This week I have chosen a few of the pictures I took in Manchester’s Northern Quarter a few months back for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. Anyone can take part in this challenge – the rules are listed on her page.
This week’s topic is Numbers and Letters. You need at least one number and one letter displayed your photo.
My last post was a collection of some of my favourite photos which I took on a recent visit to Ainsdale Beach, which is in Merseyside, close to Southport in the Northwest UK.
In that post I mentioned that Ainsdale was one of the places my Dad, Peter Taylor, most liked to visit when he was a child growing up in Manchester and today I am delighted to have him here with me reminiscing about those days.
Peter Taylor – “I’ve always been interested in herpetology and the attraction of Ainsdale is that it is the home of Britain’s rarest toad, the natterjack, and rarest lizard, the sand lizard, both of which have a specialised habitat requirement – sand dunes.
As a child, our annual holidays would be at Gronant, a small coastal village in Flintshire, North Wales. Gronant had, in those days, extensive sand dunes (which I believe now no longer exist) where natterjack toads and sand lizards thrived. Gronant was a train journey of several hours from Manchester, whereas with Ainsdale, during the long summer days, I could cycle there and back in a day, with several hours to spare in which I could play around and so was able to visit with ease.
Ainsdale had, and still has, extensive sand dunes which are now protected but weren’t in my early days, and there was a healthy population of natterjacks and sand lizards.
This way to the natterjacks!
I used to catch natterjacks and take them home to Manchester, a practise that is now thankfully illegal!
There were natterjack tadpoles in this pond
Natterjacks are the most vocal of the British amphibia and some people complain about their nocturnal mating calls!
The red squirrels didn’t interest me all that much, mainly because in those days they were still relatively common and not considered threatened. The red squirrels now exist in the wooded area to the south of the reserve near Formby.
Formby Squirrel Reserve
There were no motor ways in those days and far less traffic than is the case now. For most of the way I would cycle along the East Lancs Road which had a cycle lane making it pretty safe and I always went with a friend.”
I’m sure many of you are sick of the sight of it but I’ve not had many opportunities to see snow (to be precise, twice) so when it snowed on Boxing Day while I was visiting my family in the UK I was delighted. That the snowfall coincided with First Born’s first night in the UK – and his first ever experience of snow – made it all the more exciting.
As the first flakes fluttered down we all rushed outside, immediately built a snowman and then gathered as much snow as we could to throw puny snowballs at each other. Our laughter and screams of hilarity drew confused neighbours to their kitchen window and we laughed even more when we heard one of them comment “Oh, it’s OK. They’re foreign”.
It’s not much to look at, but it’s Ours!
The following morning my Dad took us all for a long walk around Shire Hill. I love the crunchy noise the snow makes when you walk on it!
The snow had hardened by then but that didn’t make the views any less spectacular.
Looking down on Glossop from Shire Hill
More snow was flung around.
And again the neighbours came to have a look.
What’s with these foreigners flinging snow all over the place?
Half way up the hill we found this poignant memorial and we stood still for a moment, the only sounds coming from the wind whistling through the trees and the occasional plaintive bleat from the sheep.
Come and sit for a while, and remember me
We all felt a little sobered, so it was a great relief to the eyes to see a small splash of colour among the white to cheer us up. First Born’s reaction was delightful – “But that’s so English!”.