The Past

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.

L. P. Hartley   1895-1972 

Saturday, 31 July 2010

PhotoHunt - Public

Public is the word today and what better than Public Transport.

This rather old tram is wending it's way around the streets of Sofia in Bulgaria - a very cheap form of transport for the Public but a bit if a rickety ride ..


Friday, 30 July 2010

Leeds University

Some of the buildings looking quite elegant - nice red shade of brick.

Just what a university should look like.


Leeds University

Leeds University - looking very impressive even on a wet and dull day.

We were there a couple of weeks ago to watch my son receive his Master of Science degree in chemistry.

Quite an experience wondering around all the buildings and campus - seeing how the other half live ....


Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Theme Thursday - Light

Theme Thursday - Light

You can find these very ornate lights in the courtyard of the Royal Palace in Madrid - very posh...

A very nice place is Madrid - lots to do and see - well worth spending a few days there.


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

ABC Wednesday - B

ABC Wednesday - B for Bandit.

Bandit complete with gun and mask.

You'll find this graffiti in Guardamar, Costa Blanca, Spain.


More useless weather information ..

Moscow had a record high of 99.3 F. (37.4 C.) on Monday beating the previous record of 36.8 C. set on the 7th August 1920.

During the current heat wave the city has been covered in a fog of smoke from the many forest and peat fires in the surrounding areas.



Just confirmed it is Darwin Australia - highest since records began in 1941 at 79.9F.


I understand from the BBC Weather News that Darwin has had the hottest July night on record.

Darwin Australia not Darwin Lancashire I assume.

Good for them - in the north west of England we are continuing with our normal summer weather - cloud all the time and the occasional rain shower.

Just enough rain to stop me completing the painting of our garage door ..


Leeds - Need the time ?

You'll find this handy time piece on the side of the Civic Hall in Leeds.


Monday, 26 July 2010

My World Tuesday

In my world of England the Town Hall came to represent the power and prestige of a city - the bigger and more ornate the better.

Here is Manchester Town Hall in all the glory that the ratepayers could afford.

Most of these town halls in England will have been constructed at the height of the Empire - late 1800's early 1900's .


Leeds Civic Hall

Leeds Civic Hall was opened in 1933 by King George V .

I suppose you could say that it's not typical of the architecture of that period - a somewhat Victorian feel to it.


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Wilderness ..

The plan this year was to have a wild garden - this replaced a failed vegetable patch - below is the result ..

Not happy with it ...

I expected far more colour and a bigger variety of flowers.

Plans are now to turn this into a rose garden for next year - another little project for me to do in my ever decreasing spare time ..


Saturday, 24 July 2010

MCFC - More spending !!

Manchester City F.C. have signed Serbian international left back Aleksander Kolarov from Lazio for a reported £16m.

This brings the total spend this summer to £75m and the 24 year old joins new recruits David Silva, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng.

Manager Roberto Mancini wants two top-class players for each position.

The players are going to be fighting for the right to play and I can see some fun developing this coming winter .

No doubt it will keep us all amused.


Leeds - A quiet garden

An oasis in the heart of Leeds centre.


Friday, 23 July 2010

Theme Thursday - Park

This stream is far away in South Park - which can be found in Sofia Bulgaria.

A huge park - it is very popular with the local people.


Need a hand ?

Need a safe pair of hands ?

You'll find these outside the Electric Press in Leeds.


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Read the label first ...

Today I bought three fuchsia plants from Aldi - special offer and cheap.

Really lovely looking plants - well developed and bushy. The intent was to plant in small containers and leave on the patio over the summer, then moving them to a greenhouse to over winter.

I've transferred them to slightly larger ceramic pots - so far so good.

Only then did I read the label and discover that the spread will be 6' x 6' - far too big for the pots and the patio.

Hopefully they will become pot bound and stay small but in future I'll have to remember to read the labels first.

A lesson well learnt - like all lessons in life ...



What a fine looking fellow -

Standing to attention - flag to rear - city centre Leeds


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Allotment 16

This must be the most productive time of the year on the allotment - now just waiting for all our efforts come to fruition.

Disaster at the weekend - our cheapy plastic greenhouse was blown down the plot in the wind. This has now been removed and taken home where we can keep an eye on it.


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

ABC Wednesday - A

This A is the Alexander Nevski Cathedral in Sofia Bulgaria.

It was build between 1882 and 1912 in the Byzantine style and is named after the Russian Tsar Alexander Nevksi who defeated the Swedes in 1240.

It is certainly an impressive sight and dominates the skyline in central Sofia.


United Utilities

Our water companies do get a very bad press at times and come under a lot of criticism for not repairing leaks immediately, especially in times of water shortage and hose pipe bans.

