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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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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