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17 items found for ""

  • the not so humble brick

    We're often amazed at where people find beauty - it could be glorious sunsets over the ocean, mountains, lush green landscapes or something more mundane and not worth a second glance like ohh a brick maybe? Before you think we've gone completely crazy please bear with us. You'll have seen on our other posts about our recent trip to Crosby beach and the magnificent 'Another Place' installation by Antony Gormley. Our real purpose for the visit was to take a walk along the rubble beach made up of the rubble from nearby Liverpool and the bombed out buildings destroyed in the Blitz in 1940 and 41. This isn't going into that in too many details there's another post for that (read here) but the effects of the sea and tide over 80+ years has created a unique landscape - man made but now gradually becoming naturalised and shaped by the elements. Just as fascinating as the shapes on view are the makers names that plot out the history of where the bricks were from originally. The photo below shows one from the Hapton works in Accrington that were closed down in 1902. With years of erosion it looks a far cry from the sharp angled familiar shape of a housebrick. It isn't just housebricks either - the photo below shows an Aztex firebrick probably used in someone's fireplace now part of the huge swathe of rubble and masonry on this fascinating shoreline. All shapes and sizes and all with a story to tell, a place that's poignant and also completely fascinating that's prompted us to do some more research into the history of the place and what you find there. It's also somewhere that, despite temptation is most definitely a place we should leave as we found it for nature to continue to do what it does.

  • a black & white kind of day

    So far this year the weather has been pretty poor with a lot of cloudy overcast days - not at all good for taking photos. Whilst we don't expect blue skies every day some contrast would be good instead of the grey blanket we seem to be permanently under currently. Notwithstanding another grey overcast day we decided to do a loop of the village and use that evergreen fallback of shooting in black and white - always a great stand-in when the weather isn't playing ball. It is amazing how you can use black and white to boost the greyest of scenes and add some real depth and texture to what would otherwise be washed out photos. We did a quick tour of St Wilfrid's stunning graveyard with some headstones showing dates way back into the 1700's and we think that for this type of photography it's black and white all the way.

  • a life half submerged

    A few years ago we made our first trip to Crosby to see Antony Gormley's fantastic installation 'Another Place'. If you've never been or haven't heard about it, it's basically 100 cast iron statues similar to the one on the left, all taken from the artist's own body, and sunk into the beach at Crosby overlooking the Mersey estuary and Irish Sea. They stretch for a good few miles and offer some brilliant opportunities for some great photos. We both love 'big art' and dramatic installations and to be honest this really ticks all the boxes for us. Quite a few are way up the beach away from the shoreline towards the dunes but others are positioned further out and the times we've been we've often wondered what they look like with the tide in. During our last visit we found out as we pulled up to the car park to be met by a reasonably high spring tide and many of the statues fully or partially submerged. We had gone for another reason - the rubble beach (read more about that here) but we just couldnt resist getting some shots of these other worldly figures, Canute like in the Mersey - undaunted, unbowed and showing signs of a life half submerged.

  • ferry cross the mersey

    It's a long time since we took a 'Ferry cross the Mersey', but yesterday was just perfect! Sunshine, a warm wind, gentle sailing conditions and the excitement of sailing on The Dazzle Ferry (Snowdrop). The ship was designed by Sir Peter Blake (who also designed The Beatles Sgt Pepper album cover) as part of the First World War commemorations in Liverpool. Dazzle patterns were first used on vessels in World War One. Designed to confuse the eye and make the ships difficult to target. Different designs and patterns were used so ships could not be identified. Mersey Ferries 'Dazzle Ferry' is the only operating dazzle ship in the UK - a great sight sailing up and down the Mersey and even more exciting to take a trip on! And always time for a quick 'selfie'! The Insta 360 takes some very interesting ones! Can you spot the 'invisible selfie stick'? Bit like 'spot the ball'!! No prizes sorry!

  • when you're alone and life is making you lonely... you can always go to Tramtown!

    Trains, planes, boats we love them all and probably airships too but we haven't seen one of those yet! Watching them in action, learning about their history, getting up close and (not surprisingly!) photographing them! Blackpool has a very special place in both our hearts as being true Northerners we grew up with the annual family trip to Blackpool Illuminations which passes down through the generations - we took our two for years and we have now reached the age where we go with the grandchildren and sit outside in -2C eating fish and chips (haven't recovered from that yet!). And let's be honest who doesn't love the traditional Blackpool tram? Still travelling the 12 miles from Starr Gate to Fleetwood almost every day hugging the coastline and offering fantastic views of the beaches, piers, sea and the coastal towns the trams travel through. And don't forget those views as you pass Blackpool Tower and, from September to December each year, the journey through the illuminations, which have been a feature of the Blackpool 'golden mile' since 1879. Blackpool has the oldest electric tramway in the UK and is the only one to have been continually in use for 137 years and still going strong! This is mostly due to the fact that the trams run along the prom so when cars first began to appear they posed no threat to passengers boarding the Blackpool trams. This was not the case in most major cities as the trams usually ran along the middle of very wide roads so when the cars began to travel at the side it became a hazardous activity to reach your tram and safely board! So, some paragraphs later (there is a point!) long on our list of places to visit was Tramtown - the Blackpool Heritage Tram museum - and one wild, windy and wet Monday in March we finally paid it a visit (stopping for a few photos of the wild sea en route!) The guided tour cost us a grand total of £10 - just £5 each (2023). An unbelievably cheap amount of money for such an amazing trip through the history of the Blackpool tram. Four extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides took a group of us on a tour of the engineering workshops and the tram sheds full of trams in various stages of life - some still in use, some rusting away at the back and some which had been familiar sights in our childhoods, but thanks to health and safety rules are now relegated to the back of the sheds and will probably stay there forever. (Anyone remember the Rocket ship?) The tram sheds are in a similar state of disrepair with a leaky roof and parts that are too dangerous for visitors, but there are big plans for a brand new museum. I do feel that we visited at just the right time. Whilst the buildings are clearly in need of renovation they feel authentic and historical and the whole experience of trudging through and round trams, avoiding puddles and oil leaks and clambering through what I'll loosely call 'exhibits' was just wonderful! The stories and history passed on by the guides were fascinating - let's hope they keep the tours in the new museums plans. We even had the pleasure of the company of retired drivers and conductors all with more fascinating stories to tell. Did you know the trams can change the traffic lights as they travel ensuring they keep moving! No? Neither did we! And the icing on the tram cake? We all got to sit in the iconic Wild West Tram, modelled on Casey Junior, which arrived in Blackpool in 1962 to huge crowds and queues to ride it. After restoration in 2007 it still travels the Blackpool tramway during the illuminations season. You can even still ride on it! For us? The pleasure and excitement is seeing it coming down the tramlines towards you. Wonderful! This is the second time we have taken one of the Blackpool Heritage tours and we have loved both. We previously went on an equally fascinating tour of the Blackpool Lightworks - home of the illuminations when they are not shining on the prom! Next stop - Heritage tour of Blackpool Tower. They are such good quality tours full of interesting history and tales and so cheap! Just before I go here's a confession for you...despite being a big tram fan I have actually only travelled on one once to get to the Pleasure Beach quickly. Must have been late for something! We both much prefer to watch them go past! As well as tours of the tram depot, Blackpool Heritage run numerous tours on different trams throughout the year. Top of our list? The chippy tea tour! Have a look at their website for information on the tours and how to book. Blackpool Heritage Tram Tours

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