Earlier posts

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

Friday, 30 April 2021

Just a line of washing

Just a line of washing drying in the sunshine... It's the kind of photo I might take whilst on holiday abroad, but rarely in this country. 'Foreign laundry' always seems more exotic and interesting for some reason! But here I liked the bright colour contrast and the shadows in the harsh sunshine - so somebody's bedding got immortalised. 

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Elephant Hill

The moor road from Oxenhope over to Hebden Bridge climbs steeply up from Airedale, over the watershed and down the other side into Calderdale, twisting and turning. It can sometimes feel fairly bleak and remote up there. It's not much fun in winter ice or snow, or the frequent fog banks that you find on the moors. It can however, be a delightful drive in good weather, with far-reaching views and good sunsets if you happen to be there at the right time. It was a bit early for sunset but the low sunshine was picking out the elephant mural that - for some reason - stands right at the top. (My grandchildren call it 'Elephant Hill' as a result, though its proper name is Cock Hill, I think.) Apparently there's another mural on the other side of the little building but that's not visible from the road. 

I've always meant to take a photo of it but there are few places to stop and it's a dangerous road. It so happened that I wasn't being followed on this occasion so it was safe to pull up at the side of the road and take a quick snap. 

The building is all that is left of a former RAF radio station, used as part of a navigation system that guided bombers during WWII, then later used as weather forecasting facility by Bradford University until - ironically - a lightning strike put it out of action. 

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

The end of the day

Peaceful scenes and lovely reflections along the Rochdale Canal in Hebden Bridge, as we walked home from the park. 

You quite often see rag dolls in the windows of narrowboats. 'Rosie and Jim' was a children's TV series in the 1990s, about two rag dolls who lived aboard a narrowboat called the Ragdoll. They came alive when no one was looking, to explore the world that they were passing by on the canal.


Tuesday, 27 April 2021

After school fun

I had unexpectedly to drive over to Hebden Bridge one day. My daughter, arriving home after school with four children (her two girls and two of their friends) discovered she was locked out of her house. I have a spare key so I was called upon to rescue them, as they'd have had a long wait until dad got home! Thankfully it was a super afternoon, warm and sunny, so they were happily playing in the park by the time I got there. With four children, it was a bit like herding cats (!) but we ate fish and chips (from the paper - yum!) before returning home along the Rochdale Canal towpath. It all turned out to be rather fun. Sometimes the unexpected delivers a little gift. 


Monday, 26 April 2021


The monthly theme in my online camera club recently was 'toes'. Now, you really wouldn't want to see mine so I had to go in search of someone else's! Thankfully one of the Saltaire lions obliged, with this gritty mono of his paws and claws. 

Sunday, 25 April 2021


Scruffy and overgrown it may be but at this time of year this patch of land on Saltaire Road is transformed by a row of very old flowering cherry trees, which burst into a riot of blossom for a short while. When the wind gets up (as it usually does) the neighbouring streets are carpeted with petals. 

Wycliffe Primary School, a little further down the road, also has a cherry tree. (It used to have a matching pair either side of the entrance but for some reason one was felled.) I decided a little experimenting was in order here, layering several shots of the same tree taken from slightly different viewpoints (a variation of something called the Pep Ventosa technique). You can never have too much blossom.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Royal swans

Yeadon Tarn is home to a number of waterbirds, and seems a favourite place for swans. Such powerful and beautiful birds, they have a proud history. At one time they were considered a valuable commodity, traded and eaten as a delicacy on special occasions. Unmarked mute swans are still, in theory, the property of the Queen, though I don't think she exercises her right these days, except on the Thames (See HERE) where a Royal Swan Keeper is still maintained. The annual tradition of swan-upping still continues on the Thames, when young cygnets are rounded up and marked. These days it is mainly a conservation exercise, a way of checking the population and condition of the birds. 

The only tradition that continues locally is feeding them! Plenty of people still give them bread but there are other foods better for them. Someone had scattered corn and peas at the edge of the Tarn. 

Swans (apparently) mate for life. Out in the middle of the lake, a pair were doing a courtship routine, bobbing heads and thrashing the water, circling round each other. One of them was quite a young one, judging by its brown feathers, and they did seem a bit amateur and fumbling compared to some pairs I've watched! 

Further along, a pair of mandarin ducks proved frustratingly camera-shy. I should have picked up a handful of corn and tried to tempt them nearer! 

