Friday, 17 April 2015

Cafes are good for the species

Market cafe in Burton

We need cafes.  Is this a strange statement?  After all, it seems daft to go somewhere to pay sometimes outrageous prices for wet-but-hot flavoured water.

Yet, there is something communal about a cafe.  One gets the chance to be with one's species in a friendly way - and relax.  Giving oneself time to relax, even at home, is hard.

It's just a matter of finding cafes with reasonable prices and pleasant ambience - like the market cafe in Burton.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Inhuman castle figures

Tamworth Castle mannequin

Tamworth Castle
has a disorienting habit of placing mannequins in its various rooms, all dressed in period costume. 
It's a bit like Madame Tussuad's: one is not quite sure at first if they are not human.  You don't like to disturb them.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The actual Dead Pine Gulch

'Dead Pine Gulch', Chartley Moss

In my previous post about Chartley Moss, which is a very weird place, I referred to a location within it known as 'Dead Pine Gulch'.   The name made me laugh as it sounded like something out of a Western.

I thought you might like to see a photo of the actual spot known as Dead Pine Gulch.  Complete with dead pine.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Edingale's history for free

Water pump in Edingale village

The old water pump in Edingale village has a 'shrine'-look about it, as though the villagers regularly make flower-offerings there.  I'm sure that's just my imagination though...

Edingale is small but has a long history.   The authors (Carmel and Anthony Mason) of the definitive book about Edingale's story kindly donated their whole work to the village website, where it can be read for free by all, which I think is marvellously generous.  Chapter Seven includes a walking-tour round the village's history.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Using car park is illegal !

Hednesford Hills Raceway car park sign

This comes under the heading of 'bizarre instructions one sees on signs'.
Apparently, it is "illegal to drive cars or motorbikes" on the Hednesford Hills car park.
I guess that must make actually using the car park a rather risky venture.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Bring on the bangers

Hednesford Hills Raceway

Easter is also the time that 'summer sports' get in gear - and the phrase is a literal one for the Hednesford Hills Raceway, where bangers and hot-rod racing is on view.

I like Hednesford Hills.    The circuit is small so you can see everything, and, because the arena is in a crater at the top of the hills, as a spectator, one looks down on the whole event.
It's an odd feeling too.  All we spectators are up there in the arena at the top of the hills, knowing that, down below in the town, they can barely hear the crashing din of what's going on...

Friday, 3 April 2015

Railway for the kids

Rudyard Lake Miniature Light Railway

Ah, it's Easter!  Time for the Rudyard Lake Miniature Steam Light Railway to re-open.
The RLSR does a roaring trade with families at this time - and right through the summer - as you can imagine...

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Once a railway was here

Broken railway bridge

Walking on the meadows alongside the River Anker near Tamworth, I saw a hillock of vegetation, and wondered what could have caused it to have appeared.  In fact, as you can see, it was actually a growth of weeds & more around a broken railway bridge. 
What happened to the railway line that once passed over it, I've no idea - dismantled and sold off I suppose... leaving just this forlorn bridge, to be slowly suffocated by time and Nature.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Nazi outlaws

The 2015 Annual Photo of the South Staffs Outlaws Bikers

I was astonished to see this poster on the noticeboard of a local cafe.
The Nazi flags, including the SS logo, are proudly - unembarrassedly - displayed by the Outlaws Bikers society in this, their annual group photo.

In some countries in Europe, this public display would be illegal of course. 
I still find it hard to believe that I actually saw this in a public space.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Arnold Bennett in Cyprus

Books in a Turkish Cypriot bookshop

As regular readers know, I do like unexpected references to home whenever I leave Staffordshire.

In a Turkish Cypriot bookshop (in Nicosia actually), I was looking for a book in English to read - but in vain.  Then suddenly I spotted 'The Old Wives Tale' by Arnold Bennett - a tale of Staffordshire people by a Staffordshire writer...!

By coincidence, there's a major exhibition soon all about Arnold Bennett.  In north Staffordshire of course.  Not Cyprus.