And so Pie ‘n’ Mushies, officially known as Barrow Day-by-Day to keep the City Daily Photo people happy, marks its first birthday with another of those quintessentially Barrovian scenes – washing hung out over the close in the Barrow Island flats. And what a lovely day to get your washing dry too.
Well, we made it through a whole year. I haven’t been as assiduous in keeping it up every day as I originally planned, and I let it lapse for a whole month recently, but we’re still going (despite the filthy rotten cold I find myself with on the anniversary) and I’m delighted to have gathered a loyal following. It’s a poor day when the blog doesn’t get 100 hits and even if I don’t always join in the conversations it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you. Whether the posts bring back memories of the old home town, or if you just look in for the pictures, I’m happy to have you here to share and look forward to the next year in the life of an overlooked English town of great character.
So the clocks go forward, and as if on cue the wind drops, the sun shines, and the bowling greens which have been lovingly tended by greenkeepers over the winter open up. And the players, keen to see if they can still do it after the layoff, turn out to loosen up creaky limbs.
I feel stiff already. Bowls is more exercise than you realise.
It’s been a stormy, on-and-off kind of day and anyway I’ve been away in Lancaster for most of it. All the same, it was nice to see the sunset this evening.
In the middle of the picture you can see HMS Astute, whose nuclear engines are about to undergo testing. If they haven’t already. Yesterday a slip of paper dropped through my letter box, telling me that it was part of an exercise to simulate the speedy distribution of potassium iodate tablets in the event of a nuclear malfunction. I’m normally phlegmatic about these things but when I see phrases like “extremely unlikely”, “extensive safety measures” and “technology” in the same sentence I tend to panic.
This colourful sky is not, however, thought to be caused by a malfunction of Astute’s power supply.
The Channelside Gardens were carved out of derelict shipyard land on Barrow Island, north of the Walney Bridge. What the full history of this bit of land is I’m not sure, and as ever I am sure there are those more knowledgable than I who will be along to tell us the full story. I’m sure I can remember the British Oxygen depot (for welding gases) being at the bridge end in the late 1960s but I don’t suppose that was always so.
As with most land on Barrow Island, I would imagine railway lines passed through the area, and doubtless freight wagons would have passed through this gate, which looks like a bit of Vickers Armstrong house ironmongery.
Yes, the true Barrow gull, Larus fuscus, which may spend its winters in the Mediterranean (and who can blame it) but returns home every spring to breed.
I’m guessing this one is a male, biding his time while the females are stakng out nesting sites. Bloody typical!
I’ve been up the posh end of town today, and in between the squally showers (which were vile) there were intervals of quite pleasant sunshine. In Thorncliffe Road I caught this tree in blossom. Not too much blossom thoug, because of the wind. It’s been that kind of day.
Remember the Sultan of Brunei’s bath toys? The ones he wants to sell as surplus to his navy’s requirements but the buyer must be able to cope with accommodatiuon designed for small Sarawaki sailors?
They are still parked in Barrow docks, unsold. Every so often, one of them goes off for a trip round the Irish Sea to keep in trim, but they’re a fixture in the landscape now.
Although this herring gull (Larus argentatus), casting a knowing eye on dockland goings-on from the parapet of the High Bridge, probably never left. The herring gulls tend to stay with us; the lesser black-backs spend the winter in the Mediterranean and have returned over the last couple of weeks to stake out nesting sites on the waste ground by the dock and elsewhere.
Their breeding space is shrinking this year and will shrink further in future: work appears to have started on the town centre marina.
You will tell me when you get tired of pictures of cranes, won’t you? Because I doubt if I ever will.
This one, for some reason, makes the day look murkier than it was. It has been a lovely day, but a bit hazy.
I found some spring flowers for you. Not wild ones, but a colourful display right in the centre of town.
That’s Harry Schneider the ironmaster with his back to us, glowering at his bitter rival Jimmy Ramsden further down Duke Street. And, of course, that most priapic of Victorian town halls, a worthy rival to those of Manchester and Leeds and proof that nineteenth-century Barrow, as a young upstart, punched way above its weight.