I can only quote from my own experience.

At the weekend I reported a small leak at the stop tap which is situated on the outside pavement - this I did by e-mail.

Monday resulted in a visit from an Inspector at lunchtime and by 8 o'clock this morning a team were repairing the pipe - I think this is extremely quick given the circumstances.

It will take up to 5 further days before the pavement is repaired and the hole filled in but I am not worried about that.

So well done ...


Guinness ..

When the day is ended - relax, put your feet up and partake in some of the black nectar ..

It will do you good ..

Monday, 19 July 2010

Cornflowers ..

Cornflowers are so delicate - this is the first time we've grown them and I think we'll be doing it again next year.

There is such a good selection of colours ..


Sunday, 18 July 2010

Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate - a new rose for the garden - the picture on the packet showed it to be brown - very nice but more of a blue/pink when open.


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Night time visitor ..

Last week a neighbour knocked on our door to say that this little fellow was sitting on the fence.

The photo is a bit grainy and I've had to tweak it a lot just to get a reasonable view.

It's rare because in the thirty odd years I've lived here we've only seen an owl once.

It may be a Barn Owl and I reckon it's a young one that has only just left the nest and is on passage to better hunting grounds.

If you do want to see lots of owls go to the Yorkshire Dales - you'll find them in abundance.


St. Nikolai - The Russian Church

With wonderful domes, the St.Nikolai Church known locally as the Russian Church is a prominent landmark in Sofia.

Funded by Russian émigrés and built quickly during the winter of 1912 this is an archetypal Orthodox church.

The onion domes were recently repainted in gold leaf donated by Mother Russia.

The crypt houses the body of a popular religious leader Bishop Serafin who died in 1950.


Friday, 16 July 2010

Let's follow ..

Let's follow the Pied Piper .. not knowing the Cyrillic alphabet I would not know but can only guess at the meaning of the poster - here outside the National Theatre in Sofia.


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Once grand ....

This must have been quite a grand house once upon a time - now looking old and lonely ..


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Do you wonder what us retired codgers do with all our free time ?

Well there is the Senior Screen on a Wednesday morning ..

Today we had Johnny Depp in a modern version of Alice in Wonderland.

I saw the trailer on the internet and was really looking forward to it. However not as expected - it deviates from the original story. A good start but then turns into Star Wars at the end.

I suppose you can not enjoy every film you watch.



Relax - sit down and have a rest ...


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Silence

The Silence is a new drama being shown on BBC1 - Monday through to Thursday in 4 episodes.

This is certainly good stuff and I would recommend watching it - a young deaf girl gets caught up in a murder and police corruption. Not going to say more about it ...

You can catch old episodes and get up to date by watching on BBC iPlayer .

What has happened to the old dramas that we watched years ago - they seem to have disappeared off our screens - only to be replaced by - what ??


Manchester - CIS

The Co-op has a long history in the North West - here the headquarters of the Co-op Insurance or CIS at the rear of the buildings.

To the fore is New Century House venue for Labour Party conferences.

Here seen from the Metro station at Victoria.

The whole area is dominated by the Co-op - shops, banks, offices and travel bureau .


Monday, 12 July 2010

Manchester- Hanging Ditch

Hanging Ditch runs along the side of this building and I think the square is now named Exchange Square.

The large television attached to the building can attract large crowds when there is a special match on - rugby or football ..


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Allotment 15 - Disappointment

Something has been nibbling our courgettes and squash!!!

We were very proud to see squash and courgette growing - our first attempt !!

This morning we could only find eaten stumps where the fruit was - I guess this is why people grow potatoes.

We've put down slug killer but I think the culprit may be a mouse.

Hopefully as we still have flowers more fruit will appear ...

Yes allotment working is a " learning curve ".


Manchester Jazz Festival

Once gain the Manchester Jazz Festival will be held - in Manchester - hence the title - from July 23 to 31 2010.

As the blurb states - 80 bands : day & night : indoors & out

Many of these concerts are free - so just go along - especially if the weather is good and take a listen.

For full details Google or look at


Manchester - Big Wheel

Big Wheel , Ferris Wheel - I'm not sure what the correct name is ?? Perhaps we have some new and technical term. We have the London Eye - is this the Manchester Eye ?

I wonder what my great-grandparents would have thought of this ?

I've certainly no inclination to go up in it ...


Saturday, 10 July 2010

Manchester - Sinclair's Oyster Bar

Sinclair's Oyster Bar in the heart of the city - a very old building - possibly Tudor.

I remember when they redeveloped this area to create the Arndale Centre many many years ago they actually jacked these buildings up and moved them along the road - this engineering feat was covered extensively by my the local newspaper - the Manchester Evening News.

