Deer at Dunham…………..

Went for a stroll around  Dunham yesterday but this time minus grandson Seb. It was a pleasure to do a circuit of the park and in particular see the herd of deer just being fed by one of the rangers. There must have been around sixty or so animals in the vicinity but the ranger said there was about a further fifty in other parts of the park.

He informed us that the deer were very healthy and somewhat “fat” as they had gorged on the abundance of acorns produced this year. Indeed, they were considering cutting back the food for the deer to get them into better condition. Many of the females were pregnant and looked very healthy.

Many of the older deer were not disturbed by human presence whereas the younger ones galloped away as we approached. The older deer will often feed from peoples hands  in the park although this is not recommended by the National Trust, owners of the park.

I was able to get fairly close to the deer and take some photographs, some of which are featured below. If you are in the area take some time to visit the park, it is well worthwhile.

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Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2018

 

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Springlike day at Dunham……………….

The weather recently has been pretty erratic to say the least, one day snow, the next day rain quickly followed by blue skies and bright sunshine. Well, yesterday was a blue skies and sunshine day so we took the opportunity to visit Dunham Massey, a National Trust property about twenty minutes from where we live.

Despite arriving just after 10.30am, there was already a queue to get into the car park which we should have expected as it is “half term” for local schools and the park is a favourite visit for families.

With grandson in tow we walked up past the lake and on to the garden to undertake “The Curiosity Garden” walk (prices are steep if you are not a National Trust member!). Despite it being so early in the year there was already a carpet of Snowdrops, Daffodils were making an appearance and various other flowers had started to appear.

At one point on the walk a Robin appeared on a branch and I managed to get fairly close to get some good photographs of it, in fact it seemed to pose for me as I fired away with my camera.

At one point Seb, our grandson did a disappearing act causing momentary panic as we searched for him, then I spotted him sneaking through the bushes…………panic over!!!!

The day concluded with Seb again building his Hobbit residence as well as stomping through whatever mud he could find…………ah, the joys of childhood.

Below are some of the images I captured on our walk.

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Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2018

Posted in Arrival of Spring, Birds, Dunham Massey, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Manchester………….lost its style!

 

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Piccadilly Gardens

Last week I took a trip into Manchester by train from Cuddington in Cheshire, a journey time of just over one hour and ten minutes (I could probably have walked there quicker!).

It is quite a pleasant journey through the Cheshire countryside into Piccadilly Station, and my goodness how that place has changed. It must be twenty years or so since I was on Piccadilly Station so I was quite unprepared for the airport style layout and the sheer numbers of people.

I was going to catch one of the free buses that go across the city, but there are now three routes and after spending several unproductive minutes trying to figure out which would be the best one I gave up (old age!). So I set off walking towards Piccadilly Gardens and was immediately struck how “down at heel” the city was beginning to look. Opposite the gardens there was a large group of people (about 20+) congregating outside Mc Donalds but who appeared to be getting food and drink from some kind of informal soup kitchen outside the takeaway shop. They looked in the main to be homeless / beggars or people just down on their luck.

Walking down Market Street I saw several homeless people sleeping in shop doorways and who looked to have been in “residence” for some time. I have not seen such numbers of people on the street in all the years I have been visiting Manchester.

What is even more depressing is the bridge at the Arndale Centre which crosses market Street, why Oh why didn’t they restyle this place after the IRA bombings a good number of years ago. The Arndale Centre is a blight upon the city.

A walk through St Anne’s Square, now looking somewhat shabby took me onto Deansgate. What once was quite a classy street has become a haven for fast food joints, coffee houses, with the odd Tapas bar thrown in for good measure. Kendals department store is still going strong (I think), but generally speaking it is quite depressing walking along the street.

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Rough sleepers on Deansgate

What is even worse is that King Street, once considered the epitome of style, elegance and class with its shops appears to have gone down market and there are several shops still empty.

As I walked back to the station I reflected on what a majestic city Manchester used to be, but no longer. The financial sector just off Deansgate is made up of skyscraper buildings of glass, with little architectural creativity / design to give them style. Moreover, the number of people on the streets does nothing for the image of the city, I will pass no comment on the reasons for them being on the streets.

I travelled back home quite depressed and sad at what I had seen, as Manchester used to be my favourite city to visit in my late teens and twenties. Anyone remember Barry’s Record Rendezvous on Blackfriars Street, a meeting place of hard-core jazz fans?

Perhaps I need to visit Manchester again in a little while for a reappraisal of what the city has to offer.

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The Saltscape Trail…………….

My exploration of the Cheshire countryside continues and today I undertook a shortish circular walk (known as the Dragonfly Walk) from the Anderton Boat Lift along what is known locally as the “Saltscape Trail.”

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The complete route is 6 miles of beautiful scenery from Anderton Boat lift up to The Lion Saltworks through The Northwich Woodlands. It crosses over into a figure of 8 so there is the option to split the walk into two shorter 3 miles  each named differently, the Dragonfly Trail or the Orchid Trail.

Each trail has been way-marked with attractive posts displaying either a dragonfly or an orchid in different colours as well as interpretation boards situated along the route to educate users of the salt history and significance of the area. It consists of both new and existing paths, together with a brand new wooden bridge with the purpose of crossing over the pipelines to give easy access onto the trail.

