Thursday, January 29, 2015

Saltney



A salt marsh.  Trains.  Roads. Sidings.  Remains of a ship yard.  From here we travelled the world.  

Still south of the river.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sealand



This being the last part of 'West'.  Only 'South' to go now (and a small matter of 'Centre').

Friday, December 12, 2014

A slow creep around Blacon



...unexpectedly fascinating.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Snail Trails Around Garden Lane

Slitheringly interesting.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Snail Trails around Boughton


This took much longer than I was expecting...

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bridge 121




Rowton Bridge over the Shropshire Union Canal near Chester.

The next bridge along is known as the Egg.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Snail Trails Around Hoole

I am getting a lot of exercise researching for my current book-in-progress (hence the lack of blogging).

Here is my walk today - around an adjacent village called Hoole.

Although it is is not a large area, there are a lot of little streets, and I went down most of them.   Thanks to FitBit I can tell I walked approximately 12 miles overall and I took over 280 photos.

I did the purple trail first,

which took me to the start of the trail below...like the erratic meanderings of a hungry mollusc.



Friday, June 27, 2014

The Wonders of the Cheshire Library Stack

There are some very helpful librarians in Chester Central Library.  Since I am researching the history of my home town there is a lot of material on the local shelves, but sometimes I come across a book on the library catalogue that doesn't seem to be there.  The answer, apparently, is that they are retained in 'the stack' - some of this is accessible, and some of it not.  I like the idea of this stack.  I imagine it in the basement of the building nestling amongst Roman pillars and forgotten Medieval paraphernalia.  I think it must be in order though because the librarians come back surprisingly quickly with the book in hand.  Once, a particularly obliging librarian came back with a trolly full.  Literary treasure!

My latest request from the stacks yielded these:



They looked old and they hadn't been out of years, and hadn't held out much hope that they would be particularly entertaining, but they are.  In fact, they are quite fascinating.  Two of them are by Gervas Huxley, cousin to the more famous Aldous and Julian.  They concern a local family called the Grosvenors, and Gervas obviously knew two members of the family well because he has dedicated one of his books to them.  He had access to the diary and letters of Lady Elizabeth Grosvenor - a 19th century member of the family - and through them even dry events like the Great Reform Act become exciting. Lady Elizabeth adored her husband and because he was a member of parliament she became interested in politics too.  She was so interested she even made frequent visits to the 'Ventilator' a small uncomfortable viewing platform above the blazing chandeliers that had been consigned to the ladies (after they had been banished after refusing, with stamps and howls, to be turned out during an important debate of 1878).

The Grosvenors were fabulously wealthy - and still are.  At this time they were also in the centre of power, and so they were involved in the great events of the day - e.g.  the emancipation of slaves, the abolishment of child labour, the suffrage and acceptance of the Catholic church in England and Ireland.  The book also explains how they came by their wealth: the lucrative combination of land acquisition, the canny use of acts of parliament to allow their great swathes of land in central London to be leased out (rather than sold) to ambitious developers and further acquisition with the profits.

But it is their involvement in Chester that I'm interested in - and they were involved a lot.  For two hundred years they represented Chester in parliament with no one able to realistically contest them because the Grosvenors could always upstage any contenders with their generous hospitality during the canvassing and Hustings.  It was a situation that had to change: Lady Elizabeth's husband could see that.  There were signs of unrest and he wisely voted for the Great Reform Act even though it meant that he would lose out.  Interesting times - brought alive by Mr. Huxley's books - and thanks to the Cheshire Library Stack and the helpful librarians I get to read about them.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bats in the Garden

video

A few years ago I bought Hodmandod Senior a bat detector.  We sometimes go around the neighbourhood listening out for them - but last night they came to us (as they often do). They can be identified from the frequency of their clicks (there is an app for this, of course).  Hodmandod Senior identified this as a Pipistrelle - the common sort.

A bat detector reveals a different world: not just bats, but the rustles of all sorts of other animals can be heard as they shift in their sleep.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Box City

I went to London
Big Ben in the Houses of Parliament


and saw, inside this city of boxes,

London Cityscape


 a city-in-a-box,
Imaginary City by Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin at Tate Modern

and then the remnants of another

Trading seals from the Indus at the British Museum

 unimaginably old.

Fertility statues from the Ancient Indus at the British Museum

And here, I came across another  box

Remaining tower of Christchurch Greyfriars designed by Christopher Wren 1677

blown open

Remains of the nave of Christchurch Greyfriars - bombed in world War 2

with plants instead of pillars

Garden of Christchurch Greyfriars

and inside another box

Lift from Selfridge's store now in City of London Museum

a box embossed - to deify Retail.

Queenhithe - last remaining Anglo-Saxon dock on the Thames in the city of London


A feckless god, that one, subject to whims

View from Queenhithe to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern


and the vagaries of the tide.