Friday, 23 April 2021

A turn around the tarn

I've never been anywhere where the fishermen have such huge tents as they do at Yeadon Tarn (or Tarnfield Dam, as it seems now to be called). Park one of these by the side of the canal and it would take up the entire towpath! I suspect it is simply an excuse for getting out of the house and finding some peace and quiet, mini-camping for the day. Although with the number of visitors strolling around the Tarn's circular path, it's not actually that peaceful. 

It's a pleasant walk, quieter than usual at the moment as there are no water sports and few aeroplanes coming and going from Leeds-Bradford Airport's main runway, which lies right at the end of the lake. 


Thursday, 22 April 2021

Big skies

I live right in the valley bottom, surrounded by buildings and trees. It's fine but every now and then I realise how much I need and miss 'big skies'. The first time I ever visited Norfolk, with its flat fens and coast, it was the huge skies that excited me and made me feel suddenly so free. There, the sky goes 180° from your feet up over your head and back to your feet. In the valleys, you have to look up to see the sky. That's perhaps why I love the view from part way up the hillside near my home, looking down the valley through Shipley towards Leeds. So much more sky! On a day when there are some interesting clouds, it's even better. 

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

'Gentleman Jack' series 2

They've been filming 'Gentleman Jack' down at Salts Mill for three days. I must have been down half a dozen times and not seen anything and then I got lucky and saw some action. It was, of course, all roped off so sightseers couldn't get close but with my zoom lens I did rather better than I'd hoped, catching a sequence with Gentleman Jack (Suranne Jones) striding along the 'street' that they've created in the middle of the mill. 

I know from watching other films being made (Saltaire being quite a magnet for period dramas, inevitably) that there is an awful lot of set building and then an awful lot of people just standing around, apparently not doing much - and then you get a short burst of frantic action!  

The rest of my photos are just the 'standing around' bits:

They go to enormous lengths to add atmosphere - real geese and a sheepdog (goosedog?)  as well as a horse and carriage. 

But mostly it's just lots of huge vans and lots and lots of cables! 

For those who don't know, 'Gentleman Jack' is a BBC drama series, now filming the second series. Written by Yorkshire writer Sally Wainwright, it tells the true story of Anne Lister (1791-1840), a remarkable woman who inherited Shibden Hall in Halifax and, unusually for the times, lived there openly as a lesbian. She kept detailed, encrypted diaries from which much about her life is known. See HERE and HERE for  posts I wrote when they were making the first series in Halifax. 


Tuesday, 20 April 2021

A difficult coat day!

I have a few favourite routes locally. One is the 'river saunter', out along the river bank and back along the canal or through the woods. It was a fine spring day for my ramble, though the air temperature was very chilly. So I wore a padded jacket, which seemed fine at first... Halfway round, when my core temperature had warmed up with the exercise, I was far too hot! This time of year creates quite a few difficult clothing choices, I find. It's not uncommon for me to be wrapped up in a thick jacket, gloves and a hat, whilst others seem quite comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt! 

Anyway, it was a lovely day for a stroll and the spring colours tempted me to take quite a lot of photos. 

The pussy willow was covered in pollen and the wood anemones had opened their petals to the sun. 

In the boggy lower ground of Bull Coppy Wood, there were wood anemones, lesser celandine and even some kingcups (marsh marigolds) in flower. 

I was surprised to see a few bluebells too, given the cold temperatures we've been experiencing. I know these on the south-facing slope by the river always flower earlier than those in Hirst Wood. Aren't they a gorgeous colour? 


Monday, 19 April 2021

Vintage effects

A few of my camera club buddies have been experimenting with Lensbaby lenses and vintage cameras like Holgas, all of which produce quirky images with different kinds of effects. Lensbabys cost a small fortune and Holgas use film that needs developing, so my budget and technical skills rule them out. However, after seeing some wonderfully atmospheric Saltaire scenes produced by one of our members, I was inspired to try a few different processing effects on some of my own photos. 


Sunday, 18 April 2021

Goose step

Another monthly theme for my online camera club - 'From a low viewpoint'. I know from past experience that the local geese don't like my big camera and will quickly walk (or swim) away. But they don't seem to mind my phone, oddly. Perhaps they're more used to seeing phones. Anyway, I managed to get a couple of shots of this Greylag before s/he decided I wasn't going to provide food so I wasn't very interesting. The phone is useful for low-angled shots, as the lens is so close to the edge of the phone. You can get even lower to the ground than with a camera lens. The only problem is getting back up again! 


