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Friday, 31 March 2017


These are the first Spring lambs I've seen. It was amusing to watch them playing. This group of six, clearly 'playmates' rather than all siblings, were running up and down the hill, playing chase. It was just like watching children in a playground! They'd stand still for a few minutes and then one would dart off and the rest would follow. When they'd run a little way from the mother sheep, they'd turn round and career all the way back down again. Really sweet.

The twins below were more interested in chasing their mum for milk, though she seemed a little weary of being suckled every few seconds.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Spring pink

My Spring always requires at least one picture of a camellia. This one is not quite perfect; a few cold nights have caused a tiny bit of shrivelling on the petals. I love them though. Just a pity they bloom quite so early in this country and so run the risk of getting spoiled by our unpredictable weather.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

That view - with daffodils!

I take this shot - or one very much like it - every year at this time! A blue Spring sky is such a joy and a perfect companion to the yellow daffodils in Roberts Park, whilst the iconic view of Salts New Mill across the weir is a scene I never tire of.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

No dumping

Wouldn't it be lovely if we lived in a society where everyone was kind, thoughtful and respected each other and our marvellous planet? Sadly, we seem ever further from that utopia. I was dismayed to see, on a recent local walk, the mess left by people dumping rubbish despite the large sign clearly prohibiting this. (Not even sure why a sign is needed... surely it's basic common sense not to dump rubbish by the side of the road or on someone's land.) Paint tins, plastic piping, plastic wrap, garden rubbish, wood panelling, boxes...  There is a Council tip and recycling plant not two miles away, free to residents but I guess trades people have to pay to use it.    
I despair...

Monday, 27 March 2017

Hallmark building (for Dave)

It's always a pleasure to get messages from readers who enjoy my blog. Not long ago I had a lovely email from Dave in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. He said that, for three years, he'd lived in the UK in nearby Harrogate and worked in Bradford, at Hallmark Cards. It made me think that, although the building is only a couple of miles from here and I know it well, I'd never photographed it or shown it on my blog. When I found out it is for sale, I thought I'd better hurry up!

'Hallmark House' (formerly Sharps Card Factory) is a wonderful Art Deco building, built in 1936, originally for W N Sharpe printers. Hallmark, the greetings card company, took it over in 1984 as its UK headquarters and refurbished the main Grade II listed building in 2001. Now, they are consolidating their business onto one site at the far side of Bradford, meaning the building is up for sale - with a £7 million price tag!

I only hope it is sold quickly and not allowed to deteriorate. It would be lovely turned into luxury apartments. It has huge windows and attractive detailing. The large site as a whole is level and attractively placed, in a prime semi-rural position on top of a hill on the boundary between Bradford and Shipley. If I had £7 million, I'd snap it up!

I did my best with the photos but it has more security than a prison, with close-meshed fences, huge electric gates, high hedges and trees all round. I tried chatting up the security guard, who was very nice but he wouldn't let me past the barriers!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Sticker fun

I haven't shown you a photo of this little one lately (my eldest granddaughter). Actually, she is not so little now. She's five and recently started (proper) school, which seems to have brought a multitude of both benefits and drawbacks. The benefits show in increased confidence and sociability but one drawback is that she seems to catch a lot more illnesses now, all the bugs that are going round! Since her mum now has a job, we grandparents find ourselves helping out on occasion. She recently had a nasty flu-type virus. Luckily the feverish worst came over a weekend but she was not able to go to school the following week so I went over to care for her. After a couple of days at their house and when she was on the way to recovery, I decided to bring her over to mine for a change of scene. We went to a craft shop and bought lots of stickers and she spent a happy time making pictures with them. 

The shop had an Easter chicken display, which provided a colourful frame for that cute little face! She's no longer all that keen to have her photo taken but a quick snap on the iPhone is sometimes tolerated. 

