Thursday, 31 July 2008

Chetenham College

This is the view from the balconies in yesterdays post. It is the world famous Cheltenham Boys College. Well, it allows girls now but locally it is known as the Boys College. The college dates from 1841 and has been on this site, in these Gothic Revival buildings since 1843. It was opened as Cheltenham Proprietary College and was founded to educate the sons of gentlemen. The college took in day and boarding students, and still does, with many surrounding streets having halls of residence. The college was originally split into Classical and Military schools but this ended in the middle of the last century. The college is one of several independent fee paying schools in Cheltenham, educating students between 13 and 18 years old. The college grounds are very large with many buildings and the huge chapel (on the left of the photo) was built in 1893-96 for the college's 50th Jubilee celebrations! The college also hosts the Cheltenham Cricket Festival, which started yesterday, and has been held there since 1872.

So, what do you think about the modern Century Court (see yesterdays post) being built opposite the classic Cheltenham College? Now you can see what all the fuss was about at the time!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Into The New Century

This is the controversial Century Court. It was built at the start of 2000 and was completed in 2001. It replaced some old office buildings and was hailed as an impressive brownfield redevelopment, but it wasn't without its critics due to the design. At the time it was quite a departure from the usual style of buildings being put up and the Borough Council actively sort out a contemporary design. Century Court was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley architects and cost around £12 million. The complex has 87 apartments, 9 townhouses, inner courtyard gardens created by a Chelsea award winning designer, a gym and underground car parking. And just to stop any unwanted visitors it has gated access.

This view is from Bath Road but the view from the courtyard is much more interesting. At each end are two drum shaped buildings with apartments within, but I couldn't show them to you due to the gates! The main feature of the homes in the photo is the view from the balconies. They overlook one of Cheltenham's most famous institutions, and this makes these homes some of the towns most expensive (£500,000 for 2 bedrooms!)

Come back tomorrow to see what they see...

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Loud Accordion

This guy was entertaining passers by on the High Street. Well, he was trying to entertain. He was putting on a good performance; moving around, playing well, talking to the passing shoppers, but nobody seemed very interested. It was probably due to the fact that it was so hot yesterday or that the music was so loud. The sound from the accordion was being pumped out of that large speaker and you could hear it all the way down the street. When I passed by a bit later he had gone. More than likely the surrounding shops had something to do with it! I guess Cheltenham wasn't quite ready for a little accordion music!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Go West

I've mentioned before about how Cheltenham's Lower High Street has been rebranded High Street West End, and here is the proof. This 'modern' sign can be found on the High Street at the point where it starts to become less attractive. That end of our town has somewhat of a reputation for being a bit dodgy, with independent shops, poor housing, and unemployment. The real problem is the Council. If they put as much money into this part of Cheltenham as they do with the more upmarket areas there wouldn't be such a perceived problem. The lower High Street isn't really that bad, although poverty in that part of town is very real. It will take more than a few signs to bring about meaningful improvement.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Summer Sun

Just a stock photo today. Although the sun is shining the threat of rain is never far away, well this is Britain! When I took this photo the bright marigolds were being beaten to within an inch of their lives by the heavy downpours but now they are flagging due to the lack of water. You just can't win!

The beer festival on Friday night was very good (from what I can remember) and I took the tasting very seriously. I tried many different beers and the outcome I reached was - beer is good!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Sky Watch Friday

A gorgeous sunset sky taken on Monday night from my front window. (I did have to lean out a bit!) Although I couldn't actually see the sun going down it lit up the wispy clouds beautifully.

To join in with Sky Watch, and to see all the other sky watchers weekly offerings, click here. Happy Sky Watch one and all!

Sorry about the lack of comments from me over the last few days, I'll be playing catch up on Saturday - hangover permitting. I'm going to a beer festival tonight! Yay!

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Bowled Out

You don't have to be retired to plays bowls, although it seems to help! This is one of two bowling greens in Cheltenham belonging to Cheltenham Bowling Club. This one is at the end of the High Street at St Georges Square, the other is in Suffolk Square. The bowling club was founded in 1883 with this green opened in 1924 for the use of ex-servicemen. The reason I decided to post on bowls was that I had seen a report on the local news about the imminent demise of this past time due to the lack of young blood, but after looking into it I found that the Cheltenham club has 150 members and is bucking this trend. So much for local news!

