Brutalist Bus Stop

Following on from the Brutalist style church, a Brutalist bus stop with postbox, on the isle of Lewis

Bus Stop Lewis_.jpg

Looking like a remanent of the cold war, a bus stop with presence, its quarters offering shelter from which ever way the wind blows.

I couldn’t help but think if you were back at home in Derbyshire and tried sheltering around the back of a bus stop, the 199 bus would sail straight past without stopping.

Riverside Walk

After our visit to the Tower, we walked along the Thames embankment

We came across this party of school children, painting pictures of Tower Bridge*

children painting tower bridge 2

Each child had their shoes and water bottles neatly set beside them, and were totally absorbed in their task.

children painting tower bridge


They completely ignored the slack jawed British tourists who openly expressed their amazement at the children’s exemplary behaviour,

children painting tower bridge 3

we reckoned there must have been 60 or more children, and as far as we could see, only two adults overseeing them. I don’t think you’d get that ratio past a school trip risk assessment in the UK.

We had tea and cake at the Tate Modern, where we were privileged to watch peregrine falcons, perched on the roof, through telescopes provided by the RSPB


Mr Uphilldowndale succumbed to  a little green tractor envy

little green tractor envy 


we had fun trying to photograph St Pauls Cathedral and London busses.

St pauls_ 

It is a very long time since I’ve played ‘tourist’ in London, back in my day, you needed an A-Z,  it seems they are things of the past; how do we get home?

No A-Z


(have you heard about the new glass walkway at Tower Bridge? Not for the faint hearted).

Round Up of Norfolk

A final  photo selection from our foray into Norfolk

In Blakeney narrow  streets, from an era when boats ruled the world not motorcars,


And when catching the tide was more important than catching the bus.

cottages 2


A rather fetching wall plaque, with a meandering hollyhock, it has a art deco vibe, do you think?


ship plaque art deco-

The admirable 14th century craftsmanship of the ribbed brick vaulting in  Blakeney Guildhall


Some very pretty little costal flowers,can anyone tell me what they are?

costal flowers_

The RNLI station at Wells Wells lifeboat station

Then off down the coast to Cromer

Cromer lifeguard_

Cromer Pier

Cromer pier_

The sort of seaside vista, familiar from my childhood*

Cromer 2

Although it was always the west coast, Lytham St Annes and Fleetwood for my family, but never Blackpool, considered too vulgar… even in the 1960’s

Cromer pier 2


Time for home.


*Although I always hankered for a seaside holiday with rock pools, so I could complete my I Spy the Seashore book.

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.

Finlay Mckinlay 6-1

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.

Finlay Mckinlay 5-1

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.

Finlay Mckinlay 2-1

A panel of etched glass survives

Finlay Mckinlay 1-1 

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)

Finlay Mckinlay 3-1

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.

Finlay Mckinlay 4-1

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


Finlay Mckinlay;EQUALS;DCCW000017&pos=2&action=zoom

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,

Stockport  6-1

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).

Stockport viaduct -1

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.)

Stockport  mill-1

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

Stockport  viaduct 5-1

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

Stockport -1

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.

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.


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.

limestone Whitworth Centre-1

It’s like gazing into a distant galaxy…

limestone Whitworth Centre 3-1

Fossils make me think how

limestone Whitworth Centre 1-1

the human race is just a little blip in time.

limestone Whitworth Centre 4-1

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.

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.

Psychic Spud 1-1

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

Psychic Spud 2-1

He was absolutely right.

Psychic Spud 3-1

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.

Home snow 3-1