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Tuesday, 31 January 2017


At this time of year, hereabouts, you might be told to "Get tha Damart on" if it gets particularly chilly. Damart is a brand of thermal underwear, made from Thermolactyl, a unique patented man-made fibre. The Damartex brand is French but for many years the UK head-office has been here in Bingley, at Bowling Green Mills, beside the canal. The company have a large mail-order business, mainly selling classic clothing, underwear and homeware. I do have some Damart thermal wear, dating back to when I had a season ticket for the local football team, Bradford City. Thick, fluffy thermals were very necessary on the stadium terraces in winter and I can testify to their cosiness. Of late, I have favoured merino wool baselayers, finding them more comfortable and breathable for active walking, which is my favourite winter pursuit these days.

Monday, 30 January 2017

A miscellany

On our walk home, my friend and I passed some allotments. I'd never noticed this wonderful mélange of statues and pots before. A Buddha rubs shoulders with St Francis, who appears to have slain an evil gnome, in order, perhaps, to save the small yellow bird. I'm not quite sure where the Womble fits into the story but I thought it completed a fabulous collection!

Sunday, 29 January 2017


I didn't take many photos at the Coppice Pond this time, as it was such a dull day with very low light. The lake, rather attractive in brighter conditions (see here), can look very bleak in poor weather. Even the ducks seemed a bit dejected, hanging around the edge in little groups. 

My friend introduced me to this hidden pathway, where a channel 'ducks' under an unusual old footbridge and then a sturdier bridge behind it that carries the estate driveway. I can only assume that at one time the channel was a water course. The Coppice Pond was a feeder lake for a fulling mill that stood to the east of the water. 

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Burning a pest

Another day, a different friend, another good (five mile) circular walk up the hill to Bingley St Ives, around the Coppice Pond and back. On the way we saw woodsmen (woodspeople?) burning rhododendrons. A notice said that this was Phytophthora Ramorum control, containment action ordered by DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

I don't know anything about it, other than what I can find on good old Google. It says Phytophthora Ramorum is a fungal disease that affects trees: oaks in North America but conifers like larch are more usually affected here. It is spread by spores and infected trees have to be felled. Rhododendrons are apparently being cleared since they can be affected too. They are an attractive but also invasive pest in our woodlands and action has been taken for many years to try and limit their spread, but this fungal pathogen must have increased the urgency for defensive action. This area of England is high risk for the disease and the work that we observed at St Ives was in a grove of conifers.

Friday, 27 January 2017

All that jazz

Playing again... The patterns of Salts Mill reflected in the canal change all the time, depending on the light and the wind. Here, I was fascinated to observe the roofline as a rippling zig-zag, flowing up and down. I thought it made for a rather jazzy image.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Salt gate

A view from the lakeside in Bradford's Lister Park, looking down towards the entrance gate called the Norman Arch and the ornate monument holding a statue of Saltaire's own Sir Titus Salt (see also here).

Wednesday, 25 January 2017


There was an interesting exhibition in Cartwright Hall, the art gallery in Lister Park in Bradford: 'Assignments 2016,' the year's best press photographs as chosen by the British Press Photographer's Association (BPPA). Some great stuff (see them all here).  There was one I particularly liked, taken by Peter Nicholls, of HM the Queen talking to someone. It just showed the back of her hat, with the other person gesticulating so that it looked like they were about to grab the hat. I think it's interesting that you can instantly recognise the Queen just from her hat!
After seeing the exhibition, I wandered through the surrounding park. There appeared to be a seagulls' convention going on.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Girl power

These are my own two powerful girls on the Shipley Women's March. It's more than 100 years since suffragettes fought for the right of women to vote in this country. That didn't come, fully, until 1928. It leaves me feeling very sad that the struggle for genuine equality and respect for women and minority groups, and against racism still continues and, in particular, that we have to fight so hard against the prejudices shown by those in government, who are supposed to represent us. We seem in some areas in danger of going backwards. Who'd have thought that we'd still be marching in the 21st century? I don't by any means think that marching is the solution to the issues that confront us but it's good to feel the unity and the potential, locally and across the nations.  (See here for an article about the Shipley March)

Monday, 23 January 2017


 Some of the many inventive banners that people were carrying on the Shipley Women's March.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Shipley Women's March

There was a brilliant turnout on Saturday in Shipley for the Women's March. It was organised by 'Shipley Feminist Zealots' (who formed after our local MP, the Conservative Philip Davies, famously made a speech at a conference last summer on men's issues in which he said: "Feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it.") It was one of a number of marches in the UK taking place in solidarity with our sisters in Washington DC, who are demonstrating their opposition to the newly elected President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. Most of the marches were in the big cities so I was proud of our little town. Estimates suggest there were more than 1500 marchers in Shipley.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Autumn, winter, spring?

