I HAVE CLOSED DOWN THIS BLOG. Please click the photo above to be REDIRECTED TO MY NEW (continuation) BLOG.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Still rolling along

Another of my photos from Leeds Dock - You may recall seeing a post featuring this sculpture before (HERE).  The poor guy is still trying to roll the ball along, getting nowhere. It takes on a different feel after dark, with the lights twinkling in the reflective sphere. The sculptor is Kevin Atherton and it's entitled 'A reflective approach'. There's a similar but smaller sphere further back.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Leeds Dock at night

I met up with some friends from my camera club in Leeds one evening to take some photos around the Dock area. This is where the Leeds-Liverpool Canal ends and joins up with the Aire and Calder Navigation. The canal basin area has been redeveloped in recent times and is surrounded by apartments, offices, bars and restaurants. The Royal Armouries Museum is also in the vicinity (to the left on my photo). It can be quite a lively place during the day and at night comes to life with all the lights reflected in the water. It was drizzling heavily all evening so I had to keep wiping rain off my lens. (One of my photos has some interestingly blurry 'bokeh' caused by the raindrops.) At one point we all decamped to a café for coffee and to get dry, which warmed us up and provided some good camaraderie. Great fun - and I feel a lot safer in this kind of environment when I'm with friends. Not really a good place to hang around alone at night, I guess.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Climbing Kilnsey Crag

The showground is right underneath the famous Kilnsey Crag, which is a magnet for climbers. It was rather fun watching them, as well as enjoying all that the Kilnsey Show itself had to offer. According to a climbing article (here) the Crag 'offers some of the best sport climbing to be found anywhere in Britain', with around 120 different routes. (Ignore the three power lines in the photo above, they were between me and the Crag and look enormous through the telephoto lens!)

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Senior Crag Race

Kilnsey Show 2017
The highlight of the annual Kilnsey Show is the Crag Race. Fell races (where people run up and down hills - for fun) are not uncommon hereabouts but the Kilnsey race is arguably the hardest of all. The 2 km course starts in the valley bottom and heads directly up the fell side to the top of Kilnsey Crag and then (literally) straight back down, skidding down the scree slopes. The record was set in 1982 at 07:35 minutes, by local runner Mick Hawkins and has not yet been broken. 

This year, the Senior Men's race was won by Nick Swinburn from Northumberland Fell Runners club, in 08.03 minutes. He is the guy (120) in the photo above. At that point, just after starting the race, he was in second place.  A former competitor, Roger Ingham, said of it: 'The Crag Race is explosive - you need to be in pole position half way up because it's hard to pass on the scree - and it's fearsome coming down.' Nick seems to have taken that to heart and appeared to be in a good position from an early stage. 
In the photo below the runners are streaming across the lower slopes. Their destination is the red flag, among the people at the top right!

By the time they crested the ridge (below), Nick was leading and continued at the front until he ran home in first place.
Incidentally, some of the guys from my camera club were up there taking photos. You can perhaps see one of them in dark clothing on the left of the runners, with a light-coloured dog (below). They got some incredible pictures... but you wouldn't ever find me up there! There was someone taking video with a drone too.

The descent from the top flag is precipitous!

A round of applause for a worthy winner!

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Baa, neigh, moo.

Kilnsey Show 2017

'Baa, we're stuck in this truck and want to be out of here.'  These sheep were awaiting the shearing demonstration.  

And ... who knew that there was such a thing as a miniature donkey? The miniature donkey had an even tinier foal. Just too cute!

I also loved the highland calf, furry, ginger and very interested in all that was going on.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Sheepdog trials

Kilnsey Show 2017
In the Dales where sheep farming is a way of life, it seemed appropriate that there were sheepdog trials as part of the Show.
I love to watch these intelligent dogs working out strategy and lying low in the grass, creeping forward stealthily and then darting like lightning to round up those sheep that make a run for it.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Judging sheep

Kilnsey Show 2017
No, not 'the ones that got away'! During the judging of the livestock, the judges want to see them walk. The cattle are led around on ropes but the sheep are are held until it's their turn and then let loose. It can be quite amusing when they want to assert their independence!  

Sheep judging is a serious business, and requires some concentration.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Kilnsey Show 2017

Another show, though this one is going back a couple of weeks. (I can't keep up with myself!)  I was delighted to tick off another item on my bucket list with a visit to the 120th Kilnsey Show. I've thought about going many times but it is always held on the Tuesday after August Bank Holiday Monday so I've always been at work until now. (Yay!) It's held in a gorgeous setting, in fields right under Kilnsey Crag, in my favourite of the Yorkshire Dales, Upper Wharfedale. It is a 'proper' agricultural show, reflecting the surrounding Dales rural life, farming, culture and crafts. There are trade stands for farmers and more livestock than at our local Bingley Show but plenty of general interest too and plenty to learn for a 'townie' like me. 

