Tuesday 31 August 2010

Looking over Bradford

One of the distinctive features of West Yorkshire is the juxtaposition of moorland with urban sprawl. This photograph was taken from a quiet moorland, populated mainly by birds and the odd dog walker, but looks out over the busy city of Bradford.

Bradford began as a village in Saxon times, it's name meaning Broad Ford since it grew around the confluence of three brooks. It is recorded in the Domesday book of 1086 as having a population of around 300 - 350 people. Today, it is slightly larger, being in the region of 467,000.

A number of factors contributed to Bradford's growth into a significant urban area. It became a town when it was granted permission to hold a market and, in 1461, was allowed to hold two annual fairs, to which buyers and sellers from all over Yorkshire would travel. The local woollen industry continued to grow and by the sixteenth century, the town was servicing a significant number of cottage weavers. There was also a tanning industry in the town.

The town had a difficult time around the English Civil war, being a Parliamentarian stronghold in the midst of a sea of Royalist support. It was attacked on a number of occasions and eventually sacked by the Royalists. When it was abandoned by them in 1644, the Parliamentarians moved back in, but within a year, Bradford was hit by her second bout of the plague. 

It was not until the late seventeenth century that Bradford once again became prosperous when the local textile industry began to combine wool with cotton to make worsted cloth. This put the town in the ideal position to take advantage of the Industrial Revolution. By 1841, there were 38 worsted mills in the town and 70 in the borough (including Lister Mill to the right of the photograph below). Bradford was the wool capital of the world and, by 1851, the population had grown to 103,000, many of whom lived in appalling conditions.The infrastructure of the city began to take shape with gas lit streets, drains and sewers and piped water. An infirmary was built in 1843 and Peel Park opened in 1863. In 1846, the railway reached the city and by 1898, electric trams ran through the streets.

The textile industry continued to be important in Bradford until it's decline after the second world war. For a while, it's place was taken by the manufacture of tractors and televisions, but recession and mass unemployment hit in the 1980s. The economy diversified and survived through engineering, printing, packaging and chemical industries. Tourism was also something of a lifeline, with a number of museums being opened reflecting the history of the city.

When I mention Bradford to friends who live away from the city, I get a mixed reaction. It is known as a strongly multicultural city with significant populations of Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Indians and Afro-Carrribeans. In itself, this is not a problem, but the riots of 1995 and 2001 still remain in memories. On the other hand, some of my friends have visited the National Media Museum and speak highly of their visits to the city, saying it is a very friendly place.

For an outsider, the truth is always difficult to perceive, but I remember teaching a lad in London. He moved down from Bradford and into my class very soon after the beginning of the year, but his family didn't stay long. One morning, after about six months, he came into the classroom and announced that he was leaving. When I asked him why his reply was very clear "My dad says we can go back Miss. It's much better in Bradford than it is down here."

Monday 30 August 2010

Trig points

This is a triangulation station, otherwise known as a triangulation pillar, trigonometrical station, trigonometrical point, trig station or trig beacon, but most commonly called a trig point. In the UK, they are generally tapering concrete pillars about four feet high with an inscribed bench mark identifying their location.

All trig points occupy high land relative to their location, but not all are on the summit of a hill because the most important factor is the line of sight, rather than the height.

Trig points were erected to enable geodetic surveying; sort of the science of measuring the landscape in 3D. To enable this to happen, most trig points have a brass plate set into the top of them. This has three equally spaced branches radiating from a central point. I'd always assumed that this was a kind of compass pointer to measure things on the horizon, but it isn't. It's the mounting for a theodolite; a precision instrument for measuring horizontal and vertical angles (a bit like having a compass built into a telescope)

But why?

Trig points were first erected in 1935 by the Ordnance Survey and were so positioned that, on a clear day, it should be possible to stand by one trig point and be able to see at least two more. In this way, the UK was covered in a grid of triangles which could be used to measure the country with a high degree of accuracy. It is thanks to trig points and this grid that we have Ordnance Survey maps. I LOVE Ordnance Survey maps :)

When the grid was first completed, there were 6557 trigs in the UK. Because their map-making usefulness has been superceded by satellites and stuff, many have now been removed, but they are still very useful to hill walkers. In fact, there are those who 'collect' trig points; a practice known as Trig Point Bagging. It's a bit like train spotting except that you go to the trig point rather than waiting for the train to come to you. It would be an enormous job to bag every trig point, so they are usually done by area or category - maybe all of the trig points within a particular National Park, or over a certain altitude. For example, there are 1813 trig points over 300m, but only 676 over 500m and a mere 37 over 1000m. Hmmm. I think I'll set that as a challenge for Mark. Go bag every trig point over 1,000m. Right up his street!

