Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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The Recession is Over

Look, it must be, I took Mr Uphildowndale to the store in York, where I’d seen signs that the recession was deepening.

And lo, it has to come to pass that all discounts are off,

recession ends

the asking price is back too £9.99

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Ahhh, but wait, it’s not actually sold yet has it? Maybe we shouldn’t count our Easter chicks before they’ve hatched.

 

Barnitts  store is a bit of a gem, I could have left Mr Uphilldowndale in there for many happy hours, it sells what our friends Mr and Mrs Ogg  might refer to as ‘items of faffness’ Mr Uphilldowndale loves such places and enjoys seeing all the very useful faffy things, woodworking  tools, small things in little plastic bags, balls of string and other  very important things*.  See  dodgy photo below. as they say in York, “if Barnitts haven’t got it, you can’t get it anywhere!”20140415_103315

On entering Barnitts I thought I was going into a small shop selling light fittings (I’m always trying to source light fitting I like, I’ve not managed it yet) to my amazement, it was like entering, Narnia I found myself in  a warren of departments, all on different floors and levels I emerged an hour later from a door way two shops down from where I’d gone in!

I discovered many shops are like this in York, the result of trying to squeeze modern shopping fashions into a historic city of jumbled buildings.

If you wanted to buy a new tea pot, Barnitts will have 20 to chose from, a flask to keep the tea warm? dozens.’ Letter boxes? Did you want brass or wrought iron? and a door knocker to match? I can’t imagine what it must be like to stock take, but I do know the total stock value must be massive!

This letter box is in a door at York Minster, not Barnitts, but I’m rather taken by it.

 

letter box york minster

 

 

*String is a very important thing
  Rope is thicker
  But string is quicker

Spike Milligan

Of course for full on faffness, you could make your own string


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Stone the Crows

Stone the crows? I wouldn’t dream of it personally.

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It’s a phrase you don’t hear very often, its origins are unclear

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"What I says is crows is devils." Tom pointed at the trees, where the blue-black legions sat squabbling and blinking their wicked white eyes. …

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I came across these handsome birds, in a car park in Wales (we got about a bit last week!). Hopelessly back lit and mooching about, in and out of the shadows, they kept me entertained whilst trying to eat my sandwich in the car. I did a lot of that last week too.

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Can I encourage you to pop across to dou dou’s site and take a look at the beautiful birds there


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A Walk in the Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park to be precise. I walked further than I expected, but it wasn’t a problem, the day was bright and crisp.

I was bewitched by an ‘intervention’ by David Nash.

Seventy One Steps

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Made from oak that is charred and oiled they follow the lie of the land. The steps are set into 30 tons of coal, they will weather and erode into the landscape.  Climbing them, they felt were quite magical. They are no ordinary steps.

I thought the woods at the top of the steps were rather magical too.

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I loved the gnarled roots. I’m sure I heard somewhere that 90% of a trees roots are in the top two feet of the soil?

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Duncan obviously like it here, once upon a time.

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Tincture of Finlay Mckinlay

I’d a couple of errands to run over in Glossop this morning. As I drove over the hills I saw the helicopter plying to and fro taking materials up on to Kinder, we’ve taken a look at that before.

Business attended too, I had a chat with the pigeons in the square, of which there were many.

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I thought I would take some shots of the old chemist shop in the centre of town, it has been there for ever. Oh dear.

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I reckoned you might have liked to take a look at the very splendid sign, a  royal warrant, that hung over the door. But it has gone, along with the shop. A passer by seeing me taking photos stopped to tell me the sign had been saved for prosperity, but she wasn’t sure where it would be displayed; and look I found a photo of it, I can see where all those pigeons have been roosting. She also said that the shop front was listed. Obviously the interior wasn’t. It had been gutted. It doesn’t take much imagination, looking at the plaster work to imagine what the shop fittings looked like, nor that  they would sell for a pretty penny.

