Liverpool. To Another Place.

The sunshine was back again but with guarantee for how long, so not wanting to see it go to waste I headed out to Liverpool and the Another Place art installation at Crosby on the Sefton coast. This is the stretch which runs north from the city along the Mersey estuary and then up to the resort of Southport.

16/05/19  LIVERPOOL.  Crosby Shore. Another Place Blue Shirt.

CROSBY. One of the figures which form the Another Place art installation by the artist Anthony Gormley. There are one hundred of these figures placed in different positions along the beach, allowing them to appear and disappear as the tide rises and falls. As you can see people like to make sure that the figures are okay, they are out in all weathers after all.

Another Place is an art installation created by the artist Anthony Gormley it consists of 98 identical iron figures all cast from a plaster cast of the artist’s own body which are anchored into the bedrock beneath the sands in various positions which allows them to appear and disappear as the tide ebbs and flows.

16/05/19  LIVERPOOL.  Crosby Shore. Another Place Navigation Bea

CROSBY.  One of the Iron Men stands an contemplates a navigation beacon on the River Mersey.

This stretch of the coast is also attractive in it’s own right, a little further along towards the resort town of Southport are the towns of Ainsdale and Formby, between them the stretch of coastline contains National Trust woodlands and sand dunes with a colony of rare red squirrels. The species was once more populous but encroachment by the larger grey squirrels diminished their numbers over the years leaving them with just a few strongholds across the country. The Sefton Coastal Path a twenty two mile walking route also runs through the area.

16/05/19  LIVERPOOL.  Crosby. Offshore Windfarm.jpg

LIVERPOOL. Crosby,  an offshore windfarm on Burbo Bank at the mouth of the River Mersey.

I used the train to get into Liverpool and then out to Waterloo on Merseyrail’s Northern Line route which connects the city with Southport. Its a short walk from the station down to the shore where I picked up the path along the coast for the couple of miles walk to the statues. On the way I stopped off at the excellent Waterloo place coffee shop, I wanted to fuel up before the walk…….

16/05/19  LIVERPOOL.  Waterloo. Waterloo Place Coffee House.

LIVERPOOL. Waterloo Place Coffee House.

The sun had brought the people out and the sands were full of activity and after an easy walk it came to where the statues stand, gazing out in silent contemplation as the people and the ships busying up and down the River Mersey all pass by.

16/05/19  LIVERPOOL.  Crosby Shore. Another Place Statue. Three

CROSBY. Three of the figures look out across the Mersey. On the far bank is New Brighton once served by the famous Mersey ferries but sadly no longer since the demolition of its pier.

 

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Parkgate. Bats In The Pillbox.

04-05-19 PARKGATE. WW2 Pillbox Bat Roost.

PARKGATE. Is a small coastal village on the Wirral, facing acoss the wide Dee estuary towards North Wales. In a corner of a former railway station yard there stands an old pillbox, it dates from the early 1940’s and was built to help defend the nearby shoreline from the threat of invasion. However it’s brooding presence now has a more gentle purpose as it has been brought into use as a bat roost, the thick walls providing the insulation to keep the year round temperatures even as well as providing a hefty amount of sound insulation. The railway line the station stood on is now part of the Wirral Way Country Park, which runs along the former railway line between West Kirby and Hooton, a distance of about 12 miles. Both ends of the route are still rail served so a circular walk is possible, with plenty refreshment opportunities available in Parkgate and West Kirby.

 

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Lytham. Lunch And A Brisk Walk.

Rain, rain go away and come again another day. Up here in this part of North West England we have had an unwelcome visitor in the shape of storm Gareth. While its effects around where I live have not been too bad I know that it has caused quite a large amount of flooding, damage to buildings and travel disruption for others. Set against that a few weeks of deathly grey skies and incessant rain is getting off lightly. Now I’ve nothing against Gareths, I know that there are some very pleasant and interesting ones out there. Storm Gareth however is another matter.

Because of this I had been putting off trips in the hope that at some point the weather would improve and the skies would turn blue once more. This Sunday past held out that promise so I grabbed a camera and headed out to the coast. A favourite location for me is Lytham, on the Lancashire coast a little to the south of Blackpool and St. Annes. It has an old world charm with tree lined streets and a selection of small, family owned businesses, including some very fine eating establishments. I took in one of my favourites this time around, The Lytham Kitchen, my lunch is the featured image. I opted for the soup and sandwich combo, the home made mushroom & tarragon soup was magnificent, just the thing for a day that had turned cool and very breezy. I coupled them with excellent egg mayo & bacon sandwiches, Ahh, I’ll start the diet tomorrow…….

