7th August picture of the day…

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The first week of August is already over? Really? I know it’s said that time seems to pass more quickly as you get older but it feels like someone is seriously taking the pee here! I’ve so many things to plan or fit in my diary or on the calendar but some bugger keeps nicking the days!

The consequence of this time foreshortening (and other things) has meant that this Sunday’s been anything other than a day of rest – despite my best hopes and aspirations. I wouldn’t mind, but next week is going to be jam-packed with events and suchlike. It’ll provide me with material for several blogs – if I can find the time. Oh, and then there’s sorting out dates and planning for my bi-annual round the UK trip for RAIL magazine, which I really need to get on top of – especially with the next round of rail strikes in the pipeline which could really put the mockers on things. I suspect my Monday is going to be spent poring over timetables and calendars whilst I map out the rest of my year. Especially as I’m determined to get back to Asia in December-January. Whilst I’ve got some great holidays planned with Dawn and family, I miss flying solo and really travelling. I’m hoping the things I can put in place over the next week will fix that.

But, right now it’s time to relax and leave you with the picture of the day which is another one from a previous life where travel was so much part and parcel of my everyday life – even more so than now. Many of us have a ‘happy place’ and for a whole host of reasons Georgetown on Penang Island, Malaysia is one of mine. I first discovered the place on my solo travels in 1991-92 and I’ve been drawn back on a regular basis ever since. After a long journey overland there’s something about getting on the ferry across from the mainland, seeing Georgetown hove into sight and thinking ‘I can relax now’. Here’s one of the reasons I love it so much. Streetlife -and streetfood.

Hawkers stalls take over Lebuh Chulia in Georgetown of an evening, serving a fantastic variety of Asian foods. They’re a great place for tasty cheap eats and chance to watch the world go by…

If you want to see more of my pictures of Georgetown taken over the years, click on this link.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

6th August picture of the day…

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Well, it took up some time but I managed to get all of the last few days pictures edited, titled and filed on my Zenfolio website. Follow this link to see which galleries they’ve been added to. Of course the ‘big’ one is the gallery of High-Speed 2 (HS2) construction pictures. If that’s your bag, you can find ’em here.

The rest of the day’s flown. Dawn’s been out for the day to spend time with her folks whilst I’ve been chained to a computer but we’ve both had good times in out own way. I managed to escape later in the afternoon to enjoy a long walk before meeting up with friends in our local pub for a few games of pool. I’m slowly rediscovering the old skills but sometimes my shots are shocking! I blame the fact my glasses have got smaller over the years. Remember Dennis Taylor, the snooker player and the fact he looked like he wore his upside down? That’s what I need! Still, none of us take it seriously. It’s merely an opportunity to have a few beers whilst laughing, joking and doing something other than just propping up a bar. Now the pair of us are back at home for a quiet night in with some home-cooked food and a movie. Not exactly the ‘rock and roll’ lifestyle but it suits us as we’ve got some busy weeks ahead of us.

As it’s nearly showtime I’ll leave you with today’s picture which is one from my trips out earlier in the week. This HS2 environmental mitigation site at Ladbroke in Northants hit the headlines in 2008 when the national media latched on to a story from HS2 opponents that mitigation work was ‘greenwash’. Why? because many of the newly planted trees died in the 2018 heatwave as it simply wasn’t practical or economic to water them. What made more sense was to replace them with new saplings, which is what happened. But, contrary to the anti HS2 hype, not all of them did die. Plus, you don’t know what’s in many of those plastic tubes (used to stop deer eating everything) until you peer into it or the tree makes it to the top.