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Cherry blossom

Some cherry blossom, such a cheering sight and herald of warmer days to come. It's welcome, even though we've had a mild winter by most standards.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Mughal Gardens artwork

You may remember back in February (here) I mentioned an artwork in Bradford city centre by the acclaimed Pakistani artist, Imran Qureshi. When I was in Lister Park, I walked round to the Mughal Gardens to see its companion piece. The two-part work is called 'Garden within a Garden'. It commemorates the million-strong British Indian Army that fought in the First World War. 'Light and dark mix, horror and hope collide' in the tranquil setting of a peaceful and serene garden (in itself inspired by the heritage of the many Bradfordians who can trace their lineage back to the Indian subcontinent).

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Samuel Lister

Samuel Cunliffe Lister (1815-1906), after whom Lister Park is named, was a Victorian inventor and industrialist. He is notable for inventing the Lister nip comb, which revolutionised the wool industry by mechanising a previously difficult job. His father, Ellis, was a wealthy MP who built Manningham Mills in Bradford for his sons to manage. After a fire caused a rebuild, it became the massive Lister's Mill (see here). Samuel went on to have a glorious career, inventing silk combing machines and a velvet loom, which made him very wealthy. He was made a peer, 1st Baron Masham, in 1891. His statue, sculpted from white Sicilian marble by Matthew Noble, was unveiled in 1875 and stands at the entrance to the park he donated to the people of Bradford.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

More angles

These are some more of the images I took around the theme of 'angles' that didn't quite make the grade. Nevertheless, it is fun spotting potential subjects and a useful exercise in paying attention.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

February theme

The February theme for my online photo group was 'Angles' so I spent a few days out and about looking for photos on that subject. It would have been easy enough to go to Leeds. There are angles aplenty in the modern office blocks and hotels of a big city. Instead I decided to stay closer to home as that seemed more of a challenge. It's often quite fun having a theme. I find I notice things that otherwise perhaps I wouldn't see.

I would not normally be found photographing the closed-up market stalls in Shipley, but I found 'angles' there. At first I was getting slightly irritated that cars kept passing the archway at the end and people kept walking through unexpectedly. However, I finally decided that I liked this shot best, out of all those I took here. The passer-by provides a point of interest and movement, a softer foil for all those hard lines.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Early blossom

We had a run of rainy nights and dry, sunny, remarkably warm days. It was perfect for walks, although everywhere is incredibly muddy so I've tried to keep to pavements and paths, by and large. I get fed up of sliding around - and cleaning my boots! Now it's turned a bit more wintery again. Such an unpredictable season...

Walking home past St. Peter's Church (the church where I worship, as it happens) I noticed this tree full of early blossom and thought it looked attractive in the sunshine.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

And finally ...

Bradford Walking Tour 8
Another couple of photos from the Bradford Walking Tour, quirky things that took my fancy.  The first is a metal railing above an archway that was apparently the entrance to a Quaker school, though I can find little information about it.

The second is an old carved fragment that now sits on a wall in the open space at the heart of Little Germany. Called Festival Square, the open area was created around 1990 as part of an ambitious scheme to regenerate the conservation area. They sought to bring in creative industries and community arts ventures as well as converting many of the historic buildings into apartments. Fifteen years on, it is apparent from the general atmosphere of the area that this vision has had limited success. I suppose some buildings had to be demolished to make the square, so perhaps the cherub came from one of those.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Mr Bean?

Bradford Walking Tour 7
Another rather unusual sight in Bradford's Little Germany - Mr Bean and a Tyrannosaurus Rex! Don't ask me why... I have not a clue! The carved door surround, though, is rather special. Caspian House was built in 1873 as a warehouse for D Delius and Co. The company's senior partner, Julius Delius (his name is rather a mouthful!) was the father of the composer, Frederick Delius, who was born in Bradford in 1862.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Street furniture

Bradford Walking Tour 6
This sculpture, standing on Chapel Street in Little Germany, is called: 'Grandad's Clock and Chair' according to the Bradford Sculpture Trail leaflet but 'Victorian Presence' on the artist's own site. It was created in 1992 by Tim Shutter. The grouping of armchair, clock and mirror acts as a reminder of the generation who built Little Germany. Perhaps it is meant to be a mill owner's office or house? Whatever, it is a quirky piece and fun suddenly to stumble across it on a walk.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Little Germany's treasures

Carved eagle, Devere House, built in 1871 as an American and Chinese export warehouse.
Now used by Bradford Chamber of Commerce.  

