Archive for the Flickr Category

A Sunny Sunday Afternoon

Posted in everyday life, Flickr, Photography, shrewsbury with tags , , , , on September 30, 2013 by suetortoise

Yesterday was such a lovely day that I took my stitchery and a packed lunch and my camera and went to the sunken flower garden in Shrewsbury’s Quarry Park, the Dingle. This is the view from the bench where I ate my sandwiches:
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Here are a couple more shots of the garden:

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Outside the Dingle, there was a fun fair starting up for the day. Even a small fun fair is a feast for my camera. You’ll find the whole set of yesterday’s pictures on Flickr, but here are a few to give you a taste:

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Fun Fair 29-09-13 12


This Fragile Townscape

Posted in discussion topic, everyday life, Flickr, out and about, shrewsbury, Uncategorized on February 16, 2013 by suetortoise

I recently came across author Pauline Fisk’s interesting new blog, My Tonight From Shrewsbury. Pauline is fascinated by the less-known, the hidden and the curious side of Shrewsbury, which she celebrates in words and pictures. As someone who also loves the strange little details of Shrewsbury buildings, this is right up my street.

On the 14th of February, Pauline’s blog dealt with the subject of rooftop exploration. And this is something that I feel quite strongly about. Strongly enough to want to talk about it here, at more length than I could do in just a comment on her blog. Rather handily, there is a building under renovation a stone’s throw from her street door and from mine. I took a few photos from my living room window this morning, which illustrate one of my main concerns.
fragile townscape 1

As the urban explorer Pauline interviewed told her, people don’t often bother to look up at the buildings they pass every day. I have lost count of the people I’ve spoken to who are totally unaware of all the little carved heads flanking the windows and doors of Shrewsbury’s railway station. They are great fun to photograph and use as inspiration for digital artwork. You’ll find a set of them here on Flickr. Also on Flickr is my photo-collection of hopper heads, the decorative tops to rainwater downpipes. Shrewsbury is rich in them – The Square, in particular, has some remarkably fine ones. These are things you can look at without leaving the ground or trespassing.

What bothers me in particular about people clambering about on rooftops, however well intentioned the explorers, is the sheer fragility of the buildings. Many – very many – of those fine plastered Georgian and Victorian frontages, with their sash windows, parapets and architectural flourishes, are just additions to the older buildings that were on the site before. It doesn’t take much knowledge of building materials to realise that a rigid brick front on a flexible timber structure, isn’t that happy a combination. And as hidden timbers rot and crumble, as the rumble of traffic, as roadworks, earth-tremors, alterations and the weather all take their toll, the cracks and chips appear. Patches, mortar and fresh plaster, and then more decay…
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Look at what has been happening under the plaster on this building. The builders’ netting obscures some of the detail, but you can see the cracks and crumbling wood. Some urban explorer leans a little too heavily on a parapet, and a chunk of brick or stone drops into the busy street. While I know that the serious Urbexers are never intentionally destructive, our roofs and ledges won’t stand a lot of weight safely. And where the careful ones go, the less careful may follow. Some were on the roof right above my flat a few weeks ago. They may have taken only photographs, but they left three or four cigarette butts on the tiles, and I was quite spooked by the noise they made before I realised what was happening. Across the road, the pinnacles on the Darwin Shopping Centre have been bent and broken; one urbexer grabbed an aerial pole for support on the way back down and the television shop below lost its signal until a repair team could get out to re-align the aerials. Drainpipes are often brittle cast iron, held on with rusting nails. Tiles shift and crack, leading to water ingress and further damage….

Not just the less-careful follow them, either. To glamourise climbing buildings without proper precautions risks attracting those who are too young, too drunk or too thoughtless to be safe at a height. Accepting explorers as a feature of the skyline, also gives cover for those who are ready to be tempted by a skylight or a roof hatch, or simply by the lead on the roof.

When I was younger, had I been fitter and possessed of less common sense and a better sense of balance, I might have been tempted to take my own camera up there too.  But now I am willing to forgo the grand views. And if I see shadowy figures on the Shrewsbury skyline, my first reaction is to let the police know about it. Not because I want to spoil innocent fun, but because I love our fragile townscape.

