Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Beatrix Potter

A light hearted blog -One visit that I couldn't resist this summer was a trip to see Hill Top,Near Sawrey, the home of Beatrix Potter. A lovely illustrator and ft artist Gretel Parker had accidentally let slip that she had nicknamed me Mrs Tiggy Winkle !
Mrs Tiggy Winkle Click to watch film...I always think it's rather nice to do a little dance up the garden path...If everyone did we would all have a good reason to smile !
 I was quite happy with this I always remember her in the film/ballet bumbling over the fields....yes I'm very happy to have that nickname.
Hill Top
Some of the buildings in the village were illustrated by her in her stories.
Peter Rabbit
Anvil Cottage- The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, and Post Box in Peter Rabbits Almanac (page 67 )
Anvil Cottage
Ginger and Pickles shop - The Tale of Ginger and Pickles (page 18)
 
Tower Bank Arms -The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (page 42)

Tom Kitten's Gate -The Tale of Tom Kitten (page 30)
Tom Kitten's Gate
 
 
 
View onto Garden from upstairs at Hill Top
I wish that I had spent more time drawing...I was certainly inspired.....In my head is a whole new redesign of my web pages.....a spring clean before the spring.....What I need is a good fall of snow then I'll not be able to go and paint Waltzers and Interiors so I'll get on with my new web pages!...Until then Its back to gilding beautiful Fairground columns....I wonder If Beatrix ever enjoyed the fair ?
 


 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Gold rush in Ilfracombe

After writing briefly about the slave trade in Warrington I had to write a bit about The Gold Rush in Ilfracombe, North Devon. In the mid 1990's  I used to hire out four wheeled 'Chuckle brother bikes' and sit and do hair braiding and face painting in Ilfracombe.....multi-tasking! I was told that there had been a mini gold rush on Rapparee beach in 1978 ,where 18th century Portuguese coins had been found after a storm.  In 1997 a wall on Rapparee beach was breached and the remains of skeletons ,some with metal fetters, had been found.
the_london_founders
The London just outside Rapparee cove,Ilfracombe museum
In 1796 a ship called the 'London' had been wrecked on the rocks below Hillsborough , its cargo was prisoners of war, from the west Indies. passengers and a quantity of gold and silver . All but 30 people in the hold were saved. The bones found on the beach  have continued to cause controversy ever since because many believe that the bones are the remains of slaves . The slave trade had not been abolished at the time of the wreck but it was frowned on. In 1997 Dr Mark Horton apparently took some bones and teeth away for analysis but there has still not been a report on them . Pat Barrows who had dug the bones and teeth is not impressed because of the lack of results and that the teeth appear to have gone missing. Since then he has found some more bones but he will not give them to Mr Horton.... This has caused huge upset to people , were they slaves, freedom fighters, french or Devon locals ? It is still not known where the bones belong.
I wonder what the state of play is now ? If you follow some of the links you will find original descriptions of the wreck, but no answers.
Like Warrington many ,still, wealthy families made a huge amount of money from being linked with trading slaves and of course don't want this linked to their families in the present day....but it's all part of our history and shouldn't be forgotten about.
Doubloons,Jewels and Ivory sung by Chris Millington- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f72ayoJel8E&feature=related
Slaves of Rapparee By Pat Barrow http://www.amazon.com/Slaves-Rapparee-Patrick-Barrow/dp/1898546258
If anyone does know more, and would like to comment then please write to me. You can say wether you want your comment published or not. Thankyou for reading.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Slave Trade in Warrington

On our way back from Scotland we drove through Warrington....I have to admit that I don't have many good memories of my time in  Warrington and I really didn't like the Lever factory...but there were some very interesting buildings. Years ago an Irishman in the town, Mr Walsh told me a story of him having a demolition job.
Beech House....demolished in 1995 along with other listed buildings.....perhaps someone knew what was hiding in the cellars. If you click on Beech House link above, you will see that there was quite a demolition spree in 1995...goodness knows how they got away with it.
One of which has since been knocked down....The building was down a little lane close to Central Station,  and the building had a dark dusty Dickensian look about it. Luckily with the wonders of the internet I managed to track a photo of the building....Beech House, 13a Winwick Street.
At the end of the lane was a yard ,where there used to be some small cottages. In the '60s  (approx) Mr Walsh had the job of demolishing the cottages and was told to fill the cellar of Beech House with the rubble. He remembers going into the cellar and seeing metal rings around the room....he thought it looked like a place where slaves would have been chained to the wall. With Liverpool not far away it could have been used for this purpose...so  I thought I'd do a bit of research to see if I can find anything out.
It turns out that The local schools did a project in 2009 about Warringtons links with the slave trade. The Old Stanley works, now Sankey Valley Park had copper works that produced the raw materials used in making trinkets and 'manillas' African currency. These goods filled empty ships that sailed to Africa. The metal was used to trade for slaves which were then traded in for for sugar, cotton, indigo and cotton.The ships then came back to England...making more money for the shareholders all the time. Terrible that these goods were worth more than human life. Apparently there were books showing the names of the privateers..which were bought up by the same families trying to hide their links to the slave trade...perhaps some of these slaves arrived in Warrington.The first owner of Warrington Town Hall was Thomas Patten (1690-1772)a leading man in the slave trade. There are stories that slaves were kept shackled in cellars in isolated farmhouses around Morecombe Bay, and in houses in Bristol but I don't know if any are known in Warrington. If anyone does know more I'm sure that Liverpool Museum would be very interested.
I realise that these stories are painful and some people think that they shouldn't be talked about, but it is part of our history and knowing the stories can hopefully make all people treat each other kindly as a human first,  rather than focusing on our races and cultures.
For more information on the slavery trade please click on the following link http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ism/resources/slave_trade_ports.aspx

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Queensferry Windows

Today was the day that we were going to take a boat to Bass Rock..( another blog yet to be written)....but as you can see it was too windy and foggy but The Forth Bridge still looked fantastic. After a quick rummage in the charity shops....mainly to refuge from the wind....I decided to take some photos of windows along the main street in Queensferry.....some are bright, some are rather worn and one is very black !..oh and some are a bit out of focus !!
 
