A Raft of Apples

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

X Sign

An X in the sky meant when I took this photo one of ABC Wednesday's tricky letters was sorted.  The crossing here is of road, rail and cycle path and the only steam train ever seen is the one painted on the sign as the line is for freight
to the docks. I didn't take any photos of the railway lines because I thought I had some already, which was true, but they are inaccessible at the moment and in the depths of my very poorly old laptop although I do have my memory cards,  which I haven't labeled, xxxx!  
International Nuclear Services Terminal
The rail tracks can just be seen in this photo.  We have had some strange weather patterns this year and the day in May these photos were taken was no exception, sultry, with complete hazy cloud cover,
the lines between sky and water only distinguished by their texture.  The ship is the Oceanic Pintail which makes it sound quite benign but in actual fact it is a carrier of high level radioactive waste so you could say it is x rated.  On its journeys around the world they will turn off the AIS (Automatic Identification System) and if returning via the Suez Canal the canal cameras will be turned off to keep secret its course. The Global Threat Reduction Initiative means that the Plutonium it carries will end up somewhere near the Savannah River in the US. 

'Normal' nuclear waste will trundle up and down the coast to and from the port but on the occasions more exotic nuclear materials are transported then the level of police buzzing up and down the road is usually a pointer to transportation of something potentially more dangerous.   
On the Line
but not on a quiet November day when the even the rails on this coastal railway seemed autumnal.  

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at X here  

Tuesday, 14 June 2016


The warning whistle is a familiar sound on steam trains, the variability possible in pulling the cord meant that the operators in times past could express the warning in styles as individual as the drivers. Indeed even today one could find 'by popular request' a compilation of whistles and horns here  from modern to vintage.  This locomotive is just arriving for the morning trip and pushing the carriages into Oxenhope station on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.
You might observe from this photograph that I was distracted by the rather nice planting of evergreens, bulbs and heather by the trackside, but eyes right this is the locomotive now pulling the carriages.  I think this may be the only survivor of the Austerity class which were built for heavy freight in World War II. Over 900 of them were built from 1943-1945 and this particular engine pulled troops and supplies across Europe.  At the end of the war they were dispersed to various places, 184 went to mainland Europe, mainly the Netherlands, and this is where our engine 90733 travelled and then was later sold to Sweden, eventually ending up stored undercover in a Northern Swedish forest as part of their strategic reserve.  In 1973 it made its way back to the UK and the port of Hull and its home today on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in Yorkshire.

For steam (and steam whistles) water is needed and here is the water tower at the largest station on the line, Keighley.  (For non UK residents this is pronounced as Keithly or Keethly and I always have trouble spelling it)  The water tower at the station we started from, Oxenhope,
is very different

and looks more like a very large table lamp.  I'll end with some words of wisdom on the following sign
    Missed Your Train? ... You'll Catch the Next One

And for perfect relaxation after that visit to the cafe/bar, lulled to sleep by The Seekers singing 'Morningtown Ride' here
"Train whistle blowing, makes a sleepy noise,
Underneath their blankets go all the girls and boys.
Heading from the station, out along the bay,
All bound for Morningtown, many miles away.
Sarah's at the engine, Tony rings the bell,
John swings the lantern to show that all is well.
Rocking, rolling, riding, out along the bay,
All bound for Morningtown, many miles away.
Maybe it is raining where our train will ride,
But all the little travelers are snug and warm inside.
Somewhere there is sunshine, somewhere there is day,
Somewhere there is Morningtown, many miles away" (words/music by Malvina Reynolds)
 An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at W here

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Flags Flying

The Strawberry
The football calm before the storm?

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


Coming to a halt at Oakworth Station with its vintage signs and one in particular is perfect for this weeks letter - Virol.  The message underneath reads "for health and vitality" and it was recommended for making children healthy but also for the sporting cyclist who were advised for the best results to take it together with milk (no doubt making them able to zoom up hills).  This elixir was a malt extract product invented by Bovril in 1899 and was sold up to the middle of  World War II, when production ceased because it became too costly to manufacture. It is possible that production restarted post war because there was still malt extract being fed to small children but it may have been a different brand. 
The train moves off as I continue to take photographs through the window.  Oakworth Railway Station was opened in 1867 but this station on a heritage railway in West Yorkshire is created to look how it would have done from 1905-1910.  For some it may look vaguely familiar, especially if you are a fan like me of the 1970 film The Railway Children for here is where Mr Perks was station master and much of the story was filmed (some other locations in the area are listed on the Keighley and Worth Valley railway site).
Subconsciously I must have been very excited I was at Oakworth because I took photographs coming through the station both going and coming back, or perhaps I was attracted by the virnal displays of flowers. Thanks to the railway volunteers one can enjoy both stations and a trip behind a steam train and happily, unlike the railway children, there is no danger of a landslide onto the track.
For lovers of steam locomotives here is the teaser for next week and the letter W 

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at V here

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Unknown of Uttoxeter

One of the beauties of a walk whether familiar or new are the unknowns and the unasked question; 'what or who will I see today'?  This was an unfamiliar walk to me but here by a farm gate between stream
and fell, open to all the elements was this remarkably well preserved piece of machinery.
It had us all puzzled but were not unappreciative of its intricate nature and its once moving parts
Happily stamped on the metal it told its own tale "reaping and mowing". No 7:R Bamfords, Uttoxeter, Engineering.

