The Coldstones Cut

Created by the artist Andrew Sabin, The Coldstones Cut is a massive construction, described as a sculpture, which visitors can walk through and explore. The sculpture overlooks the working Coldstones Quarry, hence the name.

It is the biggest and highest piece of public artwork in Yorkshire and stands 1375 feet above sea level. Construction commenced in March 2010 and it was opened later that year. There are great views of Nidderdale which is situated in the picturesque Yorkshire Dales.The Coldstones Cut

The Coldstones Cut 2I was probably guilty of over-thinking the Coldstones Cut. In part like a Roman wall, but with modern street features, including yellow lines, alongside. Plenty of ‘whys?’ but not so many answers so the best thing to do was to just enjoy exploring it, admiring the views and remembering the importance of quarries and the part they play in the construction of so many building and roads.The Coldstones Cut 4


The Coldstones Cut 3If you want to see it for yourselves, The Coldstones Cut is just off the B6265 between Skipton and Pateley Bridge, postcode HG3 5BJ. Parking is available near the sculpture and admission is free.


Here in the UK we have more than half of the world’s bluebells and you can see them in woods up and down the country each spring. They are powerful magnets for photographers and artist alike, although strangely not always the easiest of subjects to photograph and capture the colour accurately.  

Native bluebells are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It’s against the law to dig up bulbs in the wild and landowners aren’t allowed to dig them up to sell them either.  The ones found on many gardens and for sale in garden centres are Spanish bluebells.

Bluebell 1Bluebells postcard back

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Hilltop Farm Gate

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During our visit to Hilltop Farm (see rabbits, rabbits, rabbits…) we enjoyed looking round the garden and finding the many nooks and crannies to photograph. I saw this gate which attracted my attention but only when we returned home, and read the leaflet properly, did we realise this was Tom Kitten’s gate. I was intrigued by the similarity of the illustration, done by Beatrix Potter in 1907, and the gate as it is now, over 100 years later. Surely this couldn’t be the same gate? It looked in fairly good condition. Perhaps it was a more recent addition, based on that original illustration, just to satisfy the thousands of visitors, including many Japanese, who come each year. If it is the original gate, then surely the hinges, latch and wood must have been replaced many times.


I was reminded of the classic scene in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ in which Trigger claims that he’s had his road sweeper’s broom for 20 years. But then he adds that the broom has had 17 new heads and 14 new handles. “How can it be the same bloody broom then?” asks Sid the café owner. Trigger produces a picture of him and his broom and asks: “what more proof do you need?”

So how can this be the same gate? Well see the original illustration and my photograph – what more proof do you need?

Memories of happy days, Filey

We discovered Filey, a gem of a town on the Yorkshire coast, about 15 years ago and have returned several times since then. Living just about as far from the coast as possible in the UK we need an occasional fix of ‘vitamin sea’ and a week in or around Filey dispenses the required dose. We particularly enjoy walking on the long beach with its clean, firm sand. It has become our ‘standard’ for beaches and wherever we go around the world, the beach is judged on our ‘Filey scale’. It was after one such walk that we sat enjoying a coffee when this elderly couple arrived and stood there, presumably reminiscing, for quite a while. This could well be the resulting postcard to a son or daughter…

Memories of Happy Days Filey front

Memories of happy days Filey

March winds and April showers…

Make way for sweet May flowers.  April has started true to form with showers most days this week.  Rain, but not as much as in Seathwaite, Lake District. That is the wettest place in England and receives between two and three metres of rainfall each year. Umbrella frontI took this photograph a while ago near Hawkshead, 30 miles or so from Seathwaite. The National Trust had thoughtfully provided umbrellas for visitors walking the short distance from the car park and ticket office to the entrance to Hill Top Farm. Short, but long enough to get drenched if caught in a Cumbrian shower.

It was a dull day but then the rain stopped and the sun made a brief appearance. Brief, and barely long enough to highlight the colour and shapes of these umbrellas for a quick photograph. It could almost be an art installation at the Tate; or being even more fanciful, perhaps it’s the parking area for those dropping into a meeting of the Mary Poppins Appreciation Society.

