Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Meir Tower

The water tower at Meir Heath rises up incongruously behind some bungalows, as you can see.

I did think it might be cool to say to someone - "my house lies in the shadow of a huge old tower". But then, you might not tell your listener that the 'tower' you refer to is a old, concrete water tower.

The structure is now no longer used for storing water; and does nothing but act as home to a number of mobile-phone antennae stuck on top of it.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Abandoned bottle oven

The old JH Weatherby Factory, at the north end of Hanley, is in dereliction after closing in 2000; and none of the plans for it has come to fruition, so it just sits, decaying.

Through its gates, you can see the bottle oven that dominates the courtyard. It's not sure what will happen to that either.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Devils' territory

The story of Devils Lane sounds like it good be a good one. It doesn't sound like the sort of name that the local community chose for its lucky-charm value...!

On a rainy day, this lonely country lane (in Longsdon, just outside Leek) makes for a sobering walk.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Shenstone ladies

Few football teams play in pink, and I know of only one for sure - the women's team in this picture! However, Shenstone Ladies FC are proud to play in pink, and are a pretty good team at that.
Today I saw them beat league leaders Florence Ladies (in purple), to go third in the Staffordshire County Women’s League Division Two.

Link: Staffordshire County Women’s League Division Two

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Triffids on the common

Rough Close Common is a pretty boggy piece of ground at this time of year, so the dog-walkers who use it must pick their steps carefully.

These tussocks protruding out of the marshy land make the place look oddly sinister in my opinion - like small triffids on the move.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Save The Coachmakers

The Coachmakers Pub is one of the iconic watering holes of Hanley. It’s a strange little place that looks exactly like what it is – a nineteenth-century former terraced home.
Each of the little bars in the pub is tiny, hardly big enough to take a couple of benches.

However, a huge shopping mall is earmarked for this site – so the Coachmakers is heading for the demolition yard.
The estimate is that it has two years of life left – so get your orders in now…

Thursday, 23 February 2012

'Womb to grow'

Shops that use puns in their title have an irresistible draw for me, as readers of this blog will know. Dunno why, because some puns can be really terrible.

This one is witty through (‘womb to grow’ – ‘room to grow’ – geddit?).
Womb To Grow is a maternity clothes shop in Lichfield, and it’s nice that it has a smile on its face.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

In memoriam tree

This brass plaque, nailed into a tree by the road through Winkhill, tells its own sad story. Peter, just a teenager, died on this spot, presumably in a car accident.
I guess his family or friends must have seen this 'roadside memorial' as they are called as a special tribute; and fixed it to the tree themselves. Over the years, the bark has begun to grow again around it.

Staffordshire is no worse nor better than any other county for road accidents, but even recently, one person a week was dying on our roads, many of them youngsters.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Turnover Bridge

Turnover Bridge, as it’s called, crosses the Trent & Mersey Canal at Meaford (near Stone).
It’s called Turnover, because the path switches from one side of the canal to the other, and you have to cross the bridge to ‘turn over’ to the other side…

Friday, 17 February 2012

Tixall Church web

My photograph doesn’t show it as well as I’d hoped, but the thing you see in it that appears to be a piece of old hanging thin muslin rag, is in fact an enormous old spider’s web. It sways softly high up in the roof of Tixall Church.

It hangs just above the highest window in the west wall of the church. So it’s no surprise that the cleaner can’t get to it…

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Hurst Towers

‘Hurst Towers’, as this well-known building is known, is a rather impressive private house in the countryside outside Biddulph, standing on the road near Biddulph Grange.

The tower-top does function as a room itself, I believe.  So, if you want splendid isolation, that would be a place to get it I suppose.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Bow Street Runner - Bolshevik style

The Bow Street Runner pub in Tamworth was given a Russian theme some years ago, being billed at the town’s first ‘vodka bar’.
Yet, the Russian hammer & sickle seems to me strangely at odds with the heritage name of the pub. (The ‘Bow Street Runners’ were the precursors of England’s formal police force – which, in turn, was founded 200 years ago by the town’s then MP, Robert Peel).
And so this pub-sign looks very odd indeed.

But, branding moves on, so the sign may be due a new look in the near future as the pub’s disco has recently been re-named ‘Decadence’.

I wonder what a new sign with that theme would look like!

Link: Bow Street Runner  

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Underground pathway

This curious passageway, which leads under a private house in Wetley Rocks (near Leek) is, in fact, a legal public path. I can only think that the house-owner, wishing to extend the building on his/her property went ahead with their extension, but respected the law of the land enough by creating this access route under it. 
Even more weirdly, the other end of the passageway emerges in the house-owner's garden, before the path leads off into fields.

Sometimes I really am fond of the eccentric laws that England has maintained - for hundreds of years.

Snow is still with us - as you can see.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Iced windows

Winter's back! I spoke too soon a couple of weeks ago when commenting that winter might be over.

A friend of mine showed me these windows in her (unheated) living room. Brrrrr!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Railway niche

There’s a tarmac path that runs behind the town of Kidsgrove. Cyclists use it a lot, as it’s part of the ‘Sustrans’ national cycle network.

It’s actually what’s left of a section of the now dismantled ‘Kidsgrove Loop’ railway line.

Once one realises that, then the purpose of the niches in the side of the embankment wall becomes obvious. Railway workers would scurry into them to get out of the way of any approaching train.
The same concept is applied even in today’s road tunnels. Nothing changes!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

German solders’ cemetery

The German solders’ cemetery on Cannock Chase is beautifully tended, it has to be admitted. Apparently, young Germans come over every year to help look after it.

Most of the bodies of the German soldiers who died in captivity, or were shot down, in the UK during the two wars were eventually transferred to here from all over the country. There are even the graves of a few German internees who also died in captivity.

Link:  German Military Cemetery at Cannock Chase     

Friday, 3 February 2012

Plague stone

This ‘plague stone’, as it's called, is actually a type of medieval cross (such as you find at butter-crosses). It must have been broken at same point, as they were normally much taller.
This particular marker at Leek was used by people
during the medieval Black Death; they would leave food here for the dying and infected so that they did not have to come in contact with them.

I was surprised that it stands in such an incongruous place – just outside the Birchall Playing Fields at Leek.  But, maybe this is the original spot on which it stood. Maybe.
However, the plaque on the modern base in front of it (which told its story) has disappeared. As you can see.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Squirrel stand-off

Squirrels seem to be confused by the weather this winter.  Apart from the week of snow we had in December, it has been relatively mild, and on my walks I have seen squirrels a-plenty darting about. A neighbour of mine curses them for being out and ripping up the flower-bulbs in her garden.
But shouldn’t they have been in hibernation?

This guy is one of the incredibly tame squirrels that zip around the paths and trees outside Tamworth Library.  Someone leaves out nuts for them, and the local cats seem to ignore them, so they are just unafraid. In fact, this chap just stood and stared at me in a sort of human vs squirrel stand-off.

This photo was featured on the My Town Shoot-Out Photo-Blog