Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Yarn Bomb

All roads lead to the West Indies here.
The tree was yarn bombed before a pop up Caribbean carnival would take place.  As you can see from the damp pavements the weather was not very Caribbean on the day I took this photograph (with total lack of timing I missed the carnival by a day)  For the past forty year the Caribbean Carnival has wound its way along the streets of Preston but lack of funding needed for security, crowd management, cleaning and road closures meant this year it found a temporary home here in the Flag Market as a static festival.      
The whole area would be filled with colourful costumes, music and dance troupes with a splash of spicy food.  The only colour on this day was the yarn and flags

perhaps this little yarn balloon will whisk me off to the bright blue skies and a Caribbean beach

I see one yarn bomb and lo and behold I'd seen another one the month before in a completely different city.   This was by the old railway arches near Bradford Forster Square station.  
unfortunately I couldn't really get a decent photograph of the row so I'll leave it to your imagination. 
Round the corner there was more yarn on street lights and trees. This was done by people well used to wrapping things up, the workers of Broadway Marks and Spencer who brought this splash of colour, brightening up the area, as part of their community project linked to the Inn Churches Storehouse which tries to tackle food poverty.
A Yarn Bomb and interesting railings, I couldn't resist that snap.  The railings surround the Inland Revenue offices and were designed and installed by local artist and blacksmith Chris Topp, his brief was to offset the 'drab modern building' with something more interesting, hence these Charles Rennie Mackintosh influenced structures.

So there you have it two dull and rainy days in two different parts of England brightened up by the power of yarn.

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

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