Bradford Walking Tour 5
No walking tour of Bradford would be complete without a wander round the area known as Little Germany. It is so called because it was established in the second half of the 19th century by Jewish merchants, many of whom came from Germany. They built imposing warehouses for the storage and export of Bradford's woollen textiles. The market with Germany collapsed in 1877, causing difficult conditions. 

Imposing doorway of Albion House, now apartments
The area contains many listed buildings and there have been attempts over recent years to conserve and improve it. Many of the warehouses have been converted to offices and residential apartments but, despite the efforts of the city council and developers, it seems to struggle and has a rather sad and neglected atmosphere.

S L Behrens warehouse, built in 1873

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Bradford Commercial Bank

Back to the city centre now, after our little detour to the park yesterday...

Bradford Walking Tour 4
There are many decorative doorways in Bradford, if you stop to notice them. This one is in a French Gothic style building, on the corner of Hustlergate and Bank Street, that was built in 1868 as the premises of Bradford Commercial Bank. The  building is still used as a bank, although the original banking company has of course been absorbed by many mergers over the years. It is now NatWest, part of the RBS banking group.

The original banking hall can still be seen. Another case of 'look up' because although at floor level the fixtures are all modern glass and steel, the original decorated, vaulted and corbelled ceiling and marble pillars are still there to be marvelled at. Rather splendid...

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Blooming lovely

I'm interrupting the city centre walk series to bring a touch of Spring and bluer skies...
The crocuses in Bradford's Lister Park always make a lovely show but this year they seem especially spectacular. For a few years (many years ago) I was lucky enough to have an apartment overlooking the park and always enjoyed the view. Some years the crocus and the daffodil flower more or less together but this year the daffodils are a little bit behind, in most places.

The next few weeks are, I think, going to see an explosion of buds, blossom and bulbs if the weather continues the same. Spring! It's the hardest time for blogging, I find, as I'll be posting photos I took a couple of weeks back and they will make it look like it's still winter, when in reality the season is moving on fast.

Monday, 13 March 2017

City pride

Bradford Walking Tour 3
These photos were also taken from the roof of the Broadway shopping centre, looking across the city of Bradford towards the west. You can see, from left to right: the dome of Britannia House, owned by Bradford Council; the 1960s tower block that holds student accommodation and the ice rink. Standing proudly, the ornate tower of Bradford's City Hall, built in 1873 when the city wanted to make a statement about its wealth and status. Towards the right, in the distance, a new multi-coloured block, the David Hockney building, part of Bradford College. On the right edge is a tall office block dating back to the 1970s that now forms part of the Broadway complex.

On the other side of that block you get a glimpse of the beautiful Victorian Gothic Wool Exchange building, completed in the 1860s and now rather dwarfed by the structures around it.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Bradford roofscape

Bradford Walking Tour 2 
Another view of Bradford Cathedral, an attractive building, sadly now very hemmed in by other structures. The gabled roofline in front is St Peter's House, formerly the city Post Office. Behind are residential flats on the hillside looking up towards Undercliffe, where the famous Victorian cemetery sits on top of the hill. You can also see, in the distance to the left, the Al Mahdi mosque with its white dome. I took the picture from the top floor of the new Broadway shopping centre car park, which now fills what was the infamous 'hole' in the city centre.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Bradford Cathedral

Bradford Walking Tour 1
I noticed a guided walking tour of Bradford city centre advertised and although I know the city quite well, having lived in this area for many years, I decided it might be an interesting way to spend an afternoon - and it was. It was a really dull and cold day, with little light and not ideal for photos (glad I wore my thermals!) but the walk proved interesting and I did try a few shots, which I've processed with a bit of HDR to lift them.

The walk started by the statue of William Forster, which I have shown before on my blog. Nearby is the Cathedral Church of St Peter, formerly a parish church that gained cathedral status in 1919 when the Diocese of Bradford was created. (It's now part of the Diocese of Leeds.) It is really tucked away behind the Victorian Post Office building, now an Asian arts centre.

