Earlier posts

Earlier posts
This blog is a continuation of an older one. To explore previous posts please click the photo above.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Salt's secret

I don't often wander round the back of Saltaire's church but I was attracted by the beech leaves glowing in the sunshine, so I walked right round. There is a 'secret' that I guess a lot of visitors miss, which is Salt's Mausoleum, tacked on to the side in 1861 after the church was completed (in 1859) and rather ornately decorated with carved embellishments and a funerary urn. Interred there are Sir Titus Salt himself, who died in 1876; his children Whitlam, Mary and Fanny who predeceased him; his wife, Lady Caroline; his son Titus Jnr and his wife, Catherine (she was cremated but her ashes were sealed in the vault) and Mary Jane, son Edward's first wife. It seems that Salt wanted the family's remains buried together; Whitlam and Mary's remains were exhumed from their original burial place in Lightcliffe, to be reinterred here. For all the drama of Victorian graves, there is nevertheless something peaceful about these places. 

You can sometimes see inside when the church is open. It is rather lovely actually. (See HERE

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Saltaire URC

Apologies for showing yet another picture of it but there have been days this autumn when the light around Saltaire's beautiful and historic church has been just sublime. In the late afternoon, the setting sun sometimes brushes the trees behind with pure gold. 

The church was opened in 1859, one of a number of West Yorkshire churches built in that decade by paternalistic textile mill owners, anxious to see their workforces adopt a Christian way of life. Architecturally outstanding, a grand and distinctive temple, it sits deliberately opposite the main entrance to Salt's Mill. This was Sir Titus Salt making a statement that his success was God-given and showing his determination to use his position and wealth for the betterment of his workforce, both temporally and spiritually.   

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends. Hoping the coming year will be better for us all in every way. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Surprise view

It's odd isn't it, how the changing seasons can make us review familiar scenes in a new way? I was walking down towards Saltaire from the Upper Coach Road estate and suddenly noticed these four young trees, their autumn leaves blazing in the sunshine like Roman candle fireworks. I have really never noticed them in any other season; not even sure how long they've been there. The flat area beyond is a recently created nature reserve and some trees were planted along the riverside last year but these are bigger than those most recent additions. 

Over the hedge beyond the nature reserve is Roberts Park. The white building is the cricket pavilion and in the distance you can see Salts Mill, the round dome of the church tower and the tower of the Victoria Hall on the right. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Cat portrait

I had to smile when I saw this cat, both on account of the way it tones so nicely into the autumnal surroundings and because of the pose it adopted - 'look, hooman - u take photo pleez?' Of course, I did. 

Monday, 23 November 2020

The day that changed everything

Scraping the barrel ('scuse the pun!), you might think, to be posting a photo of a closed, lockdown-empty pub. This pub however, has a special place in my heart. It is the Malt (formerly Malt Shovel) in Harden, built around 1550 and at one time, apparently, serving as a courthouse and prison, where travelling judges came to hear cases. It has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment. 

It has always been a cosy place for a drink and a meal and it was here, back in 1982, that we came with my parents for lunch. I was heavily pregnant, about a week overdue in fact and getting very fed-up. I had back-ache and could only feel comfortable sitting ramrod straight on a bar stool. When the menu arrived, unaccountably, I chose egg and chips - something I'd never normally order. I did enjoy them too! With hindsight I should have known... but it was only later, after we'd been home for a couple of hours, that I realised in was in labour. By 8pm I was cuddling my newborn daughter. It's a good job I had those eggs and chips too, as that was the last meal I had until breakfast the following day, by which time I was ravenous! 

Whenever I pass the pub, that day comes back vividly into my mind. In fact the pub acts as a boundary place in my mind between 'all that went before' and 'all that has come after'. Quite appropriate, I suppose, for a building that sits beside a bridge at the point where a Roman road crossed over Harden Beck.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Near, nearer, nearest

Three views of the entrance portico of Saltaire's historic church, wreathed in autumn leaves. 


Saturday, 21 November 2020

Goit Stock Falls

The objective of our family walk was Goit Stock Falls, where Harden Beck tumbles over a rocky ledge on its journey down the valley. There was a fair amount of water cascading and the falls looked rather attractive. The protruding rocks produce a pretty, layered effect. I'm not too confident clambering over slippery boulders these days so I was unable to find a viewpoint beyond the tree, although it would have given a much better composition to my photo. 

The valley of Harden Beck is very pretty in parts, with several smaller falls along the walk. A few autumn leaves still holding on offered a welcome touch of colour. 

There was a bit of mist about. The sun was trying to get through but it never really managed to penetrate the wooded valley, so it was rather chillier than I'd expected. I guess I should now dig out my full 'winter gear' and weather-proof myself, since it's only walks like this that are keeping me sane and upbeat in these trying times. 