17-03-19 LYTHAM. Clifton Square In The Sunshine.

LYTHAM. Clifton Square in the sunshine. The Square is a popular meeting place and features in many of the events held in Lytham through the year.

17-03-19 LYTHAM. Henry Street - Late Duck Lane.

LYTHAM. Henry Street, late Duck Lane, personally I would have kept Duck Lane.

17-03-19 LYTHAM. Lowther Gardens. The Cockler Statue.

LYTHAM. The Cockler statue in the popular Lowther Gardens, it celebrates the towns fishing history.

17-03-19 LYTHAM. Lowther Gardens.  The Lowther Pavilion Theatre.

LYTHAM. The Lowther Pavilion in Lowther Gardens. The only purpose built performance venue in the area, opened in the early 1920’s

17-03-19 LYTHAM. The Windmill On The Green.

LYTHAM. The Windmill on the Green. The Green overlooks the shore and is the setting for events held through the year, such as the Vintage Car show and the 1940’s weekend. Open air concerts are also a feature of the Green. The Windmill dates from the early 18 hundreds and was presented to the town by the local Squire in the 1930’s. The building houses a museum which is open through the summer months.

17-03-19 LYTHAM.The Promenade.

LYTHAM. The Promenade, a popular stretch for a walk or to take in the sun.

17-03-19 LYTHAM. Promnade Seats.

LYTHAM. Lions heads guard the benches on the promenade.

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Chester. Coffee And A Cheese Toastie.

The weather’s been frightful and far from delightful.

Here in my stretch of North West England there’s been a run of far too many grim, grey, rain spattered days. The sort where you spend far too much time looking out of the window in the hope of finding that elusive sliver of blue in the clouds, a faint sign that better weather is on the way.

After a week or so of playing hide and seek with freezing rain showers, getting the camera gear together only having to sit and wait for another rain squall to take the hint and disappear, I decided to get out of the house no matter what. I decided to play it safe – ish with a train trip to Chester. If the weather was good there would be walks to be had down by the river or around the city’s impressive walls. Or if bad then it would be the city’s Rows to walk through, the market, the Cathedral etc. You get my drift.

On the day it wasn’t warm and it wasn’t really dry but I got out and took a few shots. I also had a coffee and a cheese Toastie at the Barrista Coffee Co place on the bus station while I did a bit of people watching.

CHESTER. The Bus station.

CHESTER. The bus station forecourt seen from the Barrista Coffee Co cafe.

CHESTER. Northgate Street & Clock.

CHESTER. Northgate Street busy with the Saturday shoppers and tourists hustle and bustle underneath the famous clock on the walls which still encircle the city.

CHESTER. Chester. Bridge Street Rows.

CHESTER. Chester is famous for The Rows, a clutch of streets in the city centre that are a Victorian recreation of the origonal medieval two tier shopping streets. This is a view from the upper level of the Rows on Bridge Street. Great places to stop, look down and watch the tooing and froing down below.

CHESTER. Chester. The Cross.

CHESTER. Chester is famous for The Rows, a clutch of streets in the city centre that are a Victorian recreation of the origonal medieval two tier shopping streets. This is a view from the upper level of the Rows on Bridge Street. Great places to stop, look down and watch the tooing and froing down below. This is Chester Cross, across the way can be seen the steps leading to the upper level of the Rows.

CHESTER. Chester. Bridge Street.

CHESTER. it would take some effort to go hungry or thirsty in Chester, it doesn’t lack places to eat and drink.

 

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Manchester. 2019 The Year of The Pig.

The year of the Pig is upon us so to celebrate I took myself off to Manchester to watch the annual Dragon Parade. It starts in front of the town hall on Albert Square and then snakes it’s way to the city’s Chinatown area, a network of streets and alleyways sandwiched between. Portland Street and Mosley Street. Holding a parade in Manchester in February can be seen as pushing your luck but after a couple of years that were damp to say the least, while cold the sun shone and the crowds came.

If you have never been I really recommend the event. The crowds, the vibrancy and the atmosphere all combine to make it and unforgettable day. The evening always ends with a firework display launched from the surrounding rooftops, a spectacular and noisy finale, which most people ignore and the fun continues into the night, the stalls lining the streets only closing when completely sold out.

Enough of me, the photo can do the talking now.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER. Faulkner Street Dragon.

