Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Plenty of sun for 'glass-lands'

Solar panels farm

As we are experiencing something of a heatwave (well, for Britain anyway), the farmers who invested in solar-panel complexes must be thanking the gods of the weather for their good fortune!

I don't dislike these types of installations, which some environmentalists, however, refer to disparagingly as 'glass-lands'.  But, mostly, they seem to be laid out as sensitively as they can be.
And - let's face it - alternative energy sources must be found...

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Rebels' bullet holes

Doors to the tower at St. John The Baptist in Mayfield

The doors to the tower at St. John The Baptist in Mayfield bear distinct marks, as you can see.  They are a peculiar and historic form of vandalism - which is why they have not been repaired in over 250 years.
In fact, they are said to have been made by balls fired from muskets by frustrated rebels who were trying to frighten local villagers who had locked themselves in the church.  Quite what Bonnie Prince Charlie, the rebels' commander, thought of their actions is not recorded.
These 'scars of war' remain untouched to this day.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Teapot sheds light in Middleport

Tea-room at the Middleport Pottery Attraction

It looks at first like a magically suspended teapot, shedding rather science-fiction-style rays of luminescence.  In fact, it's an ordinary teapot - umm, acting as a lampshade.  (As it's pierced, that means it would be a poor teapot in actual practice... but I digress...)

We are in the tea-room at the Middleport Pottery Attraction in Stoke on Trent.  The site is half a loving restoration of a Victorian potbank, half a working pottery factory (using traditional skills).
The willow-pattern painting on these walls is a nice reference to one of the commonest designs you might find on nineteenth century ware.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Blithfield opens up

Gateway entrance to Blithfield Hall

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall..." is the wonderful rhythmic first line of Robert Frost's poem, Mending Wall.  The poem discusses the merits of walls...
I wonder if you can apply the same feeling from that poem to gateways - which I happen to like a lot.  Them, and bridges, I am very partial to.

This gateway is the entrance to Blithfield Hall.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Fountains and sun

The fountains at Hanley Park

The wonderfully warm spell continues, even if there was a slight breeze.

The fountains at Hanley Park are a little underwhelming as a spectacle, but ... well, at least there are some!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Keep away from fire!!

'Keep away from fire' label

Actually, I'm in favour of strict health & safety rules - they save lives.    But when I saw this 'Keep Away From Fire' label on a shirt in a local shop, you do begin to wonder about some people...

Friday, 12 June 2015

Hatton's posh flats... and dilapidated gates

Victorian pumping station at Hatton

Another curious structure with an equally unexpected present is the late Victorian pumping station at Hatton.  This quite beautiful Italianate building, which once housed giant machinery, has been converted in recent years into ... luxury flats!  It makes an odd sort of sense...

But quite why the posh folk who live here allow the dilapidated old back-gates (still marked as the property of the Staffordshire Potteries Water Board) to the grounds to remain unrepaired and in situ is puzzling.
Is it a heritage thing?  Maybe.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Watch-tower on the canal

Roundhouse at Gailey on the Staffs & Worcester Canal

This curious medieval-looking structure at Gailey turns out to be a watch-tower of sorts.  It's a 'roundhouse', the last of its kind on the Staffs & Worcester Canal, built originally to allow the toll-keeper to keep an eye on what was going on beneath him (or her). 
I wouldn't have thought such height or even size was necessary - but what do I know?  Maybe they dropped things from the top on to malefactors below.

The bottom layer now houses a shop selling ice-creams and souvenir canal ware.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Stone - town of beer and canals

Narrowboat outside the old Joules Brewery

The town of Stone has a famous story of beer-making and canals - both brought together here... 

Sadly, the Joules Brewery has moved on now to another part of the world, but summer still brings lots of canal-trippers so the pubs are still doing okay, thank you...
Interestingly the narrow-boat in the picture is named after Chad, the local saint of pore.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

A 'known unknown' structure

Brick structure near  Calwich Abbey Hall

The footpath through Ellastone & Calwich takes one past this stone structure standing at the end of a bridge.  It might be historic, as it was probably on the estate of Calwich Abbey Hall (two hundred yards away), which has a long history anyway.
Was it a small gatehouse?

However, it seems to serve no purpose now.
What I like about that is that the estate's owners have just left it alone.  Or maybe they couldn't be bothered to do anything other, than leave it alone....

Monday, 1 June 2015

Guitar heroes at the bar

The bar at The Rigger rock pub

You might have done a double-take looking at this photo.  What is it?  Well, it's the bar at The Rigger rock pub in Newcastle under Lyme - where guitar fret-boards take the place of bar-pump handles...!
Stylish or what?

The Rigger is a proper rock dive.  On the walls (painted black obviously) are inscribed quotes from bands such as Metallica through to Thin Lizzy.  Skull & crossbones designs (naturally) line the walls; and there is live music of the loudest kind most nights.  So it's no surprise that guitars have pride of place at the bar.

And this is no jumped-up newcomer.  As far as I'm aware, the Rigger has a history as a home of rock for nigh-on forty years; and maybe more than that.  One day the history will be written!

This post was featured on the City Daily Photo Portal