Friday, 30 May 2014

Difficult-to-follow instructions

Countryside fence

I am always careful, when walking in the countryside, to close gates etc ("Observe the Country Code"!) but it's difficult to follow the instruction on this sign....           ...because there is no gate.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Victoria's post box

Eccleshall's Victorian post-box

There are very few Victorian post-boxes (or 'wall-boxes', as the type you see in the photo is correctly called) left in Staffordshire.

This one is still intact and in use in Eccleshall.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Water living in Hanley

Waterside complex in Hanley's 'Canal Quarter'

Touted originally as Stoke-on-Trent's flagship development, the Waterside complex in southern Hanley's 'Canal Quarter' could never have lived up to its billing - though maybe it will one day.
Before the RENEW regeneration project closed, it was seen as one of its top achievements.

To be honest, it replaced a lot of rather ugly industrial buildings, and people do seem to be buying properties there (what is it about living by water?)... so at least it's a form of progress.  And the buildings are comfortable to live in.
Odd to think though that it is the very heritage of the 200 year-old Caldon Canal that drew these modern developers to this site.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

A history of graves

Churchyard at Himley

The churchyard at Himley is a microcosm of the history of graveyards.  Though it is comparatively small, it has a long history of burials, and a number of different types. 
The small, half-sunken marker stones you see in the photo above date back to when the idea of commemorating an individual started, the 17th Century (before then, one was buried, yes, but there would have been no marker.  In a sense, it was the start of Individualism!)

Himley's more modern smaller graves were presumably for the workers who toiled away on the grand estate nearby.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

It's fake, but I like it

Stafford Castle

The county doesn't have a lot of castles, and one or two have been over-restored, so we don't have a great list of them. All are ruins of course.

So people do get excited about Stafford Castle, one of Stafford town's outstanding landmarks - without realising it's a complete fake. 
Yes, there have been fortifications on the site down the years, including a Norman castle, but the one there today is what is left of a clever attempt in the nineteenth century to build a grand home in medieval style.  In its own turn, it too is now in ruins.

Strangely enough, I don't much mind that it's 'fake'.  To me, it's still an evocative place.

The whole site is open, so you can walk the dog there at all times, but the interior is only open over the summer.
The best time to be had there though is in July, when they stage outdoor Shakespeare plays.

This post appeared on the My Town Shoot-Out Photo-Blog

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Obstinate ducks

Ducks sitting in the middle of the road

Why these three ducks chose to sit in the middle of this road is beyond me.  On one side they had the lovely pub duck-pond that makes The Boar at Moddershall such a nice place to go on a sunny afternoon, and on the other (through the hedge) a small farm pond.

Cars were having to swerve to go round them, so I tried to shoo them to the pond.
But they just kept waddling back.  To exactly the same place.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A lion to impress

Lion carving at St James The Great Church in Salt

You can't beat the figure of a lion if you want something to impress onlookers.  This beast is part of an impressive arch over, in contrast, a rather small exterior doorway at the church in Salt.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Big words in Tunstall

Facade of the town hall at Tunstall

They took themselves very seriously, the burghers of old.  Here on the facade of the town hall at Tunstall, one of the great Victorian industrial towns, you can just see the words 'Truth and Justice' inscribed above the capitals, though they are much faded now.
(In fact, the town hall is much faded - being just a shell of a building, most of it).

Would anyone dare write such portentous words on any public building today?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Mined near Uttoxeter

Pulpit, at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne

It's not just pottery that Staffordshire exported in huge quantities in earlier years.  This pulpit, at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne, is carved of what's known as 'Uttoxeter Alabaster' - probably mined at Fauld, which is not far from Uttoxeter.

Made in the late nineteenth century, it exudes a fascinating dull light, similar to the property of candle-wax.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Rainbow looks for gold

The constant showers-rain-showers scenario has produced luxuriant accelerated growth in the fields - and rainbows.

This one seems to point almost exactly to where the crock of gold is - just right of the pylon.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Farmyard main road

Road in the Peak District near Calton

I've seen public rights of way go through the middle of a working farm, and even a public track that bisects a farm - but never come across a main road that does it! 
This road in the Peak District near Calton meanders its way along, so traffic doesn't move fast, but, even so, the farmer can't be too happy... surely?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Jacobeans do Elvis, almost

Tomb of Robert Meverell, Ilam

Yet another ancient hair-cut to astound!  Why the Jacobean gentry thought it was a good idea to sport a quiff, as does this gentleman (Robert Meverell, entombed in Ilam Church), is hard to guess.   But then - who ever understands the vagaries of fashion anyway?

This is not the only 'Burton Peak' hair-style (as this cut was known) that you will find on a tomb in Staffordshire.  There's a rather handsome one in Forton too.

(There's a rather nice set of reflections about Ilam Church in The Corners of My Mind blog)

This post appeared on the 'Surprise' page of the My Town Shoot-Out Photo-Blog

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Back on the tracks

Tamworth Railway station

Back to the daily grind - after the three-day respite that is a Bank Holiday weekend.

The long empty lines (to what, exactly?) out of Tamworth Railway Station rather sum up the feeling.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Swynnerton - a treat

Swynnerton village

Swynnerton village is about as good a place as there is in Staffordshire to have a Bank Holiday walk.  The village itself is tiny, but has two superb churches, a great pub, and an ancestral hall - all within 100 yards of each other.  So you could just have a quick look, and then jump into the pub, and still have had a good day...

But, really, round about, you'll find some glorious walks.  A quick search found this one from Dandly - but there are plenty others.

Go on, treat yourself!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Three stars on a shield

Whittington Cloister lodge-gate badge

This very very blue piece of heraldry can be seen on the gates of Cloister Lodge (the former lodge to Whittington Old Hall) in Whittington.  This is a close-up, and what you see beyond is the garden.

I was wondering for a while which family is represented by this coat of arms with three stars on a shield. 
Umm, it belongs to the Whittington family.  Was that obvious?