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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MANCHESTER. A Christmas Market Evening.

November is briskly working it’s way through and the season of the Christmas & Continental Markets is here. A few days ago I was making my way back home from a trip up to Rochdale and I decided to break my journey at Manchester and have a quick look around the Christmas Markets. It was a Saturday evening so I knew that it was going to be busy and I wasn’t disappointed. It was busy, busy busy. Not a problem though, the markets are running through until December so I have plenty time to have some more visits.

Enough words, here’s some photos.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Albert Square. Burgers To Go.

MANCHESTER. Albert Square, business is brisk on the burger stall.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. St. Annes Square.

MANCHESTER. St. Annes Square. Filling up on a Saturday evening at the Christmas Market.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. The Old Wellington & Sinclair's Oyster Bar

MANCHESTER. The evening crowds keeping warm in the cold at The old Wellington and Sinclairs Oyster Bar. These old, half timbered building have stood at a few sites around the city centre in their time. Being largely held together by wooden dowels hammered into their beams they can be taken apart in kit form.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Albert Square. Santas.

MANCHESTER. Albert Square. The Santas are coming.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Albert Square. Kabanos.

MANCHESTER. Albert Square, choose your Kabanos.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. St. Annes Square. Candy Time.

MANCHESTER. St. Annes Square chocolate and candy for that sweet tooth.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Kings Street.

MANCHESTER. Christmas cheer gets going at the bars along King Street.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Kings Street.

MANCHESTER. Bright lights and beer along King Street.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Kings Street. Bratwurst.

MANCHESTER. King Street. Evening gathers in around the bratwurst stall.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Cathedral Gardens. Food In The Evening.

MANCHESTER. Cathedral Gardens with burgers and a side of fries.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Albert Square. Chorizo.

MANCHESTER. Albert Square. Busy time at the chorizo stall.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Cathedral Gardens.

MANCHESTER. Cathedral Gardens by the National Football Museum.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. Cathedral Gardens.Pancakes & Waffles.

MANCHESTER. Cathedral Gardens. Waffle and pancake time.

17/11/18  MANCHESTER. New Cathedral Street.

MANCHESTER. New cathedral Street. Reverlers gather around the stalls along New Cathedral Street.

 

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RIVINGTON. Sunlight And Old Stones.

High on the sometimes bleak West Pennine Moors in between the Lancashire towns of Horwich and Chorley there’s a hilltop rich in trees, with here and there the remains of buildings showing through. These are the Terraced Gardens, the creation of local businessman William Lever, later 1st Viscount Leverhulme. I’ve been visiting the gardens since my childhood and have seen the ebb and flow of their condition over time. The gardens were an extravagant mix of pathways and follies, the designer was Thomas Mawson. From the top of the gardens there are views right across the plain of Lancashire to the coast.

Leverhulme created the gardens at the turn of the 1900’s, he was familiar with the area from his courting days and the gardens were heavily influenced by his travels. He made his fortune by building on his family’s grocery business, creating the very successful Sunlight Soap brand along the way. His main home was on the Wirral at Thornton Hough, the Wirral is also the location of the garden village of Port Sunlight which he built to house the workers from the adjacent factory. The fascinating Lady Lever Galley which houses some of the art collection built up by him and his wife and opened in her memory can also be found in Port Sunlight.

After Lord Leverhulme’s death in 1925 the estate was sold on to the owner of a local brewery and on his death the estate was bought by Liverpool Corporation who already owned much of the land in the area and had created a series of reservoirs to supply the city. The main house and the estates’ gatehouses were demolished in 1947 and the long period of decline began. Now in the hands of the water company United Utilities a program consolidation and restoration work is underway.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Seven Arch Bridge.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Seven Arch Bridge across the old road from Chorley into Horwich.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Seven Arch Bridge Steps.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The steps leading down from the summer house to the Seven Arch Bridge over the old Chorley – Horwich road. Due to the steep slopes visible in this shot the gardens were laid out in a series of terraces.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Pigeon Tower.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. One of the most striking and visible features of the gardens is The Pigeon Tower seen from the boating pool. The tower was built to take advatage of the views from the highest point of the gardens. The top floor was used as a sitting & sewing room by Lady Leverhulme. as can be seen from the photo consolidation and restoration is work taking place throughout the gardens.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Swimming Pool Restorati

