Photos: Quarry Bank Mill

Quarry Bank Mill (also known as Styal Mill) in Styal, Cheshire, England, is one of the best preserved textile mills of the Industrial Revolution and is now a museum of the cotton industry. Built in 1784, the mill is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II listed building, and inspired the 2013 television series The Mill.

This was our second visit to Quarry Bank Mill – we first visited it in 2008.

Quarry Bank Mill is on the outskirts of Styal in Cheshire, to the south of Manchester Airport. The mill is on the bank of the River Bollin which provided water to power the waterwheels. It was connected by road to the Bridgewater Canal for transporting raw cotton from the port of Liverpool.

We also visited nearby Styal Village, where the cottages for mill workers were built and I managed to capture images of a playful squirrel.



Day 273: A Full September

As with other months, we’ve been quietly working on filling up our geocaching calendar. Today, we filled up September, giving us six months now with no gaps:

Our geocaching calendar after 1043 finds (click to enlarge).

Our geocaching calendar after 1043 finds (click to enlarge).

This leaves 111 days left to fill, just over 30% of the year. The winter months, though, tend to be more difficult as the nights draw in quickly after work and the chances of caching are limited. We have saved a few of the closer to home finds for this, although we don’t have enough to fill it entirely at the moment.

Work today contained assessments – a maths test and a reading one. I’ve only marked one of the maths tests and it shows up a fair few areas  to work on. The diagnostic part of assessment is the whole point of doing them; you can help children more if you know what they can’t do rather than what they can. Anyway, some clear trends have appeared already.

Tomorrow, quite a lot of teachers are on strike over pay and conditions. I will not be one of them.


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Poor Neglected Blog…

To my blog,

I have been thinking about you, I promise. But I also have been working harder than ever these past few months, buying a house, preparing for a new job and thinking about maths, some of these things simultaneously. I had no real time away this holiday – a few short and wonderful breaks – but I didn’t take as many photos as I normally would. Indeed I barely even considered photography.

For my maths course, the second year of which I have just begun, I had to write a paper about children’s use of algebra. It was fascinating reading the theories and background to this, but it took up so much time.

Buying the house took simply forever due to many stumbles along the way – none of which I shall bore you with here, but all are being sorted over the next few weeks. Decoration is the name of the day now, and that will take up what little spare time I have.

The new job, in a school that has never had this particular year group, where I need to write and deliver a new curriculum from scratch, is proving a huge but fun challenge. One month in and I’m slowly getting used to the routines and ways of the place – but it’s taking a long time and it’s all very confusing.

Those are all the verbs of my last month or so, and some of the nouns too; but the reason I stayed away from you, dear blog, had to do with the adjectives…

“Tired” and “worn out” to some extent, thanks to the simple crazy nature of this year – when I think about where my life is now compared to this time last year… well, it’s all been turned on its head. “Emotional” is another word about things that I can’t, and won’t talk about here. And those things also made me feel tired and worn out.

But it feels good to write here, and stretch these underused muscles. I promise nothing, because that merely sets me up for failure, but I’m thinking about you, and wishing we could spend more time together.

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Today I went on my first geocaching trip. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a bit but never had the chance – and what better day than International Talk Like A Pirate Day to join a world wide treasure hunt?! The Geocaching iPhone app was a huge help!

We tried four different caches, finding two of them – Gomersal Treasure and Red House Coin Bank. The other two were either too ambitious or too obscure for us. We might try them again one day.

Despite the horrible rain and increasingly muddy conditions, we had lots of fun!

I have a photo of the Red House cache, but won’t post it because I don’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment.

We’re off to Nottingham soon for a short break… I wonder if there are any geocaches near the hotel?

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1948 London Olympics

A lovely story.