I have no idea how many trig points I have visited during my lifetime. Quite a few! I suppose it's a bit late to start counting now... but whenever I do walk past another one, I will try to remember to take a photo and post it on here.

Sunday 29 August 2010

Tankersley Manor

I've 'sort-of' been on holiday.

This is Tankersley Manor, just off J36 of the M1, north of Sheffield in Yorkshire. It began life as a seventeenth century manor house but is now part of a hotel group with conference rooms, a restaurant, spa & leisure facilities and a bar. It has obviously expanded from it's origins and is smart and well managed, rather than being full of character, but it was very nicely decorated, the staff were polite and helpful and the part of the grounds which I saw looked beautifully kept.

No! I didn't stay here!

A friend lives in the area and I wanted to stop off and see her as I travelled north. She suggested this as a convenient meeting point. I had an enjoyable lunch in very pleasant surroundings, but it was the company which really made it lovely! Thank you Claire :)

Saturday 28 August 2010

Garden after rain - crumble

This is the fruit I most look forward to from my garden. I am not the world's greatest cook, but I do enjoy making (and eating) blackberry and apple crumble. I've managed to rustle up two so far, though I had to cheat and use bought apples because this tree is not proving so fruitful this year...

I think I might manage the next one using my own apples though.

Friday 27 August 2010

Garden after rain - fruit

I have two pear trees. Of the two, this is always the most productive, but the other is the better tasting, because the fruit is more firm and lasts much better. I prefer crunchy over juicy every time.

Pears grow well in temperate climates and they have been around as a food source for some considerable time; the word pear occurs in all of the Celtic languages and the Romans would eat them stewed, flavoured with spices and honey.

Did you know that the word pyriform refers to somethng which is pear shaped? That's one to add to my mental dictionary.

Thursday 26 August 2010


A brief diversion from my garden for Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow Summer School and the colour for today is BLUE.

This is Windermere, which is the largest lake in the Lake District National Park and I'm posting this in way of a celebration for my eldest son who got his A level results last week and has had his place confirmed at the University of Cumbria. He will spend his first year at the Newton Rigg campus in Penrith, just on the edge of The Lakes and then move to Ambleside; a small town on the northern tip of Windermere.

His chosen course is Outdoor Leadership and the setting is perfect for all of the activities involved in his course. He's going to love it!

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Garden after rain - pyracantha

And here is certain proof that autumn is on its way. My pyracantha are all in different stages of ripening the berries. This bright reddish-orange one is the furthest advanced. Both the true red and the paler orange are still in the swelling stage.

The birds adore these berries; especially the blackbirds. Once food becomes a little more scarce, these berries will be systematically stripped, beginning with the bush furthest from the house and gradually moving closer, until they are feeding from the one directly outside my patio door. It's fascinating to watch. A single blackbird can strip a whole section of bush in next to no time - peck, swallow, peck, swallow, peck, swallow... a berry with every nod of the head! Each bird, a berry stripping robot.

My friend calls these plants Firethorns. I love the name. It fits so well. The berries are like little drops of fire while, each year, I don my thickest oldest sweatshirt and battle the thorns to prune back the straggly growth. I always win, but only at great personal cost!

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Garden after rain - roses

Today has been one of those days which can't make up its mind! One minute, the sun is shining, the sky is mainly blue with some attractive white puffs of cloud and it seems glorious. The next, the sky is a leaden grey and rain is bouncing off the path.

I made the mistake of putting some washing out this morning. Oh well!

I haven't taken any photos of my garden for a while, so I grabbed my camera during one of the 'glorious' bits of the afternoon and headed off. The garden is definitely showing signs of summer ending. Many of the flowers have died away and there are other little hints of what we in Derbyshire call 'back end'.

