Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Ghostly Greyhound

A ghostly figure emerges from the wall by a Victorian fountain but alas water no longer runs or perhaps it still flows in the world beyond the veil, the man looks straight at us but the dog is more interested in quenching its thirst (or perhaps trying to extricate itself from the wall).  There was plenty of water around when I took the photograph on a grey day but it was all coming from the sky.  The figures were created by John McKenna as part of the Quest art trail project in Whitehaven, Cumbria.  It portrays the ghost of a miner and his whippet but of course I could not resist the alliteration of ghostly greyhound in my title and indeed whippets are descended from the greyhound but are a smaller dog.

The sculpture was installed in 2000 but as can be seen the fountain is dated 1859.  The provision of clean water was part of the Public Health Act of 1848, one effect of which was the appearance of drinking fountains in cities and towns.  Whitehaven originally had six or seven but I think this is the only one that survives.  The first fountain was paid for by the Society of Rechobites, a temperance movement, but this particular one was paid for by the local Water Committee.  The town itself started life as a small fishing village, expanded to a port and with the coming of the Industrial Revolution grew even larger.  One of the movers and shakers of earlier times was Sir John Lowther (1642-1705) who designed the layout of Whitehaven in a grid pattern and it is considered one of the first "post Renaissance planned towns in Britain".  The fountain is located on one of those wide straight street so what else is could it be called but Lowther Street but it was also where Rosina Murray, who lobbied successfully for fountains to be installed, lived.  The fountain features the Lowther coat of arms which was incorporated into Whitehaven's crest,
here seen on the side of the Civic Centre.  A dragon appears on the top of the Lowther coat of arms however the council say their mythical beast is a griffin. The motto is 'Concilio Absit Discordia' - "Let discord be absent from your deliberations"  so no doubt there can be an amicable discussion about the difference between a griffin and a dragon.

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



Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Flora and Fells

February, the month when by imperceptible degrees the days start to lengthen and someone, well yes I mean me, is taken by surprise by the time, 5 O'Clock and still light, yay.
The snowdrops are in full flower and the daffodils are long green shoots and just waiting for their moment in the sun.  Now is the time I like to look forward to the year ahead and wonder what new things I will see, what the year's weather will be like and
Small White (Pieris rapae) on buttercups
dream of the warmer days to come when fluttering wings will be in fields and hedgerows landing on flowers and the
ferns will be unfurling. The latter perhaps I'm fonder of in photogenic clumps rather than in whole impenetrable swaths of fell-sides as they can make finding a pathway through rather testing at times.  All this is in the future and at the moment there are chilly winds 
Coniston Old Man
but the only snow we have had this year floated down onto the fells so we had the pretty views without the icy roads.
Swans on Coniston Water
In the first week of February the day that was so still that Coniston Water had not a ripple on it, only the ones made by these swans.  This is also the very last photo taken by my camera for like a boxer with a glass jaw it has taken many knocks and bruises to its body and shrugged them off but did not survive its careless owner putting it in her coat pocket with a bunch of keys and damaging the screen. The finish for this trusty little Panasonic.  (The photograph of the snowdrops at the beginning of the post is the first I've taken with my new camera, it will probably take me the rest of the year to get to grips with it, thank goodness there is always auto).   

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

Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Here I am looking down at the entrance to Enginuity, an interactive science museum where one can try to generate electricity from flowing water, or with some ingenuity tow a locomotive and lots of other hands on scientific experimentation.  A happy hour or two can be spent here whether a child or adult although not everything was working when we were there.  Tucked away in a corner was something that attracted my attention which was a car.
An icon from the 1960s, whether it was racing the Monte Carlo rally, driving down the Turin pedestrian steps in the heist caper film The Italian Job, or just tootling down a London high street.  A classic Mini cut in half to show its side mounted space saving front wheel drive engine which meant packing in more interior room for the size of car.
Or should I say it was cut in 'arf  as its number plate says- 1 ARF.  I wonder where the other 'arf is?

Morris Mini interior 1959" by DeFacto - Licensed CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

This is how I remember sitting in those basic early minis, lots of metal with seats and although it can't be seen in this photo to open the door you had to grab hold of a piece of wire and pull, then there were the windows that slid rather than wind up.  People loved to drive them, especially the Mini Cooper which of course was a lot speedier than this one.  Today by any comparison the BMW built minis are luxurious, but those early minis, designed by Issigonis, still retain their cult status.  

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a drive through the alphabet, this week sojourning at E here

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Duttons and Dogs

Duttons for Buttons in Harrogate and their display window homage to the bicycle and the Tour which was about to race into the town. Kate Davies Designs calls the Dutton shops the spiritual home of the button on her blog here and the place to find that elusive button to make up a set here.  This family business have three haberdashery shops within a small area of Yorkshire, some of their stock can be browsed on-line here but as they have more than 12,000 designs in stock it is the tip of the iceberg.  Watched Pirates of the Caribbean? I'll pay more attention to the buttons rather than Johnny Depp next time as I read on their site that Duttons were the people who supplied the buttons for the costumes.

The companion cat was a popular choice for last week's ABC Wednesday contributors so of course we can't leave out the companion for this week's letter and
this 'cute as a button' little dog being taken for a walk along the Millom Embankment with the Lakeland fells in the distance.

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