I visited the Ladbroke site on Thursday. Dead it ain’t…

Oh, and if you’re still unsure, here’s what you see when you peer into some of those ’empty’ tubes…

Unlike the anti HS2 protesters I’ll be visiting sites like this on a regular basis over the next few years in order to document the reality on the ground. Watch this space…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

5th August picture of the day…

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After the past few days exertions and travels I’ve enjoyed having a day at home sans camera bag. If nothing else it’s allowed my skeleton to begin to re-assemble itself in some semblance of a correct posture without any compression. Oh, I also had the luxury of a lie-in! Beyond that most of the day’s been spent wading through the hundreds of pictures I’ve taken over the past few days and getting the early edits out to a magazine whilst dealing with a completely different picture request from another. This has led me to being chained to my desk for much of the day, not that I’m complaining as the weather’s been as predictable as the national lottery! Come late afternoon I’d had enough and broke free to head out to our local pub for the Friday quiz with friends. Poor Dawn was even busier than me so remained home working.

The pub was an entertaining interlude. The quiz exercised the little grey cells whilst the humour that flowed as a consequence gave the chuckle muscles a work-out too! Oh, and the beer (in my case Salopian brewery’s ‘Lemon Dream’) helped lubricate both. Now I’m back at Bigland Towers. There’s been no need to cook tonight as we’re living off batch cooking spaghetti bolognaise tonight so we can relax with a film and ease ourselves into the weekend – although in my case that means captioning hundreds of pictures in the morning!

Talking of pictures, here’s today’s picture which is from my stay in Banbury earlier in the week. I saw this decoration on a building called the Old Wine House, which made me do a double-take as it says it dates from 1537. What fascinated me was the design is a representation of what appears to be Indian Hindu god or even a Buddha. Look at the posture, the arms positioning and the fact they’re sitting on what appears to be a Lotus flower, yet the British didn’t come to India until the 17th century. The East India Company started in the year 1612.

All is clearly not what it seems. The building is listed Grade 2 and listings details give away the fact that – whilst this was a house that dates from the 15th century it’s been much knocked-about and altered in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mystery solved! Well, sort of…There’s still no explanation of what an image of an Indian deity is doing on an old English building called the old wine shop.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

Rolling blog. Trains, tunnels – and HS2…

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07:30.

After such a long day yesterday I must admit I slept like a log, falling asleep as soon as I lay down. Now, refreshed, I’m ready for another busy day – and a warm on to boot. It’s not a heatwave, but 22 degrees is plenty warm enough when you’re wandering around a construction site in full PPE! Right now it’s time for a coffee before heading out to meet an old friend who’s staying nearby before we head of to the HS2 green tunnel construction site near Chipping Warden. I’ll update the blog as and when…

13:30.

Sorry for tge delay with updates but it’s been a busy few hours. We were given an access all areas tour of the Chipping Warden green tunnel site, including access to the Birminham bound bore. Here’s a few phone pictures (for now) until I can add proper ones and details of tunnel construction.

Looking at the tunnel from the Birmingham side. This section of the tunnel is being built first as the nearby road will be diverted over the top (at the far end). As a consequence, those segments are the slightly bigger type 2 ones.

The twin bores seen from the London end. Both are having steelwork and concrete fitted that will form the tunnel floor and guide barriers either side of the rails.

Me with the route of HS2 to Birminghsm behind me. The green tunnel will finish by those portakabins just to the Right of my head.

17:40.

Sorry, another long interlude! Our visit finished by 13:00 – bang on the expected time which gave us the opportunities for some informal chats before we departed the site. Whilst my colleagues headed off to catch their trains I was met by a friend who took me Northwards to Leamington, stopping to examine several HS2 construction sites on the way (pics later). Right now I’m back on the rails, heading for Birmingham. Leamington was teeming with people who are here for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. whilst folk were flooding off the staion after a day out at the games, many more were heading into the city.

My brief visit to Leamington delighted me for a different reason. The wonderful old buffet on the Birmingham bound platform closed down during Covid. To be honest, it had become a shadow of its former self so wasn’t that much of a loss. Now it’s been reopened under the aegis of the people who run the excellent ‘Centenary Lounge’ on Birmingham’s Moor St station. I popped in for a chat. They’ve been busy restoring the woodwork and other fittings but that’s just the start. Soon they’ll replace the furniture with something far more sympathetic and introduce the excellent choice of food and drink they offer in Birmingham. I’ll report back when they do!

19:30.

