Tuesday, 31 May 2011

'Camoflagued' warehouse

Can you see it? It's the Argos warehouse at Catholme (near Alrewas).
Yes, the pale-yellow shape on the horizon is actually a huge depot! And - here's the odd thing - I quite admire its effort to blend in. In fact, if you could see the hidden rape field on the hill behind it, you might be surprised how similar in colour and shape they look from this distance.

Do I like big warehouses in the countryside? No.
But I like the fact that conservationists and capitalists have compromised here. No ugly black windows or garish signs on the building to create blots in the image; and, while the warehouse is actually huge, when it is seen from Wychnor (as in this photo) it fits neatly into the horizon.
The best people at this kind of thing are JCB of course. Their factory at Cheadle is a marvel in how it fits into the landscape.
If we have to have business in the countryside (and - I guess we do), I'm glad that we are trying to make it, er, fit in.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Street biking challenge

Street BMX-ers react very quickly if they see a new challenge.
The Mitchell Memorial Theatre in Hanley hasn't even yet officially reopened after its recent refurbishment, yet the kids have spotted the possibilities of its new street-furniture already.

Flying on to and then twisting off this plinth - some three feet from the pavement, and only yards from the theatre's glass doors - is quite a challenge, yet this guy managed it with a fair amount of ease.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Spring...plus lamb

The weather has just been terrific - lots of sunny days ever since mid-April with just the occasional break for some squally days - like the last few days. Back to semi-'normal' today with bright sun in the afternoon.
I guess it's rather obvious to put up a photo of a lamb, but it's not just that - it's the vibrant greenness of the land too.
This little one was seen at Newborough, which is near Burton.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Rugeley Power sunset

Coal-fired power stations like Rugeley B are not in everyone's good books, but passing by them (and you can get VERY close) you do get a sense of huge-ness. They are very, very large.
Rugeley B is also quite isolated, outside the town, so the open country around it gives great views, especially at sunset.
They used to do tours, but I don't know if they do anymore.

See: Rugeley Power Station in 360

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Play area - shut!

No children are allowed in the Mayfield play area - strange but true. The gates are "permanently locked" according to the noticeboard there, and parents are requested by the 'Mayfield Recreational Association' to keep their kids out; so, as you can see from the photo, the swing no longer swings!

This tiny village, not far from Ellastone, is apparently very quiet - so what is it all about? Health & safety issues? Playtime feuds? Angry disagreements over policy at parish council meetings?
(And.. is there a TV reality show in it?!! One can only wonder...)

Monday, 23 May 2011

One legged pub

The 'One-Legged Shunter' bar is one of just fifty or so pubs that CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) lists as worthy of note in Staffordshire in its annual UK Beer Guide.
Yet, this little bar can only hold twenty people at best, and is only open weekends!

What makes it unique of course is that it is sited in the Foxfield Railway Conservation set-up, which is in Blythe Bridge, just south of Stoke-on-Trent, and is run by volunteers.
Still - to get CAMRA recognition is pretty good...

See: One Legged Shunter

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Outlaws in Staffs

The biker group The Outlaws had a formidably bad reputation in the USA up to recently, rivalling the Hell's Angels. So I was surprised to discover that there are branches locally - with the Outlaws website mentioning three - ones in South Staffs, Tamworth and All Staffordshire. This doorway was photographed in Wolstanton near Newcastle.
'OFFO' stands for 'Outlaws Forever; Forever Outlaws'.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Ugly path

Now... this just infuriates me. The land-owner here (at Cotwalton, nr Stone) has constructed this ugly long enclosure, right across the middle of a number of fields (it goes on for half a mile), in order to herd not sheep... or cattle ... or dogs, but... walkers.
It forces walkers to go in single-file, and the barbed-wire extra is just plain nasty.

I've never seen this sort of thing before. Of course, I have seen fences that shepherd walkers together, but they usually allow two-abreast at least, and don't resort to barbed-wire!
Okay, some farmers don't like 'wandering' ramblers; that's fair enough. But farmers also need to remember that they require public support, so there has to be a compromise. This ugliness and this mean-spirited attitude towards walkers - who love the countryside as much as land-owners - is not helpful.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

View from the roof

At Heath House, you can climb up to the top of the central turret - and this is the view looking back. It's not often you get to see down on to roofs of the house one is actually in - it gives quite an unexpected dizzy feeling!
I gained this photo (on a tour of the Heath House stately home at Tean);  the narrow little turret we were in sticks up like a pin out of the top of the building. The view looking forward shows the whole valley.

The family which owns the mansion, a Victorian-Gothic pile which sits in its own grounds, wasn't sure what to do with it... but it's now available for weddings, bar-mitzvahs, ghost-tours etc.
I quite like the old place's quirkiness.

Check out the HH tours here.

This post was featured on the City Daily Photo Theme Day

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Rat rescue centre!

Yes, your eyes do not deceieve you: RAT rescue. Mo Webster, the lovely lady who lives in this house in Cheadle, takes in pet rats given up by their owners. You'll see her at fetes and so on across the district raising money for the venture - which is all self-funded.
Rats don't live long - 18 months is a long innings - so the neighbours don't object too much. The lady says "domesticated rats are loving and intelligent". So... now you know.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Downhearted Stokies

Stoke City's first ever FA Cup Final - on May 14 2011 - ended in a desultory way. These four girls had been taking part in the carnival spirit at a community pub in Meir Park (where the game was being shown on SIX screens), but with fifteen minutes to go, Manchester City (who'd been the attacking side throughout the match) finally scored.
Everyone knew it was all over then, and the pub emptied slowly.