Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Sky and Flight

This is the cloudy sky above Berry Hill fields on Sunday afternoon. We were walking on this area, which is not very far from where we live, and I was trying, not very successfully, to photograph a skylark. The black dot in the photo below is in fact a skylark as it was hovering in the sky, singing to it's full lung capacity, before making it's swift, almost vertical descent to the ground. The little birds were all around us.

Berry Hill fields is an interesting site an area, only two miles from the city centre, which has always, until fairly recently, been farmed. There are also the remains of coal mines and brickworks but the most interesting feature, gradually uncovered by recent archaeological digs, is a13th/14th century moated manor house. Below is the site as it is now.

Still with the theme of flight, today is the 90th anniversary of the foundation of the Royal Air Force. To commemorate this at 1p.m. today there will be a flypast over London by the Red arrows, amongst others, and one by the Battle of Britain flight over the RAF Museum at Hendon. Below is photo I took recently of the Spitfire in the Reginald Mitchell gallery at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Hanley. Mitchell, the designer of the Spitfire, was a local man and much is made of him in the city.

Another local hero who served in the RAF during the second world war is football legend Sir Stanley Matthews. Known as the 'Wizard of Dribble' he was born 1915 in Hanley where there is a statue in his honour. When he died in 2000, an estimated 10,000 people lined the streets to watch his funeral procession pass by. He was my father's football hero so it was a great pleasure one day at work to pick up the phone and to hear a lovely voice saying 'Hello, Stanley Matthews here, I wonder if you can help me?' I did help him, quickly and efficiently, as he rang off he said 'Thanks, dear, you've saved my life.'

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