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The the boating pool beneath the Pigeon Tower undergoing restoration. Viscount Leverhulme being a great believer in the benefits of fresh air and exercise would occaisionally swim in the pool. Again the restoration work in progress can been seen with the new lining to the pool and the clearing away of overgrown vegetation.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Bungalow Ruins.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. Lord Leverhulme’s house at Rivington was a bungalow by the name of Roynton Cottage. This tiled flooring is all that now remains of the building. Roynton Cottage replaced an earlier, wooden cottage which was burnt down in 1913 by Edith Rigby as a Sufferagette protest. The curve of the tiles runs along the edge of what had been the cicular ballroom, the ceiling of which was dark blue and decorated with gold stars representing the constellations on the night of Lord Leverhulme’s birth, 19th September, 1851.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Ruined Shelter.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The ruins of a garden shelter on the level below the site of the bungalow.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Double Staircase.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. the double staircase which leads up from the boating pool to the site of the bungalow Roynton Cottage.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. Gardeners Cottages.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. Gardeners Cottages above the Japanese Pool.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  The Dell & Blue Pool Bridg

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. Looking down the course of the waterfalls in the dell towards the footbridge.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS.  Caves Above The Dell.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The man made caves alos known as The Bear Caves, on the path above the Dell.

11/11/18 RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Japanese Pool.

RIVINGTON TERRACED GARDENS. The Japanese Pool. Inspired by the Willow Pattern design in its heyday the pool as surrounded with tea houses lit by lanterns and was fed by waterfalls and cascades from the upper levels of the gardens.

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Chester. A City And It’s Walls.

Fancying a few hours out and about in the cool October air I took the train out to Chester. I have a choice of rail routes to the city and this time I took the longer one through Liverpool and down the Wirral Peninsular. I like to use rail journeys to make notes and work on ideas for blog posts, books and other photo projects.

I arrived in Chester just before lunchtime and decided to to the market for a bite to eat, I’d seen a bakery stall there on a previous visit and thought I would give it a try. Yes it was good, very good in fact, it’s now on my list of places to eat and drink. I like having these bolt holes, oases where I can sit back and watch the world go by.

As you will see from the photos, the weather was not the most inspiring or welcoming but it was good enough to have a walk around and see what was going on in Chester.

17/10/18.  CHESTER. Northgate Street.

CHESTER. Northgate Sttreet opens out to form a square in front of the Town Hall and across from that sits the Cathedral of St. Werburgh.

17/10/18.  CHESTER. The Groves.

CHESTER. The Groves is the pleasantly tree lined promenade down by Chester’s river, the Dee. Busy with visitors on a crisp cool day as the leaves take on their autumn colours.

17/10/18.  CHESTER. Morgan's Mount.

CHESTER. Morgans Mount on the city walls. The cannon sculpture commemorating the civil war. In 1645 King Charles Ist watched the defeat of his forces at the Battle of Rownton Moor from a tower on the Walls of Chester. The cannon sculpture was created by Colin Spofforth.

17/10/18.  CHESTER. The Market. Crustem Bakery.

CHESTER. Crustem Bakery and Cafe on the market.

17/10/18.  CHESTER. The Market. Crustem Bakery.

CHESTER. Crustem Bakery and Cafe on the market. My chicken, bacon & salad sandwich. I had seen this bakery on a previous visit to Chester but I had already eaten and anyway the place was quite busy but I made a note of it for future reference. I was not disappointed and I shall be returning.

17/10/18.  CHESTER. The Market. Crustem Bakery.

CHESTER. Crustem Bakery and Cafe on the market.

17/10/18.  CHESTER. The Water Tower.

CHESTER. Now garlanded with trees, the Water Tower once stood with the waters of the River Dee lapping against it’s base as it guarded the entrance to Chester’s harbour on the river.The silting of the Dee as it’s course changed led to the closing of the harbour and the city loosing it’s pre-eminence as a trading port to Liverpool on the River Mersey and left the Water Tower standing on dry land.

17/10/18.  CHESTER. Watergate Street Centurion.

CHESTER. On the corner of Bridge Street & Watergate Street a local Centurion goes about his duties. You encounter these costumed guides quite regularly around the city, often in charge of parties of schoolchildren enjoying the experience of being drilled and marching as the Roman Army.

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Warrington. The Oktoberfest Beer Festival.

