Sunday, 10 October 2021

Churchyard but no church

 Old Churchyard, Longton

Here's an odd thing: a churchyard without a church. This particular patch of 'God's Acre' in Longton is now, essentially, a kind of 'sacred park' for dog-walkers and strollers.
The story is that old St Paul's was pulled down in 1940, despite being quite a handsome building and less than 100 years old (one suspects that mining subsidence may have been the problem, as it is for a lot of Longton).
The churchyard stayed though.
Ironically, the modern Longton Cemetery is only a few yards away.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Dried up

Dried up lake at Spath
You might associate lakes that dry up with more tropical countries, but Britain has been having its share over the last few years; it's been around 30 degrees today locally.
Of course, we only get 'heat-waves', ie a stretch of four or five days at a time before we get back to the usual grey skies, but the hot days are getting hotter.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Doors open again

 Moseley Old Hall
Tourist attractions have been opening up gradually, following the Covid restrictions during the Spring, and all seems almost normal again (apart from the masks).  
Moseley Old Hall
, where the future King Charles II hid while he was on the run from Cromwell, is one of the best of Staffordshire's great mansions - and is one of those now fully open again to visitors.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

Elvis in the sticks

 

Elvis statue in Oulton

On a fairly deserted country lane lading up to Oulton village, I glanced up to see ... Elvis Presley.  Which was quite a shock.
He seems quite animated about something, but then, he always did.

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Monday, 10 May 2021

Great vase, crazy story

 The 'Portland Vase'

Exactly two hundred and thirty-one years ago, a reproduction of the 'Portland Vase' (made in Rome in the first century) went on show in London.  It was such a popular event that tickets had to be sold to restrict the flow of visitors.
The original (see pic above) was in glass (strangely, a glass reproduction was impossible at that time), so Josiah's is in pottery 'jasperware'.
In Staffordshire we know this piece well, because it is Josiah Wedgwood's crowning achievement, and it took him four years to perfect.    It is vibrantly yet delicately beautiful; there is no doubt of that.  You can still see of Josiahs versions at the V&A Museum.

The story of the original vase would make a great film - full of crazy people, obsessed people and shocking moments. 

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Thursday, 29 April 2021

Railway ghostliness

 Stafford railway station

Stafford railway station has been empty (ish) and a little ghostly over the last twelve months. It'll be interesting to see if it returns to its former numbers.

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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Light & shade

Hills in sunlight

Country-walking traditionally starts again after Easter (at least, it does for light-weights like me).
 
I do love these Springtime moving-picture vistas, with the sun and cloud moving rapidly in the sky, sweeping light and shade in quick succession over the hills. 
Fast-changing moments have rather been a theme of the last year.

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Saturday, 10 April 2021

Fish pour off the bridge

The Return, a fish sculpture by Ian Randall (1995) 

This stone sculpture on a bridge in Newcastle-under-Lyme above the Lyme Brook, is called 'The Return'. It vaguely amuses me, though I do worry some of the fish on the far edges of the parapet are actually dead. Who knows?

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Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Getting close to a Tudor wonder

 Broughton Hall, Staffordshire
This is about as close to Broughton Hall as you'll get, unless you're fortunate enough to be invited to one of the magnificent Grand Charity Balls that are held here every so often.

Broughton Hall is a famous Elizabethan manor that has been in private hands since it was built, but - one of the magical aspects of the British footpath network! - a walkers' path gets this close to it.  Thus: at least one can admire the wonderful exterior from relatively close.

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Saturday, 20 March 2021

Falling foul of Henry

 Stained-glass depicting Edward Stafford
What drew me to this stained-glass in Brecon Cathedral was the Stafford Knot in it of course - you can see the knot on this man's shoulder.
He is Edward Stafford, the third Duke of Buckingham.
(The first duke had been born at Stafford Castle and was also the Earl of Stafford. He was the one who had first adopted the knot for the family's badge/livery.) 

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Poor Edward was executed in 1521 after annoying Henry VIII for something or other.