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Any comments?

The Shropshire Olympian Festival

Posted in Flickr, out and about, Photography, shrewsbury on July 5, 2011 by suetortoise

In 1864 (in the year that the building holding the Tortoise Loft was erected  – the date is on the hopper-heads of the downpipes), The Olympian Festival which had started in Much Wenlock in 1850 was brought to the Quarry Park in Shrewsbury. It was a roaring success, and the National Olympian Association was founded the next year. The rest is sporting history. On the weekend of the 17th to 19th June, 2011, Shrewsbury held a re-enactment of this event.
The Friday was mainly a sports day for Shropshire Schools, the Saturday incorporated the Shrewsbury Carnival, the Sunday was a day of varied events, including coracle races on the River Severn and picnics on the grass, concluding with a massed choir singing the anthem ‘Floreat Salopia’, a fitting finale to a remarkable weekend. The costumes and events were a feast for a photographer.
I was there for a while on the Saturday afternoon and all day on the Sunday, when I was one of several Official Photographers producing black and white images for the Retrospective exhibition. The next week was a flurry of photo-processing, to prepare the work. The exhibition is now on show at Theatre Severn, in the Chapel Bar and is well worth seeing. A number of my pictures were selected, among many fine shots from the other photographers. I’m showing some of those that were not selected on this page, and you can see my full set from the Shropshire Olympian Festival on Flickr.
Thank you to all who were involved, and particularly those who were happy to pose in their fine Victorian costumes.

Sun, Steam and a Woolly Jumper

Posted in Flickr, out and about, Photography on June 21, 2010 by suetortoise

29 CVVMS Show 2010

Yesterday was sunny, warm and dry – with just enough breeze to keep things pleasant. And it was also the day of the monthy outing of the Shropshire Community Flickr Group. Our destination was Oswestry’s Park Hall Showground, and the annual show of the Clwyd Veteran and Vintage Machinery Society. They are based in Wrexham.

June 2010 Flickr Meet

Jason picked me up from Shrewsbury and collected James at Baschurch on the way to the showground. At the entrance, we met up with Peter and the four of us stayed together all day. The show had fewer steam engines than I expected, although those on display were beautifully maintained. An Aveling and Porter road-roller, a big black Fowler engine and a Marshall along with a delightful old fire engine inscribed ‘Earl of Chester – Volunteer Fire Brigade’. There were some scale model engines, too.

06 CVVMS Show 2010

It might have been a bit short of steam, but there were plenty of other exhibits. A vast number of tractors, a beautiful Romany wagon – as beautiful inside as out – and a good number of old cars, lorries, buses, motorcycles and farm machinery. Th04 CVVMS Show 2010ere were also collections on show – die-cast models, chainsaws, wheelchairs, mowers, tools…. Even a display of old milk bottles lovingly presented! Shire horses, birds of prey, sideshows, a big model railway giving rides, and a selection of events in the areana.

It wouldn’t be a machinery show without  lots of stalls selling things: sweets and toys and ice cream. (Great weather for ice cream sales!) Books, antiques, crafts – there was a whole hall of craft stalls as well as the outdoor stalls – food stalls. (I had lunch at a Thai food stall: an excellent red curry made fresh while I waited.)
21 CVVMS Show 2010 Stalls selling strange odd bits of machinery and metal laid out with as much care as the enthusiasts’ displays. And charcters, types, interesting faces. Plenty of scope for people-watching.

One of the arena displays was a man with an elderly sheepdog and a performing sheep. The sheep walked through a hoop and jumped little fences while being pulled along on a lead. (I gather they were both herding ducks later, but we didn’t stay for the rest of the show.)
22 CVVMS Show 2010

Needless to say, I took a lot of photos. You’ll find more of them here.

We were expecting to spend a couple of hours at the showground, at most, and then go on to a Food and Drink Festival. But we stayed twice as long as intended, because there was so much to see. We decided to skip the Food and Drink and went off to Wales instead – to the River Dee and the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct near Llangollen. In the sunshine. And then home.