Saturday, 25 July 2009

Wobbly house

Neighbours. They support us and lend a shoulder to lean upon when tired. Also handy when you run out of sugar, or, in the case of this house, when you need a pint at the end of a long day on your feet.

Lancaster is full of old buildings, many of which suggest today that planners in Georgian and Victorian times didn't pay as much attention to issues of subsidence as they might have done. But they designed damn fine windows, eh?

( These buildings can be seen on St Georges Quay, along Lancaster's riverfront )

Friday, 24 July 2009

What's a weind?

What's a weind?, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

You don't know what a weind is, do you? It was a unknown word to me until yesterday.

It started at a shop in Garstang - a small market town near Lancaster -when we asked for directions to a local tea house:

Her: "Take the second weind on the left, and you'll find a good one."
Me : "What's a weind?!"
Her: "erm... I don't really know. It's just what we call them."

We decided not to ask the obvious question, but to find out for ourselves. Have you guessed it yet? I haven't tracked down the etymology of 'weind' or even the subtle details behind its meaning and use, but it seems a weind is a passageway of some description. And a Google search suggests the word is confined to this general area. They are mentioned here in a document titled A Short History of Garstang.

Postscript 1: The beauty of not being 'born and bred' in Lancashire is regularly coming across new words as well as places. One thing yesterday's discovery taught me was that there were obviously a lot of alleyways in this part of the medieval world. I base this assertion on only recently having added another new word to my linguistic repertoire for them - ginnel.

Postscript 2: Before anyone asks, I have no idea who Thomas was. Regrettfully, it didn't occur to me to ask someone at the time.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Icarus and Daedalus

Bat wings, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Picking up my daughter from a summer school course hosted by Lancaster Central High School, I was confronted by Batman and Robin - or "naked men with bat wings" as Yasmin described them.

'Icarus and Daedalus' by Peter Huby working with pupils from Year 8, part of the Sculpture Trail at Central. More details of the art at Central High here.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Lollipop man Ray Bateson


Moorside Primary School's favourite lollipop man, Ray Bateson. Ray will be retiring in October this year unless he can have the age limit of 75 overturned.

To pupils at Moorside, Ray is a constant and much-loved part of their school life. Rain or shine, he gives them a hearty welcome and an enthusiastic goodbye as he guides them across the road at each end of their school day.

News spread fast that Ray will be retiring, and he was showered with gifts on the last day of school yesterday. But it was great to find him on his usual patch again this morning, helping another late-finishing school's pupils safely negotiate traffic on Bowerham Road. It was quieter than usual today without the Moorside kids, but Ray was greeted by nearly every passing motorist and pedestrian as we chatted. He collected another carefully-wrapped present and shared friendly words and waves with all those around him. Even his son swapped some breathless banter as he jogged past in the rain while Ray and I sheltered under a tree!

But don't take my word that Ray is the man I paint him to be. He was voted school crossing patrol of the year by all those who appreciate his efforts and respect him. The following extract is from the Lancashire government newsletter that announced Ray's award (also an article from the Lancaster Guardian with more detail about Ray here):

Lollipop man Ray Bateson of Moorside Primary School, Lancaster, won the award for school crossing patrol of the year. “He got so many nominations from the children and parents,” said one teacher at Moorside. “They all adore him because he’s so cheerful and chatty.” The pupils also wrote their own nominations explaining why they thought Ray should be the winner. One simply said: “We love him!”

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Literacy continues

School's out, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Last day of primary school today - time for lots of uninterrupted reading.

Photo taken outside at the end of June, a time when Lancaster had 'real' summer weather. Today it is raining.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Rite of passage

Joyful goodbye, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Our daughter and her friend threw a disco party to celebrate their shared 11th birthday on July 19th. They invited their classmates who had something else to celebrate along with them: Tomorrow they march bravely out of their primary school gates together for the final time. I wonder what emotions will be on display then..?

(To Len Guest and the teachers and staff at Moorside Primary School who educated and cared for our children over the years: We have long appreciated your efforts and know they will look back on their time at Moorside with fondness and respect. Thank you for everything.)

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Bob's car

Bob Whittaker, originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Bob Whittaker's kit car , originally uploaded by Lancaster Today.

Came across this car when we were out for a Sunday drive today. I had my camera-phone out and was taking a picture when it's owner came along.

Bob was more than happy to tell me all about his kit car, which he built himself. Hopefully he will be visiting this blog and leave a comment to tell you all about it (I'm afraid of getting some of the details wrong). What I can remember is that he wanted to get "Big Bob" as a personalised number plate, but that would have been just too expensive! Bob, if I have spelt you family name incorrectly, please let me know and I will make the necessary changes. A pleasure meeting you today and seeing your wonderful car. Thanks!