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Copenhagen: yes, I get on a bike.

In yesterday’s post (here) I boldly stated that “I think even I could cycle in Copenhagen.” Our host suggested we should try this theory out so today we tried out the City electric bikes network, Bycyklen.

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These electric bikes can be found and left at over 100 locations around the city.  You need to get an account and we chose the pay as you go scheme which allowed 2 users per account and costs 30 krone an hour. (+/- £3.40)

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As you can see, the bikes come complete with many useful gizmos though my 2 colleagues had to spend some time discussing the finer points…

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but we eventually got underway. The bikes are very heavy which is fine as we are not off racing any where, and it takes a while to get used to the electric motor kicking in.

As I have said, I’m not a natural bike rider but I enjoy it when I do. Normally the idea of cycling in a major city would scare me but I have seen over the last two days that all road users seem to respect each other and their right to get about.

We started out on one of the “green routes”-

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but soon got to crossing main roads. It amazed me how quickly I got used to the idea that cars and lorries would readily give way and the whole experience was exhilarating. The down side of course is it isn’t so easy to stop and take pictures, so you’ll have to take my word for it….

Event free we got to Frederiksberg where we parked the bikes and walked round the park.

 

After our stroll we picked up the bikes again and cycled to the Nørrebro district- a part of the city which is evolving and contains a mix of old residents, students and hipsters and newer migrants. An area guide books might describe as “vibrant.” P1000341

(sorry, not the best picture to illustrate the point but…)

A light lunch-

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then it seemed rude not to call in on the local brewery-

 

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A very agreeable drink and occasion with very helpful staff.

Onto the lakes which we hadn’t know existed until Keld took us there.

P1000342These lakes divide the Nørrebo  district from central Copenhagen. We decided not to join the frantic bike commute-

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and got the bus and the S train home instead.

I would recommend cycling in Copenhagen even if, like me, you are a rank amateur.

Skøl.

Previous posts on Copenhagen: Arrival  Re: Cycling

 

Copenhagen re cycling: My next set of thoughts.

As I indicated yesterday, (see post here) it would be impossible to write about a visit to Copenhagen without writing about cycling.  I am not a regular cyclists and frankly do not have the nerve to cycle around Derby. But I think even I could cycle in Copenhagen. As I pointed out yesterday, the cycle paths are wide and separated from the main road by a kerb-

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this allows plenty of wobble room. The junctions are clearly shown-

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and as far as I can tell, motorists respect cyclists as fellow road users.

And it is easy to get onto the local  S trains as there are separate carriages on each train-

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and plenty of space.

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And if you worry about getting your bike up the stairs at the station, here’s the solution.

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When I see such simple solutions, and an integrated approach like this, I wonder why we don’t seem able to do things like this in England. Is there something about our character or perhaps our politics? I don’t know and perhaps I am just doing us down…

re-cycling:

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At the bottom of our flats were we are staying there are communal bins: paper, glass, plastic, cardboard,  batteries, garden and domestic. Making recycling, like cycling, easy. Oh and there are the bikes too, unlocked.

And I forgot to mention the tower, The Round Tower.

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This 35m tower has no steps-

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and apparently hosts the occasional cycle race. Perhaps it makes up for the unchallenging cycling in the city…

Copenhagen arrival- a short post.

We arrived in Copenhagen on Saturday 8th April in time to discover that the mighty Rams had beaten Birmingham 2-1. We would have arrived in time to follow the match but for a 1 1/2 hr delay to our flight, apparently due to air control problems in France.

The Rams victory is significant for various reasons but I mention it here because we are in Copenhagen as guests of  Danish Derby County fan Keld aka @keld100 . Keld is a regular contributor to the @derbycounty  match day commentary and part of the world wide rams who get together on match days via twitter. He has been over to Derby to a couple of games at Pride Park and we met up for drinks. Subsequently he and his wife were based at our house for a week during their extended visit to the UK. Time for us to pay a return visit.

I intend doing a full post on my return but first a few, random thoughts.