I’ve just left Sheffield on the penultimate leg of my journey home. We were late into Birmingham as earlier delays were exacerbated by being held outside the station to wait for a platform. Thankfully, my connection was also running behind time so the dash between platforms still gave me the chance to grab a few pictures en-route.

The Edinburgh service I was catching was being cut back to Newcastle due to staff shortages but that’s not going to affect me. It’s still a busy train as (like most Cross-Country trains) it serves different markets en-route. Looking around my coach now I’m one of only a handful who were on at Brum.

20:20.

The last leg! I managed to get some work done on the train and get all today’s pictures downloaded before we arrived at Leeds where I had a twelve minute turnaround. Now I’m heading home on one of Northern’s 3-car class 195s which is busy but not enough that I couldn’t find a free table where I could set up the laptop to start key bashing! It’s a glorious summer evening in Leeds although I really noticed the difference in temperature as soon as I stepped off the train. Yorkshire’s several degrees cooler than Warwickshire. Still, it’s going to be lovely to be home after such a hectic few days – although the pace won’t slacken I won’t be walking miles with a heavy camera bag on my back or sweating away in PPE!

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Rolling blog. Trains, travel – and HS2…

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06:15.

I’m back in the road (or rather, rails) again for the next few days as I’m heading South to check out work on building our new high-speed railway, HS2. It’s been an unconscionably early start as I’ve a lot of ground to cover before I end up in Banbury this evening where I’ve a hotel booked for the night before taking part in a morning media visit to a nearby HS2 site, but more of that tomorrow. Feel free to keep popping back to see where and what I get up to today…

Right now I’m on the 06:00 train from Halifax to Leeds to begin my journey South to London. This morning’s walk to the station was one of the quietest I’ve known for some time, despite it being a lovely morning – although the amount of broken branches lying on the roads suggests we had anything but a calm night. Even the dog walkers seemed to have taken the day off as the only people I passed were a handful of people cocooned in their metal boxes as they drove to/from work.

The 06:00’s not normally a busy train but this mornings loadings are looking good, especially now that it’s left Bradford Interchange. It’s between 25-30% full, mostly with early shift workers.

07:30.

My journey to Leeds was quick and easy as was my transfer to LNER’s 07:00 to London. The service originates at Bradford Forster Square and reverses at Leeds before calling at Wakefield Westgate, then running non-stop to London Kings Cross. It consists of two 5-car Class 801/1 ‘Azuma’ units which are normally busy with a mix of business travellers and families who’ve secured cheap tickets for a day out in London. Today’s no exception. The beauty of this service is that it’s times to arrive at Kings Cross at 08:59, which is ideal if you’ve an early meeting in London. Despite all the fuss made in some quarters about ‘Zoom’ meetings it’s obvious that a lot of business people still want face-to-face meetings.

08:40.

My trip South has been (so far) hassle-free. The change in the seasons is made obvious by the amount of hay bales in the fields we’ve flashed past as farmers are busy bringing in the harvest. Something else that’s noticeable is how dry the land looks the further I get towards London. We’ve had many days of rain up in the Pennines which has left the landscape lookin very lush, which is a marked contrast to the scorched landscape of Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. The weather’s clouded up ‘darn sarf’ but there’s no sign of rain…

As we’re within spitting distance of London I’m making sure all by gadgets and gizmos are charged up using the multitude of available sockets on the train. One gadget I don’t have to worry about anymore is my Fitbit. I’ve talked about how the new Charge 5 has an excerable battery life. It it went for 48 hours without needing recharging it was a miracle. Well, recently Fitbit did a software update which appears to have cured the problem. I’ve not charged the thing since (3-4 days ago) and I’ve still got 48% left. I’m going to see how long it lasts before I need to plug it in again.

09:45.

I’ve been in London less than an hour. My inbound service from Leeds was 3 minutes early – as it often is. Say what you like about the Azumas but they can’t half shift! At King’s Cross an earlier East Coast racehorse was waiting for me. 91127 in its revised BR livery with an LNER twist…

Oh, I say…

Staying long enough to grab a picture I scuttled off to Marylebone via a quiet Metropolitan line. It may be one of the capital’s smallest mainline termini but it’s buzzing nowadays. A far cry from BR days when it was dead outside of rush-hours. Now there’s trains departing every few minutes and a constant stream of passe gers using its expanded services to the likes of Oxford and Bicester shopping village (a favourite of foreign tourists).

