Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Frozen at the cemetery

This pool at Keele Cemetery was still frozen (at least, apart from the edges) as I passed it today. Curious: as most of the snow is now gone, apart from some dirty clumps lying by roadsides. I really must brush up on my physics and discover why it remains frozen even now.

Keele Cemetery is very new; and the building in the background, which looks like a library … well... is, really!  Being all modern, it contains Newcastle Borough’s main burials-history research study-area, a community meeting room for the village (!), and offices of course – as well as the usual.
Seems a far cry from the Victorian cemeteries - where a Gothic-looking chapel/gatehouse might be the only structure apart from the graves.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Tower crane immortalised

Tower Crane Drive street-sign

Tower crane
Tower Crane Drive, which you will find just outside Cheadle, is a new-ish road, on which an industrial estate is based.
This particular street-name strikes me as odd.

I wondered about the name of the road, but, rounding the bend on it, what should I see but – a tower crane! See photo, right.

Now I know streets are often named after the landmarks that stand out on them – but isn’t a crane-fixture too temporary to be considered enough of a 'landmark' for such a semi-permanent feature as a street-name?

I guess ACB must have sponsored the name of the road as well as the sign.

It's possible.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Umbrellas are up

After the snow, the deluge... to paraphrase a saying.
Yup, the temperatures are now rising, the rain falling and thus the snow slides away. But, the thaw will mean flooding in some parts.

I think we are all a bit sick of the current unpredictable weather.

This post has been featured in the International City Daily Photo - Umbrellas Theme

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Pelicans in the snow

You don’t often see pelicans in snow. Their natural habitat is warmer regions than our own. You can’t help feeling they are a bit bewildered by the white-stuff.

However, they are a great attraction (especially at feeding time) at Blackbrook Zoo, which is in the wilder parts of the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Sadly, the zoo, which specialises in exotic birds, has had lots of problems with the recent freezing temperatures, so it is temporarily closed. Should be back open in the next few days, I hope.

Generally, the snow is slowly receding from the ground now.

LINK: Blackbrook Zoo

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Long Way From Poland

'A Long Way From Home' is how these words translate from their original Polish.
However, there seems to be no reason as to why this archway should be here, as it's over an alleyway in Leek which leads just to a Belgian-style bar known as Den Engel.

Anyway, it is probably associated with the 'Borderland Voices' project, which works with the local Polish community especially in the area of recording memories. Many of the Poles here came to this part of Staffordshire after the War.

LINK: A Long Way From Home - Borderland Voices

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Bashed up bishop

Smashing up stone figures is a lot harder than one thinks, and while the Protestant reformers really would have prefered to completely demolish the 'Papist' images left in English churches in the 16th century, often they simply didn't have the resources.

So, they would often settle for just smashing off the noses of the various saints, angels, Virgin Marys, and, as in this case at St Peter's Church in Norbury, a bishop.
He now resembles a boxer...

Friday, 18 January 2013

Sheep cope with snow

Well, the snow came again as expected, though, here in Staffordshire, it didn't so much fall with a fury as a sort of lulling, soothing motion. Over time, it came to a slow halt, leaving a layer six inches deep in exposed areas.

There were the usual hysterics from the press, but - in general - most people (and sheep) that I came across handled it all with aplomb.
The warnings were made well in advance - and I suppose that helps.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Snow tree

The snow has stuck, despite the original fall being quite light. But the temperature is down to zero.
Apparently there will be a major snow-fall on Friday.

Monday, 14 January 2013

First snow of the year

Snow turned up overnight. It wasn't that thick, and a misty rain during the afternoon drove it from the trees.

But there's enough of it on the ground to make for black-ice tomorrow.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Grave with Revelations

The Recording Angel stands over this grave in Meerbrook churchyard. Edward Hassall (whose grave it is) clearly had thought a great deal on what might happen to him after his death, as the inscription under the angel’s feet gives this simple line: “Revelations Chapter 20 Verse 12”.

I looked up the verse (from the Bible’s Book of Revelations, of course). It runs: “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”
The angel is holding that very book.

I hope Edward's deeds will be enough to give him safe passage.

This post is featured on the Cemetery Sunday website

Friday, 11 January 2013

Vikings like Land & Water

This installation is a tribute to the Viking past of Burton, though at first it looks like some abandoned word-carving and bits of stones. Strangely, that was partly the sculptor's ambition, as she wanted her work - called Land & Water - to look like a half buried Viking grave/boat.

The maker, Rosemary Terry, deliberately placed it on Andressey Island, the slice of land that sits in the middle of the River Trent at Burton.

It's a weird thought - because Burton is virtually in the middle of the country - but the Vikings managed, in 874, to SAIL all the way here from Scandinavia.
The river is navigable all the way from the North Sea to this point; and the Vikings only stopped here in the end because the river was no longer navigable going west.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Lord Stafford's knot

It's no surprise that Lord Stafford's home, Swynnerton Hall, should sport the Stafford Knot on its gates. 

As readers of this blog will know, I collect sightings of the Knot.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Under the green wood trees

It's been warmer than usual for January so far, though still damp.  The dampness brought out the emerald green in these mossy woods.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Stafford Knot ... in India

The Trishul Bakery in south India (near the ancient, ruined city of Hampi) was not the first place that I thought I'd see a Stafford Knot logo...

Of course, however, those who travel enough will know that this logo is actually not a Stafford Knot but the international sign for a pretzel. Oh well.

Link: Stafford Knot

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Sapphic Anna grieves in Lichfield

This magnificent tomb is one of the first monuments you notice on walking into Lichfield Cathedral. It celebrates the father of the poet Anna Seward, and was erected in the last eighteenth century.
Anna, known as the Swan of Lichfield for her poetry, had nursed her ailing father for ten years before he died, and then commissioned this memorial; so the female figure in the sculpture represents daughterly grief, and maybe even can be said to symbolic of Anna herself.

Curiously, Anna has now been picked up by literary historians as a possible ‘Sapphic’ writer. She never married, and many of her poems express a longing for her close friend, and adopted sister, Honora, who died young.
She also made friends with the “Ladies of Llangollen Vale” two reclusive women writers of the time, who were known to wear semi-masculine attire.   In Stapleton Martin's monograph, she expresses support for women's rights, and a disdain for the type of marriage she saw around her.
I guess it’s possible – why not? – though no one has yet suggested she was a practising lesbian.

One other thing about the tomb is that it shows a bare-breasted maiden (representing Grief, or Daughterly Duty).
We nowadays find it odd to see bare-breasts on such a solemn piece, and in church too – but it’s possible that the bare chest is trying to show us that the figure of Grief is so distraught that she has let her clothes fall into disarray.

Related link:
Seward Tomb (in Public Sculpture of Staffordshire And the Black Country)

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Year starts with Hunt's tally ho...!

The Meynell And South Staffs Hunt met in Uttoxeter's main square to begin their New Year’s Day trail. Although nothing was open in the town bar a few pubs, there must have been two hundred or more people there to see the hunters off.

But I was surprised to hear in the thank-you speech a reference to fox-hunting-with-dogs - which was banned in 2004. I suppose these hunters would like to see the practise return, though it seems very unlikely. Nowadays the dogs follow a pre-arranged scent trail.

Incidentally, in case you are wondering, there were no protesters there.

This post was featured on the ABC Wednesday Website