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A panel of etched glass survives

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Trading as Chohens (a chain of chemists) for the last few years, it had previously been in the hands of Finlay Mackinlay and his decedents for generations (there’s a book about it)

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This mosaic floor reminds me of the one I spotted in Sheep street in Skipton. Look at the craftsmanship, the ‘block shadowing’ of the text, I wanted to brush away the leaves and ‘mop it out’ (I’m forever a shop keeper!).

I’ve mixed emotions when I see things such as this, as someone who left retail ten years ago, because I sensed a decline, and that to earn a living would get harder and harder by the year, I can’t be to critical of others,   whilst the saying goes that ‘nostalgia sells’ it’s not enough to pay the rent and the wages bill. I read that the chemist is moving into or next to the doctors surgery, and what parent of a poorly baby wouldn’t want to get to the doctors and pick up the prescription and get off back home with out trekking with sick child to another location to have the prescription fulfilled. Finlay Mackinlays has reflected on grander days.

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Planning permission has been granted (after appeal) for the building to become a betting shop. Sigh.

 

 

 

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/local-news/fays-journey-from-pills-to-potholing-881634

 

Finlay Mckinlay

http://www.picturethepast.org.uk/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;DCCW000017&pos=2&action=zoom


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Nimble Fingers

Detail from a statue of  Enriqueta Rylands at the John Rylands Library in Manchester city centre. John Rylands 2-1

Even given the graininess of this image I find the detail amazing, the knuckles, the sinews, the muscles all carved from stone. I wonder what the sculptor would make of the amazing hand transplant that has made the news here in the UK.

Enriqueta presides over the reading room of the library, that she founded in memory of her husband,

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many things in society may have changed with the passing of time but the fabric of the library is as it was in 1900 when the library opened to readers.

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I can’t help but muse on the fact that the current exhibition housed in the glass cabinets at her feet  is entitled Fifty Years of Clockwork Orange would surely be enough to to bring a blush to those blanched  Victorian cheeks. Goodness from her vantage point she can even see The Rocking Machine 

The John Rylands Library allows and encourages photography (no tripods, no flash) and invites its visitors to share their images on Flickr. They also make a very decent brew of tea in the cafe, at £2.50 for a pot for two we thought it a city centre bargain. Mr Uphilldowndale and I didn’t have long to linger, I’d like to pop back one day to take some photos that are a little more considered, I’ll add it to the list.


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A Fresh View

Sat in my mental folder marked ‘things to blog about’ is my day at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.

There were plenty of colourful, photogenic boats and much more besides, but as usual it was ‘the stuff round the back’ that caught my eye.   A dilapidated wide beam boat awaiting restoration,

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My friend Mrs Ogg thinks it is a watercress barge.

What is it about peeling/fading paint that I find so appealing?

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The reason for my visit was a photography course, I thought after five years it was time I found out what some of the knobs and buttons on my camera do. I think my camera enjoyed have its brain taken out for a walk.

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It was good to get away from things for a while, and on that subject; I’ve just spent a sublime half an hour looking at the blog of Steve McCurry, oh my, what a joy his photographs are,  his reasons for blogging are interesting too. I may have to pour myself a glass of wine and drift back for another look.


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Nijinski

Especially for mj, Barry Flanagan’s wonderful hares; striding out across the canal pond

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Leaping through the trees

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The poised, Large Nijinski on Anvil Point

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And possibly my favourites, the petite Empire State with Bowler- Mirrored,  a piece that is obviously appreciated by the local spiders

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They look so deceptively simple in close up, as if given a a pack of plasticine anyone could knock one up (oh no, I’ve just looked at last years post and I thought Damien Hursts work looked like pasticine, I think my art appreciations need s mature beyond primary school)

In previous years the Beyond Limits exhibition at Chatsworth has comprised of sculptures by many different artists and whilst I knew I would enjoy the Flannagan sculptures, I do prefer the bigger more diverse event that I’ve posted about before I’m a bit puzzled that it’s described as a ‘selling exhibition’, could so many of Flanagan’s works be for sale at once? But then  is anything is for sale if the price is right?

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