MANCHESTER. Faulkner Street and the Dragon chases the sun.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER. Nicholas Street. Selfie Time.

MANCHESTER. Nicholas Street. Street selfie during the Chinese New Year celebrations.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER. Princess Street. Animals on Parade.

MANCHESTER. Princess Street. Cartoon characters parade past for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER. Nicholas Street. Crowds.

MANCHESTER. Chinese New Year. Crowds on Nicholas Street.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER Nicholas Street The Chinese Arch.

MANCHESTER. Chinese New Year, the Chinese Arch on Nicholas Street.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER Nicholas Street Souvenirs.

MANCHESTER. Chinese New Year. Souvenire stalls line Nicholas Street as part of the New Year celebrations.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER. Nicholas Street Chips.

MANCHESTER. Chips to go on Nicholas Street for the Chinese New Year celebrations.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER. George Street. Thai Restaurant.

MANCHESTER. Chinese New Year. Thai restaurant on George Street.

10/02/19  MANCHESTER. Faulkner Street Firewooks.

MANCHESTER. Faulkner Street and as always the Dragon Parade climaxes with the traditional firework display.

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Chorley. Snowdrops In Astley Park.

The Seasons are turning warm, the days are getting slowly longer and the sun is becoming less shy about being seen out and about. Today started a bit on the grim side with a slow fog lazing about but by the mid morning it had largely burnt away so I decided to make a break for it before the weather closed in again.

I decided to head for the market town of Chorley, about an hour’s drive away, sometimes less if the traffic is behaving itself. When I drive to Chorley I generally leave the car in Astley Park, it’s just off the town centre and it makes for a pleasant walk. The main path is straight and clear from the front of the house, see the headline shot, but there are also paths that wander through the woodlands, over bridges and past burbling streams. These would have been used as an elegant diversion for the occupants of the house through the years.

As is the way with these things, ownership of the house passed through different families, either by marriage or a family line dying out. The Charnocks, Brookes and Townley-Parkers all owned the house at one time, eventually it passed into the care of the council in the 1920’s It’s open now at weekends and contains a fantastically impressive plasterwork ceiling as well as a gallery and exhibition space.

The impressive frontage with it’s lion capped doorway dates from the 1660’s, being built onto the original timber frames house. Alas it was a bit of a rushed job and became slightly detached, the floor of the long gallery now has an impressive set of bumps and hollows as you promenade along it. I’ve also heard that it may be haunted….

On a lighter note the old stable block has a really good cafe.

14/02/19  CHORLEY. Astley Hall Snowdrops.

CHORLEY. Snowdrops in Astley Park.

One treat of today is that the snowdrops, Galanthus Nivalis, as my late father’s gardening books tell me are now out in profusion and they added that striking burst of white whenever the sun broke through the clouds that were cartwheeling across the sky. A pleasant bonus on a crisp day, I might try and catch them again before they fade.

14/02/19  CHORLEY. Astley Hall Snowdrops.

CHORLEY. Snowdrops in Astley Park.

14/02/19  CHORLEY. Astley Hall Snowdrops.

CHORLEY. Snowdrops in Astley Park.

14/02/19  CHORLEY. Astley Hall Snowdrops.

CHORLEY. Snowdrops in Astley Park.

14/02/19  CHORLEY. Astley Park. The Hall. Walled Garden.

CHORLEY. Astley Hall in Astley Park. The Walled garden and recentley restored greenhouse.

 

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Birmingham. The Jewellery Quarter, Waiting For A Tram.

I took a trip down to Birmingham a few days ago. It’s a city I enjoy visiting though as yet I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of the place. I’d had a good look around, finding places I had visited before and seeing what changes had happened since my last time there.

I had been using the trams system to speed up getting around, the West Midland Metro, currently it links Birmingham with Wolverhampton with extensions to the system underway or planned.

I was on my way back to the city when I broke my journey at the Jewellery Quarter, the cities famed area for all that glitters and glistens. After a little bit of window shopping, all I can afford at this time of year! I headed back towards the tram station. It was while I was waiting I noticed that the light was beginning to take on that glow that happened when the natural light and the street light start to hit a sort of balance, plus a light fog began to form as the temperature slid down and night time slid in by the back door.

I took this shot just as my tram into the city rumbled into the platform, stations of any kind always have a romance to them for me. Those hints of travel, of other people’s journeys. This was added to as a train pulled into the adjacent rail platforms, full of people being about their business on a cold Saturday evening in January.

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