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Thursday, February 01, 2007 My Very First Woodpecker


I have resumed my daily lunchtime walks, today's journey was through the much underused Moor Park which is a mere 5 minute walk from my house. Upon entering the park I didn't see a single person for the first five minutes. It was during this time that my eye was caught by two grey squirrels playing around a tree, whilst I was trying to capture them on film, i became aware of a tapping noise and looking down a hill, very close to the footpack, about three feet from the ground was this little beauty. (Not this actual one, I nicked this of the internet, no by the time I'd taken my gloves off and got the zoom working the bird was long gone).

I've heard woodpeckers on two previous occasions, once in some far off trees in Longridge and on another occasion in some light woods near the allotments at Moor Park, usually the tapping noise is so distant that you don't become aware of it for some time. This time the bird was only about thirty feet from me and had no leaves to conceal it.

About fifty yards from this spot is a small brook, that is now quite clean, but was once very polluted, it was here about thirty years that I caught my one and only sighting of a Kingfisher, I can only remember it as being a brilliant blue colour because if flew so fast into the banking of the stream, or was it away from the bank, I can't remember.

Anyway, here's the photo I actually took of the two squirells, there's only one in the photo and it's the grey thing to the right of the round thing. David Bailey watch out here I come!


The whole park was filled with the sounds of birds, more so than at anytime I remember during the summer.
Posted by Cadley Dad :: Thursday, February 01, 2007 :: 7 comments

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--------------- Preston, Lancashire ---------------

Wednesday, January 31, 2007 Guess Who's Back?

Hi Everyone,
I've started planning next years holiday to Cornwall, the nights are getting lighter and the temperature is rising, I think I may be getting my enthusiasm back!

On the left you will see the house we are renting for a week in August, it's the grey one in the middle, the stretch of water in front is the Truro River, just before it meets and joins the River Fal. We tend to book more traditional cottages, but the price was right and the location looks a dream, to the right of the house is a creek, so you can only walk past these houses, no more roads.

I've found a brilliant new (to me) website www.oliverscornwall.co.uk which has some great reviews on pubs, walks, villages, towns, etc., in Cornwall, a lot of the places Oliver describes I've been to at one point or another over the last twenty years, but some I've driven straight past. Have a look at his website, I've suggested he does a blog because it would suit him so well. I came across this recently http://www.prestonlancs.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=318 which is people discussing my blog, without commenting on the actual blog!!
Posted by Cadley Dad :: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 :: 1 comments

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--------------- Preston, Lancashire ---------------

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 DOWN THE CANAL, DOWN MEMORY LANE!

As some of you are aware I have taken to having a long walk at lunchtime when work and weather permit. Although not glorious sunshine it was a nice day today and I made time for this walk down the Lancaster Canal. For those of you unfamiliar with canals they were the original motorways. Used for transporting goods and people in barges, towed by a horse - hence towpath, as seen in this first picture.

All the bridges have a cast iron plaque with a number on, this one is 17, I'm pretty certain the first number is 12, the canal was cut shut some year ago at the Preston end, then later on when the M6 motorway was built it was shortened at the Lancaster end and near Tewitfield there is an unusable section, which is unreachable because of the low motorway bridge. The signpost below is a property developers vain attempt to make his massive housing estate merge in with the local environment, you can just see the rooftops in the photo.

These area was about two miles away from the nearest house when I was a kid, so 2 miles every 30 years!


The dead fish appeared to be a Pike, about two foot long and 2-3lbs I would imagine, a friend of mine caught a 20lb Pike when we were teenagers, he was in the local paper holding in a blag bin liner, he let it go, so you can imagine how big it might be now. The nest was found on the floor, I assume it fell from the tree during a storm. How do birds make them without hands?

The road bridge is a recent road built to encircle Preston - called Tom Benson Way - after a local record breaking long distance walker. It's odd there was only grafitti on this one surface, all the others were grafitti free. I'm really against grafitti, but here I just thought - whats worse a concrete wall or a colourful wall! I think maybe it wasn't menacing like some grafitti is, maybe if it was a dark night, etc. etc.


These three boats were moored at the 18th Bridge, as kids we would set out for a days walk with a duffle bag with fruit and drink in, and we would aim for a Bridge no. The 18th was always a popular choice because there was the white house in the photo that sold soft drinks and chocolate. Other destinations further along the canal were the Hand and Dagger Pub and the Jolly Rodger Cafe.

On one occasion we had set out fishing and were between the 17th and 18th Bridge, the local waterboard had been dredging the canal, depositing the mud and silt on the virtually unused towpath. There was a group of about 6-8 of us, some had wellington boots on and some had black plimsols, as a group we decided to run like mad idiots through this mud! Needless to say the one with plimsols managed to make it through, those of us with wellingtons on got stuck good and proper. This is a true story, for years afterwards when the mud had set solid, we would walk down the towpath and be able to see the tops of our wellingtons sticking out! We had to walk all the way home in our socks!

Happy days!
Posted by Cadley Dad :: Wednesday, May 17, 2006 :: 4 comments

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--------------- Preston, Lancashire ---------------

Friday, April 28, 2006 BANK RAID!

I was just driving past the end of this road on the way to my local branch of the TSB, which I had visited yesterday, but had been given the incorrect amount by £80, which the bank informed me they had found when they cashed up for the night, when I saw this commotion, I'd already seen the police helicopter hovering, like a scene from Goodfella's. The van in the picture is waiting to take away the last of four robbers, the suspect is being held down a small ally to the right of the man on the right.

