Sunday, 31 March 2013

Christ's own wash systems

'Christ' wash systems??? I did a double take on seeing this logo on the side of a van. 
Admittedly, in West Africa, businesses often name themselves in a way that might bring them blessings, eg The Holy Ghost Hair Salon, or Christ The Redeemer Newsagents - but this was a first for me in England.

However, it turns out that Christ is the family name of a German engineering firm, and that Christ Wash Systems is famous for producing a 'sophistocated girlie calendar' - like the Pirelli one - every year.

Well, I guess it is Easter-time, so Christ should get a mention of some sort on this blog!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Graffiti marks the passing

Most urban/wild graffiti in Staffordshire is now removed as soon as it goes up - and I understand prosecutions have happened too - so you don't see much of it round here now, especially the more arty 'signatures'.

However, this subway, under the A38 at Shobnall, is a virtually abandoned one, more used for livestock than pedestrians I expect, and someone must have felt a little more at ease here to paint to their heart's content.
The colour is intense; and the blue/white image reminds of Matisse's paper cut-out pieces.

What I also like is the thought that, for this particular subway, the art is the permanent thing while the (virtually absent) pedestrians, and the artists, that have passed through are the ephemeral aspect, conspicuous by their absence.

This post was featured on the City Daily Portal March 2013 Theme

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Rest in peace, mum

The death of a mother often comes with the bitter feeling that you never shouted from the rooftops just how much you appreciated her life and efforts.

I guess this family may have had similar feelings; but they certainly wanted the world to know that they mourn her passing.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Greatest ever's football shirt

Port Vale Football Club are having a strange run at the moment.  After looking as though they would run away with the League Two title, they have run into a poor patch of form indeed, winning only two games in the last eight.  Their recent run of losses seems inexplicable.

But The Vale's greatest achievement was just under sixty years ago in 1954 - when they reached the FA Cup semi-final. In the team was possibly the club's greatest-ever player, Roy Sproson.
The club even has a replica shirt for sale, with the great man's name on it.

Related Link:  Roy Sproson on onevalefan

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Bad, bleak winter

Sometimes a 'bad' photo can tell more of a story than a 'good' one.  I took this more by accident than anything else and was going to delete it, when I thought better of it.
It has been a nasty, sleety late evening, with snow coming on; and somehow this photo described that sort of miserable weather better than any other I had taken.

There's almost a touch of Edward Hopper about it (IMHO).

Thursday, 21 March 2013

One, Staffordshire

I thought it was a rather cute idea to give 'Staffordshire Place' as the name to the square which is surrounded by the huge new county council buildings in Stafford. So, therefore, the mian entrance has the address '1 Staffordshire Place'.
It implies that the building is to be the centre of life in the county, which is (I think) what the originator must have had in mind.

After all, there is an address of Number One London, so why not a Number One Staffordshire?

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Buttercross farm shop thrives

There seem to be loads of farm shops across Staffordshire nowadays. They sell their own farm produce (obviously) but also other specialist locally-produced foods.

I hadn't come across Buttercross Farm Shop before. Just south of Loggerheads, you have to pull off from a stretch of the A53 and up a long drive.
Like all farm shops, it seems a little lonely - but the provisions are arranged so excellently, and look so interesting, one is seduced into buying...
I bought a gourmet sausage roll, coffee beans and something called Chokolit.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Spring heralds the walking life

For me, the Spring Equinox opens the 'long-walks' season.
Winter is okay for walks under six miles, but, in winter's cold weather and wind-chills, I find myself yearning for the pub at the end of the walk all rather too prematurely...

However, as it is the Spring Equinox on March 20 - and so starts the time when it's just a joy to be outdoors - I can start planning longer walks.

This post was featured on the City Daily Portal 'Spring Equinox' theme

Friday, 15 March 2013

Burning for seven years

The smell of acrid smoke comes at you as soon as you turn on to the footpath through Haying Wood in the district of Hollywood near Silverdale. At first, I assumed it was some household in the area burning sea-coal, but here in the photo is the culprit. 
It is literally a mound of mining 'spoil' from the nearby former pit - and it is on fire.