Yesterday I asked if anyone could see what the children on the panel are making. The eagle eyed Dusty Lens got the right answer - they are building bicycles. If you look at the panel again you can see (from the right) a wheel, a chain guard, handle bars and two bike frames. Although I still don't know why they are building bikes!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Child Labour

One of the things I like about blogging is that I am always looking at things in a new way. This relief panel is on the corner of a small row of houses, on a brick wall, behind some gardens. Its not far from where I live and I pass it all the time but I've never looked at it, until now. It shows some angelic styled children hard at work. I won't tell you what they are creating, I'll let you work it out (you might need to enlarge the photo for a better look). I just wonder why is it there and what is it all about? I've looked on the Internet, but nothing. Its just one of those blogging mysteries.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Nun Of It

At the end of yesterdays post I asked for any insect jokes. The response was non existent (sorry Babooshka, yours was so bad it didn't count!) Although Ming made a tempting offer. He said he didn't have an insect joke but he had a good nun joke, and that he'd tell it if I posted a nun photo. Well, I like a challenge, so off I went in search of a nun. Now I don't think I've ever seen a nun in Cheltenham so I didn't really know where to look. I wandered around, did a bit of shopping, but no nuns. I was just about to head home, feeling annoyed at the lack of nuns, when who should walk round the corner? Yes, two nuns! By the time I got my camera out they were off down the High Street, but using my zoom (paparazzi style) I got a photo! Ming, over to you...

Here is my nun joke to get the ball rolling.

Three nuns arrive at the pearly gates and are met by St Peter. He says they all have to answer one question before they can get into heaven. The first nun is asked, "Who was the first man on earth." She replies, ''Oh that's easy, Adam!'' "Correct," says St Peter and the pearly gates open. The second nun is asked, ''Who was the first woman on earth?'' she says, ''That's easy, Eve!'' "Correct," says St Peter and the pearly gates open. St Peter then asks the third nun, ''What was the first thing Eve said to Adam?'' The nun is puzzled and thinks for a while before saying, ''That's a hard one.'' "Correct!"

Monday, 21 July 2008

Its Just Not Cricket

Well actually it is, but it was the only title I could come up with! I wasn't sure of the difference between a cricket and a grasshopper but its apparently that crickets are brown and grasshoppers are green. Crickets make their chirping sound by rubbing their forewings together, while grasshoppers make theirs by rubbing their hind legs against their wings. Also crickets are nocturnal (active at night) and grasshoppers are diurnal (active in the day.) Someone should have told that to this cricket, as he was hopping around in the middle of the day.

I'm playing around taking macro photos at the moment. Sometimes they come out really well and other times they are just a blur (more practise needed!) I just love the detail that you can capture (click on the photo to see what I mean), especially with things that you don't normally notice.

And finally, one more difference between crickets and grasshoppers. A grasshopper can play cricket, but a cricket can't play grasshopper! No, I didn't laugh either. Anyone got a better insect joke?

Sunday, 20 July 2008

One Year Ago

On the 20th July 2007 the heavens opened across much of the UK and it rained for almost 24 hours. As many of you will remember Gloucestershire was one of the worst effected areas, with flooding in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury. On that day, one year ago, thousands of people were trapped in buildings and stranded in cars due to flash flooding. The motorway through the County was closed due to the amount of traffic that had become gridlocked. We lost our water supply for nearly two weeks (remember the bowsers?), 100's and 100's of homes and business were flooded and 500,000 people were nearly without electricity. The Walham Power Station came within an inch of being swamped, but thanks to the round the clock efforts of the emergency services and army the station was saved. If it had of flooded there were plans in place to evacuate 500,000 Gloucestershire residents to surrounding counties. That would have been scary to say the least!

