dinsdag 13 augustus 2013

Adlestrop - Part 2

This is a picture which I drew from the photo of Adlestrop below. It took a long time because of all the detail.  

Adlestrop - Part 1

This is Adlestrop, a charming little village in Gloucestershire. Its main claim to fame is a poem which was written about it in 1914 by Edward Thomas, a poet who was killed in the First World War. I drove through the village in the early 1990s and took this photo.

Yes, I remember Adlestrop -
The name, because one afternoon
Of heat the express train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No-one left and no-one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop - only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

The station where Edward Thomas's train stopped has gone, but the village name which he saw on the platform from the train has been put up in the bus shelter instead. A bench in the shelter has a plaque with the poem engraved on it.

maandag 12 augustus 2013

Rufford Old Hall

This is Rufford Old Hall, built in about 1530 for the Hesketh family and until 1936 was owned continuously by them. It is now a National Trust property. The black and white timbered Great Hall is the only part which survives from that time - other parts were added in the 17th century. It is about 5 miles from Ormskirk, West Lancashire.
The gardens have an excellent collection of rhododendrons and also some topiary.

woensdag 7 augustus 2013


 I photographed this litter of piglets fast asleep in the straw, at a farm in Herefordshire which was open to the public. The piglets were all very friendly and when they were awake they enjoyed having their backs scratched and so on.

maandag 5 augustus 2013

More patterns in Nature

Young ivy tendrils winding their way around a tree. The tree has some pale green lichen on it. Lichen prefers to grow where it is damp and you can often tell by looking at the bark of trees which way the prevailing wind blows, because it brings more rain and more lichen, and also moss, will grow there.

vrijdag 2 augustus 2013

2nd August - "Flat flowers"

In the early 1980s I used to live in a council flat in the Hightown area of Salford. It was 9 floors up with a spectacular view across to the TV transmitter on Winter Hill which meant excellent TV reception. Although it had no outside balcony, it had an enormous living-room window, which was so wide that it was difficult to get curtains to fit. I used to grow all sorts of things in front of this window including a large selection of pot plants and in summer, garden annuals. These are schizanthus, known as the Poor Man's Orchid, cornflower and nigella or love-in-a-mist. While living in this flat I also grew the only carrots I have ever been successful with. They were a small round variety called "Kundulus". They were much too high for the carrot fly to attack. It flies very near to the ground, all the better to lay its eggs in one's carrots. Every other time I have tried to grow carrots in open ground they have either been riddled with carrot fly grubs or vanished without a trace at the seedling stage.

donderdag 1 augustus 2013

2nd August - The Market Hall in Ross-on-Wye, 1871

In a departure from the norm I couldn't resist posting a picture of a carte-de-visite from 1871, showing a photo of the famous old Market Hall in Ross-on-Wye. This building is still standing today, as are the buildings in the background, and markets are held underneath and in front of it.
Cartes-de-visite consisted of a thin albumen print of a photo stuck on to thicker card. Mostly they were portraits but later landscapes were produced as well. They could be sent through the post easily and as this was a great novelty in the 19th century, hundreds of thousands were produced and sold. In the late 19th and on into the 20th century, the printed postcard took over from cartes-de-visite. They could be sent without the need for an envelope and were ideal for quick notes owing to the cheap postage and the great number of postal collections and deliveries.
My mother has a postcard on which one of her uncles sent news of the birth of his daughter. He announced the glad tidings on a card featuring Dewsbury War Memorial.

1st August - Tennis court sign, Ross-on-Wye

This is a carved wooden sign which used to point the way to the Tennis Courts and Putting Green in Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, where we often used to go on holiday. When I took the photo, only the handle of a golf club had broken off, but later the sign became quite badly damaged and was repaired with the addition of a thick layer of brown wood preservative. It didn't look quite the same after that so I am glad I took the photo when I did.
Ross-on-Wye is a lovely old market town within reach of literally dozens of other interesting places, so it is a good central place to stay in while you explore the area.

1st August - Raindrops on roses . . .

I've taken a lot of "flower portraits" since I first got a camera capable of focusing close enough. That was in 1983! Now, of course, with all these Photoshop-type programs you can make a photo look vastly different from when you took it, and all without changing the original! Back in the day, unless you could develop your own, you were at the mercy of whichever photo processor you chose to use. It was often disappointing because they developed the films in such large volumes that you could end up with misalignments, weird exposures and inexplicable colour casts. Most of the time the results were "good enough". Now, of course, you can scan in your old prints and have a second chance.
Sometimes you hear that blogs should have a particular "theme", well, if that is the case I would need at least 20 different blogs and I would never keep up to them, plus I'm not single-minded enough, and enjoy variety, so this is just a blog of whatever, wherever, based on my old photo archives.

maandag 29 juli 2013

29th July - This scene no longer exists

This photo, which looks as though it was taken in a park, was in fact the scene which met your eyes on entering the grounds of North Manchester General Hospital in spring during the 1980s. There were several beautiful blossom trees and various flowerbeds with spring bulbs. It was all bulldozed to make way for a new front entrance and wing of the hospital.
I worked there for a while and during lunch breaks I sometimes used to go round the back of the hospital where there were some derelict greenhouses and gardeners' sheds etc. I never saw any gardeners during these forays. An impromptu nature reserve had developed (which needless to say has now made way for acres of tarmac) and among the wildlife I spotted were Poplar Hawk Moths, which have a wingspan of 3 to 4 inches, a blackbird with a white head, and a kestrel.
One day, one of the Poplar Hawk Moths got into the patients' bathroom of the ward I worked on. A patient ran out in alarm. "There's a massive moth in there!" he shouted. "What do you mean - massive?" someone asked.
"It's just filled in a menu!" was his reply.

zondag 28 juli 2013

28th July - Orchids

Some of the photos in this blog are getting on in years. I took these photos of orchids in Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden in Didsbury, South Manchester, about 30 years ago. A friend to whom I showed the photos said they looked as though they had little budgies perching inside.

28th July - Heysham

I decided to write this blog so that I could show some of my old print photos, which I took before the advent of digital photography. This is me standing next to the old stone graves at Heysham, near Morecambe on the Lancashire coast. I may have been trying not to fall backwards off the rock at the time. The graves are thought to date from the 11th century. They are situated next to St. Patrick's Chapel, a small ruined structure not far from the church.

This is a view of the complete row of graves. (It might seem a macabre subject with which to begin a blog but looking through all my old prints I was spoilt for choice).



Although this chapel was said to have been established by St. Patrick when he crossed from Ireland, it was actually built 300 years after his death in the 5th century. A large amount of Saxon, Viking and other archaeological remains have been found in the area. Lancaster Museum contains many of these. Nowadays it is a very tranquil spot where, if you tread quietly, rabbits are often to be seen.
This is St. Peter's Church in the village. There is a Viking hogback stone inside, apparently (I have never thought to look for it but I will on my next visit).