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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

In festive mood

Haworth is a magnet for tourists as a result of its old-fashioned charm and the important Brontë connection. During the year, it holds several themed weekends and the bunting was still flying after the recent 1940s Weekend.  (Click the 1940s label below to see pictures I took at the 1940s weekend in 2012.) The Black Bull pub has been there since Victorian times and was a frequent haunt of Branwell Brontë.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Main Street

This is one of the views most associated with the village of Haworth, looking down the traditionally cobbled Main Street, with wonderful views of the surrounding countryside beyond. One of the stages of the Tour de France in 2014 had the cyclists riding UP this street!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

School Room

On the Haworth film set, they have also built a replica of the old School Room, which occupies the lane beyond the Parish Church and leading up to the Parsonage. Rev'd Patrick Brontë was a passionate social reformer and he fought for and eventually built a school to educate the poor children of Haworth, which in the early 1800s was a dreadful, disease-ridden and impoverished village where people's life expectancy was well below that of the rural area around it. Almost half the children born there died before reaching their fifth birthday. The school opened in 1832. All of the Brontë sisters taught there at one time or another. It was also the venue for the wedding celebration when Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls in 1854. It closed as a school in 1903 and has since been used as a community hall. It (the real one!) was hosting a sale of vintage clothes and wedding dresses on the day I visited. 

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Real or fake?

This is what they have been building up on Penistone Hill above Haworth. It is a replica of Haworth Parsonage, where the three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Anne and Emily, lived with their clergyman father, Patrick, and their brother, Branwell.

When they lived there, the house lacked the additional gable that the real building now has. That was added by the clergyman, John Wade, who lived there after the Brontës. (He had 'private means' and was considerably better off than the impoverished writers.) Furthermore, the actual Parsonage is now deep in trees, which have also been planted since the family lived there. The film makers have decided to create something more authentic to the period (1840s) rather than try and film round the Parsonage itself, though they are, I believe, going to film some scenes in Haworth's actual main street too.

When I went to look, they were still busy painting the railings and adding the finishing touches to the set. Considering it is a light wooden structure, I think it looks astonishingly realistic, don't you?

I have added a photo below of the Parsonage as it is today, for comparison. The graveyard is still there but it was behind me in the photo below, beyond the garden wall.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Close up clues

Walk a little closer to the strange structures that have appeared on the moors above Haworth and all becomes clearer.

They are constructing a huge film set, which is now almost complete. The film, 'To Walk Invisible', will tell the story of Haworth's famous Brontë family, in particular the increasingly difficult relationship between the three celebrated writers, Charlotte, Anne and Emily and their brother Branwell, who in the last three years of his life and following a tragic love affair, descended into drink, drugs and wild behaviour.  It is written by the brilliant, award winning Yorkshire writer and playwright Sally Wainwright (who also wrote 'Last Tango in Halifax' and 'Happy Valley'). 

I believe they are due to start the actual filming next week, after the Bank Holiday weekend. There were huge trucks moving into one of the carparks on the edge of the village when I was there. They will be filming in the village itself; Haworth Main Street is being reverted back to the 1840s. However, their home, the Brontë Parsonage and its surroundings have been irrevocably altered over the years - not least because they are now surrounded by huge trees. So they are building replicas on the moors above the village, to be closer to the originals as they were in the time of the Brontës.Interior scenes will be filmed in Manchester. Such a massive undertaking to create one 120-minute drama....

I understand the drama will be aired on BBC TV around Christmas. It is one of a number of events marking the 200th anniversary of Charlotte Brontë's birth (on April 21st this year).

The cast has recently been revealed (see here) - and it is good to know they will have 'luxury loos' whilst filming up on the moors!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Above Haworth

I made a pilgrimage to Haworth recently. It feels good for mind, soul and body to take a brisk walk on those windswept moors above the village. The views of landscape and sky from Penistone Hill, the highest point in the area, are simply stunning. This is looking west across Lower Laithe Reservoir, with the village of Stanbury in the middle distance.

What, then, would you think if you came across this odd structure (below) in the middle of the moors?  Find out what it is tomorrow...

Wednesday, 25 May 2016


Camellias have such rich colours and are wonderfully showy blooms. This is a particularly pretty pink; I'd love a sweater in that colour. Such a pity that in this country they flower in early spring and almost always get blighted by frost. It makes them turn brown. Magnolias tend to suffer in the same way. I suppose they are non-native, originating from south-east Asia and so they are not especially suited to our northern climate.

These photos were also taken at RHS Harlow Carr Gardens. It is amazing how much the trees have leafed out in the three weeks since I was there. I have a few more pictures taken there that I might post at some point. Everywhere looks so pretty at this time of year and there is so much happening that I've ended up with a sudden glut of photos and don't have time to show them all. It seems wrong to get hopelessly out of sync with events. So, something different tomorrow...

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Christmas tree?