The roses have done quite well this year. They aren't my favourite flower - I find them a bit brash and exceptionally scratchy - but I do enjoy the colour that they bring.

They brighten up the garden; especially along the garage wall.

And they stand up to the rain a bit better then my soaked towels on the line!

Monday 23 August 2010

Yorkshire Aire

At 71 miles, the Aire is Yorkshire's longest river. It rises in the Dales, near Malham, and winds its way south east towards the more industrial landscape of West Yorkshire; cutting through the centre of Leeds before heading for the Ouse at Airmyn, and so into the wide estuary of the Humber which feeds the North Sea. Ironically, only a short distance away the Ribble rises, but turns the other way out of North Yorkshire, to head for Lancashire and the Irish Sea.

The Aire is responsible for much of the industrial heritage of West Yorkshire serving as a means of transporting goods and also providing power. Many mills were established along its course, including Salt's Mill and the worker's village of Saltaire built by Sir Titus Salt in 1853. For loads of interesting photos and information about Saltaire, visit JennyFreckles blog here.

This far upstream, the river was not navigable and so the Leeds Liverpool Canal was constructed to meet the growing demand for the transportation of goods. The presence of both river and canal played a significant part in Sir Titus selecting his location.

Downstream, the river was still shallow, so in 1704, the section of the Aire between Leeds and the River Ouse at Goole was canalised. It became the Aire and Calder Navigation and was used by Tom Puddings; compartmentalised boats which were strung into trains and pushed by a tug. The Tom Puddings transported coal from the Yorkshire collieries to Goole.

Because it was so industrialised, the river became very polluted, to the extent that, as recently as twenty years ago, it was considered dead. When the Water Board was privitised and responsibility for the Aire passed into the hands of the Yorkshire Water Company, protesters made such vociferous appeals, that they took action and cleaned up the river. Now, some of the upper reaches are considered good spots for fly fishing and, in 2006, porpoises were spotted in the tidal section.

The section along which we walked is far away from the tidal waters, being between Bingley and Saltaire. There is still evidence of the densly populated nature of the neighbourhood; residential areas coming down to the waterside, the by-pass crossing over the new bridge overhead, but it is also a peaceful place with lots of greenery and some open spaces.

Waterways do make attractive walks.

Sunday 22 August 2010

Bingley 5 rise - again

Yes, I know, I've posted about the Bingley Five rise before, but this time we walked there and took my boys to see it. We had great toasties in the cafe at the top. They don't skimp on the fillings!

Also, this time, the lock was in use, with a pair of boats working their way down through the rise (or should I call it a descent as they were going down?). Anyway, I got some good shots of the lock filling up. Lock gates hold back a lot of pressure. When the paddles were raised, the water fair torpedoed through.

From this one, you get a sense of how steep the rise actually is. What a feat of engineering! It was quite a task building a canal through countryside that isn't flat!

Saturday 21 August 2010

Dowley Gap Locks

Dowley Gap Locks, on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, is a two rise lock system which has been designated a grade II listed structure. It achieved this position for two reasons; its individual architectural and historic significance, and its value as part of the group of locks which adorn this stretch of the canal, including the three and five rise locks at Bingley.

The Dowley Gap 2 rise was built in 1773 and raises the level of the canal around twenty feet. Both sections of the lock are made of sandstone blocks and each has its own footbridge across the canal and its own railed staircase alongside. The lock gates themselves are made of  timber, with iron gearing for the raising and lowering of the paddles which release the water. They also have their own mini gardens of active foliage!

On the outer wall, near the staircase of the lower lock, is its name! And the white roses leave us in no doubt that we are in Yorkshire!

Friday 20 August 2010

Grey door

I'm not sure why I found this door appealing. It  doesn't even look finished off; I'm sure that's grey underoat. Something attracted me though. Does anybody else feel it?

Incidentally, the door opens onto the Leeds Liverpool canal towpath, close to Dowley Locks, and the somewhat appropriate name of the house, is above the door!

Thursday 19 August 2010

Sunlight through Beech leaves

Hirst Wood, near Shipley in Yorkshire, stands on an area of terminal moraine laid down by a glacier in the last ice age. The River Aire curves round its western edge and is closely followed by the Leeds Liverpool canal across the northern boundary. Although Hirst Wood consists predominantly of oak trees, you can also find silver birch, pussy willow and a central hanger of the trees in this photograph, which are beech.

