Chimney

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Redundant, no longer used

Chimney up high. Reflected in the surface of a picture. Once these were so important in heating the home. People had ranges to cook on, heat water and heat the house. Coal was the main fuel, with wood if you were not able to afford it.

When I think about it I can remember my grandmother having a gas fire installed. The old hearth was sealed off so that only the exhaust fumes from the  fire went up the chimney. The World changed again and suddenly heating was from gas central heating, then combo boilers. Some homes had chimney breasts and chimneys removed to make more space. But with gas prices increasing people are now converting to wood burning stoves. They need the chimneys again. But beware. Legislation may be brought in to stop people using them as the particulates they expel are causing breathing problems in places like London. And chimneys? The juries out on whether they will continue architecturally.

Cherished Chimneys

I finally got into Cherished Chimneys in Longport, Stoke-on-Trent. Its an Aladdins cave of Chimney pots. Small, short, long, tall, fluted, straight, curved. Dark, light, terracotta, superb ceramics. The shop restores chimneys for buildings where the original pots have been lost, but also sells to the public who use them as ornamental sculptures and flower pots in their gardens. It’s worth taking a look if you are ever passing.

Spode Site

On a bright sunny day Spode can be fascinating. The huge chimney with its Spode sign and the skeletal remains of the factory show a stark yet beautiful side of the manufacturing world.

Spode Site is in the town of Stoke-upon-Trent and is situated in an area bounded by Glebe Street, Church Street and Eleanora Street.

The site is mostly off limits to the public, but studio holders and visitors are able to access parts of it to use and to produce arts and crafts and enjoy workshops.

The hotel at the site seems to be doing well and they have expanded the area outside for seating.

Then in September the BCB (British ceramic biannual) arrives in town. There should be plenty to see and do.

Gran

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It’s 23 years since she died and I still miss her. I miss the visits with my mother to see her. She had an open fire in her living room and when I was little I used to make spills of rolled up newspaper to light the fire with. I think my grandad used to use them to light his pipe. Infront of the fire was a big peg rug, made of pieces of rag cut into thin strips and pushed through a hessian sack backing. The chimney caught fire once because gran had put a board across it to draw the air in. The fire caught the soot in the chimney. The fire brigade arrived.

At one stage I remember the kitchen had a tin bath on a ledge at the end of the kitchen. They must have had it infront of the fire. The other downstairs room in the house was the front parlour. It had a big heavy suite in it and an aspedistera in a pot on a stand. The parlour was only ever used for formal occasions. I think I remember dusting it for gran sometimes.

At the back of the house was an alleyway but it was only narrow and beyond that was the gate into the back garden. Gran and grandad used to keep hens.

Once you start remembering it’s funny what comes back.

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Cat on a chimney

sketch-1551441776284I’ve seen squirrels up there, but never a cat on our neighbours chimney. In fact thinking about it I’m surprised I haven’t seen one before. The back of the building is where an old shed and outhouse used to be. In the way of these things someone had converted the back into a bathroom but had pretty much left the roof and chimney in situ. The only change being that they have capped the chimney with  a large slab of concrete. I guess this is a pretty good vantage point for cats. There is increased activity from the birds so they are prowling around looking to chase things.

This is not one of my cats which both live entirely indoors. But our garden does attract a lot of the neighbours cats  Luckily there is no sign of feathers to indicate birds have been taken, but it is a worry. I also saw another cat high up in our privet hedge this morning. It was very wobbly. Any bird would have flown before it could be attacked. _20190301_115628

This, believe it or not is a blue tit in the garden. It was too far away to get much detail. It’s waiting to fly to one of our numerous bird feeders.

Look again

When you visit somewhere it’s always interesting to look at odd little views, like the cupola seen through a broken window of a derelict green house, or mirrors placed under helibores so you can see their open flowers that usually hang down and hide their beauty. Smoke coming out if the little gift shop chimney (the shop had a warm wood fire burning in the hearth) a picture of a small pool. The fountain was not running. A sculpture of a jumping fish, a grey handle on a grey background. Light through the clouds and a curved turf covered roof to some sort of culvert.

Why not look at those odd sights and take a picture, they may not make a perdect composition but they may spark some thought.