It's always interesting to see how they go about building a dry-stone wall, an ancient craft that is being nurtured in our limestone dales. There were trophies for those judged best Junior and Senior Dry Stone Walling Champions. 

It was lovely to see the shire horses too. Now they don't use them for farm work there are many fewer than there used to be; yet another piece of our history that enthusiasts are trying to preserve.

The morning of the show is taken up with horse riding and jumping in the main ring. I didn't see much of it but there were some beautiful horses around. The one below looks like it was dipped in chocolate! So pretty.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Autumn approaching

I made another trip to Harlow Carr, the RHS garden near Harrogate. (I'm making the most of my RHS membership.) I was a little surprised to see how many of the trees are already adopting their autumn colours. It's rather early; I wouldn't usually expect to see this depth of colour until October. Always beautiful though, whenever the season arrives.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Piano Raft

I've seen this remarkable vessel on the canal around the area before, though in recent months it appears to have been extended and embellished. It is the 'Piano Raft', the home of Ben Cummins - artist, former university lecturer and wandering nomad. Four years ago, he set himself the task of transporting a piano (that appears to have seen better days) from Liverpool to London by canal, on this floating raft that has no motor and has to be pulled. Perhaps sensibly, he has given himself 25 years to achieve it! The entire raft is made of recycled items - the doors and drawers of vintage furniture, pallets, a window made out of a washing machine door - all floating on blue plastic barrels. He uses a small bath to row to shore, when that is needed. Recently he has extended the space to provide a platform to be used for theatre workshops along the way.

It's becoming quite famous. There have been numerous articles in the press (see HERE) and Ben himself has a Facebook page (HERE), a Twitter account and quite a devoted following.  Easy perhaps, to dismiss it all as a bit bonkers... but Ben is a really open and friendly guy, full of ideas and enthusiasm. It wouldn't be the kind of life that most of us would choose, perhaps, but there's a lot to be said for a free spirit, a sustainable and creative lifestyle and the giving and receiving of simple hospitality and friendship. I hope Ben stays afloat, in every sense of the word. 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Star Wars Saltaire

Fun to see a mini Star Wars invasion during Saltaire Festival...  The films rather passed me by; I'm not really a fan of that kind of thing. I just about recognise some of the characters. The belly dancer wanted a selfie with (I think) the Red Squadron fighters. They looked a bit friendlier than Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers. There were so many people crowding round that it was difficult to get photos.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Festival colour

Saltaire Festival 2017

Colourful balloons...


Licorice candy laces...


Monday, 18 September 2017

Festival Monochrome

Saltaire Festival 2017
The second weekend of the Festival, cool but mostly dry this year, really brought out the crowds. This is Exhibition Road, the broad street behind the Victoria Hall and in front of Shipley College's Exhibition Building. Closed to traffic and lined with a 'continental market', here you can buy street food of all kinds from all over the world - from Spanish paella to Asian curries, French tartiflette, Provencal chicken, ostrich and kangaroo burgers, crepes and churros - as well as coffee, slushies and ice creams.
(I've blurred the face of the little girl at the front, as I mostly try to avoid having identifiable children on here, though it's hard when there are crowds.)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Food, glorious food

Saltaire Festival 2017
The Festival's first weekend has a community feel that increases year on year. Some people open their gardens to visitors and there is a growing trend for 'pop-up' events. They can be anything from record fairs and vintage sales to live music, in people's homes or yards. This year there were a number of food stalls too; there's an enthusiastic 'foodie' movement in the area - gardeners, cooks and food bloggers. A family on Titus Street were selling authentic Spanish paella, cooked on an open fire in a large, traditional pan. I managed to snap a quick photo through the front door. It looked delicious and there was a long queue to sample it.

On Katherine Street, there were next-door neighbours providing food out of their tiny kitchens: one selling soup and a rabbit ragu and the other a range of Portuguese sweets and savouries. Tempting!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Festival folk

Saltaire Festival 2017 
The Festival usually sees a number of folk dance teams dancing around the village.  Above: Four Hundred Roses, a local dance side that fuses traditional English folk dance with tribal belly dancing. They always make a colourful sight and seem to be going from strength to strength in terms of numbers.

Below: Makara Morris, in their green 'tatters', hail all the way from the East coast resort of Bridlington. They are a traditional Border Morris side and their name links them to ancient 'green man' legends.