The photo shows the River Chelt as it flows through Sandford Park. It then carries on under the towns streets. As you can see it's more like a stream than a river, its only about a foot deep here, but last year it was a different story. Click here to see for yourself. (In the video you can see the Weathered Man from the other day.)

They say it was a once in a hundred year flood. Lets hope so!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Grow Your Own

That's the buzz phrase at the moment, what with the rising food prices. This is Cheltenham Borough Councils attempt to encourage people to grow veggies at home, showing that you don't need much space. Normally the beds and borders of Cheltenham's parks and gardens are filled with summer flowers but this one, in Sandford Park, stands out from the crowd. It has (starting at the front) parsley, chives, beetroot, bronze fennel and sweet corn growing in it. The bed is edged with purple violas and yellow calendula for some colour, and the green feathery leafed plant on each end is dill. I think this new planting scheme is a great idea, I just hope the produce is harvested and used. It just goes to show what can be done to help save some money.

So, do you grow your own food?

Friday, 18 July 2008

Sky Watch Friday

A small sliver of blue has appeared! At last! Has summer finally arrived here in Cheltenham? No. The weathermen report another wet weekend. Surprise, surprise. I hope your weekend is better!

To join in with Sky Watch, and to check out all of the other Sky Watchers, head over to the all new Sky Watch blog!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Night On The Tiles

I'm glad I didn't have to grout all of those tiles! (click on the photo to enlarge it and see the detail above the door) This is The Vine on the High Street, at the corner of Grosvenor Street. The pubs tiled front looks Victorian, but its actually from much later than this. The original building was severely damaged in a fire between the first and second World Wars, so this look dates from the late 40's. Back in the 1970's the pub was known as The Coopers Arms, then in the 90's it was renamed Cactus Jacks and opened as a Western themed bar, and recently it had a name change to The Vine. I guess the owners were trying to make it a bit more modern, but its hard to achieve in a building decorated in this old fashioned way.

While looking on the internet for some of the buildings history I came across this review from when it was still Cactus Jacks. It made me laugh!

" CACTUS JACKS (near Cheltenham Model Centre!)
(Review kindly supplied by someone without a name). This has to be Cheltenham's number one underage pub where a variety of fake IDs are widely accepted, but what is so special about this place is the apparent large number of OAPs. It appears that you have to either be under-16 or over-60 to get served in here by Dave or Shirley (the resident management). Another unique aspect of this pub is Ted. No matter what time of the day it is, 7 days a week, 12 months a year, come wind, rain or sun, you can always guarantee Ted will be sat at the bar - amazing! Ted particularly likes to pass his time by looking down the low cut tops worn under the Kappa tracksuits of the underage female contingent who swell the building on Saturday nights. The pub appears to do its' best trade during School Holidays, GCSE results day is a particular bumper day for Dave and Shirley!"

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The Weathered Man

Have you ever seen a drain cover like this before?! Well, it is a big drain! This huge underground pipe is topped off with this large concrete cap and, to make it look less ugly, it has some art on the top. This is The Weathered Man by artist James Gould. The installation was commissioned by the Environment Agency. It has been in Sandford Park for as long as I can remember, although I can't find anything about it or the artist on the web. This part of the park is a large open space and backs onto Cheltenham General Hospital and the Lido open air swimming pool. In the photo you can just see the formal park on the other side of the road. This part of the park has fountains, flower beds and another piece of art. In last summers floods this area of Cheltenham was flooded quite badly. You would have thought this drain would have swallowed up all that water!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Talk about a party pooper! The schools haven't even broken up for the summer holidays yet and the High Street shops are already spoiling the kids fun. I know its all about money, but just think how all those children feel. One minute the excitement of six weeks of summer away from school and the next its snatched away by the big stores, selling school uniforms and pencil cases! Back to school. At once!

Last week D.C Confidential gave me an Arte y Pico Award. Thank you very much.

I said I would use the weekend to ponder about who to pass it on to. Here are my choices:

I know that not everyone will wish to pass this award on. That's OK by me. If you do, here are the rules:

1. You have to pick five blogs that you consider 'deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material and which contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language they are in.'
2. Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone.
3. Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given him/her the award itself.
4. The award winner and the one who has given the prize has to show the Arte y Pico blog so that everyone will know the origin of the award.
5. Each award winner has to post these rules.

