Tuesday 30 September 2014

Castle House Sheffield

I was lucky enough this week to visit "The Festival of the Mind" exhibition in Sheffield - a collaboration between the University and artists and held in the now disused old Brightside and Carbrook Co-Op building in the city centre.  

 The building hasn't been used for some time, and the owners still do not have a definite plan for its future use, but they are developers that have bought and converted big retail units in the North of England before so I hope that they manage to think of something spectacular for this huge building which has a special place in the heart of Sheffielders.
 I love the statue of Vulcan on the outside - a symbol of Sheffield.  Very iconic I think.
 The building was finally opened in 1964 and was built using some pretty fine materials.  It currently has a grade 2 listing.  It is a fine example of 1960's architecture.

 There are no escalators in the building but it has many sculptural staircases.  You can see on all the staircases that an extra rail was added at a later date as they deemed the original height of the rails were to low once they were in use.

 The central staircase throughout the store is very iconic and was feared by many a young child in the 1960's.  It is very spectacular still.

 I loved the Chicken and Fish sculpture outside of the rooftop restaurant.

 The original co-op suffered a direct hit in the Sheffield Blitz - it really was gutted.

 For a while, they erected pre fabricated  buildings to get the store up and running again before they opened the new store in 1964.
 One of the rooms that I was keen to visit, that not many people had ever seen before was the boardroom - seen here in this archive photograph.
 I was thrilled to see that it looked as if it had not changed one little bit.  The size  of the horseshoe table has meant that it has remained in situ as it won't fit through the door! The old panelling is still in plave as are the 1960's light fittings.

 You could easily imagine the board members hanging up their coats.......
 ... and diving straight into the cocktail cabinet!
 The tiled walls on the staircases where wonderful

 I'm so glad I got the opportunity to look around.  Many of the others on the tour had worked in the building in the past and added some great stories to the tour.

I'll show you some of the festival exhibits later.

Tuesday 23 September 2014


Another "first" this weekend for me was a stay in a hostel.  Our group all stayed in Caernarfon at Totters Independent Hostel which was a bit of a revelation for me!  Being a hostel the price was very low however it was spotlessly clean and in a fantastic position - this was the view from our room.

 It had a great room for socialising in, and the basement housed a fantastic kitchen  and breakfast table where you could either cook your own food or make toast or cereals, tea and coffee that were provided free of charge.
 Our room was a private double room (with a single bed with a pull out bed for 2 children) and was en suite.  It was exceptionally spacious and really really comfortable.  I would stay here again in this room like a shot.
 After our walk shrouded in mist on Saturday, Sunday was a crystal clear day- perfect for exploring this beautiful little town.
 My friend has lived here abouts since she moved away to university and she gave us a wonderful and very in depth tour of the town and the castle.  She pointed out all the things we would have normally missed and brought the ancient parts really to life with her knowledge - and humour!

It certainly made us want to go back and explore further.

Monday 22 September 2014

Love on a mountain top!

When we first joined our walking group, they casually mentioned that they had an annual jaunt to Caernarfon to climb Mount Snowdon.  I thought that sounded a grand weekend.  Our leaders sister is one of my old school friends and lives in Caernarfon so I thought that whilst hubby walked the mountain, I could catch up with my pal and she would show me the town and we all might have a jolly time.

 But somehow, and I still don't really know it happened, I was conned into participating in the climb.
 So that is how a week after my 55th birthday, I found myself climbing my first mountain!!!!

 We climbed up taking the Miners Track which had a decent path for most of the way, but had 2 or 3 worring places where I had to literally "climb" and scramble - I wasn't overly keen on these bits, but with a bit of pushing from behind, and pulling from above, I made it!

 It was a truly tremendous feeling to reach the summit
 And I was amazed to find these chaps who had walked up earlier, and were now changing into best bib and tucker - awaiting the bride to be and the rest of the bridal party to arrive on the train.
 Here she is!!  What an amazing place to tie the knot!   I sat and watched the ceremony.
 The view from the top is stunning ....... I am told, but on Saturday, we could only see a few yards!!  Such a shame.  The walking group say I have to keep climbing until I get the view!!
 And then it was time to descend - down Llanberis path.  Whilst this was a better path, it really tested my short legs!

It's amazing what you can achieve when others have more faith in you than you do yourself!!!  Joining the walking group has been a great move for us this year.