Perth,Waiting On A Night Time Station

I’m half Scots, my late father came from a small ironworks town in the middle of industrial Lanarkshire and through him I have a great affection for Scotland and try to get there as often as I can. Up until a couple of years ago I would go up and stay on the outskirts of Dunkeld on the fringe of the Highlands, so I could soak up the peace and quiet of a slower pace of life for a couple of weeks. Circumstances have put a temporary halt to the long Scottish stay but I am working on getting back into that routine again asap.

On one of my last stays a friend asked to come up and spend a weekend walking in the area and that was fine by me, it would be a chance to show off my northern hideaway. Niall would be travelling up by train so we arranged to meet on the station, his train would be arriving in Perth at about 9.15 in the evening.

To be on the safe side I made sure I arrived a little early as it would also be a chance to take some evening photographs around Perth and chase down a coffee and cake. After adding to my waistline I made my way over to the station and checked which platform Niall’s train would be arriving at.

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PERTH. Solitary passenger waiting for the Dundee train

Like the majority of UK railway stations, Perth’s grew up in a slightly piecemeal way through the great Victorian railway boom. It had it’s origins in the late 1840’s with a line up from Glasgow which terminated in the town. Over the succeeding years lines came in from Dundee along the Firth Of Tay while others headed northwards through the Highlands to Inverness and beyond.

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PERTH. Looking along platform 2 towards Dundee

I always feel that there’s a particular atmosphere about railway station at night, a mixture of the sinister and the romantic. This is particularly so at Perth, the buildings being designed by the eminent Victorian architect Sir William Tite, the adjacent station hotel has the bulk and presence of a Scottish Baronial castle. Always having a camera with me I spent the 20 minutes or so before arrival time taking a walk around the large open platform spaces.

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PERTH. The footbridge, a recent addition and not popular as you have to go out into the rain to use it and there are already stairs and ramps in the original building.

The station’s shape is a large main group of platforms that serve the route to Inverness and in years past branch lines that were closed down in the unfortunate clearing out of the Beeching years. These are joined by two platforms which are served by the line coming in from Dundee, this passes over the south of the city centre after crossing the River Tay. There’s a more regular service on these platforms. The trains through here go on to serve Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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PERTH. Lights glittering on platform 1, wait here for trains to Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Here and there people waited for their train, some on the northbound platform and some waiting for a train out to Dundee or Aberdeen. There was a general quietness about the place, only disturbed by the distant, steady rumble of the idling diesel engines of a train waiting for it’s next journey. Before long Niall’s train rumbled in, we said hello and made our way back to Dunkeld after a shortish visit to a local bar for me to warm up a little and for Niall to unwind a little.

Perth Tourism Information

ScotRail Train Information

Lachlan’s Electric Bookshelf

Lachlan’s Portfolio

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Cheese on Toast In A Blackpool Cafe

If only walls could talk as the old saying goes. I had decided to take a trip out to Blackpool, it was still a little early in the year and so the days were a bit on the short side. To make the most of the available time I decided I would drive but that I would park my car at Fleetwood and use Blackpool’s world famous trams to get about. There is a day ticket which covers both the tram service and the bus network. So after I had parked the car and grabbed a quick-ish coffee I walked over to the tram terminus and boarded and was on my way.

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One of Blackpool’s new trams.

Blackpool’s trams operate from Fleetwood in the north, down the promenade through Blackpool itself to the southern terminus at Squires Gate. Travelling south the Irish Sea is on your right and depending on the day’s weather and tide is either forbiddingly gloomy or as on the day of my trip, a sparkling ribbon on a distant horizon.

A ride on a Blackpool tram is always an interesting affair as you cross paths with other people’s lives. Catch happy or otherwise expressions or dip unintentionally into conversations that are not as private as the participants would like to think. For this journey I travelled down as far as the South Pier, one of three that Blackpool proudly possesses, I crossed over from the promenade and made my way up Waterloo Road This was a busy part of town which faded a little, though now it’s on the way back up after some refurbishment. Blackpool South railway station is at the top of the street, though it is now very much a pale, single platform shadow of it’s former self but the station still has an hourly service through Preston to East Lancashire so it still can be a busy place.

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Blackpool South railway Station.

By this time my internal clock was telling me that food would be a good idea. One of the many delights of Blackpool is the almost endless supply of cafes and tearooms. I chose one, went in, checked the menu and ordered cheese on toast, a personal favourite and a mug of coffee. I had picked a corner booth from where I could watch the coming and goings. I have a great affection for places like this cafe, one that has it’s regulars, customers who don’t need to order at the counter, their meal is almost ready the minute they step through the door.

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Lunch for two on Waterloo Road Blackpool.

Two sets of people caught my eye almost immediately. The Lady in the header photo and the couple. The Lady on her own was sat at her table and radiated a sort of inner peace and calm. Her expression throughout was one of reflection and meditation. As though she was happily engaged in turning over in her mind past personal events and happenings. The couple were sat at a table near to the Lady. Their conversation was polite and considered, as though they had reached the stage of a comfortable form of conversational shorthand, where whole sentences could be conveyed in a couple of words and a glance.