My original posts for today and yesterday have disappeared... Blogger suddenly started duplicating posts, so I deleted some of the duplicated drafts - and then the originals disappeared too! Along with everyone's comments. Grr. Sorry to those who took time to comment.

I can't remember what I said about this, except that I like the wonderful purple cone-like blooms. With their glowing red tips, they look like little candles on a Christmas tree.  I have no idea what species the tree is. RHS Harlow Carr has some exotic and interesting cultivars.

I was pleased with how my new lens performed on this one too.  It's good to be able to play around a bit more with depth of field though I have yet to perfect the art.

Monday, 23 May 2016


This post suddenly disappeared and I've had to repost it, so apologies to those people whose comments have been lost.

I like these old clay flowerpots much better than the plastic ones that are ubiquitous these days.  I can't imagine they use them at Harlow Carr much now either. These were piled up and displayed in an old shed along with some vintage garden tools, more to add atmosphere than anything, I suppose.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

What's that bird?

Here's a different kind of bird. Can you tell what it is meant to be?  There are one or two metal sculptures and some willow ones too, scattered around the gardens at Harlow Carr. I rather liked this one and I think it captures the 'jizz' of a kingfisher rather cleverly and quite accurately.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

The red, red robin

There were plenty of little birds enjoying the sunshine and, with few leaves on the trees, it was a good time to spot them. Harlow Carr must be bird paradise... there are nest boxes and areas that are carefully managed for wildlife so there must be abundant food - and no cats, at least as far as I have seen.

I was trying out my new lens. (Hooray, finally treated myself!) I have been feeling for some time that I needed a bit more 'reach' than my old 18-55mm lens had. After much deliberation I have bought an 18-200mm. I realised that I wasn't going to be bothered a) to carry more than one lens and b) to start swapping lenses over whilst I am out and about. Getting one that covered the same ground plus a bit more seemed sensible. It's a bit heavier but not unreasonably so. I am on a learning curve now, particularly in terms of getting the depth of field right. It does mean I stand more chance of getting photos of wildlife, though it's not something I am very practised at so far. At least robins sit there obligingly and don't freak out too much when a person turns a camera on them!

Friday, 20 May 2016

Odd one out

Inevitably, there were many tulips on display at Harlow Carr Gardens. I do love them (note to self.... must visit The Keukenhof in The Netherlands one spring.) The blooms have such vibrant colours and so many different variations.  I was amused to see the one pink flower in this bed of red and yellow. Dare to be different!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

RHS spring

Going back in time now, to the May Day bank holiday weekend, as I haven't got round to posting this series. The weather then was cold and windy with heavy showers, not very spring-like at all. (It has improved a bit since.) I was craving colour and warmth so I decided to visit the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) gardens at Harlow Carr near Harrogate. Regular readers will remember a visit there before, though not in the spring. (Look back at September and October 2014 for photos - or click the 'Harlow Carr' label below.) I found some colour there but, alas, little warmth on the day I went. It was well into the afternoon before the sun came out and the weak rays held scant power. Nevertheless, it is a great place to explore. As befits such a renowned garden, the planting is inspired and there are many unusual and interesting cultivars.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Rhapsody in blue

More bluebells... here I was struck by the fresh green of the new beech leaves against the haze of blue.

Here I was looking for an interesting composition, playing with the potential of the fallen trunks as 'lead-in' lines - but the other tree trunks rather interfere with it.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Drifts of blue

At this time of year I have to get my annual 'fix' of bluebells. People go all the way to Ilkley's Middleton Woods in search of them but to my mind the show in Saltaire's Hirst Woods is at least as good, if not better. Every year I am looking for 'the perfect shot' and I never find it. Even the best photo does not convey the scent and the sight of those hazy drifts of blue. In these, I was seeking to convey the shimmery effect of the massed blooms, stretching right into the distance.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Affordable housing?

I keep getting flyers through my letterbox from estate agents asking if I want to sell my house. It seems there is a lack of affordable housing in the local area. Even so, I think trying to sell a post box may be going a bit far....

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Leaf patterns

The sun comes out and I start seeing patterns....

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Neck and neck

Three Dragon Boat teams competed in each qualifying race, and each team had three qualifying races. Each team's single fastest qualifying time over the three races was then collated. The Grand Final Race then took place between the fastest teams, to decide the overall winner.  Many of the heats were neck and neck - and only one boat capsized, which was pretty good, I guess. Then the Grand Final had to be rerun owing to a collision but, all in all, things went rather well.

The river bank isn't designed for lots of spectators and it was tricky to find a good spot to take photos from. There was a large screen in the park showing the races, along with lots of attractions for visitors: fairground rides, food stalls, bars, music and a street market. And there was a cricket match going on too! It was all great fun, made more special by the delightful weather.

And the winners were..... Red Phoenix, a team from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Well done to them!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Effort and determination

2016 Bradford Dragon Boat Festival:  Thrills, spills (well, only one), the occasional collision and lots of splashing. The teams were really determined....

