Classic Morris minor

Not much to say about this. Classic Morris Minor with the classic green colour. They are lovely friendly looking cars. Probably made in the 1950’s? So nice to see it. Somewhere to go for an afternoon out. Etruria Industrial Museum today.

They steam the beam engine there once a month that ground the Flint for the potteries (that was yesterday) and they also had static steam engines running yesterday, but we couldn’t go because we were gardening.

Burslem Port

At the far end of Luke Street, Middleport, Stoke-on-Trent, are steps down to a footpath along the line of a long filled in canal and towpath.

The overgrown shrubbery and weeds have recently been beaten back to reveal a pathway to lead up to Burslem in one direction and down to the Trent and Mersey canal in the other.

When the canal was open there was a bakery next to it that supplied thousands of loaves to the potteries. This is being celebrated by the Baker boys choir next weekend during a festival which will see an art installation being erected down on the canal at Middleport.

Hopefully I will be singing with the choir at the festival. X

Heron

Seen today in Etruria

that grey thing is a Heron, or as a little child that was passing said ‘an evil heron’! It really did look prehistoric.

At Etruria on the Cauldon branch of the canal. The bird walked along the canal towpath then stood crouched at the side of the water. It was ready to spear into the canal to catch a fish. More intent on staring than wo was watching it. I was amazed to get photos of it.

Local industrial archaeology

Pottery bottle oven, Longport, Stoke-on-Trent. Next to the Trent and Mersey canal. I can’t remember the name of the pottery sorry. I think there are only 32 of these old pottery ovens left in Stoke-on-Trent. A few, like at Middleport pottery and the Gladstone Pottery museum are preserved and in good condition. Others are derelict or semi derelict. A few are just the bases of them left on the ground. Some are being rescued and repurposed, but others are dreadfully neglected as this one is.

Bottle ovens/kilns and enamel kilns burn at different temperatures. They were different shapes, the enamel ones are thinner. The outside bottle shape has a doorway into it and surrounds a cylindrical kiln where the pottery is placed. The pottery itself is stacked in ‘saggars’- round or oval shaped covers that protect the ceramics as the kiln is ‘fired’. These old fashioned kilns were heated with coal. The clay and fires lead to lung diseases, which were also found in local miners. As coal firing was stopped because of the clean air act many of these potteries closed or converted to gas firing in modern kilns. Old photos from the turn of the 19th century show many bottle ovens all over the city and the pall of smoke they created.

Stoke-on-Trent has clay, water and coal in abundance which is why the pottery industry set up here as well as a few other places in the UK. There are many books about the industrial archaeology of the area are available. Other information can be found at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in the city centre (Hanley), Stoke-on-Trent.

Sun pillar?

I don’t know if you can see on this photo, but there is a slight line of light in the centre of this picture. It’s not bright, but I think it was a ‘sun pillar’. I’ve seen a good one several years ago down in Devon. It’s something to do with sunlight shining up and hitting the clouds. Anyway this was on our walk around the Croft this evening. Stoke-on-Trent about 8.30pm.

Peters Tavern, Hanley

Goulash

We went to the city centre of Stoke-on-Trent today, its called Hanley. We were recommended to try Peters Tavern which is a Hungarian restaurant. My hubby and I thought we would try goulash. He had Hungarian goulash and I had a pork one with sauerkraut and cream. Both meals came with a very soft white bread (perhaps sourdough?). They were very tasty. I’m afraid I can’t remember what mine was called, but was lovely. Nice friendly atmosphere there too.

Missing cat

My boy cat has gone missing. If you live in Stoke-on-Trent, I’m near Portmeirion pottery. He does go out but usually comes in at night, or first thing in the morning.

I’ve always trained my cats to come when I whistle a short tune. I use it because the sound carries better than shouting.

I’m worried because he has a heart murmur. I’m just posting here on the off chance someone might know something.

Staffordshire Oatcakes

I just found this on the Internet when I was trying to describe Staffordshire Oatcakes.

A local artist, Arthur Berry, wrote an ode to the Oatcake. Likening it to pancakes, tortillas, chipatis, all sorts of thin flat round things that you can wrap food in. In this case the main constituents are oats, flour and yeast.

Enjoy hot from the grill or microwave with cheers, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes. What ever you fancy. Also jam. Maybe even tofu?

Will the Leopard reopen?

In about 2006 and 2007 I painted several murals in the Arnold Bennett suite of the Leopard Hotel. It has appeared on Britain’s most Haunted on TV and until a couple of years ago was still open. Now no one seems to know what is happening with it. I’m sure it still needs a lot of work doing on it. No doubt my murals will get painted over if it is refurbished. It’s sad, because for a few years the place thrived. But there was also bad luck there. I wish things coukd be better for it. X

Monkey forest

This morning we went out in the sunshine and visited Trentham Monkey Forest. Three troops of Barbara Macaques spread through a forest landscape. They have the run of about 60 acres and the park is helping save them and repopulating them into the wild.

Trentham Monkey Forest is just south of Trentham Gardens on the A34, near the city of Stoke-on-Trent. Staffordshire.