28 Oct 2013

The Cathedral Quarter, Sheffield

Whenever I travel into the city I usually get off at Cathedral Stop as it's the most convenient for the areas where I shop, walk to the central library, art galleries and museums, theatres, the Hallamshire University. The Anglican Cathedral has undergone enormous changes in the last year due to the reordering project, including the forecourt and side area of the cathedral and I've been recording all these changes.

This was the forecourt in the Autumn and Winter of 2012 before boarding was put up and the work started on it and on the main entrance (on the extreme left) which will provide better access.

In the early 19th century the area around the cathedral, which was then a parish church, was less built up and it was not until later in the century that the population grew with the development of industry in town and further construction work, workshops and impressive buildings took place around the church.  The churchyard was surrounded by metal fencing and a large entrance gate. The base stumps of each iron post can be seen today sunk into the low stone foundation wall at the eastern side of the site. 

Being a newcomer to Sheffield I had passed these structures many-a-time without realising what they were.  I had assumed that they were stone pinnacles that had once adorned the church building until I went to a talk about the history of the cathedral and also got more information about the building on the Heritage Day in September. 
In any case, I'm glad I took a photo of them as they were there, together with two old, large lamps on concrete stands, up until a week ago.

Now you see them and now you don't.... as I discovered when I went into the city last Thursday.  A large hole at an angle to the cathedral had recently been dug and suddenly I realised what was about to happen.....

The stone structures are actually the old gate posts (although they don't look like the ones in the early 19th century print) and I shall have to do some more research about their age. They have been dismantled and stacked up ready for reconstruction. The 'hole' with the cement foundation is the area where the new entrance will be.  The re-ordering of the cathedral is called the Gateway Project and the idea behind it is - Access for all, learning for all, a place for all people.
The next time I go into the city I shall expect to see more developments outside as well as inside the cathedral.  The construction work is being undertaken by experienced workers who have been employed on former projects such as at York Minster. 

The tour of the interior work on Heritage Day in September was also interesting and more about that another time.

The Archer Project which gives support to those in need (food, clothing, creative work such as growing vegetables and making hanging baskets of flowering plants for sale and much more) still continues as well as all the other activities in the cathedral.  

25 Oct 2013

A local walk

                                                      The Common  (Autumn 2012)

We had a rare sunny day on Wednesday so it was a good opportunity to take a walk through the village and up to the Common.

         the village stocks

Workmen take advantage of the good weather and I stop for a chat with this tiler about the area, renovation work and how the old village has changed over the years. Now there are old and new houses and fewer of the stone built cottages left in the heart of the village.

I walk up a lane to the Common passing an old farmhouse and have another conversation with a council worker and his mate who are doing some maintenance work on a bridle path.

                                                                    rowan and gorse

                                                            silver birch and honeysuckle

                                                   silver birch and sycamore, ferns and heather

There were quarry workings for ganister until the early 20th century and there are left-over spoils all over the Common. Ganister is a hard, fine-grained sandstone used in the making of bricks that lined furnaces.


From the ridge there's a good view down to the village.

The pub at the top of the village hosts a family firework party on the 5th November.

The almshouses.  The community centre and Scouts' building (not included) are all in the parish church grounds.


Since Wednesday there has been more progress on the garden project thanks to hard work of my husband. Despite the damp weather he's utilised the unused paving slabs by double stacking them to make a neat paved area for the greenhouse and his pot plants. The area under the fig tree has a flower bed and I shall get some winter bedding plants to give some colour there. All the soil has been transferred to the vegetable plot. Hopefully my husband can now enjoy a rest and start planning what he'll grow there.

23 Oct 2013

The garden in October

Yesterday we had a relatively dry day, although as you can see storm clouds were rolling over in the afternoon and by tea time another lot of heavy rain set in. It's been difficult to do much gardening during the recent wet weather so a fairly dry day was a welcome one in order to get on with a new project.

Do you remember our plans to re-arrange a corner of our small garden so that we could grow some vegetables in a plot rather than in between the plants and shrubs in the flower bed near the covered yard and also create a small seating area under the fig tree surrounded by plants in containers? We've started on this work (or to be more accurate, my husband has been busy and I've been watching and making suggestions)!

The small raised bed was too full this Summer as many of the plants had got too big and needed to be moved at the end of the flowering period. We were given a magnolia and a new box plant in August and we'll leave them in the pots until we decide where to put them.  The bench by the wall will be moved to make room for some tomato plants to be grown next year in containers.

The raised flower bed was cleared of plants.  The plastic 'greenhouse' has been moved to the paved area near the garage. Half of the paving slabs were taken up and stacked and the hard core underneath them dug out. This will be the vegetable plot.  A layer of soil was taken out of the raised bed and will be used in the vegetable plot.  The rubble and sand underneath the paving stones has been put in the raised bed and pressed down to create a foundation for the final surface layer. At the moment we're undecided what to use - cobbles, slabs, another type of paving material or small pebbles or slate pieces.

A few flowers and leaves give some colour in the rest of the garden this October.

21 Oct 2013

'The Angel of the North', Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

                                                             Photo: 2011

We've driven passed Antony Gormley's now familiar sculpture 'The Angel of the North' several times in recent years when travelling to and from Northumberland but never taken a closer look. Our friend who was driving us to Alnmouth suggested we did just that and we readily agreed.  Nothing prepares you for the scale of the sculpture until you get close to it. Reading the information at the site about the sculptor's choice of image and location, the construction, transporting and installing of it was thought-provoking. I thought of the coal mining industry of Co. Durham and Tyneside and of those members of my own family on my mother's side who in past generations had worked in coal mines in towns north of Newcastle-on-Tyne.  

                                    Standing on the mound by the sculpture is my husband.

                                                  I'm standing near the base of the sculpture.