Scouring through a car boot sale 20 years ago, Lucy Bull spent £2 on a box of negatives and old snaps. Lucy, who was studying A level photography at the time, didn’t look at all the pictures and eventually stored them in her attic. She was having a clear-out recently when she found the dusty box and had a closer look. And she was stunned to discover the black-and-white images of the London Olympics in the summer of 1948.

Housewife Lucy, 37, said: “I looked through the photos when I was 17 and saw snaps of a family and their friends – not the Olympics. The photos have travelled with me ever since – and I’ve moved home 11 times. I was clearing the loft recently when I found the wonderful shots. It’s great to think I’ve got them in time for London 2012. It’s ironic because I now live right next to the Olympic 2012 site in East London.”

Lucy, of Leytonstone, bought the treasure trove of photos in Ashford, Surrey. Some of the pictures show proud athletes taking part in the Olympic Torch relay from Dover in Kent to Wembley in North-West London. Another is of what appears to be the opening ceremony at Wembley Stadium on July 29 in front of 85,000 spectators including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Below are the images I can find online.

[Via The Mirror and Google Images]

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Finally, An F1 Team Using Their Loaf…

I apologise for the pun, but there has been a lack of joined up thinking from the teams in Formula One of late… This made me smile.

Do you remember that clever Skoda advert? You know – the one where they make a giant cake version of the Skoda Fabia, which actually turns out looking better than any real Skoda we’ve ever seen? Well, some crazy chefs working for a Singapore restaurant seem to have embraced that crazy (and slightly wasteful) idea by coming up with an F1 car made entirely out of bread.

In our sad little minds, we like to think of Lewis Hamilton driving this in the Singapore night race; pushing the roll-shaped accelerator pedal to the floor, flicking up through the gears using his bagel paddle shifters – taking this bread-made bad boy up to speeds of 200mph and more. But then, can you imagine how soggy the doughy seats would get after a couple of hours out on the track? Yuk!

But there is a positive story behind this, with the chefs creating the car (made from 22 different types of bread) to raise money for a local school – clearly demonstrating that the Singapore F1 race is having a positive social impact on the island city-state, which is always good to hear seeing as the sport has been through some tough times of late.

Via: Orange Cars

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A Fishwasher

I discovered Tom Scott‘s web site recently and, after writing this entry yesterday, thought one of his videos would fit in perfectly.

His other work in the Things I’ve Made section are also worthy of your time.


Edit: I’ve now realised that I haven’t just discovered him – I knew I knew the name from somewhere. Tom is behind the UK arm of Talk Like A Pirate Day, which I’ve mentioned before here, here and here (with a broken image). Also, International Talk Like A Pirate Day is on the 19th September and is a Saturday this year.

Via: Tom Scott

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Summery Trip Type Things

As you’ve probably no doubt noticed, photography has become something of a hobby for me recently. There’s something quite nice about going to places and finding ways to frame their lovliness and then displaying that to the world.

This summer holiday I went around quite a few places – some local, some on my long weekend to Cheshire – and the main focus was, alongside relaxing, taking photos.

Now, I know how boring and uninteresting photographs of people’s holidays can be, but that’s not my reason for sharing them with you. The photos are all of National Trust properties which are something I think are unique to the country. Where else in the world do you get eccentric, rich people building things in the middle of nowhere for the sole reason of looking at a pretty view? Or for hunting? Or to display their massive wealth? I’ll tell you where, nowhere.

No other country has these magnificent houses, these brilliant follys, these gardens and lakes of such tremendous beauty that you can’t help but fall in love with them.

I know that being a member of National Trust doesn’t really suit a fairly young member of society but the good thing about it is, aside from free parking, is the free entry to their sites and let’s face it, it’s a massive incentive to go to them if you’ve already spent the money anyway…

And so I find myself planning these trips. The sole reason for going to Cheshire was the sheer number of sites around there. I found myself with a spare Friday so popped along to Nostell Priory. And every single time, I took plenty of photos.

Here they are (each link opens in a new window, with photos displaying larger versions and text links taking you to albums stored at

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