An eyewitness told me he'd heard two shots, someone else told me they'd shot the back window out of a car. One witness told me there were four suspects. I did get a photo of the last suspect being led to the van, but it doesn't show the guys best features.

The stuff on the floor round the people is supposed to be something to do with guns, criminals or police I'm not sure.

For several weeks police have been watching the bank, on one occasion we saw three cars and a video surveillance van parked around the building.

I hope everyone in the bank is ok.
Posted by Cadley Dad :: Friday, April 28, 2006 :: 3 comments

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--------------- Preston, Lancashire ---------------

Friday, March 24, 2006 The Millennium Link

The Millennium Link is the name given to a recently constructed canal link, joining the Lancaster Canal to the River Ribble. Prior to this any boats on the Lancaster Canal could only access the rest of the canal network by travelling in open sea for about 40 miles! Via Glasson Dock.

Now boats can exit the Lancaster Canal, via the Link, to the River Ribble and then to the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

This Link is quite a feat of engineering it has used for the main part an existing stream that has been widened and altered to accomodate boats. A series of locks have been added to take the boats down from the canal to the stream, three locks in total.

The first picture is of a carved wooden statue that stands watch facing the locks. When this was first built it was vandalised and I thought it was a waste of money, but having seen it today, I actually think it looks good now. People have got used to him being there and no longer vandalise the statue.



The second picture is of course the locks. This is the view the statue would see, if you notice the road on the right, at the bottom of the locks is a turning basin, the canal turns sharply to cross under this road, this is where the existing stream runs, and then just beyond the road, just in view is a railway, so the canal passes beneath this.



In the last picture you can see the statue at the top, he can be seen for quite a distance, and at the bottom is the aforementioned basin.

All in all, the campaigners who fought for this development have turned a derelict piece of land into a lasting, modern day marvel of engineering.

The link, having passed under the railway, continues for about three miles towards the river, where traffic lights have been installed at the junction, because boats can only enter from the river at certain states of the tide, this also means there is a lock at the end of the link to stop the water draining away.

This whole link has a footpath alongside and has become a popular walkway, a haven for wildlife and pleasant attraction for the local population.
Posted by Cadley Dad :: Friday, March 24, 2006 :: 8 comments

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--------------- Preston, Lancashire ---------------

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 HAS SPRING FINALLY SPRUNG?

This is surely a sign that Spring is here, taken in the second of two public parks within an easy walk of my home. This one is, looking at my map icon, bottom left, a small bit of pink just visible. It's called Ashton Park and is actually larger than Haslam Park.



Ashton Park houses Ashton Health Centre, which is where our doctor is based. As part of my new healthier lifestyle I am going to have at least a half hour walk every lunchtime, and this will be one of my regular walks. It means I walk through first Haslam Park, a short stretch of quiet road to Ashton Park. In the second picture the road in the background if you were to follow it to the right leads to Preston's Riversway, which is the old dock complex which has been completely revamped into a leisure/retail park with a marina, very under utilised, so if anyone has a yacht they want berthing!

It's hard to believe that less than 200 yards to the right is McDonald's, Supermarkets, Homebase, etc.



If you were to follow the road to the left you would find only 50 yards away the local Chrysler dealer, who caught me snapping my dream car this lunchtime, in fact if a lottery win was to come my way I would purchase all four cars from this dealership, the Chrysler People Carrier, the Jeep, the Crossfire Sports Car and my current fave the 200C. (pictured).
Posted by Cadley Dad :: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 :: 3 comments

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--------------- Preston, Lancashire ---------------

Friday, March 10, 2006 VIEW OF THE BRIDGE

Today's journey along the banks of the Lancaster Canal will give you an alternative view of the road bridge on the masthead of my blog, you can see from this angle the mill and chimney in the bankground. This obviously used to be a cotton mill, then a warehouse for a catalogue company and I believe at present it's a call centre. I think one day it will be converted into apartments, just like a similar building has been in Preston centre.

The bridge in the view is the one on the map where the orange road crosses the canal, and we are facing generally south.

If you imagine the position this photograph was taken from and then turn to your left 180 degrees you will see the next photographic view, this shows the old cottage, traditionally inhabited by someone who work for the water board, you can see the blue barge in the distance. Right at the left of the photograph where the canal passes out of view is a large stream that passes beneath the canal, one of my neighbour's gardens are at this junction, so in effect if you could see past the building in the top left corner you would see my house.

To the left hand of this photograph is the run off from the canal which goes behind the cottage and down to the aforementioned stream. The land inbetween these two pictures is a kind of motorway service station for the canal, it has a toilet/shower building, picnic tables, etc. It's reached by a little lane from the bridge in the first photo. I've never been down the lane, I'm not sure your allowed. But one day next week the rebel in me is going to find out.
Posted by Cadley Dad :: Friday, March 10, 2006 :: 1 comments

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--------------- Preston, Lancashire ---------------

MY STOMPING GROUND

I hope you all like the new design, it's taken a while to get it just how I like it. The map shows the area that I've spent the last 43 years in.

My primary school was at the right hand end of the green road, my secondary school was the one in the centre at the top. I spent my childhood and teenage years in a terraced house backing on to the canal shown on the map in blue, where it passes under the orange/brown road, my house was just along there.

I still live in this area, with my wife and two children.
Posted by Cadley Dad :: Friday, March 10, 2006 :: 2 comments

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--------------- Preston, Lancashire ---------------