Do any get stolen or are they dutifully returned after each use? Is it someone’s job to count these at the end of the day? (not as easy as it sounds – try it if you have nothing better to do!Umbrella back

Marmite – Love it or loathe it

Not only is Burton on Trent the brewing capital of the UK, but it is also the home of Marmite, which has been produced in the town for well over 100 years. Marmite is a by-product of the brewing process and is made from the excess yeast produced during brewing.


Those of you who don’t live in Burton on Trent can be forgiven for thinking that this is an April Fool joke. Why? Because while other towns and cities have statues of kings, queens, prime ministers, politicians, military heroes, writers, artists, sports personalities and entertainers, we have a sculpture of a Marmite jar! (Actually we do have other statues, etc. and these may be covered in future posts).

So, well established facts or April Fool fiction?

• Marmite is good for you. It is gluten free and contains high levels of vitamin B3, folic acid and thiamine
• Countless Burton babies have been weaned on Marmite on toast without any (known) ill effects.
• There is a sculpture in Burton in the shape of a jar of Marmite
• The sculpture is called Monumite
• It incorporates some digital technology and visitors can download information from it onto their mobile phones via Bluetooth.
• Recent scientific studies have discovered that ‘love it or hate it’ all depends on your genes. The Marmite Gene Project reports that ‘whether you fall into the loathe it or love it category all depends on your genes. The ‘Marmite Gene Project’ shows that people are born biologically more likely to be either lovers or haters of Marmite thanks to 15 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP’s or genetic markers, in lay terms) linked to their taste preference’.

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Was Handel fishing for inspiration?

Local anglers, when fishing in our nearby canals and River Trent, usually have nothing more than a fisherman’s stool or folding picnic chair and very occasionally a windshield, umbrella or small tent. Compare that with this fishing ’temple’, yes that’s the official description, in the grounds of Calwich Estate, Ellastone, on the River Dove which forms the county boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire.

084 (2) with shadowDuring a walk in the area, we were fortunate enough to in be able to look inside and see the large fireplace. We could imagine the log fire burning there, warming the guests as they sat around the large wooden dining table enjoying a fine meal, possibly freshly caught trout, prepared for them by the servants from the house.  In addition to the river at the front there is a fishing lake at the rear of the building. 

All we like sheep
All we like sheep have gone astray…

Even more interesting to we music lovers was that the composer Handel was one of the abbey’s frequent guests and it has been suggested that his visits here may have inspired some of his most important works such as ‘Messiah’ and ‘The Water Music’.

Handel’s most famous work is arguably The Messiah, and many believe he had the inspiration and ideas whilst here in the summer of 1741 and when he returned to London he put it all on paper in 24 days beginning on 24th August. Hallelujah!

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Fisherman's seat

In search of Another Place


16x9 Another Place 2A recent postcard – from last week actually. We decided to spend a couple of nights away, one in Chester and one in Southport. For a long time we had wanted to see Antony Gormley’s iron men on the beach at Crosby, a few miles south of Southport. A little bit of research to pinpoint the location informed us that they are actually called ‘Another Place’. We followed the first brown tourist attraction board to ‘Antony Gormley’s Another Place’ but ended up in a fairly deserted area which just didn’t seem right. There were no further directions, no sign of iron, or real men on a beach, and the water nearby was a lake, not the sea. It was cold, windy and showery; not the sort of weather for exploring unknown territory  looking for iron men so we drove away. However, just down the road we saw a local resident repairing his car.

‘Excuse me’, Sue, obviously keen to use the correct title, asked with a big friendly smile on her face, ‘Could you direct us to Another Place please?’ There was a long silence, a puzzled look on the man’s face and definitely no return of the smile. After a long pause he queried,
‘You want me to direct you to another place?’
‘Yes, it can’t be far from here’
After another lengthy pause he suddenly said ‘Oh, you mean the iron men on the beach!’, and proceeded to direct us to the very place we had just left. We gave it another go, still no iron men but this time another couple in search of them. They had just enquired at a nearby building and had been advised to go to Hall Road car park. We decided to forget it for that day, check in at the hotel and ask there. They also recommended Hall Road car park. We decided we would call on the way home the next day.
We found Hall Road very easily and the car park overlooked the first few of the 100 iron men. At least the tide was out and we could see the men, spread out over a large area. It was still cold and windy but we walked on the beach for about 30 minutes, just enough time to take a few photographs.

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