This and subsequent posts will feature bicycles. Lots of them-P1000211

Apparently, Copenhagen has over taken Amsterdam as the most cycle friendly city. One of the reasons might be the recent increase in cycle lane safety

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That is the standard width of the cycle lane and other than at junctions, there is also a kerb between cycle lane and road. More on cycling and public transport in detailed blog post…

Ok, derby City Council. About the Guildhall Market…

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How about it? Let’s get our act together to create a proper food hall. With bits of this too-P1000254.JPG

It is of course unfair to compare Derby with the capital city of Denmark but I suspect we will carry on doing so for the next couple of days before we move on to Møn….

We are also, inevitably talking about brexit and Stokholm.

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In this very European and self confident city I feel very much the Little Englander. And on terrorism and security after the Stockholm attack? I asked Keld if I needed to take my passport as means of identity with me as we went out to celebrate the Rams win. No, of course not.

See my next post- Copenhagen- Re:cycling here

 

Demolition of DRI- changing urban landscapes

I hope there is a a serious photographer out there recording on a regular basis, the demolition of the old Derby Royal Infirmary. If not, well at least I have taken a few snapshots.

There have been many changes to the cityscape of Derby since I moved here 30 years ago. You see the changes happening, aware of what is being lost or gained,then, when the transformation has happened, you quickly forget what was and how the place has changed, not just physically, but psychologically. The way we view our town turned city, the way we move around it, occupy/ are excluded from parts of it. What will become of this-now- building site which holds so many memories for so many people- the hopes, joy, despair and deaths of a city centre hospital. Will those memories survive as a housing/shops/offices development replaces the hospital.

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Hopefully, Florence Nightingale will preserve the memory of what was….

 

The inside of a building hangs, outside, holding on.SAM_5920

As the Victorian facade remains. Stoic.

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Snow adds to the desolation of the site…

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The old being preserved, the newer demolished, the new, an architects plan.

Click on Urban Walks for other posts on Derby and other urban views…

#derbyuk -post industrial post.

Took a few photos on my way to view #format13 exhibition at Artsmith gallery on Monk St. Derby This area- Abbey St, Woods lane, Monk St used to be host to small and medium sized industries. These have gone and the buildings are empty or reused. This reflects the theme of the Format13 theme: the Factory.

industrial site wok

This used to be a warehouse and offices and then became a Chinese restaurant. Now empty. What next?

industrial site old style printers

Abbey St used to host a number of old technology printers. Now gone.

industrial site printers meat wholesalers

The building next to the defunct printer’s shop now hosts a halal wholesale butcher’s.

industrial site rising damp

This disused workshop is suffering from rising damp.

industrial site to let

To let. Suggested uses?

industrial site

This building has seen a number of uses since its heyday including a body building gym. Sounded like a sound studio today. Poorly insulated..

industrial site and art

And there, tucked in next to the tattoo parlour, the art gallery.

Today’s industry?

Paris. France. A few photos.

We have arrived in Paris to watch the Tour de France. something we have wanted to do for many years. We were only there for two days and it was far too hot to take the metro, so we were quite limited in what we could see and do.

Twitter recommended a hotel in the Marais area: The Jean D’Arc Good choice. It is relatively cheap, in a great area, friendly rather than luxurious. We were on the 6th floor:

in an attic room:

Arrived late afternoon ready for a drink. Didn’t have far to go..

Place du Marche Sainte-Catherine (round the corner from the hotel) is a typical Parisian Square containing four restaurants and a cafe. We had a drink there, (beer, wine and atmosphere) and returned later for a meal..

Simple bistrot food. In fact, you could believe that this was just a tourist cafe, catering for a cliched view of Paris life. In fact there were many locals there and in all the restaurants around the square. It was busy all night, great for people watching and providing little incentive to explore further.

(We had managed a walk in between drink and meal… to the splendid Place Des Vosges…)

We eventually returned to the hotel as night life continued around us and had the pleasure of seeing Parisian parking at its best:

The next day, we were able to walk to our destination along the Rue de Rivoli, passed the Hotel de Ville:

and the site of the former store, La Samaritaine..

Hopefully Parisians will find a good use for this iconic building made redundant by changing fashions and the internet.