I caught the 09:44 to Gerrards Cross worked by this old ‘Thames Turbo’.

12:00.

Phew! The weather may be cloudy but it’s certainly warm down here. I’m currently in Denham having a look at sites associated with what will be one of the most visible and iconic structures on HS2, the Colne Valley viaduct which will stretch for 3.5km. The viaduct will cross a series of lakes (former quarries) which makes construction interesting as haul roads have to be built across the lakes to the site of each pier to enable construction vehicles to get to from the sites. I’ll add pictures later. I did visit one contentious site. According to local anti HS2 activist Sarah Green the Hs2 haul road is blocking the grand Union canal as the engineers are “incompetent” and build the road too low. There’s only one problem with her claim. It’s a complete fabrication. Here’s where HS2 viaduct will cross the Grand Union canal. The canal isn’t blocked by any haul road – because there isn’t one. Green knows the truth because she only lives a few minutes away along the canal. She lied.

14:45.

Double phew! Having spent time exploring the route of the Colne Valley viaduct I wandered up to the Northern end which is where construction has been launched from. The massive South Hyde site contains two temporary factories. One names the tunnel segments for the Chiltern tunnels pushing North whilst the other makes the viaduct sections heading South. So meet ‘Dominique’, an expat from Hong Kong who’s now at work building the Colne Valley viaduct.

Here’s more up close and personal…

16:30.

Oops! I stopped off to get some pictures and a spot of lunch but soon regretted it as my next Banbury bound train turned out to be an absolutely rammed 2 car set working to Birmingham. 2 cars all the way to Brum, seriously? Yes, sadly so…

The vestibule I’m stood in at the front of the train contains me, a pram, a woman with a suitcase and a chap looking after 2 bikes as his partner’s found a seat. No-one’s complaining, even though the bikes are blocking off the front compartment and have to be juggled every time we stop.

21:30.

Time to bring today’s rolling blog to a close. I’ve had a long day and walking 15 miles with a fully laden camera bag has certainly given me a bit of a workout. When I arrived in Banbury the first thing I did was make a beeline for my hotel which was on the opposite side of town and and enjoy a nice warm shower! Suitably refreshed I went for a wander around the town which I’ve not visited for over 20 years. I was quite a depressing experience. Banbury should be a thriving market town in an affluent part of the country but the reality is rather different. I was amazed at the numbers of street homeless and vagrants panhandling around the town centre. There’s some lovely buildings here, but many of the shops are derelict. When you see that even ‘Burger King’ has closed its doors you can start to appreciate the problem. On the plus side, there’s some excellent Eastern European supermarkets – and quite upmarket ones at that. I’d be interested to know what the demographic is around here as they’re obviously catering for someone, and the Slavic languages are often heard in the street. In contrast, the vagrants are nearly all white English. Maybe I need to do some digging as it’s not what I expected. Still, I have a great room in a family run B&B and tomorrow I’ll be meeting up with various friends and colleagues to be given a tour of the HS2 cut and cover green tunnel at Chipping Warden, so expect another rolling blog tomorrow as I’ll be checking out a few other HS2 construction sites as I make my way back up North. But, for now – goodnight…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

The end of the BR built era beckons. The Scotrail Class 320s.

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*Warning – blog under construction. This warning will be removed when I’ve added all the details and pictures*

Whilst the sun is rapidly setting on the careers of the old BR built Mk3 coach derivatives South of the Border it still shines in Scotland – for now…

The Class 321 Electric train series is finally being retired in England but the Scottish version of the ‘Dusty Bins’ (The ‘McBins’ maybe?) are not only at full strength, they’ve been complemented by reformed Class 321/4 transfers from the South.