A church has existed here since the 8th century and the present building has parts dating back to the 14th century, though it has been altered and extended. See also my post here for another view. This area is one of the oldest in Bradford. The church was an important stronghold in the defence of Bradford against Royalist troops in the English Civil War. It was hung around with woolsacks to provide some protection from gunfire. There were two sieges of the town, in 1642 and 1643. Later, at the time of the Industrial Revolution, the area around the church was known as Wapping and was notorious for its overcrowded, slum conditions.

Friday, 10 March 2017

The Craft House

Saltaire has, for a long time, been a creative community. The Craft House seeks to showcase that local talent as well as stocking some beautiful handmade gifts and homeware from skilled craftsmen and women from across the UK, pieces that are not widely available elsewhere. The shop, on Saltaire Road, was opened about six months ago by April Chamberlain, who happens to be the sister of one of my former work colleagues and also the daughter of the very talented Alice Brett, whose work I first came across at Bingley Show. (See here).  Consequently, there are some of Alice's very cute knitted mice and bears for sale.

I'd been meaning to pop in for a while to take a closer look at the range of goods on display. There are some really gorgeous things and all at very reasonable prices. 'Yorkshire talent at Yorkshire prices' is what April says she is aiming to provide. I was particularly attracted by a range of cushions and mugs, by Meha Hindocha, depicting Saltaire's buildings and streets: brilliantly colourful, detailed and distinctively 'different'. There are also beautiful ceramics, greetings cards, cotton bags, pictures and many other things that would make excellent gifts and practical additions to a stylish home. Everything is carefully curated and thoughtfully displayed in the light and airy gallery, sunshine pouring in on the day I called.

The Craft House also hosts community craft classes, one day workshops and parties, which are all quite tempting...  I've been thinking perhaps I might explore another creative outlet as well as photography. Watch this space...

Anyway, if you're local or visiting Saltaire, I do encourage you to call in and see what's on offer. The shop isn't in a location that gets a lot of passing pedestrians, though I'm sure motorists stuck in the endless traffic jam that is Saltaire Road must enjoy looking in the window. Those further afield might look at the website (here) and keep an eye open for the online shop, which should be up and running shortly.

Thursday, 9 March 2017


Apples - looked too good to eat.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


One last view from the Bolton Abbey estate, looking over the wall that separates woodland (stately beech trees, in this area) from pasture. Such a view, with its gentle colours and snaking drystone walls simply says 'home' for me, like nowhere else.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Broad and narrow

The River Wharfe, having churned through the narrow Strid, resumes a broader, shallower and more leisurely course, round a small island, then down past the Cavendish Pavilion and on to Bolton Abbey itself.

Half a mile upstream, it's a different story. The Strid is a slender chasm, only a few metres wide but deeper than than two double decker buses! The mighty River Wharfe is channelled through it at a wild speed, causing fierce undercurrents that have sucked unwary people - those fools who thought to try to leap the gap and those who unfortunately lost their footing on the slippery rocks - to their deaths. When the trees have no leaves, you can get quite a good view of it from the high-level path on the eastern bank of the river. It's hard to believe the two views are the same river!

Monday, 6 March 2017

Bolton Abbey's birds

The woods around the river at Bolton Abbey are an ancient remnant of sessile oak trees and are managed as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). They abound in wildlife (most of which is invisible on a day at half-term when the woods are full of families having a great time and a film crew is working!) The birds are nurtured, with nest boxes provided and some food supplied during the winter. I managed to snap this nuthatch. They usually dart round to the far side of tree trunks, out of camera sight, but this one was getting interested in a pile of seeds left near a bench. 

There are a few Mandarin ducks among the mallards on the river. They're showy and colourful, a species introduced to the UK from China but now established and breeding. 

Who can resist a robin, especially one that hops closer and closer in the hope of some tasty morsels? This one would have looked better photographed from ground level but I didn't dare move to crouch down or it would surely have flown away.