As we got nearer to the Place de La Concorde, the store holders were getting ready for the arrival of the Tour:

and the streets were being cleared and cleaned…

This picture summed it all up really:

A splendid, tiring, hot day, a victory for Mark Cavendish, a celebration for Bradley Wiggins…We walked back and settled into “our” square for the evening.

The next day (Monday), the museums and galleries are generally closed, which meant we were free to wonder round before catching the train back at 5.00pm. (The hotel had a free baggage room which was invaluable…) Back to the Hotel de Ville though were there is a very interesting, free and open on Monday exhibition portraying the lives and rescue of Jewish children under the occupation.

Then across the working river that is the Seine;

to Notre Dame cathedral

and onto the Latin Quarter

The hippies playing guitars were absent; otherwise very little appears to have changed from my first visit to Paris in…. well it was a long time ago…

Other things seem, on the surface, appear to remain timeless:

Though there have been some newish innovations:

The Paris beaches, where normally there would be the ring road.

Then off  by bus to the Gare du Nord. We spent another couple of hours in a cafe opposite

watching the world go by……

I realise that these photos of Paris show an old, unchanging city. Unlike London, there is little scope for redevelopment in the compact city centre. Would we have seen more changes in Paris if it, rather than London had won the Olympic bid? Not sure.

On his tumblr blog, Robert Sharp  quoted this :

“Why is London still building, when will it be finished/” posed my Belgian friend. Of course, never, as re-invention is survival”

(@RedHotSquirrel to @sundersays on Twitter, 30th July 2012

(Source: twitter.com)

Architecturally then, the survival of Paris may be in doubt. But there was a great buzz to the place a sense of a city “bien dans sa peau” (roughly, which feels content in its skin). Perhaps the frenetic changes we see in London are not a sign of re-invention but an inability to settle down and “be what it is.”

I repeat- I wasn’t there long and I am no expert on such matters. Do feel free to add comments!

You may also be interested in: Our Day at the Tour de France and Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins and lazy journalism.

Our day at the Tour de France.

Well as the nation bemoans the lack of medals in the men’s cycling road race, I bring you a nostalgic view of the heyday of British road racing:

22/07/12….

Background.

H and I have been watching the Tour de France on TV for many years. Before or at least in-between, any British interest. Was on Channel4 before ITV. We are not experts but have got to understand the races within the race, the tactics, the protocols.. Let’s just say that we reckon the room is bugged as the commentators repeat what we have said a few seconds earlier. I can also claim, as a half-Belgian, to have pretended to be Eddy Merckx when on holiday in the Belgian Ardennes…

We have wanted to go to the Tour for a number of years but never quite got round to it. I blame the late start to the English school holidays. Anyway, as a previous holiday plan collapsed we opted for the last day of the Tour. This is back in January….We book a hotel [more on this in Paris post 

We arrive at St Pancras to catch the Eurostar on Saturday, leaving us with enough time to have a drink (or two) at the Betjeman’s Arms

and catch up on the news in L’Equipe and Mark Cavendish’s great stage win. Also in the paper-;Wiggo le froggy- evidence that the French adopted our Brad- and an add from Welcome to Yorkshire supporting the campaign to start the Tour in, eh, Yorkshire.. (Support le bid is our attempt to speak French….)

Viewpoint Anxiety Syndrome.

We arrived on the scene with plenty of time to spare.

So where exactly should we stand? I suspect this a common anxiety shared by many- what if we miss out? Why is no one else standing here? (early days..) What if someone else gets a better view? I’ll feel stupid….

H got it right. I was all for marching up the Champs- which would have involved a considerable extra walk with no turning back. (Crowds growing..)

We ended up at the Place de La Concorde, about 600m from the finishing line:

Just before Wiggo pealed off after having lead Cav out… Turned out to be the almost ideal spot, We could see the racers coming down from the Champs on the other side of the place-saw the peloton catch up with the leaders- and a big screen showed us the rest of the race. When we saw, on the screen, that they were headed down the tunnel, we knew we would see them soon. Within touching distance…

There was much amusement as a race car actually stopped here: (before the race…)

(This is where Bradley spun off after leading out Cav..)

This was our view, before the crowds came, of the cyclists coming round from the tunnel:

But come they did..

(More on the crowds later….

Caravanserai-publicity, hype and hoopla.