History

Built at York Holgate works in 1990 the Class 320 is a 3-car version of the Class 321s built for London and South-East services. 22 of the trains were ordered and numbered 320301-322. Unlike their sisters, the 320s were originally built without toilets and with a maximum speed of 75mph rather than 90mph due to the closeness of station on the lines they were designed to operate on. They were ordered to help replace the older 75mph Class 303s from Pressed Steel Co which were built between 1959-61. Originally they operated North Clyde services from Glasgow to Balloch, Helensburgh and Milngavie. Their speed was raised to 90mph in 2010 by fitting the yaw dampers that were standard on the rest of the 321 fleet. This allowed them to operate in multiple with the Class 318s and also extended their sphere of operation to include the Argyle line underneath Glasgow Central and later the Cathcart lines from the mainline station above. Nowadays they can be found on many different routes North and South of the Clyde, including services to Wemyss Bay.

The units have been refurbished twice. Firstly between 2002-04 when they received an internal refresh including new seats covers and a revised version of the revised SPT carmine and cream livery which they’d first gained from 1997 onwards.

(To be continued)…

On the 8th December 2016 class leader 320301 sporting Saltire livery arrives at Dalmuir with a service heading for Glasgow.
The previous day, 320302 calls at Glasgow Central low level with a service to Milgavie.
3 years previously, on the 14th June 2013. 320303 pulls into Charing Cross on the low level line via Glasgow Queen St.
Here’s 320304 arriving at Newton to the East of Glasgow on the 29th March 2012 with a service to Motherwell.
320305 sits at platform 6 at Glasgow Central on the 4th October 2018.
It’s the 29th March 2012 and 320306 is arriving at Partick station on the North bank of the Clyde, an interchange with the famous ‘clockwork orange’ as the Glasgow circular subway is known to many. The station had only recently been rebuilt and extended.
320307 threads its way through the complex switches and crossing that form the approaches to Glasgow Central station on the 10th November 2021.
Platform 6 at Glasgow Central once more, this time on the 4th October 2018, when 320308 rests between duties.
320309 sporting the revised SPT carmine and cream livery with all cream doors seen at Dumbarton Central on the 13th June 2013.
Glasgow Central again but this time platform 10 where 320310 and a sister unit sit in the sunshine on the17th July 2018.
It’s the end of the line at Milngavie on the 8th April 2009 where 320311 keeps company with a fellow Mk3 based unit in the shape of Class 318254. These units had been refurbished and had their corridor connections removed. Ironically, Scotland is also the last bastion of the Class 317 type fleets as the last ones in English service were withdrawn earlier this year.
It’s the 9th of November 2021 an the distinctive and ornate lattice roof supports give away the location of this picture of 320312 working to Wemyss Bay. It’s Paisley Gilmour St on the South side of the Clyde.
320313 arrives at Dumbarton Central with a service from Glasgow on the 13th June 2013.

320314 with the swoosh on the front of its carmine and cream livery calls at Dalmuir on the 21st March 2001.

320315 with a sister unit in tow calls at Motherwell on the 29th March 2012.
The traincrew change ends on 320316 which has terminated at Dumbarton Central, ready to work back into Glasgow and beyond on the 8th December 2016.
Passengers board 320318 at Partick on the 29th March 2012.
320319 waits at Glasgow Low Level station on the 7th December 2016 with a service to Larkhall.
320320 pulls into Exhibition Centre station on the North Bank of the Clyde on the 8th December 2016.
Carmine and cream liveried 320321 wearing the First Group logo on its front end sits inside Glasgow’s Shield Road depot where the class was based on the 8th April 2009.
Last of the class 320322 sporting Carmine and Cream livery and First group logos sits in the bay platforms at Springburn on the 16th August 2012.

To be continued…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

1st August picture of the day…

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Another month has flown by and now we’re already into the eighth month of the year, where the hell’s the time going? After yesterday’s little excursion I’ve been been busy at home editing the pictures to get out to the client whilst sticking the rest on my Zenfolio picture website. You can find which galleries they’re in by following this link. To be honest, I was glad of the home time as I’d so many things to catch up on or prepare for the week ahead. Plus, whilst the weather still feels warm the day gradually deteriorated, leaving us with yet another wet evening with worse to come tomorrow. Hardly great photographic conditions, so if the rain Gods want to do their stuff now and leave me in peace from Wednesday whilst I’m working on HS2 sites I’ll be more than happy!

