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Saturday, 30 June 2018

Channelling Monet

I went with a friend to the RHS garden at Harlow Carr near Harrogate again, this time to visit a flower show, where there were plant stalls and other exhibits. It was very crowded and popular but interesting and lively too. I took a few photos there but I was so busy chatting and looking at the stalls and marquees that my mind wasn't really focussed on photos. Not many shots turned out well but I did quite like this one of the waterlilies on the small pond. Rather 'Monet', don't you think?

Friday, 29 June 2018


Gatka is a martial art associated with Sikhs from the Punjab region of Indian. It involves a style of fighting with sticks, simulating swords. There was a group demonstrating the art in Roberts Park, at the Dragon Boat Festival. I was cross with myself for happening upon it right at the end of the demonstration, too late to take photos. I did, however, get a photo of one of the teachers with a young trainee, as they explained a little about the costumes they are wearing, and I watched as some of the students were tutored. Just 1% of Bradford's population is Sikh.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Dragon Boat Festival fun

The main cricket pitch in Roberts Park was sensibly fenced off to protect the playing surface, but the cricket club had some nets up and were involving children in some batting and bowling practice with plastic bats, ball and wickets.

The many food stalls included a working bakery with a French influence. It's a pity I have to stay gluten-free as the bread and pastries looked very tasty.

The West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service were providing back-up on the river, though I didn't see any capsizes whilst I was there. They looked to be having quite a relaxed time of it, cruising up and down in the sunshine.

The bandstand was host to a very smart military band from the Yorkshire Regiment (the only county regiment left in the British Army). It's always good to hear some brass band music. The regiment also had a shooting range and an inflatable assault course that were proving popular with children.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Dragon Boat Festival pictures

The Dragon Boat Racing Festival in Saltaire's Roberts Park has become an annual fixture. This year, the fourth time it has been held, was bigger and better than ever, taking place over three days. Teams from schools, businesses and other groups and organisations were competing to raise money for the Lord Mayor's charity appeal and for many other charities. 

The park had a base camp for the teams and lots of food stalls, as well as activities for children, music, a market and a funfair. There was a good atmosphere, with large screens showing the races, since there is not a lot of room for spectators on the river bank. 

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

The march of time

The last portrait I had taken was a couple of years ago on my birthday so I asked my daughter to take another this year. I don't think I look all that much different... a few more fine lines, I suppose. Not much you can do to halt the march of time, short of a facelift, but at least we have the benefit of make-up and modern hairstyling to soften the look. I was looking back at photos of my grandmother and aunts at a similar age. They look positively ancient in comparison. (And sadly, my maternal grandmother didn't even make it to her sixties.) Grey hair, perms and unflattering specs served to emphasis their age. Indeed, even in photos at twenty years younger they look older than I do now! They all had good skin though and that has been passed on to me. I've so much to be grateful for.

Monday, 25 June 2018

War and Peace

War and Peace - not Tolstoy or even Trump v Kim Jong-un. This is War and Peace, Saltaire style. I've shown photos of Saltaire's stone lions before, but not recently, so I thought I'd say hello to them again. They are looking rather smarter since the big trees were felled. The greenish tinge from lichen has all but disappeared. Peace (below) is my favourite. He looks so... well... peaceful. War, in contrast, has a lean and hungry look. They flank the Victoria Hall and opposite, on either side of the old school building, are two more: Vigilance and Determination. 

The sculptor was Thomas Milnes, of London. It is said that they were made for the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square but then that commission was awarded to Landseer. These four sandstone lions were left languishing in the sculptor's studio and were snapped up in 1869 by Sir Titus Salt, who wanted them as a centrepiece for his new village of Saltaire. 

Sunday, 24 June 2018


Another tranquil scene for a quiet Sunday... The Saltaire trip boat does short rides up the canal from the Victoria Road bridge to Hirst Lock and back. I keep thinking I should try it. Although the towpath is busy on this stretch, gliding gently along the canal at slower than walking pace would feel very peaceful, I think. I might take the grandchildren some day. My photo makes it all look so rural. You wouldn't think you were in the middle of a village, within a town, within a city area.

Saturday, 23 June 2018


Three red doors... and a post box.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Seeing patterns

I loved the shadow pattern made by these chairs. It was hard to decide how to make a picture out of it. I'm sure there was one... not sure if I found it!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Sheffield's buildings, old and new

These are some of the buildings in Sheffield that caught my eye, both old and new:
Above is the City Hall, a concert venue.    
Below is Sheffield's Anglican Cathedral. 