It began to feel as if I was a theatre play or a film. I ordered another coffee and a cake so I could spend a little more time watching these quiet events unfold, like the petals of a flower in the sun. But eventually it was time for me to go so as discretely as possible I clicked the shutter. on my little ‘go-everywhere’ camera and made my exit.

I will go back, the coffee and the cheese on toast were both excellent but I really want to see if I can catch any more of the quiet drama of everyday Blackpool folk playing out

Blackpool Tourism Information

A Cheese On Toast Recipe

Lachlan’s Electric Bookshelf

A Busy Month

Just a quick post to get back into the swing of things. I’ve had a busy month getting a couple of projects off the ground, on in particular has been adding to and organising the ebooks I produce. With a little bit of head scratching and midnight oil burning I’ve managed to produce twelve titles, not in one month obviously but reaching number twelve feels like a bit of a personal milestone.

I’m now starting to feel comfortable with the format and more importantly confident in the style and content of the books.though as always, at the back of my mind is the thought that I don’t want to get over confident and just bang out books in a production line with no thought as to the idea behind them. if I expect people to look at them they have to have a decent theme and a degree of style and continuity.

I don’t intend to step back from book production, I really enjoy the challenge of putting them together, print on demand will be the next step, which means more head scratching and midnight oil burning over a different set of production techniques.

All of the above though has meant that the blogging has become a whole lot more sporadic than it was before so a bit more personal organizing will have to be brought into play.

Fleetwood, Marine Hall

FLEETWOOD. The Marine Hall

 

Right, blog entry over for now, the next one is beginning to come together out of a pile of scribbled notes.

Lachlan’s e-book bookshelf

Southport Pier In The Sun

A small follow on from a previous post on Southport and it’s pier. I took this image on a bright, crisp day which really made the colours of the original sing out but there was something about the shapes and shadows that lead me in the direction of trying it out as a black & white image and I’m quite happy with the result, though any feedback or comments are always welcome, if I’m not in just leave a note under the rock by the front door.

The ‘train’ in this shot is the latest one to run along the pier, sadly the purpose built battery tram was found to be too heavy for the pier structure, the vibration caused by it passing up and down was beginning to weaken the Victorian girders holding the pier together. Such is progress.

Speaking of progress I should be making some with an ebook I have working it’s way through to a publishing date. Time to leave the seaside behind for today.

SOUTHPORT TOURISM INFORMATION

A Walk Down Southport Pier

Taking It Easy In Todmorden

Todmorden in Yorkshire, though once half of it was in Lancashire with the boundary going through the Town Hall. I was on the station and waiting for the train into Leeds while across the way and waiting for nothing in particular was what I took to be the station cat, he certainly had that cat way of owning wherever he laid his head.

Todmorden Information

Monochrome Manchester

I live in the North West of England approximately halfway between Liverpool and Manchester so both are easy for me to reach,usually by train. Yes it’s the big kid in me. I like travelling on the railway. The header image above was taken in one of the staircases that leads down from the carpark that sits over the roof of Manchester Victoria station. For a long time this was the poorer relation to Manchester’s Piccadilly station, about a quarter of a mile away on the other side of the city centre. Piccadilly has the glamour of handling the London train services but at last after many years of being the city’s Cinderella station, the sleeping beauty is being awoken, I like my metaphors mixed not shaken, by a massive rebuilding program which is mercifully preserving some of the Victorian/Edwardian features that have survived to the present. 

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Manchester Victoria Station. The Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway War Memorial.

10/07/15 MANCHESTER. Hotspur Press Building.

MANCHESTER.The old Hotspur Press building behind Whitworth Street as seen from the new HOME building.

Building survival is a useful topic to keep in mind, whenever I visit Manchester I am never far from the shadow of cranes and other building works. The city seems to be in an almost constant state of metamorphosis and development. New springing up amidst the old, the old changing into the new or just disappearing altogether. I’m not for preserving cities in aspic so they they never change  but can we slow it down a little sometimes? The above shot was taken from the courtyard outside of the HOME building. This is the replacement for the long established Cornerhouse, a centre for the arts and film. Home is a new building, the old Cornerhouse building is still there but yes, it’s changing into something else. In Manchester the caterpillars that change are made of concrete and bricks.

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Withy Grove Stores

One building that hasn’t changed is the Withy Grove Stores, tucked away on Withy Grove, which leads down from Shude Hill behind the ever expanding Arndale Centre.

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 MANCHESTER. New Cathedral Street.

Across Corporation Street from Withy Grove you will find the newest street in Manchester, New Cathedral Street, which was born out of the redevelopment of the city centre in the aftermath of the bombing in June of 1996. A pedestrian thoroughfare it links the Triangle shopping area with St. Ann’s Square and is the haunt of some of Manchester’s tres chic shopping.

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 MANCHESTER. Metrolink tram 3069 passing with an Eccles via Media City service. St. Peter’s Square in the background is currently being redeveloped as part of the second city crossing scheme for the Metrolink system. The work involves the relocation of the war memorial and the enlarging of the tram stop.