One of the many projects I want to get done this month is stick many more old slides and items of railway memorabilia onto eBay. I’ve already got several hundred old transparencies listed and I re-advertised over 350 unsold pictures this evening. You can find what’s on sale (prices start from £1.99) by following this link. I’ll be adding new pictures by the weekend.

Right, it’s a short blog from me tonight as I’ve another early start as both Dawn and I have a long day ahead. I’ll leave you with today’s picture which is from yet another project that remains uncompleted – scanning all my old slides! Although this particular picture dates from August 1997 is topical for me as we’re in the process of arranging a week-long holiday on the North Norfolk coast in September. Dawn’s never visited the area and I’ve not been back for over 20 years, so we’re both looking forward to it. Here’s the old windmill at Cley next the Sea.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Rolling blog. A photographic interlude…

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No rest for the wicked! It may be Sunday but I’ve a little job to do that involves trying to get a suitable cover picture for a magazine. This means that after a lazy Sunday morning at home I’m now heading to Leeds for a few hours. This could be a challenge as the weather’s variable to say the least. We had a lot of heavy rain overnight. The aftermath is Yorkshire’s blanketed by low grey cloud and a procession of showers. Still, I enjoy a challenge! On the bright side (if you’ll pardon the pun) I won’t have to worry about heavy shadows or being on the wrong side of the sun!

The train I’m using to get to Leeds is a late running service from Blackpool North to York that needed to rendesvous with an ambulence (for some unspecified reason) earlier in its journey. The 3-car 195 is packed with a variety of holidaymakers and day trippers leavened with a few determined shoppers but I’ve managed to find a tip-up seat in a vestibule and relax for a whole.

The train became less packed after calling at Bradford Interchange as a number of suitcase wielders bid us goodbye. I’m assuming they’re on their way home from fleshpots of Blackpool – although looking at some of them I suspect a lot of time was spent in pubs and chip-shops! I’m now sharing a table, which is an improvement as I can set up the laptop and catch up on some work.

16:00.

I’ve seen a lot more sunshine at Leeds than I expected! This choose my first photographic position for me, leaving me shooting pictures of trains approaching from the East along the narrow station throat to head straight into the range of my long lens – like this…

I managed to capture a variety of train types and companies but with it being a Sunday my quarry was on the sparse side! After an hour of changing light conditions I’ve swapped ends to add to the picture mix. I was hoping we might have had a rain shower just to wet the ground. Backlit shots after rain can look very dramatic – almost monochrome.

Whilst the trains are on the sparse side passenger numbers remain bouyant. I’m about to relocate to Bradford and this was the view as I walked to my train.

17:25.

Well my brief interlude in Bradford was a bit of a bust! It’s high summer and the ballast looks more like a lawn rather than a well-maintained trackbed. I had similar problems at Leeds but this was worse. Plus, it being Sunday, the trains I was hoping to shoot are sparse. I may have to nip out for a bit tomorrow as compensation. I’ll decode after I’ve edited today’s image haul. Right now I’m heading home on this wee beastie. You really don’t want to see a solitary 2-car on York – Blackpool’s, especially of a weekend, but there you go…

17:45.

I’m back in Halifax, the weather’s improving with the promise of a lovely evening so I’ve stopped for a ‘swifty’ in the Meandering Bear before the walk home…

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

30th July picture(s) of the day…

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And what a convivial day it’s been! We started off by driving over to Huddersfield to have brunch with Dawn’s parents at the excellent Hinchcliffe’s farm shop in their ‘Rusty Bull’ cafe/restaurant. It’s always a treat to have someone else cooking for us – especially of a weekend. We weren’t disappointed either. The menu’s changed since our last visit. The full English still features and that was my choice as it’s something we’d rarely cook at home. Dawn plumped for one of the new dishes, Shakshouka. This was comprised of Chorizo, Smoked Bacon, Baby Spinach, Sweet Peppers and Poached Eggs, served with Sourdough Toast.