The Millennium Gallery (below), opened in 2001, has art, craft and design exhibitions. It also holds two permanent collections: the Ruskin Collection of beautiful books, art, minerals and natural exhibits collected by the Victorian writer John Ruskin in order to inspire Sheffield's workers;  and an exhibition of Sheffield metalwork: the cutlery, flatware and tableware for which Sheffield was once famous.  

A Ferris Wheel reflected in the glass of a shopping centre:

Modern offices and apartments:

Finally, a ten-storey steel-clad structure that turned out to be ... a car park! It's known locally as the Cheese Grater, for obvious reasons. Why build a boring car park when you can have one as stylish as this?

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Sheffield's Winter Garden

Opened in May 2003, as part of the regeneration of Sheffield's city centre, the Winter Garden is the largest temperate glasshouse to be built in the UK in the last 100 years, and is the largest urban glasshouse in Europe. It is also one the largest structures in the UK to be made of 'Glulam': glued laminated timber (specifically, larch). Climate-controlled and home to over 2000 plants, including huge tree ferns, it has retail units and cafés around the perimeter, making it a pleasant place to sit and relax. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

City of Poetry

It's quite a steep walk up to the city centre from Sheffield's railway station, but the route is interesting, passing through part of the campus of Sheffield Hallam University. Some of the buildings have artwork and poetry on them, which is rather nice. The Owen Building holds these lines by the former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion; 'What If..?', written in 2007 for a literature festival. 

   "O travellers from                                                                    
     somewhere else to here,                                                          
     Rising from Sheffield Station                                                   
     and Sheaf Square
     To wander through the 
     labyrinths of air,

     Pause now, and let
     the sight of this sheer cliff                                          Your thoughts are like
     Become a priming-place                                            this too: as fixed as words
     which lifts you off                                                       Set down to decorate
     To speculate                                                              a blank facade
     What if..?                                                                   And yet, as words are too, 
     What if..?                                                                   all soon transferred
     What if..?
                                                                                       To greet and understand
     Cloud-shadows drag                                                 what lies ahead - 
     their hands across                                                     The city where your
     the white;                                                                   dreaming is repaid,
     Rain prints the sudden                                              The lives which wait
     darkness of its weight;                                              hidden as yet, unread."
     Sun falls and leaves the 
     bleaching evidence of light.

And this is in the Winter Garden. I couldn't find the author but some sterling detective work by John at the wonderful http://bystargooseandhanglands.blogspot.com/ has identified this as a poem called 'Twinned with Mars' by Roger McGough. Thanks, John. 

Monday, 18 June 2018

Cutting Edge abstracts

The water cascading over the Cutting Edge sculpture (see yesterday) was quite mesmerising, so just for fun I took some close-ups. I have boosted the saturation somewhat and the results are quite pleasing. 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Sheffield's wall of water

One of the first things you see when you leave Sheffield's main railway station is an enormous, curving wall of steel with water cascading over it. It's called 'The Cutting Edge', a 90m long sculpture by the design team Si Applied, made of Sheffield steel and glass that directly references the city's history of steel manufacture, metalwork and silversmithing. It was installed when Sheaf Square, the area around the rail station, was redeveloped as part of a series of projects to regenerate the more run-down parts of the city. Sheffield suffered badly when its heavy industry, in particular steel making, largely closed down in the 1980s due to competition from abroad. The city is, however, experiencing something of a revival in recent years, thanks to astute management by the city council and innovative research projects in the local universities in collaboration with local businesses. 

Leaving the station, as you look back, you see behind it the (in)famous Park Hill flats, built in the late 1950s to accommodate families displaced by slum clearance in the city. They, in turn, became very run down but were controversially Grade II* listed in 1998, meaning they can't be demolished. After a long time of standing empty, a project has recently been started to renovate them. 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Welcome to Sheffield

Considering it is only about an hour's drive or train journey away, in South Yorkshire, Sheffield isn't a city I know very well. I must only have visited half a dozen times, mostly for work and with little opportunity to explore. The Yorkshire Photographic Union, of which my camera club is a member, held their annual exhibition there last month, so I decided I'd go and see the show and take the chance to look round the city centre too. It was a very warm, bright, sunny day so there were lots of people enjoying the Peace Gardens by the Town Hall.

