Inside the Belly of an Underground Reservoir.

 water reflections, underground reservoir, clayton, lancashire

For over a hundred years, this underground reservoir in Clayton,  Lancashire held a bellyful of water – 300 000 gallons of it to be exact –  until it was drained in 1992. The  Chorley Historical and Archeological Society made two applications to English Heritage for the reservoir to become a listed building but it was deemed to be ‘neither rare nor an exceptional example of its type.’

Its empty belly is now being be filled in to provide building space for a new housing development but before sending the bright, shiny bull-dozers in, Kingsway homes opened the reservoir to the public.  Excellent! I love murky places where nobody ever goes so my partner and I hot-footed it over there with our cameras.

Continue reading


Pendle Hill for the Bone Idle.

trig point, pendle hill, lancashireTrig point at Pendle Hill.

Pendle Hill in East Lancashire is a great big sheep-strewn lump of a thing.   If it were 53m higher it would be a mountain but it’s not so it has to be content with being everybody’s favourite whale-shaped hill for the rest of its life.

Any local can tell you about the Pendle Witch trials of the early 1600s.  Twenty people, mostly women, were hauled off to Lancaster and tried for witchcraft.  Four were acquitted and the rest were hanged. Continue reading


Blood on the walls in Blackpool and I really must buy a new bra.

blackpool pier, british seasideA scorching weekend in Blackpool with my bezzy mate Sam. We kicked off with the Pleasure Beach (or Pleasure Bitch, as he insisted on calling it).

He was hopping around, making impatient noises about going on The Big One.  In case you don’t know, The Big One is an absolutely massive, ginormous roller coaster. It’s so big, it has its own warning light to stop aeroplanes flying into it and it can go at 80 something miles an hour.  The company who made it doesn’t exist any more which begs the question, who’s going to fix it if it breaks down? A student on work experience with a tube of superglue? Continue reading


Vintage Penny Arcade, Blackpool North Pier.

A quick whizz round the Vintage Penny Arcade, Blackpool’s North Pier:

vintage penny arcade, fairground, blackpool

The players in this vintage football machine were all wearing tiny, hand-knitted jumpers, sending their cuteness rating right through the roof.

vintage football machine, penny arcade, blackpool…And not only did somebody go to all the trouble of knitting the tiny jumpers, somebody also painted every spectator in the football crowd in some considerable detail.  I’m so glad this machine has survived and is on public display. Continue reading


Wild Mouse Terror, Blackpool Pleasure Beach

The Wild Mouse is an entity that sprang from the loins of Satan and its life force is sustained by the sadistic pleasure it gains from terrifying anyone daft enough to climb onto its rickety frame and into one of its little tin mouse cars.

Oh, it looks innocuous enough. Cute, even.

Like a roller coaster for beginners, the tiny, sugar-coloured cars bearing hand-painted mousy names like Jerry or Lulu or Minnie.
‘Ha!’ you say with chest-swelling bravado. ‘Ha. It’ll be a doddle, this.’ And you beckon to your family: ‘Come on folks, all aboard.’  They hop on, smiling, anticipating a few minutes of wholesome fun. And within about ten seconds, your well-adjusted, happy family is reduced to a blur of flailing limbs and anguished howls, barely audible over the hissing and rattling of the sadistic, Satanic creature. Continue reading


Pendle Hill – Training for Vesuvius. Sort of.

I’m saving up the airmiles and planning a summer tour of Italy’s volcanoes.

I asked my son if he wanted to come but he said, ‘you must be joking. Volcanoes are dangerous. I might get hurt,’ then went back to shooting zombies on a screen splattered with virtual zombie blood.

Now as everybody knows, volcanoes are made out of mountains (and with a bit of luck, fire), so I’ve got to get fit. Gym. Healthy eating. A complete fitness regime. Or in my case, Scrapheap Challenge.

My friend Sam thinks it’s hilarious. ‘You’ll never get that arse up Vesuvius,’ he said. Then he made me go up Pendle Hill. It’s a bit of a climb – only 55m short of being a mountain. I was huffing and wheezing like a Shetland pony with a heart problem, while gangs of octagenarians in kagoules and bobble hats said ”scuse me,’ as they skipped past with picnic hampers, fold-up tables and small dogs on leads.

But we persevered. Sometimes he dragged me, sometimes he pushed from behind and finally we reached the top where a large wet cloud was waiting for us.

I wish I could say the view was spectacular but there was nothing up there. Just stones and sheep and  the ghostly shapes of picnic tables and dogs frollicking as the bobble-hatted people ate their sandwiches.

It was worth it though, even if it did take 3 days to recover. In the meantime I’m writing to the Italian government to ask if they’d be good enough to install special ski lifts on both Vesuvius and Etna with my name on them.