Leeds Morris Men (below) are more locally based and dance in the Cotswold Morris style. As is traditional, their side includes a fool, extravagantly dressed, who communicates with the audience, joking and explaining what's happening. He dances around and through the dances, often fooling with an inflated pig's bladder (balloon) attached to a stick, that he uses to swipe at the dancers. It takes great skill to 'fool' effectively without detracting from the dances themselves. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

From Salt to Silver

Saltaire Festival 2017
Once again, the magnificent and evocative roof space (a quarter of a mile long!) in Salts Mill, formerly a spinning shed, is being used as part of the Festival. It is hosting a wonderful exhibition of black and white photographs by Ian Beesley, a renowned local documentary photographer. Most of them were taken in 1986/87 when he was commissioned by the (then) National Museum of Photography to document Yorkshire's declining textile mills. He captured the last months of textile production in Salts Mill and then the sad days when the machinery was dismantled and removed. These photos have been archived ever since. They have been augmented by some photos he has taken of the Mill this year, some poignantly taken from the exact same spot as his earlier images. Ian's photos are beautifully accompanied by poems written by the brilliant Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan.

I found it incredibly moving. There is, anyway, something powerful about the roof space itself, echoing with the stories that once unfolded here. Born of the vision of one great man, Sir Titus Salt, nurtured by many others, the Mill (and thus Saltaire itself) stands as a symbol and celebration, once again, of one man's vision to transform and move forward. That man was the late Jonathan Silver, who bought the mill in 1987 and created the powerhouse of industry and tourism that it is today, thirty years later, a vision upheld and developed nowadays by his family.

The exhibition continues until the end of October, open (after the Festival) at weekends only. Go, if you can!

From 'Change of Use' by Ian McMillan:

"And the opposite of managed decline.
This is the present unwrapped
And presented to the present as the future."

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Saltaire's tunnels

Back when I first started this blog in 2009, I posted the photo on the right (see HERE for post) with the title 'Mystery...' The question concerned the green arched door and what it was for. The answer is that it is the entrance to a tunnel that goes under Victoria Road. It connects Salts Mill with the Dining Hall (seen above the door) that Sir Titus Salt had built so that his workers could get good meals.

The door has remained firmly closed for all these years, until this year's Saltaire Festival, which is on at the moment. The Festival always coincides with a weekend of Heritage Open Days across Britain, when interesting buildings that are normally closed to the public are opened for viewing. This year, for the first time, Saltaire History Society in collaboration with Shipley College, who now manage the Dining Hall building, opened the tunnel, together with another that runs between the college buildings higher up Victoria Road, so that people could see inside.

There was a huge amount of interest, so that the planned tours were all booked up by about 10.30am and lots of people were, I think, disappointed that they couldn't get in. I did manage to join the Dining Hall tour and it was very interesting, although I was disappointed to realise that the tunnel is now bricked up and access does not now extend all the way through to the Dining Hall building.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Barley.... or wheat?

I'm not sure I can tell wheat from barley when it is growing... I always assume that our harvest fields are wheat but after 'googling' this, I am persuaded that this may be barley. Barley (apparently) has whiskery strands all along the ear whereas in wheat it is shorter and concentrated near the tip. Wheat tends to be more golden yellow and barley is paler. Wheat tends to stay more upright than barley when ripe; barley heads can bow over. I may be completely wrong, of course! Anyway, the flat Lincolnshire arable fields were full of ripe crops and the harvest was in full swing when I was there in August.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Doddington estate

We intended to visit an Elizabethan (late 1500s) mansion west of Lincoln, called Doddington Hall. We didn't realise the hall itself and its gardens are closed to the public on Saturdays, as they host weddings there. Something to look forward to another time, hopefully... It didn't matter too much, as there is an attractive café, where we had a delicious lunch; a farm shop; home and clothing store and some lovely walks around the wider estate. The large fishpond appeared to have been relatively newly renovated, with an attractive curving bridge (on which I was standing to take this photo) reminiscent of that in Monet's garden at Giverny. It was a beautiful, tranquil scene. (Just needed some waterlilies, maybe?)

Monday, 11 September 2017

Lincoln Cathedral

We didn't go into Lincoln Cathedral this time. See HERE for a photo I took on a previous visit. 

There were a few Knight sculptures in the Cathedral precincts. 'The Lincoln City Knight' by Leah Goldberg celebrates the local football club's promotion to Sky Bet League Two at the end of the 2016-17 season. The Knight's shield is signed by the team's players. It is, perhaps, a rather incongruous choice to place at the front of the Cathedral but then football is, for many, a religion. The creature on the front of the horse is the Lincoln Imp, a carving that can be found in the Cathedral (see HERE).

'Inside Out', by Erin Fleming, is sited behind the Cathedral near the Chapter House. It has references to the pillars and vaulting inside the building, which are likened to trees. 

Below is the full glory of Lincoln's octagonal Chapter House, with its wonderful flying buttresses. Built between 1220 and 1235, the Chapter House was an annex to the Cathedral, where the cathedral chapter (clerics appointed to advise the bishop) would have met. King Edward II held a parliament here in 1316.