Uphilldowndale

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


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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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Moving Swiftly Along

Firstly an apology for the lack of a Spud on Sunday post yesterday, the day simply ran away from me! Thank you for the wonderful suggestions of names for the kittens; Spud the dog will announce the favoured names next week.

At eight AM on Saturday morning I found myself in Stockport. Personally I don’t like being in Stockport at all, but at least at that time on a Saturday there was little on the roads, its common  and tedious for the traffic to crawl along the A6.  I took Tom for his driving test theory exam, he passed.  Excellent.

I think Stockport’s most redeeming feature is the viaduct,

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that bunny hops the railway line across the town,  it opened in 1840 some 11,000,000 bricks were used in its construction (now there’s a pub quiz question).

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There are some still some distinguished looking mills, mainly converted to flats or for commercial use, such as storage. I imagine they must have been grim to work in. Stockport was famous for the production of hats (and is now home to The Hat Works Museum, which is worth a visit, although you could be put off by the weary website.)

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Hat making was an industry renowned for the use of chemicals such as mercury to cure the felt,

“Mad as a hatter” is a colloquial phrase used in conversation to refer to a crazy person. In 18th and 19th century England mercury was used in the production of felt, which was used in the manufacturing of hats common of the time. People who worked in these hat factories were exposed daily to trace amounts of the metal, which accumulated within their bodies over time, causing some workers to develop dementia caused by mercury poisoning. Thus the phrase “Mad as a Hatter” became popular as a way to refer to someone who was perceived as insane.

Lewis Carroll grew up in Stockport, whilst Lowry drew it

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One way or another, the Victorians and the Industrial Revolution certainly made their mark on Stockport’s buildings, what’s followed since though is distinctly bland (if that is not a contradiction..) I  just couldn’t bring myself to photograph the Merseyway shopping precinct

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Locals from around these ‘ere parts will always talk of ‘going down Stockport’ (note lack of the word ‘to’). However, ‘incomers’ will talk of ‘going up to Stockport’. True, Stockport is north of here, so technically it is up; however it is down from the hills, that’s what makes the difference.


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Not Spud on Sunday

Spud the dog would like to apologise for his lack of appearance this evening. This was due in part to the pleasure of  my friend Joss ringing up for a nice long natter (we are rarely ladies who lunch, a phone call has to suffice) … suddenly it’s 10pm and not a post written. Ahh well.

I think instead we’ll report the status of the daisy-belle chicken (Spud has an appointment at the dog groomers this week, he promises to ‘make an entrance’  and ‘strike a pose’ next Sunday.)

The daisy-belle you might remember went broody some weeks ago; it is still resolutely sitting in the old washing up bowl in the barn in a sort of broody stupor come semi hibernation sort of mode. The blue-belle actually sits on top of the daisy-belle to lay her egg as it refuses to budge out of the favoured laying place. All we end up with is an egg broken under the weight of two chickens.

The swallows that were nesting in the barn have fledged, this year five chicks, with no Darcy or Dandy to decimate. The swallow chicks are roosting on a roof timber directly above the broody  daisy-bell. They do exactly what the young of most species do… they poo indiscriminately. All over the daisy-belle. She flinches not. She is a strange old bird.

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The Thread of Life

I’ve been at the Whitworth Centre in Darley Dale today, it is somewhere I’ve driven past hundreds of times, but never given much of a thought to, it is a grand Victorian building (although its website is not so grand).

Joseph Whitworth invented a few things, the Whitworth Screw and Whitworth Rifle for a starters, and he was a wealthy philanthropist

As I was there in the guise of paid employment I didn’t have my camera, or the time to dawdle around collecting blog fodder. But I did take a few snaps with my phone, of the wonderful polished limestone panels that line the main corridor of the building. It was dimly lit so the quality is poor, so I’ve played about with the images to try show you the fabulous fossils in the limestone.

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It’s like gazing into a distant galaxy…

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Fossils make me think how

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the human race is just a little blip in time.

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The Whitworth Centre is hosting part of the Derbyshire Open Arts Festival at the beginning of June, if I can face the bank holiday traffic, I may return for a more leisurely look around.


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Spud on a Sunday Part LVII

Spud the dog calls upon his psychic powers, turning his nose to the wind, eyes closed, he  attempts to predict the weather.

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After a short contemplation he declares ‘By the time of the setting sun, there will be snow and much wind’.

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He was absolutely right.

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Clever Spud. Then again he might just have watched the weather forecast like the rest of us.

I’ve realised my children are growing up in a world where they know exactly what time it is going to snow. Now in my day the weather was full of surprises.

Joe and I have spent the afternoon clearing the snow out of the barn, you could say the surprising thing, if anything, about yesterdays snow was how fine it was, it blew under the roofing sheets of the barn, leaving mini drifts of snow, five or six inches deep in places. It has made a right old mess, mind, we are grateful we had the house roof re-done 18 months ago, or it would have been the loft space we were clearing out and my poor mum had water dripping through her lounge ceiling after the pipe from the condensing boiler froze solid. Snow isn’t always as much fun as Spud thinks it is.

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Rising Tide

All Washed Up

Back to Suffolk and Snape Maltings, another dash of art, a site specific art work by Fran Crowe, in the Dovecote Studio. The building itsself reminds me of a budding daffodil bulb (I’m sorry it’s been an odd sort of day, but trust me this post will get yet more obscure.)

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Fran’s work is made from what ever she finds washed up on the Suffolk Shore

Which on the plus side is colourful, the negative being, well see for yourself

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Not good is it?

The other thing I found  out on her ‘silly but serious’ website is that Fran is interested in moles, and their role in fighting the rising tide of sea level change due to global warming. Now this blog has a fondness for moles, they tend to be more dead than alive when they make an appearance, but that is more to do with the fact they are subterranean little mammals and camera shy. Fran’s initiative is called Up and Under the gist of it is (as far as I can make out)  that we should cultivate moles and that then should water levels rise, the mole tunnels will act as drainage channels, but sadly the mole will drown.

Now I have to say I think Fran’s plan may be site specific, that as I live at the top of a hill in Derbyshire, if the moles in our field find their tunnels awash with sea water, they, the nation, if not the world is totally stuffed. Not good is it?

Mummified Mole


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The Family of Man

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Ancestor I, Ancestor II, Parent I

The Family of Man, by Barbara Hepworth at Snape Maltings. To be enjoyed by the family of man. In the background, the sails of boats on the river Deben

The sign is rather weathered

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The sculpture is rather tactile

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What I can’t capture here is the sound of an orchestra, rehearsing in the building behind me.

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