What you don’t get from the TV coverage is the incredible hype and hoopla which precedes the actual race arriving.  About 2 hrs before the race arrived, approximately 200 vehicles paraded and advertised the sponsor’s goods; from the quirky and very French-

to the brash and macho…

It is with great regret that I have to announce that I appear to have deleted the photo of the CGT car  (Wiki page)

Crowds, courtesy and comments.

Inevitably, there was a huge British presence in the crowd. Many were cycling fans who happened to be British and just glad to have some British cyclists in winning positions to cheer for. Others however were British first and foremost and knew very little about the sport. One couple we spoke to had only decided to come the day before, knowing that Brad had all but won the maillot jaune. Another English couple,stood next to us at the barrier, just happened to be in Paris and drifted over. They asked me to explain what would be happening and I gave them a potted history. The woman then asked me to “point out” the cyclists as they went passed. I pointed out that they would be going rather fast but did helpfully point out that Bradley would be wearing a yellow top… They expressed their dismay at 2.00pm when we pointed out the cyclists would not be coming round until about 4.00pm. “What’s taking them so long?” H pointed out that they had a few miles to cycle before getting to Paris… Still, to their credit, they stayed the course and seemed to enjoy themselves…

I’m not sure why this couple came along.

They pushed their way towards the front, apparently oblivious to the fact that we might need to move abit every so often. They sat down, opened two umbrellas and proceeded to read their Kindles. They did stand up when the race came, took some photos and left after 2 circuits…

Unfortunately, this couple were replaced by an Australian women who pushed in and said: “How’s Cadel doing?” I began to explain before she added: ” I haven’t followed cycling for the last 5 years..” She then asked me if she could come to the front to take a few photos. I then pointed out that, no she couldn’t- we had been there for about 7 hrs. This brought nods of approval from those around us….

What gets me though is that people think that they have a right to taking a photo however inconvenient this is for those around them….


This bloke pushed in from nowhere…Oh well…. which brings me at last to the race…

I didn’t take that many photos in the end. After all, I had gone to Paris to see and hear the tour live, not just to watch it through a viewfinder. Nor was I prepared to obscure the view of those who, like us, had been waiting for hours to watch the race…

Tommy Voekler got a huge round of applause from cycle fans of all nationalities….

Early leaders….

The peloton on the first lap…

The noise, proximity, speed was just breathtaking… as they negotiate the bend…

And round again they come… relentless

Liquigas get themselves organised..

As do Team sky….

This is what, in our household, we call the “Kelly Holmes” moment. Have they left it too late to catch up with the leaders? In the Tour de France they did of course but I have no photos of this as I just watched and enjoyed……

We saw Bradley’s speech on the big screen, joined the Slovakians in applauding Sagan, joined everyone in applauding Voekler and of course another victory for Cav on the Champs…,.

We walked back to the hotel in the blazing sun- exhausted, burnt but with a sense of joy at having been there…

A final note on nationalism and sport. Will the same number of British folk support Mark Cavendish if, as rumoured, he goes to a Belgian based team next year? Do some people realise that the British victories were due to the support of Australians, an Austrian, a Norwegian? There were flags from all nations and I am pleased that cycling has such a high profile in Britain today (despite the Olympic men’s road race..) But I hope these new British fans respect the traditions of the Tour, as Bradley did when he slowed the peleton to allow the puncture Cadel to finish on the same time….. Vive le Tour!

And yes Mr reporter, some English people can speak French…..

Tourist in my own town- a day trip in Derby.

This is a post which I originally published on Tumblr in august 2010. I am reposting it now as I intend retracing my steps this August.

I have resisted all temptations to correct,improve or otherwise amend the original text and images. Much has changed and that of course is the whole point. I have not checked the links, some of which will probably no longer work.

 

 

 

 

I have lived in Derby for about 25 years and there is no doubt that the place has changed over that time. But changes can sneak up on you and, to be honest, I don’t go into town that often during the day.-a quick dash to the shops or to meet up with someone.

So on Friday (20/08/10) I thought I might visit Derby as perhaps a tourist might visit the place. No particular agenda, just a wander round. I failed of course as I realized how angry I was at some of the transformations, the neglect of certain features.