Far too busy for me and in principle I rarely enter places that have bouncers on the door .

As for the Mitre pub next door - I think I went in there once about forty years ago.


Friday, 9 July 2010

Manchester Cathedral

This was where my great-grandparents were married on the 30th January 1871 - Manchester Cathedral.

Gosh - married in a cathedral !!!

No not grand - the cathedral served the area as a parish church and in those days they did "block weddings" - up to 30 couples could be married in one afternoon session - just like being on a conveyor belt.

The happy couple were immigrants from North Wales - James Whitford Francis and a good old welsh name Elizabeth Jones.

I wonder what they thought of the city after living near Mold ?


Thursday, 8 July 2010


Staycation is a new word in the English language - it means basically to stay at home when you have some time off work and not go away on holiday.

This is a new word to me - often you would ask someone who was taking time off work if they were going away and get the following answer - I'm going to Kerbstone Edge ... !!

The kerb being on the pavement outside their house, in other words - No ..

I'm sure there must be other phrases in the English language to cover this situation.


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Heywood - Mutual Mill

Not to long ago there were many cotton mills throughout Heywood and the rest of Lancashire just like this one - Mutual Mill

Most have been redeveloped now - supermarkets, car parks, museums and the like.

Cotton is no longer produced here and a few industrial units would appear to be operating. There has been talk of converting the mill into flats - there is opposition to this and some want the mill preserving as a historical object / property . Whether anything will happen in these dire economic times who knows ??


Hosepipe ban ..

Well today it was announced that there would be a hosepipe ban in the North West of England commencing from Friday 6 a.m.- so no watering the allotment or lawns.

It has been a dry year in what is normally a wet region and we seem to rely on a lot of our water supply from lakes and rivers which of course are now drying up.

I am not convinced that watering veg and flowers with a hose actually provides enough water - I'm of the opinion that a good watering with a bucket or watering can once a week is a better option.

Being a lazy gardener I never water the lawn - it only encourages the grass to grow and extra mowing !!

At the allotment, I'm digging a small trench with high sides around the fruit bushes so that water will drain directly to the roots and not be wasted - this is something they tend to do in Spain.

If we do have a dry summer then I can not see the ban being lifted for some time AND if we do end up with stand pipes we'll be away to Spain until the situation is resolved.I can imagine nothing worse than having to rely on standpipes - Ugh ...


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

New Template

Well I decided it was time for a new template .. something different and perhaps modern.

I'm always reluctant to change my Blogs - fearful that I'll end up with some dreadful mess all of my own making ..

It looks OK I think - hopefully nothing missing ..


Monday, 5 July 2010

Heywood - Queen's Park

Back at home life goes on - this Coot is guarding her nest as the Swan glides by.


Special Day ...

Midnight today is a special time ...

On the third working day of the month ( starting midnight ) you can access the internet and check if your Premium Bonds have won a prize for the current month.

Normally you would wait all month and hope that the postman will bring you some good news but this way disappointment can be instant.

I have had a few small prizes but I always hope for that big one !!!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Rila Monastery

Look high up and you'll see the church domes - looking very splendid ..

This eagle seems to be guarding the walkway .. I assume it is an eagle.


Saturday, 3 July 2010

Rila Monastery

Some of the murals that adorn the ceilings and walls of the Church of the Virgin Birth.

What more can I say - just enjoy the vibrant colours ..


Friday, 2 July 2010

Football latest ..

No not the latest from the World Cup ...

Life still goes on for our Premier League clubs even during the short summer break.

Manchester City F.C. announce the transfer from Barcelona of midfielder Yaya Toure who will be joining his brother Kolo at Eastlands.

Another player on the move to City from Spain is David Silva of Valencia for an undisclosed fee. He will take a medical and sign for the club once his involvement in the World Cup is over.

Former England player David Platt is also joining the staff at Eastlands this time as a coach. He was capped a total of 62 times for England.

City are certainly determined to improve their league position this next season !!

We'll all wait and see what happens.


Rila Monastery

Rila Monastery was founded by St. John of Rila (Sveti Ivan Rilski) in the 10th century but the present structure dates only from 1816-1847 the original having been destroyed in the 18th century by the Turks.

St.John is the patron saint of Bulgaria.

I've so many photos of this place that is is very hard to choose which ones to show - so here are just a few.

The entrance gate ...

The inner courtyard ..

This mixture of black, white and red makes the whole structure look very attractive.


Penguins - move your cursor and take them for a walk !!

Say it as it is ......

Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars.

Look around !!!

What is this life, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare?

W. H. Davies  1870-1940