Saturday, 24 December 2011

Green and White

This year's Winter Solstice has arrived warm and green, such a contrast to last year's
ice and snow.
I'm away for the holidays so wishing you all a Happy Christmas

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

ABC Wednesday - Warrior

HMS Warrior, now preserved in the Portsmouth historic dockyard.  Just to show it on contrasting English summer days, here it is again
Built in 1860 it was the first iron hulled, armoured warship.  Powered by both steam and sail it was a cutting edge design but only 4 years later it was superseded by faster, better armoured and bigger gunned warships and downgraded to coastguard duties. In 1883 her main masts were found to be rotten and to save cost she was converted to a Naval School.  When she was put up for sale in 1924 no buyer could be found so the ship was once again converted but this time to a floating oil pontoon  and renamed Oil Fuel Hulk C77 to spend her remaining working life in Pembroke, Wales.

By 1978 the Warrior was the only surviving example of the 45 iron hulls built by the Royal Navy between 1861 and 1877,  happily the navy had kept her hull in good condition during her stay in Wales so when it was announced the oil depot would be closed the Maritime Trust made great efforts to ensure it was not scrapped.  Towed to Hartlepool for what turned out to be a £8M nine year restoration project (mostly financed by the Manifold Trust) starting with the removal of 80 tons of rubbish  including the thick concrete layer encasing the upper decks poured on when she had been an oil pontoon.  Once the restoration was finished she left the Coal Dock in Hartlepool  to travel 800 miles down the east coast of England and round into the English Channel to be greeted by fireworks, gun salutes and cheering crowds and at last dropping anchor in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which has been her home ever since.
 HMS Warrior by the naval artist WF Mitchell (1872)

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z which this week has moored at W

Friday, 16 December 2011

Snowy Morning

There has been snow on the hills but today is the first fall of the winter in Barrow. An abandoned umbrella caught my attention as I walked along Roose Road.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

ABC Wednesday - VR

Travelling around Britain one of the things often seen are the letters VR on objects of a certain age. This ones glistens on one of the sides of the ornate Eastgate clock in Chester. The initials stand for Victoria Regina, and the clock was made for the occasion of  Queen Victoria's 60 years on the throne, the Diamond Jubilee in 1897.  The clock stands above the old Roman east entrance into the city which was widened in Georgian times but is still on the Roman wall route if you wish to walk around the walls.
Not easy to spot this VR in Ulverston until getting closer
perhaps to post some cards. And there it is on top of the wall box.  You can always tell the age of a post box by which royal reign it was made as the royal cypher is displayed on them.  These cast iron boxes are painted every three years and it looks as though this one has been recently done. The first Post Office wall boxes (which are mainly for rural areas) were installed in 1857 and went through many designs (mainly to try to prevent the rain getting inside) before eventually in 1887 the so called jubilee box was the end result. The jubilee referred to is Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee (50 years on the throne).

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z which this week has reached the letter V

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

ABC Wednesday - Urns

The immaculate topiary of Tatton Park and one of the cast iron urns near the entrance to the Rose Garden with a relief showing Greek warriors.  The garden designers must have had a fondness for these receptacles because they are everywhere.
on top of the ornate seats

and  by the side of Verona marble bench whose ends are carved into winged lions.
But sometimes things are not what they seem. Stand here in the Pleasure Gardens and look at the wall (built in 1818 and behind which are the Orchard and Vegetable gardens) ] with ornamental urns stood on the top.  They are a disguise and are actually chimneys.  The south facing walls gain most of the sun but north facing walls are often in shade  and these were heated in spring and autumn by furnaces whose flues ran through the thickness of the wall and emerge as chimneys.  From the 18th to the mid 19th Century heated walls (also known as 'hot walls') were quite common in the north. Fires would have been lit in early Spring in order to protect the fruit blossom from frost.  

More words starting with the letter U can be found at ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z