But I did find some highlights; some places, sites and events I would not normally come across.

There are other journeys I could have taken, other places I could have visited. Indeed, I might do this again.. visiting other places and events.

As I walk into town I come across the new inner ring road early on.

Connecting Derby? This ring road has blighted Derby for some years with many buildings under threat of compulsory purchase. Now that it is here: will it connect or disconnect parts of Derby?  It is certainly changing the physical landscape of Derby: will it change the psychological landscape?

Dominating the horizon here is the Westfield Centre; known disaffectionately as the Wastefield Centre. Sucking up the retail trade and sucking up the sky line.

Jury’s in has also changed our sky line and diminished the impact of Derby Cathedral.

As you can see, it was a typical summer’s day in Derby so I I bought a Derby Telegraph and found myself a café to have a cappuccino. There is no shortage of possible places these days (unlike 25 years ago), but I stuck to one of the originals, Caruso Café Boutique. Not the cheapest but a great welcome and great coffee.

Derby has introduced an art in empty shops scheme (.http://www.visitderby.co.uk/whatson/art-in-the-city) Disguising the number of retail units sucked dry by the wastefield centre? Yes, but better than boarded up shops.

Here’s an example from St. Peter’s st. http://pictographik.wordpress.com/

Walked on and through the Market Hall. (http://www.derbycity.com/m-hall/market.html )

Still a good place to buy fresh veg in town and the only place in Derby that I know of where you can buy foreign newspapers and magazines, but many empty stalls.

On to the Quad.  http://www.derbyquad.co.uk/

Despite it’s angular appearance, this visual arts centre houses an intimate cinema as well as events, gallery space and a coffee bar. One of its least advertised features is the BFI MEDIATHEQUE  Here you can view-for free- films and documentaries from the BFI archives about the East Midlands region. I haven’t used this yet but it seems to me like a great resource for visitors and residents alike.

Across the way, the Information Centre is advertising the Derby Feste:

This is taking place at the end of September and should be worth a visit. The full programme of, mainly free, open space events is available here: http://www.derbyfeste.com/

Making my way down to the river now and the Silk Mill Museum. Derby does not make much of the river Derwent which runs through the town though efforts have recently been made. Not surpringly in this day and age, this largely consists of building or converting old mills into luxury flats (sorry, apartments)  and chain restaurants and shops. There is still a long way to go:

though some open space has been created in front of the museum

along with a stylish swing bridge across the river.

The Silk Mill Industrial Museum http://www.derby.gov.uk/LeisureCulture/MuseumsGalleries/Derby_Industrial_Museum.htm

has not changed much since I last went about 10 years ago. Tracing early settlements in the area, through to its more recent industrial history, the museum also heavily features the development of Rolls Royce aero engines. I find the museum unnecessarily dull and in need of a revamp. Others with a more mechanical bent might find it fascinating.

Close by, The Silk Mill pub has an impressive mural commemorating the 1833 strike and lockout of early trade unionists:

Didn’t stop there (on this occasion) but across an unfinished part of the ring road

(the building in the background is the Friar Gate studios, a “creative space for creative industries” which unfortunately lacks soundproofing! Style over content).

and on to Friargate/Ashbourne Rd.

This bridge and abandoned railway line has been much neglected. I think a Parisian style garden in the air…..http://france-for-visitors.com/paris/promenade-plantee.html

I popped into the Pickford’s House Museum, a great little museum that was nearly closed but was kept open by public demand. Used to go regularly when the children were younger. Didn’t feel I could avail myself of the dressing up box without youngsters in tow……

http://www.derbycity.com/derby2/pickford.html

Across the road and up a bit, there is a very interesting, subtle piece of street sculpture which regrettably has been recently vandalised:

Read more here: http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/news/Police-probe-damage-city-sculpture/article-2539527-detail/article.html

Those of you who know me and the geography of Derby, will know where I am now heading

The recently reopened Greyhound is an example of successful regeneration in Derby. Once an infamous pub on the Derby Mile (an English pub crawl Friday night sort of thing), the pub became run down and then shut down. Now revamped, owned by Derby Brewery Company (http://www.derbybrewing.co.uk/ ),

it combines real ale and a continental feel. “Business as Usual for me…..