I love all trees, but I think beech are amongst my favourite, with their tall, smooth grey-barked trunks and the graceful spread of the canopy high overhead. In autumn they turn a beautiful golden brown and carpet the woodland floor with their leaves; perfect for kicking up on a cold October morning. It is the thickness of this leaf cover, preventing the growth of much undertree foliage, which gives beech woods such an open feel. They always give me a sense of peacefulness and space; like a natural cathedral.

My mum used to make brooches out of beads arranged inside the open casings of the 3-sided beech nut. I remember that she would sometimes sell them when the Ladies group she belonged to organised coffee mornings or stalls as fundraisers. They were quite popular. The casings, I discover, are called cupules, while the nuts, I already knew, are beechmast.

I'm linking this post to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow colour school - Green, for the colour of the translucent leaves.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

A rather-longer-than-intended extra post on top of the proper one for today

This was a surprise pressie from Cheryl at Deckside Thoughts, who was celebrating the upward progress of the Cure JM (Juvenile Myositis) charity from 4th to 3rd in the Pepsi Refresh charts. I'd never heard of Pepsi Refresh, but it's basically one of those things big companies do to tell us how ethical and caring they are - so lets all make the most of it and take advantage!

Pepsi award grants to 32 nominated causes each month. The divisions are as below:

Each month, up to $1.3 million will be awarded as follows: 2 Grants at the $250,000 level; 10 Grants at the $50,000 level; 10 Grants at the $25,000 level; and 10 Grants at the $5,000 level.

How the grants are allocated is entirely up to the voting public. The more votes a cause receives, the higher up the chart it moves until, at the end of the month, out go the grants.

Cure JM is in the running for the $250,000 level award. The good news is that it is no longer 3rd; it's 2nd, which means that, if it can stay there until the end of August, $250,000 dollars will be put to good use, both researching to find a cure for JM and also providing support for those already suffering.

Trying to read up on this condition via the official Cure JM website is like trying to run through treacle; it clogs up my browser every time. However, if you want to know more, this link will give you a good idea of what this nasty affliction does to those unfortunate enough to suffer.

After that, if you want to vote, go here, select Browse Ideas and Vote, sign in (bottom left hand corner) and then make your way to the Current Leaders in the $250,000 category. You have 10 votes/day in all, but only one per email address. I vote twice, once using my email account and once by signing in with Facebook. It takes me about 5 minutes. Why do I vote? Because the 'autoimmune' thing (where your body's own immune system causes damage) is somewhat familiar in a different context - too familiar for me to be able to ignore this!

Now, about this award... There are rules. Why do there always have to be rules? But I've already fulfilled most of them, so here they are..
  • Thank the person who gave you this award. Tick /
  • Copy the award to your blog. Tick /
  • Place a link to their blog. Tick / (BTW - It's actually worth reading too :) )
So far, so good...
  • Name 7 things about you. EEEP! This is where I start to struggle...
1. I drink too much coffee, but only the real stuff (instant coffee isn't) and ALL of the coffee I buy is Fairtrade, for always!

Long pause during which I take a few more swallows from the latest mug of coffee and try to think of number 2...

2. When I began blogging, it was meant to be a casual every-once-in-a-while thing, but I enjoyed it so much that I posted daily. Now I am determined to post every day until I complete a full year (20th Jan 2011).

3. I love high places. I mean REALLY love! Put me on top of something and I'm happy. I spent a good proportion of my childhood up a tree.

4. I am a team player. I function best in the company of like minded people working towards the same goal. I like to belong and feel part of a team of people I trust and respect. I'll go a long way for the sake of a real team.

5. I can sing, but, at age 11, was rejected for my secondary school choir after one line of 'Let Us With a Gladsome Mind'. Way to crush a budding talent!

6. I know absolutely that, through all of the good and the bad which I've experienced, God has been an integral part of my life.

7. I think that anyone still reading this is doing so purely because they are my friend and is wishing it would stop!

Tick / Nearly there. Only one more rule (Thank goodness)
  • Nominate 10 bloggers and leave a link to each one.
Oh CRY!! I have some blogs which I follow and read daily, but I know full well that not all of them want, or even like, getting awards, so this is where I become a rebel...