We had a lovely meal and time together which was only slightly spoiled by the fact a lone Wasp managed to sting me on my neck! The little barsteward prompted a detour on the way home so that I could pick up some anti-histamines from a chemist. Years ago I had a bad allergic reaction to a sting from some critter so I wasn’t taking any chances, especially as it stung me so close to my throat. I didn’t fancy a tracheotomy if things went pear-shaped! As it was the tablets worked a treat.

On the way home we called in at another favourite, the Bolster Moor farm shop where we stocked up on various cuts of meat that’ll keep us going for quite some time and allow Dawn to produce some of her amazing dishes – like her fabulous gluten-free lasagne as well as home-made chicken-liver pate. We also bought a couple of different bags from their range of flours for our neighbour as a ‘thank you’. Susan bakes the most delicious bread (purely as a hobby) which she passes on to us. Her delightful range of fresh home-made loaves mean we hardly ever have to buy bread.

Once back at home Dawn rolled up her sleeves and started cooking whilst I sloped off to our nearest pub (The Wainhouse Tavern) for a few games of pool with some friends. I don’t go every week, only when I’m around. Rediscovering old skills (I used to play in a pool team back in my distant youth) is great fun and makes a pleasant change from just propping up a bar.

I stayed for a couple of pints and several games before returning home to muck in cleaning up the kitchen where Dee was cooking up a storm. As well as the gorgeous smell of the Lasagne ragu the kitchen was full of the aroma of our meal for tonight – Nasi Goreng, the signature dish of Indonesia, which we’ll be eating soon after I’ve finished scribbling this!

Tomorrow will be less relaxing. I’ve been tasked with getting the cover picture of a magazine which means a trip to Leeds/Bradford in the hope I can get a suitable picture, so expect a rolling blog from my trip. In the meantime, here’s a selection of pictures from today’s outings.

Hincliffe’s full English with added black pudding…
A selection of local bitters in the Wainhouse Tavern.
Winning! Or not….
A snack before supper. Sat at my desk with one of Bolster Moor’s award-winning pork pies.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!

29th July picture of the day…

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I’ve had another mixed-bag sort of day here at Bigland Towers. It’s been one that’s never really taken off as the weather’s been so unpredictable. The heatwave of the other week seems like a false memory now as we’ve had so many wet days since. I’d been toying with having a day out but the forecast put the mockers on that as I soon realised I’d be wasting my time as I’d plenty of things to clear the decks with at home that will free me up for some adventures next week. One of the days achievements has been to tidy-up my recent picture-taking and get stuff I hadn’t catalogued onto my Zenfolio picture website. You can find what I’ve added (and where) by following this link. There’s still some more pictures to add but they should be cleared over the weekend.

Another exercise was trying to find the details of the court case results that saw some anti HS2 protesters jailed earlier this week. I’ve managed to update yesterday’s blog with the results but finding and linking to the original court papers is difficult – especially on a Friday! I’ll get there in the end as they’ll eventually be published in full. In the meantime I’ve had to spend a lot of time chasing details through informed people.

Right, it’s time to get into the weekend spirit so I’ll leave you with today’s picture which was taken in our garden this morning. Most days recently I’ve looked out of our living room window to notice the raindrops beading on the Iris’ outside. I kept thinking what a good picture it would make. Finally I got around to taking it.

I’ve a small favour to ask…
If you enjoy reading this or any of the other blogs I’ve written, please click on an advert or two. You don’t have to buy anything you don’t want to of course – although if you did find something that tickled your fancy that would be fab! – but the revenue from them helps me to cover some of the cost of maintaining this site (which isn’t cheap and comes out of my own pocket). Remember, 99% of the pictures used in my blogs can be purchased as prints from my other website –  https://paulbigland.zenfolio.com/

Or – you can now buy me a coffee! https://ko-fi.com/paulbigland68312

Thank you!