Under the cats eye

Scrutiny, he watches, he’s the outdoor boy. Making sure you love him, have treats ready. A tickle behind his ears, under his chin, cheek rubbed. His cut nose is healing, not caused by our cats…

Then a look, aloof, I’ve had enough, I’m going out. He stands, stretches, front paws first, then back legs, doing the ‘downward cat’. Yowl, let me out. Gently closing his eyes looking up at me. I am under his spell. I’m OK while he’s out but as soon as he comes back. I’m gone. Xx

Blurry cat

Outdoor cat is in again. In fact he’s been in three times today. Mainly to avoid the noise of fireworks 🎇 going off.

He will sit on the settee for an hour then mooch back off to the backdoor, to be let out. He’s also eating in the kitchen now. In the past he was eating in the shed, then by the back door. Eventually he started eating inside the back door with the door open… Now, inside. Next thing I want to do is get him a strong flea collar. He’s worn collars in the past so it should be OK.

Tonight there is more progress, he actually played with a cat toy for a few minutes, then came over to be petted by both of us and purred loudly. I’m glad he’s ‘playing nicely’ he’s twice the size of my other cats. I want no squabbles. So I’ll stay up till he wants out again, just to ensure my other two are OK.

Remembering the BCB

The BCB, British Ceramic Biannual, was on in the Spode China Halls last year. Fine China and art pottery cheek by jowl. I do hope it happens again next year. Bringing art into Stoke-upon-Trent and the rest of the city of Stoke-on-Trent and spreading creativity that sadly seems to have been forgotten by government during this pandemic.

Art has just as much a right as any other industry to continue in this world. Creativity and the power of the mind are linked. Science can go hand in hand with art. What we need to do is try and support everyone, not be selective towards the richest and devil take the hind most.

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Old touring bikes

Claud Butler and Viking Queen bikes. Looking a bit the worse for wear, in need of TLC. I wish I could still cycle but I’m not very fit and my hips are too stiff to get onto my bike. My hubby still uses his. But I have memories of cycling thirty or forty miles at a time, cycling in the pouring rain, trying to catch trains and missing them so cycling home in the middle of the night. Mending punctures when it was so cold that the patch wouldn’t stick till it got warm when the sun came up. Visiting friends and relatives, visiting beautiful houses and castles. Cycling up massive hills. Lots of memories.

Missing Walsall illuminations.

I remember Walsall illuminations over the years. We went most years as children, it was always wonderful to wander through the Arboretum, a huge park in Walsall. The lights as we called them usually ran from September and the leaves that were starting to change, were lit with coloured lights, some of the light displays were brought in from Blackpool. The beauty was that you could walk through the park, eventually coming out by the boating lake where you could see a spectacular light show, especially in later years when they used lasers and fountains. Part of the charm was that they kept some of the tableau for years. Like the clock family. These were clock shaped with legs and arms and the hour and minute hands formed the faces. They were fibre glass and painted bright colours. With bulbs placed in them to light them. There was always a fair on in the park so children could go on the rides and have candy floss. It’s ten years since ‘cost cutting’ closed them down. So sad……

Foxfield light railway 2017

Random photos of trains and train parts (not the propeller), from 2017.

Foxfield Railway is out in the countryside off the A50 between Caverswall and Blythe Bridge. Its an old coal/mineral line which used to haul coal up a steep slope from a mine then down a less steep incline into the outskirts of Blythe Bridge. The main railway line runs nearby.

Foxfield is worth a visit over the summer months when it is open to visitors mainly at weekends. You can take a trip on a train, visit the engine shed where most of these photos were taken. Visit the cafe for a simple menus of hot and cold food, or visit ” the one legged shunter , the bar selling real ales. The bar is named after the dangerous job of shunting. Men would sometimes get trapped between train waggons, losing legs or sometimes worse!

 

Rudyard lake railway.

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This is a drawing I did last year of the dam, a little station on the Rudyard Lake railway, a miniature railway which runs over a railway bridge above the road going out of Rudyard village towards Macclesfield.

The station for the railway is situated just beyond the bridge on the land alongside it, you can drive up a slope to get into the car park. The miniature railway consists of small steam engines  (I’m not sure of the scale,  maybe a 5th or a 6th of the size of a fully grown one). There are small passenger carriages some with windows and some without that are towed behind the engine.

The line is open at weekends in the summer months to take you along the wooded valley that leads up to the lake.  (Not sure how much it costs sorry). The first stop is at the Dam  (pictured) which is where the lake has been dammed to collect water. That is because Rudyard Lake is a reservoir for the local canal system. The train journey then continues down the length if the lake to the far end of it.

The journey is very scenic, with views over the lake with boats sailing on it and the wooded hills beyond. Sometimes we get out of the train at the dam station so I can do a drawing or painting.

The railway was built by a school several years ago. It’s on the track bed of the Great Central railway which went from Manchester to Birmingham and then London. The track was taken up in the 1950’s  we think. It went through Rushton Spencer and on to Macclesfield then Manchester apparently.

Anyway, I think the lake was named after Rudyard Kipling? But it might be the other way round. His parents used to visit the area, but I don’t know the story about that I’m afraid.

The miniature railway has a snack bar with teas and coffees. Rudyard Lake has a tea room and other facilities. Parking can be difficult by the lake but you can also park at the railway and walk along the track bed which is also a footpath up to the dam where you can walk across to the little area with the tea room. This is where the boat club is based together with a little visitor centre. The footpath continues along the track bed up to the head of the lake and there are also little paths that you can follow to get closer to the lake.

Other access to the lake is along a narrow road which takes you into the Rudyard lake hotel carpark. I’m not sure about the parking there. I don’t remember having to pay but it can get crowded.

Rudyard lake is a couple of miles away from the main road between  Stoke-on-Trent and Leek. You can also get to it from the road between Leek and Macclesfield.

I’m not a travel writer so this may not be totally accurate.

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