I sincerely recommend Cheryl's blog at Deckside Thoughts (link is above) because she has a direct and refreshing view of the world. Other blogs I follow and enjoy are listed down the side of my homepage (eyes left). Any and all of them deserve this more than me. The links are there all of the time. Enjoy.

Beyond that I'm leaving it down to you. If you have toiled this far and not been defeated, you deserve a reward for sheer persistence. If you have a mind to, leave a comment and nominate a blog which you think deserves the One Lovely Blog Award.

"Back to you..."


One of my sons spotted this ladybird crawling around on top of my friend's wall. I just managed to photograph it before it flew away.

Ladybirds belong to the scientific family Coccinellidae. There are around 46 species in this family across Britain, although not all of them would instantly be recognised as ladybirds. This particular bug is a Seven-Spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) and is one of the larger members of the family growing to between 5 and 8 mm in length. It is the most common ladybird to be found in Europe. It's elytra (hardened forewings) are red with 3 black spots apiece. The seventh spot (as you can see on the photo) is spread across the join of the two and is known as the scutellary spot.

Ladybirds are a form of beetle, which means that they have biting mouthparts, but their main defensive strategies are colour and poison. The bright red colour, which so many of us find attractive, is a warning to potential predators "Don't eat me. I taste disgusting!" (a strategy known as aposematism). While the back up defence is the secretion of a foul tasting fluid from the joints in the legs "Don't say I didn't warn you!". Sometimes, this is combined with playing dead.

Each species of ladybird has its own preferred habitat, but this little fella isn't overly fussy, which probably explains why he is so common. Active Seven-Spots can often be seen in low herbage, but the species will also overwinter in conifer foliage. Like many ladybirds, their staple diet is aphids.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Climbing 4 - The Depot, Leeds

Further afield yet, this is the Depot, close to Pudsey, between Bradford and Leeds, West Yorkshire. The boys have only climbed here twice, but they rate this centre highly, especially the back wall, which is a continuous overhanging slope angled at around 45 degrees.

The Depot boasts over 200 routes, up to 40 of which are re-set weekly. They include barrels (like the one seen here) and aretes (edges to you and I) as well as vertical walls and a whole range of overhangs.

Once a bus depot (hence the name), the Depot is only slightly smaller then the Sheffield Works and, like the Works, is also solely for bouldering. As a centre, it is developing and improving all of the time, with the roof having recently been insulated, a more user-friendly cafe area, an extended shop and added facilities in the training room. It's also good as a family centre with a climbing area for kids, plus courses and competitions on offer for juniors as well as adults.

We've not been around at the right time for a competition, but the climbing is good.

Monday 16 August 2010

Climbing 3 - The Climbing Works, Sheffield

Although the routes at Alter Rock are changed regularly, it's good to get climbing experience from other places too. This involves a bit of travelling, but can sometimes be combined with visits to friends. One such place we have visited is The Climbing Works in Sheffield.

The Works differs from Alter Rock in that it is a centre purely dedicated to bouldering; no rope work involved. This means that the routes are all lower level and the range of challenges is greater because the available space is significantly bigger.

It is a little older than Alter Rock, having been open since December 2006, and has a total climbing wall surface of over 1000m², including a competition wall. Routes are re-set on a rolling programme with every route being changes within around 3 months, so there is always something new to try.

The Climbing Works claims to be the world's biggest bouldering centre.

Generally, it is easier to take a video of the lads climbing than it is to take a photograph, so here is Mark on the Competition Wall...

Sunday 15 August 2010

Climbing 2 - Alter Rock, Derby

It's really tricky getting a decent photo of the lads as they climb because, even when they are still, they're not (if you see what I mean). Take Ben for example. He settles onto a hold and immediately starts shifting his weight, adjusting his footing, leaning away to scan the route ahead, always preparing for the next move. Mark is just as bad; swinging and reaching, sometimes hopping on the hold so that only the very tip of his toe is in contact, enabling him to extend to the fell length of his, fairly considerable, reach!

The end result of this is that I have several folders full of mainly blurry photographs. I've picked out a few of the best from Alter Rock.

I think this is called a heel hook.