We've had quite a few dull, damp, misty days lately, when the daylight never really seems to fully arrive. I find this time of year unutterably depressing if I let myself fall into the slough of despond. I need to motivate myself to get out and experience it anyway. Luckily, I've good friends who enjoy a walk too, so we donned our boots and waterproofs and did a seven miler right from our own front doors, hardly touching a road in the process. Actually, I felt overdressed in the end as it was very mild and after a while the act of walking itself generates quite some heat, especially going uphill. Though I was glad of the waterproof layers when I slipped in my muddy boots on a rock and landed on my behind in the mud!  My camera was, thankfully, unscathed, as was I. Nature is in transition; some trees never seem to lose their autumn leaves and then careful observation discovers some spring bulbs, mostly snowdrops, poking their way into the light. The photo is taken in the woods around Heaton.

Friday, 20 January 2017


'Funny Cow' filming in Saltaire
I'd assumed that since the village was being used to recreate childhood scenes in the film, the main star, Maxine Peake, wouldn't necessarily be around. I was just concentrating on taking photos of what seemed interesting and not bothering too much about the detail. When I got home and uploaded the results I was rather pleased to see that I did actually catch a photo of both Maxine Peake (in the fur coat) and the director, Adrian Shergold (in the trilby hat). Does that mean I've suddenly become paparrazi? 

And then she let go of the balloon....

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Take 1

'Funny Cow' filming in Saltaire
I did manage to catch one or two of the 'takes'. In this one a small girl, (the comedienne as a child, I assume) skips across the road holding a red balloon. In the background, a number of children waited and then ran up the street - and an old green Morris Minor drove past a man on a bicycle and a street sweeper with a bin. I expect these scenes will last mere seconds on the screen but each took several 'takes' and a lot of time to create. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Back in time

'Funny Cow' filming in Saltaire
Obviously the public (me!) couldn't get too close to the actual filming. It was hard from a distance to really see what was going on and when they were actually filming 'takes'. There were various props scattered about - old vehicles, washing lines across the streets (Sir Titus will be turning over in his mausoleum!), billboards, old dustbins, prams and suchlike. It did look quite authentic to past times, I have to say. Actually, it was then hard to recall if they'd changed something... Surely Saltaire's back alleys are paved? Have they taken up the stones or thrown down some dirt? They had certainly added some old streetlamps to the corners of Mary Street and Fanny Street. 

Hard, too, to tell who were actors, who were the movie makers and who were just people like me being nosy. It was such a cold day that the actors had to don thick jackets and even duvets between 'takes'. I was part amused and part fascinated by the guy whose job was to create and waft smoke about. (No scene in the North of England prior to the 1970s is complete without a bit of smog, it seems!) I'm sure he does other exciting things as well. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Another happening

Ooh, ooh - something happening in Saltaire again...  Streets closed and lots of vans and activity. They're making another film. This time it is a big budget film called 'Funny Cow', documenting the struggle of a female British comedian (played by Maxine Peake, of 'Silk' fame) trying to crack the tough 1970's northern nightclub circuit. It also stars Vic Reeves. Saltaire is being used to recreate scenes from the comedian's childhood in the 1950s.

The film's producer, Kevin Procter, is quoted as saying: 'Saltaire is the perfect location for our film. It is cinematic. We have not had to build any sets. (Though they have converted the inside of a house on Mary Street to a 1950s' interior) It has given us a snapshot of England that we don't see anymore. It is a picture postcard of what Yorkshire used to be like.'

Look here at our local newspaper's article for some more photos, including the interiors.

Monday, 16 January 2017


Bradford Industrial Museum - There is a working forge at the museum. The blacksmith warned me to avoid the flying sparks when I was setting up my tripod. Kind of ironic, I thought...  I wonder if his chest hair is fire-proofed?

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Soft and hard

Bradford Industrial Museum - studies in texture. A hamper full of raw wool and the pock-marked floor of the spinning shed.

Saturday, 14 January 2017


Bradford Industrial Museum - After some experimentation, I decided it seemed more effective to focus in on the detail in the museum. Being housed in an old mill, it has huge windows which give good light but also create reflections on the metal and glass and mean you are shooting against the light, if you aren't careful. I'm quite pleased with both these compositions, one relying for impact on colour and the other on pattern. The top one shows the value of my new(ish) longer lens for getting an effective depth of field, something I'm still working at perfecting.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Beastly Machines

Bradford Industrial Museum -
When I visited there was a travelling exhibition of kinetic animal sculptures: Beastly Machines by Derbyshire-based artist Johnny White.
Made in metal, and using recycled junk, they were all quite wry and funny, commenting on current affairs or making a play on words. Many of them had buttons to press to set the pieces in motion. One even had an exercise bike so that you could power the movement by pedalling hard!

