Island?

No, a mirrored photo, flipped on its vertical axis. The resulting image looks like a green island on a pond edged with a stone path. In actual fact this was a photo taken as we walked along the Trent and Mersey canal near Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent. Its strange how the eye sees symmetry as beautiful. Even ugly shapes can improve when you make them symmetrical. I also enjoy trying to create images that look like animals. If you follow this blog, or my Instagram page you will already know that.

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In the canal 😭

I was depressed by the amount of rubbish floating in the canal today. It was in an area close to Stoke Town centre.

I saw many old plastic bottles, they were dirty, as if they had been stored somewhere outside and then dumped together into the canal later. There were bits of broken wood and even an old set of mudguards from a bike floating on the surface. It makes me angry, because this section of canal is part of our city. How disgusting that stuff can just be dumped. Then further on towards Dolphin Boats but on the other side was a burnt out motor scooter. No one seems to care. I tagged in the Canal and Rivers Trust. I hope they can arrange a clean up.

Canal view

Tuesdays #bandofsketchers prompt was decay. It took me a while to find a subject that I liked. In this case it was a photo I took of an old bottle oven and fencing / boarding reflected in the Trent and Mersey canal. This was near Dolphin boats in Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.

I used Boldmere colouring pencils for the drawing which made it paler than the photo. I could use some watercolour washes to increase the depth of colour but I quite like the way this is blended. One thing I didn’t include was the debris floating in the canal after so many windy days.

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Bottle oven combination

Same bottle oven, six different views, three of the oven, three reflected in the surface of the Trent and Mersey canal. Today I walked four and a half miles. We were doing mostly flat walking although there are a few uphill stretches where the locks allow water to be lowered in stages down hill, the barges float into the locks which are either emptied and the water and barge move downhill, or filled, so the barge moves up hill. We noticed a lot of debris from trees and litter was floating in the canal, the weather was so windy yesterday its blown in…

Dolphin boats

Reflected in the canal, the water is a gorgeous blue. Dolphin boats with its little dolphin symbol on it has been there for years. Its looking a bit tired now. Life is not being kind to it, and with lockdown I don’t even know if it’s open. As well as boat hire they have an air gun shooting range and archery, but we’ve never been in there, just walked past on the other side of the canal….

Canal frozen

Well not all of it, where the water was running through the locks there was less or no ice, but some sections were solid with ice about an inch thick. This was in Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, by the Etruria Industrial Museum. At least it was sunny and out of the easterly wind.

A thaw is due, but then wet weather too. Oh well at least I’ll be able to save on my heating bills!

Shardlow?

Signpost on the Trent and Mersey canal

I have no idea where Shardlow or Preston Brook are, except they were 54 miles and 38 miles respectively from this mile post. Shardlow is South, Preston Brook is North. There is another one of these on the road where I live. Why? because a branch of the canal used to run from the town of Stoke-upon-Trent by the Spode factory, alongside London Road and think it went through Newcastle-under-Lyme. In fact a man called Timothy Trow jumped into the canal to save a child from drowning, but got into difficulties and drowned. There is a stone memorial about it on London Road.

History is strange and interesting. I must find out about Shardlow and Preston Brook and what parts they played in history.

Which way?

A slightly confusing sign if you don’t know where the museum is. Turns out both footpaths lead to the same place, just by different routes. I don’t suppose it matters, but I think they should at least put an arrow on it for one way or the other. This is at the Etruria Industrial Museum, at Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.