Routes vary in difficulty and holds are colour coded to identify the way up the wall. Some are so simple that even I could do them. Others are a challenge even for the experienced climbers.

Saturday 14 August 2010

Climbing 1 - Alter Rock, Derby

Both of my boys climb. They have done bits of outdoor stuff when they have been away at camp, but mostly, they climb here. This is Derby Climbing Centre, Alter Rock.

Originally the parish church of St James, Derby, the building was constructed in 1866 by William Huddleston of Lincoln using the plans designed by architect Joseph Peacock. The completed church was consecrated on 27th December 1866 and served the parish for over 100 years before it became redundant.

In the early 1990s, plans were drawn up to alter the church into a community centre, but they were scuppered when English Heritage designated the church a Grade II listed building, preventing the alterations from being made. As a result, the building stood empty for another 15 years, during which time it suffered from vandelism and neglect, eventually coming under threat of demolition.

Finally, in May 2007, plans were submitted to Derby City Council to turn the church building into a climbing centre and the church was given a new lease of life, with 360 sqm of climbing available and a growing membership ranging from dedicated enthusiasts to keen beginners, spanning all ages.

The end wall of the nave is the highest. In the photograph, new routes are being set for the annual competition. This is the lead wall, where the rope trails behind the climber, who clips in during the ascent. A partner belays from below, ready to take the strain if the climber slips or needs a rest. These walls all overhang much more than is evident from the photograph, meaning that leading is very hard work, requiring a lot of upper body strength.

To the left are the slightly lower top rope walls.

In top roping, the ropes are already in situ, meaning that the climber has the security of knowing there is a rope above him at all times. Also, there is no need to clip in during the ascent. Once again, a partner is needed for the belay.

Finally, down the right of the building, are the bouldering walls.

Lower again, these are the walls tackled without ropes. They consist of a mixture of overhangs, ledges and volumes (red sticky out things).

At the moment, a large area of the central flooring has been ripped out to make way for a new large, free-standing fin which will almost double the climbing available. It's due to be finished by early September, so it'll be interesting to see what it's like.

Friday 13 August 2010

Hulland Ward

If you continue on past the layby and drop down to the left just before Cross o' the Hands, a couple more miles will bring you to Hulland Ward, which is the centre for a number of tiny villages, including the Biggins (Nether and Mill) and Millington Green.
Around the start of the last millennium, this land was mostly the Royal Duffield Forest, where such famous names as John o' Gaunt, Edwards I and III and Henry IV came to hunt. The village itself, named Hoillant in the Domesday Book, began on the lower land to the south of the main ridge and a chapel was built here in 1485 by John Bradbourne. He also had a manor house, which is thought to have been destroyed in the Civil War.

The main road through Hulland Ward follows the line of the old packhorse route from Manchester to London, travelled by Bonnie Prince Charlie on his way to Swarkestone Bridge in 1745.

Today, the village is a thriving community with a shop, a garage, a primary school, a health centre and two pubs, one of which is The Nag's Head. A friendly local where the landlady seems to know most people by name, The Nag's Head has a two meals for £10 offer at lunchtimes Tuesday - Friday. The food is very good, the surroundings pleasant and the people fascinating, with a healthy dose of the local accent thrown in for good measure. The back room also has a pool table where my lads can take on their elders (with mixed results!).

The only disappointment yesterday was that the Lamb Hotpot was off the menu. My uncle was very disappointed!

Thursday 12 August 2010

Mercaston edge

About 5 miles north of Derby, past the Kedleston Hall Estate, is the village of Weston Underwood. From here the road climbs up past the now closed pre-stressed concrete works, the empty-but-being-renovated Cock Inn, the house with the rather unusual garden (which I am assured is a pet cemetery) and finally levels out before the crossroads over the A517 Belper Road at Cross o' the Hands.

A short distance before the crossroads is a layby which, on a clear day, gives beautiful views over the surrounding countryside.

Looking roughly west, the view stretches away in the direction of Belper and the Derwent Valley.

While further north, you can look over Cross o' the Hands, to the more hilly countryside around Wirksworth.

Although not quite within the Peak District National Park boundary, this type of countryside is typical of the limestone based White Peak.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

Orange skies

 As I walked up the garden on Monday evening, I could see signs of a stunning sunset peeping round from the street side of the house. As a result, I grabbed my camera and dared to venture into the upstairs level four hazard zone (genarally known as a youth bedroom) to hang out of the window and take a few photos.