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Dragon Boat teams

These are some of the 44 teams of volunteers who entered the 2016 Dragon Boat Festival, held on the River Aire in Saltaire's Roberts Park. Each crew has sixteen paddlers and a drummer, many of whom may never have been in a dragon boat before the day! Some basic instruction is given before the start and each boat is steered by a qualified instructor from the Race The Dragon organising body.  (I have to say that it seemed incredibly well organised).

'Maggie's Slayers' are a team from Bradford Council Children's Services.

In the pink, 'This Girl Can' are a team from Bradford Council's Sport and Culture department.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Dragon Boat Festival 2016

Roberts Park played host to the second Bradford Dragon Boat Festival, which looks like becoming another annual fixture in Saltaire's busy calendar. Last year the river was in flood and the races had to take place on the canal. In contrast, this year saw one of the first really warm and sunny days of the year, ideal weather that brought the crowds out in force. The proceedings were started by Bradford's current Lord Mayor, Councillor Joanne Dodds.  The event raises funds for the Lord Mayor's Charity Appeal, which this year is supporting the Bradford Children's Hospital Fund and Spread a Smile which gives small grants to local community groups.

The Lord Mayor posed for a photo with the SSWC team from Shipley and Saltaire Wellness Centre. The gentleman in the black top is an actor, John Middleton, who plays Ashely Thomas, the vicar in the popular TV soap 'Emmerdale'.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

More fun in the park

Ooh, something happening in Roberts Park again...

Monday, 9 May 2016


Walking back down Hall Lane to my workplace, from the park shown yesterday, I am treated to this view over Bradford. It clearly shows how the city is built in a bowl nestled among hills. As a schoolgirl (many years ago, haha!) I studied A-level Geography. We went on a field trip to the Lake District and I vividly remember my teacher taking the minibus on a slight detour on the way back, so that she could stop and show us the view looking over Bradford and tell us about its geography. Little did I know that I'd be living here one day!

The view makes me nostalgic for those hills and moors in the distance: Hope Hill and then Baildon and Ilkley moors. You can almost see Saltaire snuggled below them. The red roof in the middle, just behind the telegraph post, is the roof of Bradford City's football stadium. In front and to the left is the city centre. Usually the clock tower of City Hall would be noticeable and you can see it (just behind that long yellow building on the left) but it is currently shrouded in scaffolding and dark netting that makes it less visible in the photo.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

In Bowling Park

This is Bowling Park, which I have discovered about half a mile (uphill!) from where I now work. As parks go, it seems a bit bare and neglected - although to be fair I have not had time really to explore it. At least there are trees and green and somewhere a little away from the traffic and industry of the area. The avenue through the trees (below) might once have been as lovely and grand as the top promenade in Saltaire's Roberts Park. I suppose the park was at one time connected with the model industrial village of Ripley Ville, which was built in this area. The village has long since disappeared but the keen-eyed can still discern fascinating echoes of the past.

Incidentally, just across the road that bounds the park, to the top left of the above photo, is the ancient manor house called Bolling Hall. See here for a post about that.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Relics of the industrial past

Men and machines, noise, pollution, traffic... an alien world as far as I am concerned. I've mentioned before that the area around my temporary office is pretty grim and it's taking some getting used to, compared with the relatively attractive area around Saltaire where I live and where I worked until recently.  I am, however, determined to continue with my lunchtime walks, feeling that I need the exercise to combat being desk-bound the rest of the day. I was mildly cheered by a report on TV tonight that said that, despite the traffic pollution, city walking is still beneficial to most people's health overall. I must say I was beginning to wonder, as I choked on more diesel fumes. I nearly got mown down by a speeding van, whose driver was struggling to control it as he held a mobile phone to his ear! Scary; the pavements are so narrow.

Anyway, to get to the point of the photo... I have ventured a little further as the weather has improved. I have actually found a park nearby, though just walking to the park entrance and back takes up most of my allotted lunchtime, never mind venturing inside. It's an uphill walk to get there, meaning nice views over the city coming back. I also passed this curious relic of times past. It is an old railway crossing barrier, though the railway itself has long gone.

I have researched a bit online and found an interesting description. It was indeed a railway line and this was the Hall Lane level crossing. It appears to have been mainly used by goods trains, at least latterly, and closed in 1985. The report says the tracks survive here but I didn't notice them. There is a photo with the report, taken in 2010, that shows them but they have now apparently disappeared. More exciting, it seems this area was once a Victorian 'model' village, similar to Saltaire, called Ripley Ville. It was built between 1866 and 1881 (a little after Saltaire) for Henry William Ripley, a local politician and partner in Bowling Dyeworks. Apparently everything, apart from some almshouses, had been demolished by 1970.  (There was mass demolition of lots of Bradford's Victorian buildings in the 1970s. It's a wonder Saltaire survived!)