A very useful feature of Manchester is it’s ever busy tram network with the bright yellow trams buzzing regularly through the city centre and onto the suburbs. The network covers about 48 miles at present, with a couple more extensions on the way. The Metrolink as it is called is one of the better ways to get yourself around and about Manchester. 

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 MANCHESTER. Metrolink Tram 3052 at St. Peter’s Square.

Also threading through the city but in a less obvious way are canals, perhaps not as romantic or extensive as Venice’s they have nevertheless contributed greatly to the prosperity of the city, especially in Manchester’s heyday as ‘Cottonopolis’ when it was the centre of the Lancashire cotton industry.  One of the city’s major theatres, the Royal exchange sits in it’s futuristic pod on the trading floor of the former Royal Exchange where raw cotton and it’s products were traded.

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Royal Exchange Theatre on Cross Street

A late Victorian building the Exchange dates from the 1870’s with extensions in the 1900’s and rebuilding after wartime damage. Closed to for trading in the late 1960’s it face the prospect of demolition but survived and prospers and from personal experience is an excellent theatre to experience.

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MANCHESTER. Deansgate Locks on the Rochdale Canal.

One of Manchester’s canals is the Rochdale Canal which slides gently past the Deansgate Locks, now home to the Comedy Club and fashionable places to eat and drink. 

Royal exchange Theatre

Visiting Manchester Information

Travelling On Manchesters Trams

 

 

Around Liverpool – Over Coffee

It’s a coolish, uncomfortable day outside so I’ve been busy chopping firewood and then come inside started editing images and generally tidying my little office space.  While I was taking a break  with a cup of coffee  I thought would put together a post and I chose Liverpool, merchant city on the Mersey, named for its Liver Birds which sit proudly on top of the Liver Building, one of the Three Graces which ornament the Pier Head on the river, the others being the Mersey Docks Building and the Cunard Building.

I live about forty minutes train ride away from the city which makes it the easiest way to travel, no hassles with the traffic etc plus being a big kid I do like travelling on the trains and Liverpool’s Lime Street station, with it’s fantastic overall roof, is one of the more impressive stations to arrive at.

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LIVERPOOL. Lime Street Station from St. George’s Plateau.

Its also right on the city centre and everything you would want to see is within an easy walk.  Facing you as you leave the station onto Lime Street is the impressive bulk of St. Georges Hall with it’s majestic pillared frontage.  The hall opened in 1851 as a combined concert hall and Law Courts, I did my jury service there some years back, the courts have moved to a purpose built location nearer the River Mersey, leaving the old courtrooms open as a museum, together with the former cells in the labyrinth of passageways under the hall. 

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LIVERPOOL. St.Georges Hall from St. John’s Gardens.

At the back of St. George’s Hall are St.John’s gardens. Once the site of an infirmary and cemetery which had become full, the area was cleared with the deceased being reburied elsewhere and the gardens were opened in 1904 and now are home to several monuments and statues to local and national notables. It is a quiet oasis in a very busy part of the city, bounded on one side by the Walker art Gallery, Central Library and the World Museum. 

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LIVERPOOL. The Cavern Club.

You can’t mention Liverpool and not mention the Beatles. I won’t try to compete with the real experts but just say that in the Cavern Quarter on Mathew Street is the recreation of the famous club which helped the group make their name.

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LIVERPOOL. The Town Hall

As well as caverns, Liverpool has no shortage of beautiful buildings one of which is the Town Hall, dating from the 1750’s and sitting elegantly in charge on Castle Street. 

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LIVERPOOL. St. James Gardens. The Huskisson Memorial.

Tucked away behind the  bulk of the Anglican Cathedral is St. James Gardens, an area with an intriguing history. Located well below the level of the surrounding streets the gardens were formerly a quarry dating from the 16th century which were in turn laid out as a cemetery by private subscription in the 1820’s. The circular tomb above marks the last resting place of William Huskisson who met his untimely end being hit by Stephenson’s Rocket locomotive at Parkside on the day of the official opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. A small spring bubbles quietly from the base of the massive sandstone walls of the gardens, which lying so low are not disturbed by the sounds of passing traffic, which disappear as you walk down the entrance tunnelled through the sandstone near the cathedral’s main door.  

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LIVERPOOL. Sea Odyssey Celebrations.

Proud of it’s history, in 2012 Liverpool was the setting for the Sea Odyssey performance by the Royal de Luxe troupe with their signature puppets in honour of the 100 anniversary of the sailing of the Titanic, whose owners, The White Star Line where based in the city.  The young girl puppet made her progress through the city from Stanley Park to the Pier Head, meeting her Uncle the Diver along the way.

So that’s a dip of the toe into Liverpool, not a definitive history but an impression over a cup of coffee. If you haven’t visited do, if you have visit again, you will alway find something new.

LIVERPOOL MUSEUMS INFORMATION

St. GEORGES HALL INFORMATION

THE CAVERN INFORMATION

ST. JAMES GARDENS INFORMATION