One of the interesting features of the city centre architecture is the way modern glass and steel buildings are being blended, quite successfully it seems, with the traditional old Victorian buildings and some remaining sixties concrete blocks. It feels an exciting, friendly and vibrant place and there seemed to be lots of young people around. There are two universities. It's one of the top ten most popular student cities in the world and one of the cheapest to live in too, which is part of the reason many students remain in the city after graduating.

Friday, 15 June 2018

A picture postcard view

A picture postcard view from Whisby Nature Park, Lincoln.
This is one of the former gravel pits that have been flooded to make lakes. It's a pretty scene that I enjoyed giving a painterly look with some texture.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Spring at Whisby

Whilst at my sister's, we also visited Whisby Nature Park. It's a reserve, run by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, that was once land quarried for sand and gravel and has now been reclaimed. The quarries are now lakes and there is grassland, marsh and willow scrub as well as fragments of the heathland, hedgerows and woodland that were there originally. There are some well-marked trails - although my sister and I did manage to overshoot the return path and were blithely walking around the circuit a second time, until we came to a stick that we recognised, stuck in the path. Oops! We might have carried on walking round and round until nightfall!

It was blissfully beautiful, with the spring flowers and colours at their height - cowslips (above), frothy cow parsley, orchids, fresh green leaves and the air fragrant with the honeyed scent of hawthorn blossom. My favourite time of year, by a long way.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

The Spire Memorial

The centrepiece of the International Bomber Command Centre is the Spire Memorial and Walls. The Spire stands on a hill above the city of Lincoln and is aligned so that you can see Lincoln Cathedral through its heart. Made of weathering steel, it is 102ft high, the height of a Lancaster bomber's wing, and as wide at the base as a Lancaster wing. It represents not only a wing but also a church steeple. Air crew returning from raids used to navigate by church spires, as the blackout and other measures made it difficult to know exactly where they were.

The surrounding walls are laser cut with the names of almost 58,000 men and women who lost their lives serving or supporting Bomber Command during the Second World War. (Women did not fly as aircrew but some were ground crew or, for example, scientists who were killed on test flights.) Of the 125,000 aircrew who served, 72% were killed, seriously injured or taken prisoner of war. More than 44% were killed, with an average age of just 23 years. The centre really helps one to grasp the scale of the sacrifices made but also the key role Bomber Command played in the outcome of the war.

There is a great deal more information on the website HERE.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Because we remember

Visiting my sister last month, we went to the recently opened International Bomber Command Centre near Lincoln. It has been built 'to acknowledge the efforts, sacrifices and commitment of the men and women, from 62 different nations, who came together in Bomber Command during World War II'. Lincolnshire was home to 27 airfields from which bombing missions were flown, and there were many other stations in the east of England too.

The centre holds interactive educational displays, extensive records, artefacts and the personal testimonies of veterans and is a resource where people can research their family history through the Command records, online or in person. The memorial came about largely through the efforts of one man: a former Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Tony Worth CVO. It aims to serve as a point of recognition, remembrance and reconciliation for those who served, supported or suffered during the bombing campaigns of WWII.

It is sensitively done, recognising both the sacrifices of those involved and the damage and suffering caused by the bombardment of cities like Dresden.

There are ten acres of landscaped grounds, holding two areas planted as peace gardens. The planting is immature as yet, but it will look good when it has all grown a bit.

The International Peace Garden holds plants from five continents and recognises the contribution of people from 62 nations who served in or supported the Command.

The Lincolnshire Peace Garden has 27 lime trees, one for each of the Lincolnshire airfields. They are planted to simulate the geographical location of each airfield in relation to the others and each has a plaque with the name of the station, the squadrons that flew from there and the number of lives lost.

The memorial panel (top photo) is made of aluminium recovered from a Halifax bomber aircraft.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Mosaic tile detail, Kirkstall Abbey

Most of the floor of Kirkstall Abbey is earth, gravel or grass and I was surprised to find these tile fragments in one small cell. The cell (in a row of two or three similar small rooms, though the others had no tiles) had what appeared to be a washing area in the wall, so may have been where the monks washed before meals or prayers. (I may be completely wrong!) 

I don't know if the tiles are medieval originals or a later addition - they looked a bit random - but I thought they had a certain charm. So much of Kirkstall's structure has been damaged over the years, though some vaulting and pillars survive.