Having now completed both walks I would suggest that the Dragonfly Walk is the most rewarding with some beautiful scenery through the woods, and alongside the river a significant amount of wild birdlife, before a short walk back along the canal path to take in the wonderful site of all the narrow boats moored at Anderton Marina. It was along the canal that I got talking to the owner of one of the last working industrial narrow boats that travelled between Liverpool, Birmingham and Stoke.

As it was such a beautiful day I took the opportunity of taking some photographs to try to capture the area, and in particular the early morning sunlight as it started to beat down on the frozen ground and frost covered leaves. It will be an area that I return to on a regular basis I suspect.IMGP6817.jpg

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Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2018

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Port Sunlight……..one philanthropic industrialists vision

William Hesketh Lever (later Viscount Leverhulme) built Port Sunlight to house the workers at his soap factory, Lever Brothers, which eventually became the global giant, Unilever. The village holds a unique place in the history of urban planning and represents one man’s vision to provide industrial workers with decent, sanitary housing in a considered architectural and picturesque form.

However, rather than a philanthropic venture, Lever claimed it was all part of a business model he termed ‘prosperity-sharing’. Rather than sharing the profits of the company directly with his employees, Lever provided them with decent and affordable houses, amenities and welfare provisions that made their lives secure and comfortable and enabled them to flourish as people. It was also intended to inspire loyalty and commitment.

Lever also campaigned for better welfare and a shorter working day, and supported education and medical projects. His passion for art and architecture can be seen throughout the village, not just at the purpose-built Lady Lever Art Gallery, making the village an enduring testament to his remarkable achievements.

I last visited Port Sunlight in 1978 and even back then was impressed by the quality and standard of the houses built for the workers as well as all the other amenities. I think it is fair to say that the general perception of 19th century industrialists is that of “slave drivers and exploiters of the working man, woman and child” However, there were those who adopted a different philosophy about “treatment of the workers” and these men are usually overlooked in any review of that historical industrial era.

In addition to William Lever, there were such luminaries as:-

  1. Titus Salt, the creator of Saltaire Village, housing for his workers in West Yorkshire
  2. George Cadbury, creator of the Bournville Village for his workers
  3. Montague Burton (Lithuanian immigrant) – he became one of the first to instil formal welfare provisions in the workplace, introducing food halls, leisure groups and activities such as theatre, dance and sports teams. He took an interest in maintaining the wellbeing of workers through health clinics and rest rooms.
  4. John Rylands, he made considerable philanthropic donations to the town of Stretford which included the founding of orphanages, homes for the elderly and the donation of a Town Hall

Perhaps there is much that we could learn from these men even today, in this “hire and fire” workplace mentality that seems to exist where loyalty is a dirty word, desirable of course from workers but without any reciprocal commitment from organisations.

I spent some time wandering around the village and was again impressed with the beauty of the houses, tree lined avenues, two museums and a war memorial that would do credit to any town or city. This is part of our industrial heritage, and something we should be proud of. Go and visit Port Sunlight and be amazed.

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Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2017

Posted in Architecture, Art and Sculpture, Industrial Heritage, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Delamere Forest Park………..not that impressed!

Having moved to Cheshire recently I am still in the process of exploring the area and in particular the wonderful countryside. One place that was recommended to me was Delamere Forest Park, a large wood near the town of Frodsham in Cheshire. The woodland, which is managed by the Forestry Commission covers an area of 972 hectares (2,400 acres) making it the largest area of woodland in the county. It contains a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees.

Earlier this week I paid a visit to the forest and decided to take a walk around the lake. I have to say that there is a singular lack of information on display about the various walks and there does not appear to be a designated “visitors information centre.”

The walk around the lake was poorly signposted with very little information about the flora and fauna, not to mention the wildlife which inhabits the lake. It was a grey dull day when I visited but the views across the lake were still lovely, when you could find a gap in the trees that is.

What I found most disconcerting was the number of dog walkers (I hate dogs with a vengeance) and many of these had released their dogs from their leads, so I had dogs bounding up to me but then bypassing me to keep on running. As others have noted on the various message boards, dog dirt is a common feature along the paths and this is quite off putting.

When dogs come bounding up to me I get very angry when owners shout “Oh, he is very friendly and won’t harm you”………I don’t give a shit whether they are harmless or not, they should be on leads! My four-year old grandson its petrified of dogs, but of course dog owners will not have considered anything like this.

The walk itself was quite enjoyable but when compared with Dunham Massey, Yorkshire Sculpture Park or Hardcastle Craggs I am afraid it comes way down the order. Below are a few of the photographs I took on the day.

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Photographs (c) Kindadukish2017

 

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The Trent and Mersey canal freezes over…….

It was mid afternoon with a clear sky and the sun on a downward curve in the West, so I decided to pay a visit to the local canal and do a little bit of exploring. On arriving at the canal side I found the water frozen (unusual for canals) and all the narrow boats tied up for the winter months.

I followed the path westwards (passing a field containing several donkeys two sheep and an alpaca) and stood on several occasions just to take in the late afternoon colours of the setting sun. It was bitterly cold (about – 3c) so I took some photographs and then beat a hasty retreat to my car. It will be a place I return to no doubt, when the weather improves.

Sample of photos below from my brief visit.

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Photographs (c) Kindadukish 2017

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