 

Refreshed, I headed back into town and onto Derby Museum and Art Gallery to view an exhibition: Extraordinary Portraits of Ordinary People. The exhibition juxtaposes portraits by contemporary Derbyshire based artist Emma Tooth and those by the less contemporary Joseph Wright. The impact is stunning:

 

Concilium Plebis 10 by Emma Tooth

Emma, you should get these images copyrighted!) http://www.emmatooth.co.uk/

My visit was curtailed by a fire alarm but I shall return. Exhibition open until 12th Sept. http://www.derby.gov.uk/LeisureCulture/MuseumsGalleries/Derby_Museum_and_Art_Gallery.htm

Time now for lunch. I walk back down to the river and across by the council house, past the Brewery Tap (the first revamped pub owned and run by Derby Brewery Company) and on the Exeter.

One of my first locals in Derby, the pub has barely changed over the last 25 years or so. The Pedigree was as good as ever but the sausage egg and chips disappointed. The chips were great, the egg ok but “chip shop sausages” were disappointing. Plenty of local, meaty sausages around Derby to be had.

 

Went for a walk along the much neglected river Derwent.

 

Across the river you can see the back of the new bus station development- more luxury flats, shops and restaurants. (More on the bus station later..)

Those of you who know Derby will realise that I am heading towards The Smithfield, another fine Derby pub, serving fine Bass and many other ales. http://www.thesmithfield.moonfruit.com/#

Those who know me might be surprised to hear that this was the first time I have been here! I sat myself in the garden overlooking the river:

 

So, time to head back, across the river,

And past the new bus station.

 

Like the Wastefield Centre, the new bus station development is disproportionately large. It looks as though it has been dropped in from above. Worse still, it apparently does not function efficiently.

http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/news/Trent-Barton-switch-service-bus-station/article-2497967-detail/article.html

Well I enjoyed my tour of Derby and, whilst there is much ugliness, there is plenty still to do and see. I suspect this is true of many towns and cities with the same tendency to homogenise but the desire to stay unique.

This was just one of many possible tours and I have missed many things out. Additional photos can be seen on flickr, paddyspages, tourist in my own town. Other itineraries to follow?

 

Postcards from Bath:

This is a reblog of some tumblr posts I made in February 2011. Needs some editing and adding to.
27th Feb 2011

Postcard from Bath. One in a series of.

We went to Bath for a couple of days- just because we could. A week or so ago I asked #bath on twitter for any tips and ideas on what to see, do and consume but I only received 1 reply. (More on that in a future postcard.) So we got here guideless and I was able to do what I like doing most in cities I haven’t visited before: walk around randomly. I find that if you go somewhere with a “must do” list you risk becoming so anxious to tick everything on you list that you look at many things but see nothing.

   We arrived in Bath at 13.00 on Wednesday only to find that the key to the place we were staying was not where it was supposed to be.Trying to sort this out involved calls to Hong Kong and… I’ll spare you the details. It also allowed us to visit the Marlborough Tavern while we waited to see where we would sleep that night. This is a gastro pub which is definitely more gastro than pub.I had a pint of Otter ale which was ok but also proved to be the dearest pint I had in Bath. A cheese and ham sandwich with a cone of chips set us back £7.50 though to be fair it was big enough for the two of us to share as a snack.

We finally got into the house at 16.00 after a trip to an outlying estate and much getting frazzled in Bath’s traffic.

After a house inspection, shower and working out the Sky box, our thoughts turned again to food.

I had had one reply to my enquiries at #bath on twitter and that was from Bath Ales.

They recommended two of their pubs in Bath; the Salamander and the Hop Pole .

The Salamander was closest so we went there for an early evening meal.

The Salamander is in the heart of the city and manages to combine the feel of an old fashioned pub with modern, clean looking features. For fellow Derby folk, think The Greyhound. Bath Ales produce a wide range of real ales of varying strengths and hues to suite most tastes and occasions. I had a Brainstormer (or two) which is a very dark bitter which punches above it’s 4.7% weight.

When we went there (18.30) the pub was full with a mix of locals, young and old, and tourists.There is an upstairs restaurant but we decided to eat in the bar….

