Tuesday, 29 May 2012

ABC Wednesday - Trams

Tramline 7 Mortsel - St Pietersvliet, Antwerp
Tram wires can be a pesky nuisance when taking pictures of buildings but lets go with the flow and celebrate their purpose with  a tram on the newly extended  line 7 in Antwerp as it crosses a wide intersection
and goes down narrow street as it crosses the city.
Time to get on board and take a trip. Just seen above the boarding passengers is the electronic sign which shows where the next tram is an how many minutes it is away on this 7.7 km route.  The Antwerp tram system was electrified in 1902

a year later in 1903 so too was this line in Ghent.  The large building it is passing used to be the post office, located in the historic centre of Ghent. In the 1960s the tram system was in decline but in the 1990s it started to expand again and this tram is heading to the Flanders Expo, a place where Tina Turner has sung 12 times.  Both this tram
 Tram Route 4 Moscou, (Ghent)
and this are the most modern, purchased in 2005 they are low floored and double ended.  This bidirectional transport makes it easy to shorten routes when major festivals take over the centre of Ghent.  

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z where we are now at the stop for T

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Round Em Up

An entry to Sepia Saturday "using old images as prompts for new reflections"

As soon as I saw those cows on the Sepia Saturday prompt I knew which picture I would use:
All the young cattle are on the move surrounding the still centre of my Grandmother, Winifred Swindlehurst.  One of them looks to have a white band so I'm hoping its a Belted Galloway just because I think they are such pretty cows with their broad white stripe.  But whatever they are they are rushing forward with lots of curiosity.   I don't know what age she would be here but she was born in 1891 so possibly could be about 20?  The cow on the right looks to be gazing into her eyes meanwhile she is laughing at the unknown photographer at the curious position she is in.  Moving from the enclosed fields of Lancashire to the prairies of Canada    
a tinted postcard of the early 20th Century "Young Cow Punchers, Calgary".  My Grandmother's two sisters emigrated to Canada, she was supposed to go with them but changed her mind at the last minute but they and their families sent postcards from Canada, always enclosed with letters, so unfortunately no handy date stamps.  
The reverse of the divided back card indicates a date from 1903-1914 so at the time she was in the field with cows, say 1911, they write "This is the way they catch the cattle on the Prairie when they want to brand them".  (The cards often explained life in Canada). Whichever side of the Atlantic the families were on they could both have gone to the cinema in 1916 to watch the film directed and starring Tom Mix called "The Cowpunchers Peril". there always seemed to be lots of peril in silent films whether dramatic or comedic but they certainly produced them at a rate. I couldn't resist a filmography of Tom Mix especially with cowboy songs from a luscious voiced, but uncredited, singer.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

ABCWednesday - St Pancras

 This week for ABC Wednesday I'm taking you on a journey to these dreaming spires designed by George Gilbert Scott. 
Walk past the five star hotel entrance,
 first looking up to those wonderful sort of Italianate Gothic windows, (see its sumptuous interior in this video trip here)
But look at the time - lets walk

 through to St Pancras Station
Past the booking office which is now a bar.

to  the John Betjeman statue by the sculptor Martin Jennings, the statue commemorates the poet's successful campaign to save the station from demolition in the 1960s, an era when we lost many Victorian buildings. The 2-metre (6 ft 7 in)-high statue stands on a flat disc slate from my own county of Cumbria inscribed with lines from Betjeman's poem Cornish Cliffs:
"And in the shadowless unclouded glare / Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where / A misty sea-line meets the wash of air".  
The sky blue of the paint is close to the original colour applied in 1868-77 , the colour which the designer of the railway shed William Henry Barlow chose was so when passengers looked up on a fine day the structure would melt away in the sky.  The statue gazes up into Barlow's roof
which on the day I took this was dull (although one of the Olympic rings was blue) but you can always rely on finding a sunny day photo on
Wikipedia, complete with Eurostar trains, about to wizz off to the continent.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey from A to Z

Friday, 18 May 2012

Wedding Time

This time of year is a popular time for weddings, I've already been to one this year but for Sepia Saturday's theme of groups of course I'll go way back in time to this little gathering which I would guess is around 1914. The soldier is Jack Hewitt who's sister Isabel gets the chair because she's the bride. My grandmother Winifred Swindlehurst stands next to Jack and her brother William, the groom, is next, he was her only brother. His eleven sisters never called him William because he gained a nickname as a young boy of 'blurt' because he always we going off somewhere and shooting his gun. I guess that is either a dialect word or the blurt refers to the dictionary definition of "sudden or unadvisedly".  I do not know who the couple on the right are but from looks perhaps the bridesmaid is Isabel's sister and the man is showing off his gloves to perfection.

 Go forward a couple of years and this faded and battered photo which to judge from its cardboard backing at one time must have had another piece and have been on display.  My Grandmother Winifred gets centre seat as the bride. Isabel, (seated left) who was always known as Aunt Bell now has a child. My grandmothers first husband Jack Taylor stands behind her and sadly was to die in the First World War.  Photographs of this period always have poignancy from what we the viewers know from history that the happy group does not.  I love group photographs for their variety of personalities, such as the little girl at the front with a hat just plopped on her head or the man at the back chewing on his pipe, even though I have no idea who the majority are. One thing I do know is where the photograph was taken for I have seen the doorway on many occasion, always featuring in the Swindlehurst family photographs - Hazelslack Tower Farm near Arnside, Lancashire. Depending on the time of year sometimes there is sometimes a glimpse of roses in flower on the porch. But look at the upper left window and two faces peer out to watch the excitement of the photograph, and is that a twitch of the curtain I see on the bottom right.

An entry to Sepia Saturday

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

ABC Wednesday - Royal

I've been away for a few Wednesdays so lost track of which letter we had all arrived at this week.  Happily while abroad  I'd taken a photo of Le Royal Cafe entrance in the concourse of Antwerp Station where there are lots of opportunities to eat and drink or while away the time taking photographs until the right train arrives on one of the four platform levels.  Perhaps write a postcard or two
and then when it arrives in England it will be delivered by the Royal Mail.  The area of London where this post van has stopped at the traffic lights is known for its literary connections to the Bloomsbury Group but they would have been writing letters in the golden age of post when there were at least three deliveries a day.
Even these three look stunned at that. I am sure they are supposed to be royal guards, maybe they will come to life in time for the Queen's jubilee.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet

Saturday, 12 May 2012


 Guild Houses and Brabo Fountain, Grote Markt, Antwerp

A view of the Antwerp Grote Market (Great Market Square) at the heart of the old city.  There was a great fire in 1576 and the houses of the guilds were rebuilt in the Flemish Renaissance style seen here today.  Each house strives to be slightly different, the number of windows must make the interior very light.  At the top of the buildings are the symbols of the guilds.  The local architecture seems to have a fondness for golden symbols on the top of buildings.   

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


 Fell Ponies, Weasdale

Off for a city break to Antwerp via London for seven or eight days.  I've only ever travelled through Belgium on the way to somewhere else so it will be interesting for it to be the actual destination.   It will also be my first time travelling under the channel (on Eurostar) rather than floating on a ferry on top of it.  I'm trying not to think too much about that part.   What else I will be doing during the week I don't know, but suspect at some part of the day I will be eating waffles and drinking beer.