Astley Hall & Figures In A Walled Garden

A favourite place of mine for taking my camera for a walk is Astley Hall on the outskirts of the Lancashire market town of Chorley. The Hall has it’s origins in the 15th century, with succeeding families of owners each putting their own stamp on the building. To the rear of the hall is the walled garden, the kitchen garden, providing produce to feed the household. The garden has been under a program of restoration and replanting with the emphasis shifting to the decorative as opposed to the edible.

It’s a spot that holds year round attractions as the season ebb and flo, the bare sticks of trees and frozen hummocks of soil slowly warm and ease themselves into a new cycle of life for the year. Shoots forcing themselves through onto the stage of a new growing year and fresh leaves begin to garland the trees as the days lengthen.

The walled garden is also a stage for an ever shifting range of features and exhibits. Two that have caught my eye are these wicker figures, not quite a Wicker Man, they don’t quite have those sinister overtones, they are more peaceful and reflective.

13/09/15 CHORLEY. Astley Hall Walled Garden. Wicker Figure.

LANCASHIRE. Chorley. Figure woven out of willow in the walled garden.

My original shots were colour but something in the poise of the figures made me try out B&W versions of the images which I felt conveyed more the timelessness of a peaceful walled garden.

Astley Hall Information

Chorley Information

Lachlan’s Electric Bookshelf

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LOOKING AT LINCOLN

Lincoln is a city that I had wanted to visit for some time and to have a change from driving I decided to travel by train. The journey took a couple of hours with the route starting in the industrial surroundings of Manchester before passing through the beauties of Derbyshire’s Peak District. More industry was passed through at Sheffield but before long the train was travelling through the flat Lincolnshire countryside.

The railway station lies at the bottom of the city, by the River Witham. It was in this part of Lincoln that signs of the earliest settlements have been found. The Romans settled here in the AD 50’s, building their fort at the top of Steep Hill, where the cathedral and castle now stand.

Lincoln River Witham

The River Witham

Lincoln High Street

The High Street

This lower part of Lincoln by the river is linked to the Upper by the very aptly named Steep Hill. On your way up Steep Hill you pass The Jews House, a building which dates from the 12th century and has been occupied ever since. Having been in the recent past an Antiques shop it is now a restaurant.

Lincoln Steep Hill

Looking down Steep Hill

Lincoln Jews House

The Jews House

At the top of Steep Hill stands the glorious Lincoln Cathedral, as you will see from my headline picture it is a soaring,  impressive building. Constructed a little after the castle it was consecrated in 1092. The cathedral owns one of only four copies of the Magna Carta, this one signed in 1214, it is displayed in the museum which now occupies the castle.

Lincoln cathedral organ

The Cathedral Organ

After the collapse of the Roman Empire Britain fell prey to other invaders such as the Vikings and then finally William the Conqueror arrived in Lincoln and had the castle built in 1068. In Victorian times the castle became a prison. Now a museum the castle still has the prison chapel where the prisoners were seated and hooded in individual stalls so as to prevent any contact or conversation. It is possible to walk a complete circuit of the castle walls, a viewpoint which gives stunning views over the city and surrounding countryside.

Lincoln Castle

The Castle Entrance

Lincoln Gaol ghost

Inside the Castle Gaol

One feature of my visit to the Castle Gaol was the use of re-enactments of prisoners stories projected onto near invisible screens. They do give you a jolt if you are not expecting them. This ‘ghost’ recounts her tale of being imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread.

Lincoln Information

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

Heptonstall. History On A Hilltop.

Huddled around a hilltop above the West Riding town of Hebden Bridge sits the village of Heptonstall. It’s houses clustered in narrow, winding streets show its past as a centre for hand loom weaving, their large, third floor windows making the most of the precious daylight.

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Landgate as seen from Weavers Square

The centre of the village is dominated by the ruins of the church of St. Thomas A’ Becket, which date from the 1260’s. A photo of the roofless nave heads up this post. Damaged by a gale in 1847 it fell into ruin and was replaced by the adjacent church of Thomas the Apostle, which in it’s turn was struck by lightning in 1847. Perhaps there’s something about Heptonstall we should be told. The old graveyard which spreads out between the two churches is filled with the rumpled layered tombstones, each with their tale to tell of lives lived and lost, some through age, some through accident and one at the hands of the law. Clipping the edges of silver coins to win yourself a little extra at the government’s expense was a pastime that could result in an appointment with the hangman’s noose.

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Old gravestones etched with history and worn by time.

A little way off the centre of the village, sits the octagonal Methodist church. It  lays claim to being the oldest in continuous use, the foundation stone being laid after a visit from founder John Wesley in the 1740’s.

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The octagonal Methodist Church clinging to the hillside.

In an adjacent cemetery extension lies the grave of the poet Sylvia Plath, wife of fellow poet Ted Hughes. It’s a place of pilgrimage, with pens and notebooks regularly being left as tributes.  She is perhaps best known for her work ‘The Bell Jar’ . Her own story ended with her suicide in 1963.

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The grave of Sylvia Plath

Heptonstall is an intriguing place, its streets winding and looping back on one another. You can drive up and park or if you are feeling up to it a steeply rising path climbs up the hill side from Hebden Bridge on the valley bottom.

Tourism Information

Taking It Easy In Todmorden

 

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

Meditating On Eternity.

If you seek a little peace and quiet away from the hurly burley of Appleby’s annual Horse Fair, you may wish to visit the church of St. Lawrence which stands quietly behind a simple arcaded wall at the foot of the main street. One of the features you will find within the coolness of it’s walls is the tomb of Lady Anne Clifford, 1590 – 1676,  where she lies in her eternal pomp as the Countess Dowager of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery and also the 14th Baron Clifford in her own right.  Lady Anne was an individual of influence and character, though  she was the only surviving child of her father George, 3rd Earl of Cumberland  as a woman could not inherit her father’s earldom. Though it took her many years and two husbands, she successfully pursued a claim for the family estates and the right to the barony of Clifford.  She spent her later years travelling her northern estates and restoring her neglected castles, one of which sits at the top of Appleby’s steeply rising main street, to something of their former glory after the ravages of the English Civil War. 

Lady Anne Clifford

Church of St. Lawrence Appleby.

Appleby 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. 

230610 MANCHESTER Victoria Station LYR War Memorial girl on a mobile 2

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.

30-09-12 MANCHESTER. Withy Grove Stores Dantzic Street.

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.

29/06/14  MANCHESTER. New Cathedral Street.

 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.

29/06/14  MANCHESTER. Mosley Street.

 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. 

05/12/13 MANCHESTER.  St.Peter's Square.

 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.

30-09-12 MANCHESTER. Royal Exchange Theatre

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.

01/02/15 ROCHDALE CANAL. Deansgate Locks.

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