The tip itself is over 100 years old and was abandoned, but then for some mysterious reason, it ignited back in 2006, when flames were seen coming from the top.

Of course, it's not practical to do much but let it burn itself out. However, there must be a lot of coal dust in there to have kept it going until now - seven years later.

Link: Official report into the Hollywood Spoil Fire

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The rotting Burslem Sunday School

The once magnificent Burslem Sunday School (built in the 1830s) is now an ugly mess. After fire destroyed most of it, it was 'made safe' in the late 1980s, and now all that's left is this dilapidated front portico.  If it were an animal, you'd want to put it out of its pain. 
It's listed though, so I guess it can't be touched, and so it just sits ... rotting.

To see a photo of what it was like in its greatness, click on

Monday, 11 March 2013

Too much snow

Snow is back ... again, again.  As I've pointed out before, we are not used in England to these recurring bouts of snowfall over the season.

This time, Nature seemed to enjoy the joke, by sending blizzard conditions, with the snow-flakes whipping around in a blinding fog, followed thirty seconds later (I kid you not) with an equally blinding sudden sharp sunshine. This rotation occurred a good half-dozen times during the day.
But - because the sudden sunshine melted the preceding snow in moments - nothing much has stuck.

Frankly, I've had enough of snow.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

History - popular stuff !

The 2013 Staffordshire History Day event

The annual Staffordshire History Day event today - lectures & lunch was all it was - was, even at £17 a ticket ... a complete sell-out! About two hundred people crowded into the lecture hall.
At the lunch-interval, some history societies also manned stalls - to show off their activities and sell some of their booklets, and they did a busy trade.

I suppose it all just indicates the amazing popularity of local history.

Thursday, 7 March 2013


This huge skip of discarded elecrical equipment completely astounded me.  I'd gone to the municipal tip to get rid of some stuff, including an aged microwave.

But the sight of an industrial skip full to overflowing of old electricals really brought it home to me how much ours is a throwaway society. (I'd tried to get the microwave fixed but the guy at the repair shop said it simply wasn't worth his or my bother.   Which presumably explains why this skip is so full.)
I couldn't believe that a local tip could 'fill' up so quickly.

However, I was told that it doesn't all go to landfill.  Apparently a lot of this stuff is sent abroad to be minced up into plastic pellets.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Free ... Beer in Uttoxeter

Well, you have to smile...  It may seem as though the Ye Olde Talbot Pub in Uttoxeter is offering free beer, but... you do need to check out the small print (literally).  As you can see, if you screw up your eyes, it's actually offering "Free Wi-Fi and Great Beer".
Still, it's a grand old traditional pub, so I'll still take that offer anyway.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

A battle... or maybe not (?)

The Saxons, or maybe the Anglo-Saxons, fought the Danes (or maybe it was the Britons) on this spot some 1300 years ago... apparently.
Actually, there is very little evidence that a battle was fought here in Tatenhill on Battlestead Hill (which overlooks Burton and the Trent river), or what its importance was, but local folklore has it so, so, er, that's that.

If you walk through the wood there are markers to show you the path, and on the markers even are depicted heads of Saxon warriors - which is playing a bit loose with history, but I guess legends have their own history too...

Link: Battlestead Hill Wood

Friday, 1 March 2013

Grave of honour for dogs

Dogs are not often buried in historic town squares, but that is the case here in King Edward Place in Burton. Across the square from the old town hall you'll find this marker, which indicates the spot where three Staffordshire bull terriers lie.

The dogs are no ordinary ones of course. The dogs, all named Watchman, are the most recent mascots of the Staffordshire Regiment.  Watchman the Fifth (aka Watchman V) is now in post, and curiously (don't you love weird traditions?) is actually a Lance Corporal in the army.

The Staffordshire Regiment was mightily reduced under recent spending cuts and is now the '3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment' - so who knows if there will be another Watchman?

(By the way, 'Watchman' preceded the 'Watchmen' super-hero series... )

Link:  The history of Watchman 

This post was featured on the Cemetery Sunday website