The menu is pub food plus. You can have gammon, egg and chips and burgers but I opted for mussels served in a Bath Ales cider and cream sauce. This was truly delicious; good but not overwhelming portion of mussels cooked a la point in a rich creamy sauce. Good to see the mussels served in a proper mussels pot too!

My partner opted for the breast of free range chicken with Puy lentils in a sherry vinegar and cream sauce. Again, a good portion with a generous helping of delicious sauce.

A very friendly pub, prompt but attentive service with a good range of ales and wines. The food is not the cheapest you will find but is very reasonably priced for freshly cooked food with quality ingredients. (The mussels were £9.50, the chicken £10.25.)

Definitely worth a visit.

Professional association football players are not welcome in this Rugby Union town

Bath Abbey is well worth a visit. I am not a religious person but I do appreciate the sense of space created by the high vaulted walls and the contrast of light and dark spaces. I certainly prefer these cathedral to the cathedrals erected to celebrate mammon (eg, the Westfield Centres).

Did I say cathedral? Sorry, Bath has an Abbey. The Abbey has a tremendous stained glass window, depicting 52(?) stories from the Bible. Above all though, Bath Abbey has over 600 memorials on the walls. Each tell a story of a family blighted by death. What is particularly fascinating is that these memorials feature people from across the world: Scotland, Wales, Canada, America, Barbados and people involved with the East India Company. There is a great collection of photos here  (Not mine.)

One particular memorial was to Joseph Maycock who died from”effects of exposure during the Indian Mutiny” in August 1860. 3 of his children died before him in 1849 and 1860. 1 child died a few months later in November 1860.

There’s a story (costume drama there) but what is most telling; we know nothing of the wife and mother. In the Abbey there are over 600 stories to be told…..

Glasgow. A few photographs.

Spent a day and two bits in Glasgow last week. The main purpose of our visit was 1) to see daughter’s new flat, 2) to celebrate her birthday and 3) to buy her some pots and pans. Well I took part in the first two of these activities but opted to spend some of the day wandering round the city, camera at the ready.

I had no plan, no map and very little knowledge of the city. So these views are random, unplanned and may offer a distorted view of the city. Some themes did emerge however…

Defining space: motorways.

The motorway appears to play a significant role in defining and dividing the city space.

This area feels like a frontier zone, dividing old and new, shabby and bright, untidy and clean.

Here the motorway assumes the role of a river; something to be crossed and bridged, a current of noise. Ironic really as the city seems to have distanced itself from its river, no longer the source of wealth and commerce.

Motorways also create empty spaces, especially raised motorways. It is as if no one quite knows what to do with this space-

Work in Progress or abandoned space?

It is not just motorways that create empty spaces, undefined, abandoned-

There was a sign on this site which said the site was available for mixed development, but the words were overwritten. So no development, mixed or otherwise.  I have to say I like these untidy spaces with signs of nature reclaiming the space available…

Crowded Space.

Buildings jostle for space-

the hotel appears to surround the older building.

Here, a new office block appears to be nudging the 19th century Metropolitan Cathedral of St Andrews out of the way:

though to be fair, the Cathedral has, quietly, taken over some space on the other side to create a reflective,memorial space:

Here on the other hand, a church-like structure has been absorbed by an apartment block. Was it ever a church?

Occupying space.

There are different ways to occupy and protect spaces. #occupy  took over this space but were evicted:

So, instead of being used, this space has been locked, defended, preserved and subsequently unused.

And another garden, defensive, locked off-

Transforming space.

There are plenty of cranes in Glasgow right now….

suggesting further changes to the skyline in years to come. There is already a bewildering clash and confusion of styles; bold statements suggesting self confidence and pride:

In between these buildings, functional spaces, not pretty, but needed. The connection between the inside and outside worlds:

Empty windows.

Other buildings are less proud, their empty windows a facade, no longer reflecting pride:

Night defining space.

Nightfall can make seem benign spaces seem threatening. And vice versa. Night also allows the use of light to transform a space,

and highlight buildings,

Nothing startling, nothing new. But a view, a city framed, but spilling and spewing outside of the frame, occupying its own space.