Last weekend I went along to one of my favourite events of the year, The Oktoberfest Beer Festival, held annually in Warrington’s Parr Hall on Palmyra Square. The beer festival works on several levels for me, first of course is the beer, while I’m not a big drinker I do enjoy a craft ale or beer, something that’s a little different and stands a little outside the mainstream. All told there was over one hundred ales, ciders, perrys and lagers to choose from this year. I wasn’t heroic enough to try and work myself through the whole list, just a few halves of the darker ales which are a favourite of mine. As well as the drink there’s also live music, which year on year has never failed to impress and adds to the atmosphere where people have come along to enjoy a drink and explore what’s new on the flavour front, and there’s always food. The events are organised by the local Rotary Club with the proceeds going to support local charities.

Enough with the words, on with the pictures, though I would point out that any drops in quality are due to me being there to enjoy a night out and not strictly for blogging purposes.That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

12/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. Choices Choices.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 With over seventy ales to choose from making a decision can take a bit of time.

12/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST.  Faces in The Crowd.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 faces in the crowd in the main room.

13/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. A Pint Glass.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 The reason for the whole event, a pinmt of real ale, in this case it was Rev James Gold from the Brains of Cardiff brewery. I fancied a change from the dark stouts.

13/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. Currywurst & Chips.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 As well as the real ales on offer there’s always some food to keep you going. This is my Currywirst & chips. I know that not everyone will find them appealing but believe me they were very good at the time.

12/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. The Escape Commitee.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 Music by The Escape Commitee.

12/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. The Parr Hall.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 at the back of the main hall by the Cider & Perry bar.

13/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. The Lazy River Jazz.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 The main hall with the Lazy River Jazz band bringing a taste of New Orleans to downtown Warrington.

13/10/18. WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST. No Stamp Required.

WARRINGTON OKTOBERFEST ’18 No Stamp Required take to the stage on the last night of the event, bringing to life a great selection of 70’s & 80’s hits.

This is The Escape Committee at work.

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Chorley. Chorley Live, Music On The Streets.

Can I make a suggestion for your diaries next year? Clear a space around the beginning of October and make a note to get along to Chorley Live. Its a marvellous music event that takes over the town centre, places not normally thought of as venues become the stage for a two night celebration of live music of all types.

Professional, semi professional and people chancing their luck at an open mike session all make the two evenings swing along. You won’t go hungry either there’s food as well as an interesting selection of beers from the bars and pubs around the town centre.

Enough with the words, on with the pictures.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Bees Country Kitchen.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Part of the fun of Chorley Live is the wide variety of food available. Bee’s Country Kitchen on the covered market, offer a wide selection of home cooked food.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Covered market. Donna James.

CHORLEY LIVE ‘!8. Donna James gives and open air performance on a cool evening at the Covered Market.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Covered Market.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. With is central location the Covered Market is a natural hub for Chorley Live.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Face Painting On Cleveland Street.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. As well as enjoying the music. atmosphere and food, you can also indulge in a bit of face painting.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Adam Heap.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Adam Heap brings his own take on the songs of George Ezra for the patrons of the Ginnel Bar.

05/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE '18. Sherpards Hall Ale House. Yoz Hindley

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Yoz Hindley and guitar make the most of the Ale House’s intimate atmpsphere.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE. Jan et Al.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Entertaining the audience in the Market Hub Centre Jan et Al add a Parisian twist to the evening.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The White Bull.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. The White Bull on Market Street, one of the Chorley Live venues.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Fazakerley Street Doughnuts.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Live music, beer, and doughnuts on Fazakerly Street. All part of the Chorley Live experience.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Lone Violinist On Chapel Street.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. A lone violinist serenades the night in the gathering shadows on Chapel Street.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Covered Market.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. A wide selection of food is part of the Chorley Live experience here at the Covered Market.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  Lone Violinist On Chapel Street.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. A lone violinist serenades the night in the gathering shadows on Chapel Street.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE. Mike Kneafsey At The White Bull.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. Mike Kneafsey strums the night away at the White Bull.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Shed Bar.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. As well as being a warm and intimate venue, the Shed Bar serves an excellent selection of beers.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE. The Shepheards Hall  Ale House.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. The Shepheard’s Hall Ale House, is a cosy bar that is another of the Chorley Live venues. Real ale and great music.

06/10/18 CHORLEY LIVE.  The Covered Market.

CHORLEY LIVE ’18. A wide selection of food is part of the Chorley Live experience here at the Covered Market.

So there you are, don’t say I didn’t tell you about it, might see you there next year.

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