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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On The Move. Six Random Shots

I imagine every photographer will be familiar with this scenario. You are working through your photo files and an image catches your eye. You may have seen it countless times before, you will remember taking it but this time around it hits you with that other ‘something’ that makes you sit back in your chair while you try and analyse what it is that caught your attention.

Here’s a small selection culled from a recent house keeping session on the photo files.

The featured shot was a grab shot with my mobile ‘phone. I was hurrying to catch a train at Earlestown, one of my local stations, the route had been electrified a couple of years ago and the parapet of the footbridge had been raised with heavy duty glass panels as a safety measure. The pattern of raindrops caught my eye as I crossed, damn I’d seen it and I couldn’t walk past it as I knew I’d regret it for the rest of the day. The camera was out of harms way in my rucksack so out came the mobile. Shot taken I went and caught my train (just), I tried a couple of filters on the image but I kept coming back to black and white, so here it is.

That’s the back story for one of these shots, you can put your own to the rest.

13-09-18 MANCHESTER. Castlefileds Canal Basin.

MANCHESTER. Castlefields Canal Basin, a pre railway age transport hub where the canals that kick started the city’s industrial pre-eminence came in to connect with the manufacturies and warehouses in the area. Tellingly here the canals are overshadowed by the viaducts of the railways that lead to the canal’s demise.

19-08-18.  LYTHAM. On Parade.

LYTHAM. On parade for the jiving in the Square during Lytham’s 1940’s weekend.

19/10/18 LIVERPOOL. Exchange Square.

LIVERPOOL. Shadows moving across Exchange Flags in Liverpool, the heart of the city’s business district.

06/10/18  LLANDUDNO. In Memoriam Of Ginger.

LLANDUDNO. Across from the Great Orme Tramway station a life passed is remembered.

22/09/18  MORECAMBE. Heysham Head. The Rock Cut Graves.

MORECAMBE. The rock cut graves on Heysham Head overlooking Morecambe Bay.

 

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Preston. A Visit To The Moon.

I’ve recently paid a visit to the moon, I know that sounds a bit extreme so let me explain.

PRESTON. Herris Museum.

Museum of The Moon.

 

My lunar trip took place thanks to excellent Harris Museum in Preston, Lancashire. Until the 24th of February the museum is hosting the stunning art instillation ‘The Museum Of The Moon’ created by the artist Luke Jerram, it’s also accompanied by a soundtrack from the composer Dan Jones.

03-02-19 HARRIS MUSEUM . Museum Of The Moon D

The artwork is a 23 feet high model of the Moon created from NASA survey photographs and is on tour to various locations around the world, both indoors and out. At the Harris it’s suspended in the atrium which runs through the centre of the building which stands on the town’s Market Square and dates form the 1890’s. As well as containing an absorbing collection of items and artworks, as well as the city’s library, the building also hosts touring exhibitions.

03-02-19 HARRIS MUSEUM . Museum Of The Moon C

PRESTON. Herris Museum.

Harris Museum. Museum of the Moon.

If you are in the area and want to meet the Moon close up you have until the 24th February, or you can track it as it travels around.

 

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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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Chorley. Waiting For The Bus.

Even though I’m a car owner I still like to use public transport regularly, either the bus or the train. I welcome the change from being the driver so I can just sit back and let the journey unfold. I find these sorts of journeys really helpful if I’m working on a project, a photo book, a short story or a blog post that’s got a bit ‘sticky’ or isn’t progressing as well as it should. I just sit and watch the world go by the bus or train window and let my mind freewheel. I try not to deliberately think about the problem in hand, that just seems to chase any solution further away into the dark corners.

There’s plenty of stimulus to be found on these journeys, scraps of overheard conversation, or scenes being acted out as you pass by.

What were those two staring at so intently?

What was in the big, cardboard box that was so heavy?

The briefly noticed scene in a cafe window, do those two people meet regularly?

The list is endless.

There was a particular reason for me travelling to Chorley, a market town in central Lancashire, not too far from where I live. The town has a vibrant centre and market, with plenty of independent traders and they always put on a good event. I was going to collect my ticket to the flower show which is held at the end of July in the grounds of Astley Hall which is just off the town centre. This is the fourth year that the show is being held and each year they have added to and improved it.

It has become a permanent fixture now in my own calendar. There’s all the attractions you would expect, the displays, the talks, appearances from well known gardeners from the TV. There’s also a growing food court area.

Speaking of food, collecting my ticket only took a few minutes so I had plenty of time to have a walk around the town and the market. I had a really good brunch at one of my favourites, Bee’s Country Kitchen on the market and after some more shopping I headed back to the bus station in time to have an afternoon coffee & cake at Woodchats Cafe on the bus station, in fact you can just make it out at the top, right hand corner of the photo.

The next event I’m looking forward to after the flower show is Chorley Live, a two night event of live music played at venues throughout the town centre. I blog more about that one when I’ve been.

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