Friday, 20 November 2020

Mud and mayhem


Thankfully, even in this second lockdown, we are still allowed as single people to meet with our designated 'support bubble'. That meant I could join the family on a chilly, misty November day for a walk in the woods. The girls were on good form - lovely to see how energetic they both are. Both of them will climb rocks and trees, splash in muddy puddles and paddle in the river quite happily. The little one (6) is particularly fearless and seems as surefooted as a young mountain goat, even in wellies!  Both of them are really observant too, so it is a joy to see the world through their eyes.


(Tree climbing - but I think big sister was a little disconcerted by having little sister's boot near her ear!)

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Gold leaves

An impressionistic view of golden leaves, hanging on above the rushing waters of the river in spate. 

(This was taken a couple of weeks ago; most of the leaves have fallen now.) 

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

A prime site

I mostly choose to share pictures on here of the more attractive parts of my world (of which there are plenty). Just occasionally perhaps it's good to show some more 'gritty' bits and this site is as gritty (literally) as they come! Just down the road from Saltaire, near Baildon Bridge, and adjacent to the Victoria Mills residential complex that you can see in the background, Airedale Mills was formerly the HQ of a shopfitting company. That business moved out and the buildings have been razed - although, curiously, a huge pile of debris and one half-demolished bunker remain. 

I understand that a planning application has been made for a new Lidl supermarket and a Costa coffee drive through. That is being opposed by the recently formed Shipley Town Council, on the grounds that it would draw custom away from the town centre half a mile away and increase traffic congestion. Shipley already has a large Asda and an Aldi supermarket, as well as markets and other food shops, so I don't know why we need another. I expect the arguments will rage and the site will remain an eyesore for a while yet. What's really needed, I think, is some decent social housing but I expect this is classified as a commercial site. We'll have to wait and see. 


Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Circle of gold

On the days when I don't really have anything planned or anywhere special to go (a lot, this year!) I fall back on what I think of as 'my usual walk'. With minor variations, that is down through Saltaire, out along the canal to the lock, through the woods and back along the canal, or along the canal to the aqueduct and then back along the river bank. I count myself lucky to have such a pleasant, circular walk with its several possible minor variations. It doesn't seem to get boring (to me) and the options take account of the light/weather, general muddiness of the terrain and time available. I sometimes take photos, often don't. Some days it all seems a bit dull and I'm doing it for the sake of exercise rather than anything - but then there are the days when it all looks so very beautiful that I am stopping every few steps to marvel and enjoy. 

Here are the photos from one such late afternoon recently, when the whole circuit was bathed in gold. 


Monday, 16 November 2020

Puddle peering

'When life gives you a rainy day, play in the puddles' - or at least seek to see the world differently because of them. I could get grumpy because of all the puddles on the towpath after a rain shower. It does make for a muddy walk. Then again, I could instead notice the New Mill's reflection, which adds an extra dimension to this oft-photographed scene. 


Sunday, 15 November 2020

The path by the river

The path by the river was muddy and slippery with fallen leaves. The river level was high, almost to the top of its banks, though the path was still navigable all the way along. There is a tiny beck that joins here, flowing down from Milner Field. A rough concrete bridge takes the footpath across it, but it has no arch - in fact it's a bit concave - so that is the weakest link in the whole route. Once that gets underwater, basically you've had it unless you're wearing wellies. It was near to flooding but just passable. If you arrive at this point and find it blocked, it's quite a long walk back! 


Saturday, 14 November 2020

Wood smoke and damp leaves

Until the latest lockdown began, boaters on the canal seemed to be making the most of the mild weather and prolonging the boating season. This walk (on the last day of October) was full of colour and scent. The narrowboat pictured above had herons (or egrets?) painted on the glass doors. Rather nice, I thought. 

The colourful boat below had wood smoke curling from the chimney - such an evocative and comforting smell. Coupled with the damp, earthy scent of wet leaves, you would know it to be autumn even with your eyes closed. 

And this is the kind of vista they'd be enjoying as they cruise. This is the stretch of canal through Hirst Woods going towards Saltaire:


Friday, 13 November 2020

Roberts Park sunset

The best place from which to view a sunset locally is probably up on Baildon Moor. However, I wouldn't fancy being up there on my own in the dark so I have to make do with the next best place. I think that is arguably the footbridge across the river into Roberts Park, where at least there is the bonus of a reflection in the river itself. That reflection was quite extensive on this occasion, as the river had been swollen by several days of rain and was almost - but not quite - bursting its banks.

The best time to view a sunset locally (for me!) is this time of year, when the sun dips around 4.00 pm. We are so low in the valley that the actual sun disappears below the trees well before darkness falls. I'd love to see the church silhouetted against a really blazing sky but that rarely seems to happen, as far as I have ever noticed. You're more likely to see an effect of what appears to be a bonfire in the allotments behind the church, as below.