The company Bamfords was formed in 1871 and grew rapidly when in 1882 it came up with the prize winning Royal No 5 horse mowing machine. Its extra high wheels "enabled the horse to trot without injury".
And yes, this has "Royal" on the strut just beyond the gear.  I would guess the number 7 on the plate must refer to the version for they made them in a number of designs, for one or two horses, right or left cut, and exported all over the world.  They ceased trading in 1986, however the Bamford family name lives on as one part of the family founded JC Bamford Excavators in 1945, better known worldwide as JCB.  The headquarters are no longer in Uttoxeter but they have remained in the same county of Staffordshire.  Vintage Bamford machinery and engines are very collectable and I imagine this one could be brought back into working order by enthusiasts like these.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at U here

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Church Tower

A carpet of crocus and a scattering of daffodils surround the tombs of St Mary Magdalene churchyard.  Here I stand on the west side of the church looking towards the tower. A church has stood here since the 12th century, although little remains of it after an extension in the 16th century, alterations in the 18th century and lastly a rebuilding in 1873.  The squat saddleback tower we see today is by Austin and Paley, a duo of much loved local architects, and replaced the old one in 1900-1.
It is difficult to get a photograph of the whole church as it is surrounded by trees and from this angle the tower saddleback cannot be seen but lets head out towards the gate for another angle, look up to check the time
and see a homily on the tower "Watch for ye know not the hour",  perhaps something to meditate on as I take a turn around the tombstones
while enjoying a day of spring sunshine and flowers.
Here can be seen how well the sturdy tower sits with the church as they nestle in the hollow of the valley south of the village of Broughton in Furness.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at T here


Tuesday, 17 May 2016


Walk along the towpath of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal (celebrating its 200th birthday in 2016) from Shipley in Yorkshire this marvelous edifice comes into view around a bend at Saltaire.  It is New Mill or the North Block of Salts Mill and built in an Italianate style; the chimney is based on the Campanile of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. Once a wool mill today it houses the National Health Trust who must have lovely window views of canal
and to the side, the River Aire.  Built by Titus Salt as a wool mill when be bought farm land here because of the ideal transport links of both canal and railway but also because he had a vision of building a model village for his workers.  A man of great religious faith he also built
the Congregationalist Church directly opposite the mills. The conditions in the slums of Bradford were dire at this time with high infant mortality and even an outbreak of cholera so when the workers came here to neat housing and open green spaces it must have been a revelation.  The village, by combining his name and river name, became Saltaire. 

No wonder when in 1876 Titus Salt died 100,000 people lined the street for his funeral cortege. The Salt family mausoleum is at the rear of the church on the right. 
In the grounds by the entrance are also what was the office house and stables.  Titus Salt had made the bulk of his fortune by the chance of finding Alpaca wool in a Liverpool docks warehouse which was being used as  packing material in imported goods.  He discovered that by combining it with Angora sheep wool it made a fine and desirable material.  When in recent times ideas for a sculptures alongside the River Aire were imagined and drawn by the local school

it is no surprise one of them was of an Alpaca.
As well as housing, schools and churches Salt also built Saltaire Institute as a 'centre for recreation, culture and learning’ consisting of  library, gymnasium and rifle drill-room, fencing room, armoury, chess room, laboratory and lecture theatre, bagatelle and billiards room, a school of art, and a large dance hall with a fully sprung floor.  Wow there was a whole lot going on in there.  Today owned by the Salt Foundation charity trust and renamed Victoria Hall it is still a centre for recreational use with the addition of weddings and film locations.

Saltaire was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as an "exceptionally well preserved industrial village that had a profound influence" on similar model villages built as a result of philanthropic paternalism (such as Port Sunlight which I pictured in a previous round of ABC Wednesday here) 

Although I am quite fond of taking photographs of vernacular housing my brief time in Saltaire meant I couldn't didn't get to amble along it planned streets and parks but by chance I did take a photo of one of the lions outside Victoria Hall
which were designed by sculptor Thomas Milnes and originally destined for the bottom of Nelson’s column in Trafalgar Square in London.  Guess the capital decided they wanted something a whole lot bigger.  Of course the housing is evident in the background and what is even better is that the road sign says Lockwood Street.  Titus Salt's architects who designed the whole village and mills were Lockwood and Mawson and this is one of the streets, as thanks, he named after them.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at S here