Friday, 8 June 2007

UK Blog Post 7: The English Garden

The English love their gardens, although the 'low maintenance' garden of gravel and pots is getting very common now.
The Travelling bag was photographed yesterday in a fairly traditional English garden, enjoying the flowers.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

UK Blog Post 6: Sankey Canal-1st in England

The first true canal built in England was the Sankey Canal
The Act authorising the Sankey Brook Navigation was passed in 1755. The Canal which was cut subsequently was carrying coal by 1757, making the Sankey England's First Canal of the Industrial Revolution.
Sankey Canal History
250 years later it is disused and the section nearest to us is a park with ducks, swans and other river birds.

Its also used by locals to walk dogs, for children to play, to ride bikes and fish. The park even has 3 rangers who conduct wildlife and wild flower walks.
Sankey Valley Park

Sunday, 27 May 2007

UK Blog Post 5: Rhuddlan Castle in North Wales

On Saturday I took a day trip into North Wales, to visit Rhuddlan Castle about 50 miles away.
Built to consolidate the power of English king Edward I over the Welsh between 1277-1282. Nowadays CADW charge the English to visit it.
In Wales all the signs and most government documentation is in English and in Welsh as you can see from this sign.
And I took this photo of myself with the Travelling Bag.

UK Blog Post 4: Anthony Gormley's 'Another Place'

We visited Anthony Gormley's'Another Place' at Crosby at low tide so we could walk up to each figure.
Another Place consists of 100 cast-iron, life-size figures spread out along three kilometres of the foreshore, stretching almost one kilometre out to sea.

The Another Place figures - each one weighing 650 kilos - are made from casts of the artist's own body and are shown at different stages of rising out of the sand, all of them looking out to sea, staring at the horizon in silent expectation.
Each visitor will experience the work in a different way depending on the state of the tide, the weather conditions and the time of day they are visiting. At particularly high tides all the figures will be submerged.
According to Antony Gormley, Another Place harnesses the ebb and flow of the tide to explore man's relationship with nature. He explained: "The seaside is a good place to do this. Here time is tested by tide, architecture by the elements and the prevalence of sky seems to question the earth's substance. In this work human life is tested against planetary time. This sculpture exposes to light and time the nakedness of a particular and peculiar body. It is no hero, no ideal, just the industrially reproduced body of a middle-aged man trying to remain standing and trying to breathe, facing a horizon busy with ships moving materials and manufactured things around the planet."

More info at

UK Blog Post 3: 1993 the year which shook the town

The Warrington bomb attacks took place in Warrington, England in 1993. The first attack, on a gasworks, created a huge fireball but no casualties (however a police officer was shot and injured after stopping a van), but the second attack on Bridge Street killed two children and injured many other people. The attacks were conducted by the Provisional IRA.

The first attack took place on 26 February 1993. Three devices exploded (and unignited incendiary made safe) at the gasworks causing extensive damage.

At 11:58am on the day before Mother's Day, (20 March 1993), the telephone help charity The Samaritans received a coded message that a bomb was going to be detonated outside the Boots shop in Liverpool, fifteen miles away from Warrington. Merseyside Police investigated, and also warned the Cheshire Constabulary (who patrolled Warrington) of the threat, but it was too late to evacuate. At 12:12pm two bombs exploded, one outside Boots on Bridge Street and one outside the Argos catalogue store. It later turned out that the bombs had been placed inside cast-iron litter bins, causing large amounts of shrapnel.

Buses were organised to ferry people away from the scene and 20 paramedics and crews from 17 ambulances were sent to deal with the aftermath.

Eyewitnesses of the time said that "the first explosion drove panicking shoppers into the path of the next blast just seconds later."

There were two fatalities from the blast. A 3 year-old boy named Johnathan Ball died at the scene whilst buying a Mother's Day card, accompanied by his babysitter. A 12-year-old boy, Tim Parry who was sitting on the bin at the time, took the full force of the blast. Five days later he died of his injuries.

There are two obvious reminders in the town of what happened. A sculpture and special street paving called 'The River of Life'
Inspiration for the River of Life came from the powerful description of waters and the leaves of the trees - for the healing of the nations - described in the biblical book of Revelation. Symbols of brokeness, healing, new life and the passage of time can be seen and discovered throughout this unique artwork.

And the Peace centre
The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace As the name suggests, we are an educational peace charity. We inspire people to lead more peaceful lives by participating in our educational programmes. This enables them to better understand conflict and by doing so to reduce or eliminate violence from conflict situations affecting them.

UK Blog Entry 2: Welcome to own town

Warrington - We live in the town of Warrington, in Cheshire, North West England. Here is a little taster of the town.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (January 27, 1832 – January 14, 1898), better known by the pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican clergyman, and photographer.
His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass as well as the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky", all considered to be within the genre of literary nonsense.
He was born in the parsonage of Daresbury in Warrington, Cheshire and lived there until he was 11 years old.
In his honour the town square has a sculpture of 'A Mad Tea Party' from 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.'
There is a bench so you can join the tea party, and you can see that the Travelling Bag rose to the challenge.
You can also see the old Barley Mow pub with its sign saying at parts of it date from 1561
and the Town Hall with its elaborate formal Golden Gates (non opening)

UK Blog Entry 1: We arrive back from the US

Well we arrived back from the trip and the travelling bag had the top of the heap on the baggage cart - here it is arriving in the UK, and waiting for the Taxi home
Once we recovered from our jet lag we had to go back to work
and have not had a lot of photo opportunities becuase it has rained almost every day (helps keep the grass green though)

I thought you would like to see something typically English so here is one of my favourite things, red postboxes.
Traditionally situated on corners where two roads meet this isn't as useful in the modern day of the car.
They tell you helpful things like when the last collection was (always 5 minutes ago) and sometimes where you could drive to quickly to beat the guy collecting the mail.
Post boxes come in different styles and I suspect some of them are real antiques. I particularly like the one on a pole with flowers round its feet as it nestles in the hedge and the wierd double postbox with a cross section like a figure of 8.