Just copy and paste the rules above. Copy, save, and paste the Arte y Pico award on the right and pick your deserving five!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Bee-n Waiting

The sun finally made an appearance, nature burst into life for a few hours and I got my photo. I'd been wanting to get a photo like this for a while and at last my camera, a flower and a bee all met up! This big bumble bee was busy collecting pollen from a delphinium. The rain stopped and my wait was worth it. I hope the bee felt the same.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Spire On Sunday

As its Sunday today I thought I'd go with a bit of Religion. This is the spire of St Gregory's Catholic Church. I posted a photo of the doorway the other day (thanks for all the comments about that) and I promised to show a bit more. I'm not a religious person but I am always amazed by the craftsmanship that went into the building of churches and cathedrals. To think that these solid stone buildings were built hundreds of years ago, with none of the modern technology of today, its mind boggling how they did it.

Whether you're off to church today or not, enjoy your day of rest.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

I Just Called To Say...

On my trip along the Lower High Street (sorry, High Street West End!) I discovered this little gem of a shop selling nothing but telephones. None of these modern digital phones though, it was filled with phones from the past. Retro phones from the 50's, 60's and 70's. Phones that look like Mickey Mouse and Kermit The Frog. Phones that belonged in country houses during the 1920's. Name a style and it was there! But, in true Marley style, I wasn't brave enough to ask the owner if I could take some photos. Pathetic, I know. So the shop sign will have to do. I can't quite believe the claim on the sign 'As used by Royalty and the Gentry'. I can't really imagine The Queen popping down Cheltenham's Lower High Street to buy an R2-D2 phone!

Yesterday I was given an award by D.C Confidential, which I am very grateful for. I'm going to use the weekend to ponder who to pass it on to. I'll post the winners on Monday.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Sky Watch Friday

This is a view across the roof tops of Cheltenham. On the left of the photo is the spire of St Mary's Church, the Parish church of Cheltenham, and on the right is the tower of Cheltenham Library. As you can see from all the cloud we are still suffering from a Great British summer. Where has the sun gone?!

Head over to Wiggers World to find out who else is Sky Watching.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Nice Weather For Ducks

At least Huey, Dewey and Louie are enjoying the Great British summer. They have a pond to splash about in, but yesterday they decided that a large puddle would be much more fun! Yesterday it rained non-stop, all day long. According to the news, the South West had a months worth of rain in just one day. And it felt like it too! This photo is also a good opportunity for a follow up, as these ducks were once the ducklings that I showed here. They are all grown up now and are such a funny little trio. They waddle around, each one taking a turn at leading the other two, and they get into everything. They also talk (well, quack) at the customers where I work and are getting quite a fan club!

I sent some of my 'ducks in a puddle' photos to Sky News and the BBC. And Sky News have put one of them on their website! Check it out here. Go on! Its the first time one of my photos has appeared anywhere other than this blog, so I'm quite pleased with myself!

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Church Carving

This is one picture that you must click on to enlarge, the detailed carving is amazing. It adorns the doorway of St Gregory's Catholic Church, in St James' Square. Up until 1810 the Roman Catholics in Cheltenham used hired rooms for their services, until a small purpose built chapel was erected on the Churches present site. St Gregory's was then built in stages between 1854 and 1876, following the design of architect Charles Hansom. The Grade 2 listed building now has a weekend congregation of around 1000, with about 70 people attending the daily Mass. Its good to see that this church is used regularly, unlike some of the towns others. It really is a lovely looking building, so I'll show some more of it another time.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Taste Of The Orient

You will all be pleased to know I completed one of my tasks yesterday. And as you can tell from the new photos it wasn't getting a light for my fish tank!

