Category Archives: Picture Post

Nature In Lockdown

We took the dog for a walk yesterday, up the hill from Copley. It’s a steep hill and hard work on the knees, but I had to run up there sixty years ago on school cross country runs, so I don’t see why my wife and dog should escape the same pleasurable experience. Before facing the hill we took a walk around St Stephen’s churchyard – I was looking for more pointing ladies, but that is another story. I couldn’t help wondering how they manage with burials now that there is only a footbridge over the river, but I am in no hurry to find out the answer. The graveyard looked almost Autumnal – just as if nature too had been in lockdown. I think the blue ribbon on the tree branch is something to do with thanking essential workers, which would be a nice thought. There again, it might be an abandoned dog waste bag, which would be a nasty thought.

Castles In The Sand

The day is full of roadmaps to freedom and counting the days to normality. This could give rise to a philosophical speculation about the nature of freedom, but I will leave that for another day and go with a working definition, which is being able to take my grandson to the seaside, buy him some candy floss and build a sandcastle. Here’s hoping they will be castles in the sand rather than castles in the sky. Until that day comes, I will content myself with this reminder of the scene in Bridlington almost forty years ago.

The Real Deal

I have just checked back in my diary, and it is a year ago today that we set out on a holiday to the Caribbean. When we were leaving, Covid was a bit of a novelty; something that might have been causing a bit of a stir in China and Italy, but didn’t manage a single column inch on the front pages of British newspapers. By the time we returned, a fortnight later, the reality of the crisis was beginning to become apparent, and the first cases were being discovered in the UK. Covid had become the real deal.

It seems so long ago, a holiday that took place in a world we have now left behind. Who knows when I will get another chance to visit my family members out in the Caribbean. I can, however, remind myself of them all with a photo from a previous visit, back in 2012. It is of the Bomba Surfside Shack in Apple Bay, Tortola on the BVI. Sadly, the shack is now gone (a victim of the hurricanes rather than Covid), but it sums up those lovely islands to me. It was the real deal.

Hope Over Elland

According to my Little Oxford Dictionary, the definition of “wandering” is to aimlessly move from place to place in a casual fashion. That being the case, I declare myself a wanderer, indeed I will consider putting that down as my religion when the census forms arrive in a few weeks time. The Lockdown places a severe restriction on my ability to aimlessly wander, of course, but even within the confines of a definable “local area”, I am still able to practice my religion. Yesterday we wandered around the lower part of Elland and up Exley Bank (like all good religions, wandering needs a bit of sacrifice in its devotions – that’s why hills were invented), and for the first time in my life, I discovered Elland Cemetery. For those who haven’t been, it is one of those expansion cemeteries, added to towns in the nineteenth century when the local churchyard became too full. It occupies a spot high on the hill, looking down on where Elland Hall used to stand, and where endless vehicles now by-pass Elland. There are some fine gravestones and monuments, but one in particular caught my eye – a fine stone statue that appeared to be pointing departed souls in the direction of Ainley Top and the road to Huddersfield.

One of the great things about wandering as a religion, is that it can be practiced just as easily from a desktop; and so on my return home I went wandering through the records to find out more information about the statue – which was on top of the grave of Eli Garnett and his family. After consulting the sacred texts – the prophets Google, Malcolm Bull, Census records and the British Newspaper Archives – I eventually found the following piece from the Halifax Guardian of 21 September 1889.

“A WORK OF ART – At the monumental works of Mr J Noble, West Vale, there is a monument which is about to be erected in Elland Cemetery to the memory of the late Mr Joseph Garnett, son of Mr Eli Garnett, of Lowfield House, Elland. The monument is in classical design, and stands on a massive pedestal, and an inscription stone containing a marble panel, which is an exact facsimile of a medallion representing an emblem of music copied from the monument of Jenny Lind. The total height of the monument is 13ft, the pedestal, which is 7ft 6in high, being surmounted by a life-sized figure of Hope. The whole is executed from Bolton Wood stone, and has been done at Mr Noble’s works at West Vale. The figure itself has been carved by Mr Arthur S Rogers, Holywell Green, and is a fine example of delicate and skilful workmanship”

I too, think that the figure of Hope is a fine example of skilful workmanship, but I will leave it to my brother to provide a proper professional assessment. Skilful or not, meeting Hope standing high over Elland, made my day.

Smart Art

This is my entry for the 2021 season of Sky TV’s Landscape Artist Of The Year.  Watching the show on a regular basis I have become intrigued at how the artists use their smartphones to compose and record a scene, which they then go on to paint. Once painted they use the same smart phones to photograph the painting to submit it for consideration by the programme. My approach is slightly different: I cut out the middle man. The smart phone records the scene, paints the picture and then submits it. Saves time all around.

‘Tis Folly To Be Cold

We took a walk in the park yesterday. The park in question was Shaw Park in Holywell Green, near Halifax (No. 46 in “The Forgotten Parks of Yorkshire“, which is a book I have yet to write). It was one of the coldest days of the year, but even the icy blast coming straight down the valley from Siberia by way of Spitsbergen, could not spoil the delights of this curious little park, that, as with so many great little parks, started life as somebody’s garden. The house itself – Brooklands which was sadly demolished in 1933 – was built for the mill-owning Shaw family just above their massive Brookroyd Mill (also demolished) which at one time employed 1,200 workers. For entertainment, the Shaws built a variety of castle-like follies in the grounds and these remain to warm the heart – if not the arms and legs – on a cold winters’ day.

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