The top one is called frog cycle and had a frog pedalling a bike, whose wheel spokes were tadpoles at various stages of development. Clever.

Then there was a motorcycling thrush...

The flying pig, for some reason, reminds me of Richard Branson!

And the Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a boat that was not only pea-green but apparently made of large peas.

Thursday, 12 January 2017


Bradford Industrial Museum - all the bobbins and spools on the machines are very photogenic. Perhaps there is a reason why the spool ends are painted different colours. I don't suppose it was just in order to delight photographers a century or so later!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Machine wheels

Bradford Industrial Museum - It always amazes me to see the huge variety of cogs and wheels in the machinery in the museum. I notice new variations each time I go. I like the different patterns and colours in the top image; three wheels, all different, all with a specific purpose.

The machine below was painted in muted greeny-brown colours but the red disc really stood out. I wondered if there was a reason this piece was painted red - danger, maybe? Seemed to cry out for a mono conversion and a colour-pop!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Bradford Industrial Museum

The coming series of photos were taken last year on a camera club trip, this time with the Ilkley club I belong to, to Bradford's Industrial Museum. I haven't had space to post them before. The museum is local for me and I have been many times before. I don't usually take my tripod but I did this time, as without one it is pretty tricky to get good, sharp shots inside.  I am not a great fan of shooting on a tripod, I have to say. It always feels like grappling with an octopus! (Even though it only has three legs.)

Maybe I have never been on a weekday before but there seemed to be a lot going on, with people working in the display areas and many of the machines actually working. It made me realise why so many mill workers ended up deaf. The noise of those spinning and weaving machines is incredible. Outside this old tram was parked up. It is a horse-drawn tram, pulled by a horse but running on tracks. Sadly the working horses they used to keep at the museum have been 'retired' as a cost-cutting measure.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Romance in the air!

I decided a while ago to get winter tyres fitted to my car, since I have to drive over the high Pennine moors to my daughter's home periodically. I find it a hair-raising drive at the best of times and, whilst I don't deliberately drive in snow if I can help it, there is always the chance of getting caught out by bad weather. So, the expense and hassle of specialist tyres seems worth it. It meant a bit of waiting around at the garage in Silsden, so I went for a walk. The Leeds-Liverpool canal winds its way through the centre of the little town. I took a snap from the bridge on my iPhone and then added some textures to the image, whilst I waited for the car to be finished. Much better than being bored! The end result gives a decidedly romantic flavour to the scene.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Goosey, goosey...

... Goosander (Mergus merganser). I've noticed several pairs of Goosander (Goosanders?) on the waterways round and about in the last month or so. They swim fast and dive for long periods, often surfacing quite a distance from where they went under, so they are a challenge to photograph. This female did actually kindly pause and pose for a second or two, enabling a reasonably sharp image. They are resident in UK but usually prefer the upland rivers in Scotland and the north of England. They move to more sheltered waters in winter and so we often see them around here. I think they're very attractive birds, not geese at all but members of the sawbill family of diving ducks.

At any other time, I'd have enjoyed the lively reflections in the canal - but they rather detract from the bird in this case!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Beckfoot Bridge

I haven't walked in this direction for a long time, though it used to be a regular route when I lived near Bingley. This is the old packhorse bridge, built in 1723 to replace a wooden bridge, crossing Harden Beck at Beckfoot. The bridge is just wide enough for one person or a horse to cross, though in some weathers the stream can be forded as it is relatively shallow at this point. (I've seen cars stranded in the beck, mind you, when blindly following their sat-nav.) The bridge is on an ancient packhorse trail through Bingley and along the Aire valley.  The farmhouse alongside dates back, I think, to 1617 and is once believed to have been associated with the Knights Templar, as denoted by the curious lantern finials at the corners. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

Winter beauty

We've had some beautiful mornings in the last few weeks, with early morning mist in the valleys being burnt off by winter sunshine as the day unfolds. Having been unwell with a virus for a few weeks before Christmas, I had to miss a lot of the potential photo opportunities, which was deeply frustrating. (Damp and mist don't do congested respiratory systems a lot of good!) Thankfully I mended in time for Christmas and had some lovely walks. This is no more rural than one of our local parks, Myrtle Park in Bingley, but it looked stunning with the light catching the trees and the misty background providing some separation. I'm feeling so fortunate to have such beauty virtually on my doorstep.

(The bad news is I caught another cold over the New Year and I'm back to sniffling and coughing. Gah!)