Beautiful :)

Tuesday 10 August 2010

An unexpected discovery

Yes, I admit it. I am missing New Wine like crazy.

Only one of my lads came with me to the Conference; and that was only for the part of the week when his oldest and closest friend was also around. The elder son went in the opposite direction to the Stafford Showground and a New Wine sister event called Soul Survivor.

Soul Survivor is aimed specifically at youth and, with us oldies out of the way, the youth who went were able to experience God in a way suited to them. Mark had a great time; including coming 4th in the fun run and playing something called cage football!

But I hadn't realised that he was pining for the camping quite this much...

I got quite a shock when I went down to make my first cup of coffee of the day. When I went to bed last night he was sitting in the living room watching telly. Add to that the small irrelevance that it had been chucking it down with rain!

Incidentally, he's still there!

I don't know whether the neighbours have spotted him yet!!! They already think that we English can be a bit odd   :D

Monday 9 August 2010

New Wine 2010 - Post script

(Best viewed large)

When all was packed up and ready for home, I discovered this large scale laminated site map lying in the outer office. During the Conference, it had been on the Control Office wall. The black croses show the location of the Village Hosts. The whole site is split into villages so that campers can pitch with others that they know, or who are from their home area. Most people come with friends or church groups, but there are those who come alone, and part of the New Wine experience is the fun of living as part of a community. Village Hosts are volunteers who help this to happen.

For those of us in the Control Office, the Village Hosts are an essential resource. To my knowledge, we telephoned Village hosts to ask about lost children, medical emergencies, lost property and thoughtlessly parked cars. They, in turn, reported blocked toilets, cold showers, low water pressure and missing fire buckets. One Village Host even made an emergency call to us to report a tent fire. Thankfully, the fire was extinguished with only one person suffering minor burns to the hand, but it reinforced our message about the use of naked flames inside tents!!!

On the whole, Village Hosts do a great job and many offer to take on the role year after year. They help to make the Conference a happy experience for so many people!

Incidentally, my village was Red 3. It was a good spot; nice and handy for the Office but fairly quiet. I wasn't camping with my own church because many were not able to go this year. Instead I was 'adopted' by a pair of churches from Shipley in Yorkshire, which are home to a number of fellow team members. I didn't spend a lot of time in the village, but when I did, I knew that I was amongst friends. Thanks guys.  :)

Sunday 8 August 2010

New Wine 2010 - De-rig

It's always sad to see the site being de-rigged; delegates packing up their belongings, tents disappearing, the cherry picker out taking down the big venue banners, chairs being folded and loaded into stillages and eventually, even the big marquees coming down. The packed and busy site slowly becomes more and more empty!

Four of us spent the greater part of yesterday morning packing up the Control Office, whilst still fielding questions; especially for the 'valuable' lost property which delegates had suddenly discovered they had lost (including 3 sets of car keys!) and for the de-rig vehicles arriving at the various gates seeking entry. The biggest job (as always) was trying to account for the 55 radio handsets along with all of the accessories (earpieces, fist mikes, holsters, belt clips) and this is where the importance of the radio log comes in! Thank you to Mel and the night crew who re-checked the log nightly to ensure that all radios were accounted for, and thank you to the Control Office team who logged them in and out so diligently every day.

We have learned a few lessons for next year, but overall, everything went very well. I had a brilliant team and sincerely hope that most of them enjoyed it enough to want to return in 2011! Now, I feel like I could sleep for a week to recover!

Roll on New Wine 2011  :)

Saturday 7 August 2010

New Wine 2010 - 7

Next door to the Control Office (separated only by a line of blue screens) is the Information Office, which is led by a delightful character named Mark. We are both really pleased with the communication between our two departments and how smoothly everything worked out throughout the week.

As part of making this happen, Mark and I both spent the day in head office, Romiley, just before New Wine began. During that day, he was wearing this brilliant T shirt..!


Thursday 5 August 2010

New Wine 2010 6

Some people go for vehicles a little bigger than a buggy! This is the shifter vehicle, with a very small number of authorised drivers.

While the kids bomb around site on a much more lethel mode of transport!