Saturday, 17 April 2021

It's Spring again!

I love Spring! Blue skies, spring flowers and blossom deck out Saltaire to perfection. I take much the same photos year on year and yet they always seem fresh and uplifting after a long winter. 


Friday, 16 April 2021

Ilkley afternoon

Ilkley's famous Cow and Calf Rocks provided the backdrop for a lovely afternoon in the sunshine with my family. It's a great place for scrambling and climbing and my grandgirls are pretty fearless these days. 

I'm not sure what they were doing in this photo below... something attracted their inquisitive eyes. I love the picture because it shows how well they get on together as sisters. Their imaginations are vivid and at one point they were pretending to be wolves, prowling the moors! 

It's rare I get 'big camera' photos of them these days, but they did consent to pose against the sweeping view across the valley. With this awful pandemic, I've seen very little of them this year and I feel I've missed huge chunks of their lives - they really are growing up fast. So it was great fun to spend some time with them. Two very decent young humans. I love them to bits. 

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Notes from a spring walk

I took another walk along old tracks and bridleways around the village of Tong in south Bradford. It was one of those strange April days of bright sunshine and blue skies interspersed with sudden sharp snow showers that came as quickly as they went, blown along by a strong breeze.  During the sunny bits it was lovely, the hedgerows alive with early white blossom (blackthorn? plum?), with celandines and wood anemones dotting the grass (albeit mostly with their flowers closed against the cold). Young wild garlic leaves were thrusting up too, and the pungent scent was already discernible even though there were no flowers yet. 

I noticed several trees that had been coppiced: cut periodically and left to regrow from the stump (stool). They usually regrow with multiple stems, like the one above right. Coppicing was common at one time, when there was a high demand for wood for fuel, charcoal, building, fence poles, furniture and other items. It is still carried out in some woodlands, to manage them as a wildlife habitat, but many old coppices have been left to deteriorate.

Many of the tracks had a stone-paved central path, one sign of an ancient packhorse route. Another of the tracks was eroded enough in parts to be almost a holloway - a sunken lane, obviously very old and well used in the past. 


Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Smoke signals

The little fluffy clouds looked a bit like smoke signals above Salts Mill. Perhaps they were announcing its reopening, as our Covid lockdown eases slightly - non-essential shops, hairdressers (hooray!), gyms and outdoor hospitality are a few of the aspects of life that are returning. I shan't be rushing to the pub, though it will be lovely to see a bit more normality coming back. 

The bright sun is a little deceptive here as the air temperature was jolly cold! Thankfully apple blossom is hardier stuff than those temperamental magnolias, and it seemed relatively undamaged by the recent frosts. 

Tuesday, 13 April 2021


The daffodils seem to have been particularly amazing this year and there was a lovely display in front of the almshouses in Alexandra Square. These are a particularly attractive variety, with darker trumpets and banana yellow outer petals. Recent cold temperatures and high winds haven't done a lot to help our gardens but these seem to have survived reasonably well. I love the haze of new leaves on the willow tree too - such a vivid green. The tree has had a haircut, judging by the straightness of its lower fringe. I need one as well! My last cut was way back last September. Just over a week to wait until my appointment, all being well.  

Monday, 12 April 2021

The stench of life

I hesitated to post this photo and then I thought, well, why not? It's taken from the aqueduct at Dowley Gap where the canal crosses the river. It's a lovely area, just on the edge of Hirst Wood where a myriad of paths converge. There's an old mill converted into dwellings and it's all rather nice... apart from the smell. If it weren't for the stench, you might not notice the sewage works just beyond the river, but the rich smell does rather intrude, especially in certain weather conditions. I often feel sorry for the people who live in the mill and cottages but perhaps after a while you get used to it. The sewage treatment plant is fairly well tucked away and you can't see much of the filtration beds from any angle apart from this one. Yes, it is a necessity for modern life, I get that. And yes, I am glad it's confined to an isolated works and not pervading the entire city, as it used to until relatively recent times, when sewage ran through the streets in open channels. It's just that aroma! 

However, as if in compensation, at the opposite end of Hirst Wood there is a bakery. Now, the aroma from there is delicious! Yeast, freshly baked bread and sweet vanilla notes wafted about in the air. Mmmm. 

Just for interest, here's a photo I took one summer from roughly the same spot as the above picture but looking along the canal from the aqueduct. The mill conversion is on the left behind the trees and the sewage works is behind that. As I say, idyllic.... apart from the smell.