I took an hour or so to have a walk around Cheltenham, going down streets I haven't been down in ages, coming across a few interesting and unusual things. This Oriental dragons head is in the window of one of the Asian food shops in the Lower High Street (now re-branded as High Street West End.) This area of town has many different independent shops selling all sorts from Asian and Polish foods to picture frames and guitars. Cheltenham doesn't have a huge international community but they are served well by these few shops, this one was packed to the rafters with packets and tins. I'm not quite sure why they also had these figures for sale but it made a striking window display (as you can see below). The large one cost £129, just the sort of thing to pick up with your Lychees!

And don't worry about my fish being kept in the dark (I know you've all had a sleepless night worrying!) I'll get a light today. Probably!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Fishy Business

Short of Cheltenham photos, so instead a trip to the Aquarium at Stratford-Upon-Avon. Not really sure what sort of fish this is (Cichlid? Discus?) but it is a good excuse to show a photo that I'm quite pleased with! This photo is also to remind me that I need to get a new light for my own fish tank, as the little fishes are swimming around in the dark at the moment. I wish my tank looked as good as this one. I'm sure Phoebe may have something to say about me cleaning it out!

Also, I need to get some more Cheltenham photos taken today. Come back tomorrow to see if I manage to do any of the above tasks!

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Swans A Swimming

The lake in Pitville Park has had swans on it for ever, well it seems it, but sadly the female of the last breeding pair died back in June. She had swallowed a fishing hook and this caused her death. It is now left to the male swan to raise the nine cygnets that they successfully hatched this year. It is a real shame that this swan died like this, especially as fishing is banned on the lake at the moment. Here's hoping the young swans thrive and over time help to increase numbers on the lake.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Open Air Art

Every summer the Imperial Gardens, behind the Town Hall, plays host to the Open Air Art Exhibition. The event runs for four weeks, and each week each of the 25 different panels display a different artists work. The artists are made up of people who belong to local art clubs or people who paint for a living. All of the paintings and drawings are for sale, with the money going directly to the artists. It is a great opportunity for locals to showcase their work and each week there is always something new to see. When Phoebe and I had a look last week we were surprised at how high the standard was, there were several pictures that even I would have paid out for!

Do you have anything like this where you live?

Friday, 4 July 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Not a lot to say about this one, as the photo says it all. What I will add is that the moon was low in the sky, big and yellow-ish, though that isn't shown so well in the photo. I am still pleased with the result, especially as I don't have a tripod. Check out all the other Sky Watchers here.

I'm not going to have time to visit many blogs today, so I'll catch up with all those skies tomorrow.

Have a good weekend one and all!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Just One Cornetto...

When I took this photo on Monday it was perfect ice cream weather, but now the weather has turned. Its humid, overcast and rainy. I can tell you, its certainly not Greece! The thought of a cone on a hot day should keep me going though. This ice cream seller needs to keep an eye of his stall, someone is making off with one. Perhaps he should call the police and ask for the Cold Case Team!

As D.C Confidential pointed out in the first comment, I didn't tell you my favourite flavour of ice cream. I think I'll have to go with mint choc chip. Whats your favourite?

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

On Yer Bike

These green and yellow bikes are the latest initiative from Cheltenham Borough Council to help cut traffic. The bike hire scheme was launched yesterday after a successful trial by Gloucestershire University earlier in the year. Basically you pre-register using your mobile phone, pay a £10 deposit and when you want to hire a bike a a code is sent to your phone. You then enter the code at the docking station and the bike is released for you to ride. The first half an hour of use is free, and then you are charged a couple of quid every half hour after that. There are seven docking stations around town, including one at the train station (which is just out of Cheltenham town centre), with 30 bikes available for hire. It seems like a really good idea, although I haven't seen anyone riding one yet!

For more information visit the company behind the scheme,
On Yer Bike

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Theme Day - 'No...' Signs

Yet again its Theme Day (the months are flying by!) I found it hard to get inspired for this theme. I wanted to show a sign that would be a bit unusual, but couldn't find one. In the end I settled for a standard sort of sign and added some effects to the photo, hopefully making it a bit different from the rest. With regard to the litter dropping aspect, if the Council enforced the very steep fine then there wouldn't be a litter problem. But they don't, so there is!

There are 171 other CDPB taking part in this Theme Day, take some time to pay them a visit.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants
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