizzie was exhibiting, alongside the stone carver Pip Hall, leather and woodworkers and a blacksmith, as part of a touring exhibition: Rural Craft Re-imagined... championing British craft and celebrating the contribution of heritage craft to contemporary design.