 
 

I do like the colour framing around the windows....I think I'll give it a go on my own home.

Temperance Bars


On our journey back from Scotland we called into the CrossKeys Inn, near Sedbergh in Cumbria. It’s a lovely 17th century farmhouse nestled in the Howgill Fells. I past it many times before when I was travelling with a horse and wagon to and from Appelby Horse Fair, but didn't manage to stop. .. ( That's another story ! ).  From the Inn you can walk to Cautley Spout, a beautiful waterfall, dropping in sections of sometimes 90 feet but with an overall height or drop of about 700 feet. I didn't have time that day to walk but I did have time....funnily enough....for a drink and a piece of cake.
The Cross Keys Inn is now a Temperance Inn owned by the National Trust. It apparently became a Temperance Inn after a landlord years ago was tragically drowned after trying to help a customer home. It was sold to a Mrs Edith Buney in 1902 and then she willed it to the National Trust in memory of her sister Miss Mary Blanche Hewetson.
I’d often liked the idea of opening a temperance bar in Winchcombe, especially if it could look like the one in Rawtenstall….the drinks that you can get are wonderful and non alcoholic, so great for drivers. The most well known drinks are Sarsaparilla, Dandelion and Burdock …and Blood tonic Cordial. The bar in Rawtenstall is an original bar that was opened in 1890. The shelves are full of bottles with interesting labels, bits of ephemera and packets of sweets. The Fitzpatrick family that originally owned it were renowned herbalists and made all of their own drinks. Some are full of herbs and so are good for your health too. I had a drink of sarsaparilla which was thick and dark..a bit like myself! And tastes a bit like Pepsi but much nicer.
View near Sedbergh
Alan and Christine Clowes now run the inn and are renowned amongst travellers for their great home cooking…especially their ham and eggs!
The following poem is carved on a lintel in The Cross Keys
‘Great things are done
When men and mountains meet.
These are not done by jostling in the street’
W.B.Blake.
 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Edinburgh 's Ghosts,Murderers and Alleys

Along the Royal mile are many closes and wynds, little narrow streets that lead north and south, well known for their ghostly tales . Some of the lanes lead to underground cellars,rooms and workshops in the once most densely occupied area of Edinburgh.The most famous is Mary King's  Close, preserved after tenements above were demolished to build the City Chambers above. photo
The residents were evicted from their homes and workshops in 1753 and the hidden lanes and homes were forgotten about until Mercat Tours reopened it as a tourist attraction. We did go round and it was extraordinary to see the little dark rooms where families and their livestock lived and worked, a maze of lanes and steps,it was easy to lose your bearings. Although I have had ghostly meetings in the past I didn't feel anything apart from feeling that some rooms were a lot colder that others , but many people do. I felt more emotional thinking of the way that many people had to live,.... what a life to be born into...One Alley that I would like to see another day is Niddry Wynd, an old Plague passage with shocking stories about each chamber, As well as a Wiccan temple, still used today it is also the home of a rather nasty entity that scratches and burns people.
Damnation alley is part of The South Bridge Vaults next to Niddry Wynd and is supposed to have an ancient curse upon it.
The Covenanter's prison inside Greyfriars Cemetery has one of the most awful stories and Edinburgh Council actually closed the area around The Black Mausoleum because of the amount of ghostly attacks on people...or were too many people celebrating Halloween ?. In the 17th century 400 prisoners were brought here from the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. They were kept mostly out in the open for five winter months being fed scraps of bread and water.The Covenanters were hung,ported abroad as slaves or were given their liberty if they signed allegiance to. the King.The prisoners who died were buried in the place reserved for criminals.
The lanes were also the backdrop for Burke and Hare,stealing bodies to order in the18th century, and Deacon Brodie, a highly respected pillar of the community by day and a burglar and murderer by night. His story inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write Dr Jeckell and Mr Hyde....and of course bang up to date Edinburgh also inspired J.K.Rowling to write Harry Potter !
 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Scottish 'Wild West' yard

In 1995 a gentleman called Michael Faulkner decided to change the old  Spring valley alley into a theatrical western street,complete with scenic saloon,jail and stables. Its in Morningside in Edinburgh and anyone can walk down and take a look...a real hidden gem.

 

Day 4 : Edinburgh

The journey into Edinburgh was great but somehow I always get lost driving in but never have any trouble getting out......so after a scenic tour taking in park and rides, the maternity hospital and Craigmillar Castle we reached our destination....Morningside.....the area for 'The prime of Miss Jean Brodie'.
We were only in Edinburgh for a week....as well as catching up with family there was of course just too many places to see. My next few blogs won't have the days marked just our experiences.
Edinburgh was in the middle of it's Fringe Festival, so the Royal Mile was packed everyday with street performers.....


interesting locals...

and Characters.....

and an interesting procession from St Giles' Cathedral....



If you ever get the chance to go then it is worth it but it is difficult and expensive to stay anywhere...check out 'couch surfing' , 'garden camping' ....and local campsites . There are lots of park and rides so staying outside and travelling in isn't a problem. Its also worth remembering that the schools go back two weeks before the English schools so not only is the weather fine but its also easier to find places to stay......Oh and it's no use making friends with my sister...shes already booked up to the hilt!

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