In the Garden Part 3

As seems to be the story this summer we get several days of rain and the odd brighter day once in a while.  On Sunday the afternoon was quite sunny.  Given the heavy rain and strong winds over the last week the flowers in the garden have been a bit battered but I managed to take a few photos of the flowers currently in bloom.


Moroccan Pineapple

Red Rose

White Rose




An Appointment with the Boss

On Friday night we headed off to the Etihad Stadium in east Manchester.  Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were playing their second straight show in England of the Wrecking Ball tour after performing a knock out concert at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on Thursday night. They are playing the Isle of Wight Festival on Sunday (most likely in the mud) before performing a few more dates in Europe and then onto Hyde Park in London in July.  Going to the Etihad made a hat-trick for us of Manchester ‘sporting grounds’ as we have seen the Boss play at Old Trafford Cricket Ground and Old Trafford football stadium on past tours.

Unfortunately with the heavy rain across the north of England and the sheer weight of traffic trying to get into Manchester we got stuck in a traffic jam coming from Liverpool at the end of the M62 and got into the concert at 8.15 pm an hour after the start.  Leaving Wirral at 5.30pm was obviously too late in the circumstances.  But the Boss is famed for his long shows so we knew there was more to come.  We walked in with the band playing ‘Atlantic City’ from the Nebraska album.  As we settled down the band kicked into ‘Prove It All Night’ and 19 further songs.

The full 30-song, 3 hour and 17 minute set list was:

1. Badlands

2. No Surrender

3. We Take Care of Our Own

4. Wrecking Ball

5. Death to My Hometown

6. My City Of Ruins

7. Spirit In The Night

8. E Street Shuffle

9. Jack of all Trades

10. Atlantic City

11. Prove It All Night (’78 Intro)

12. Two Hearts

13. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)

14. Darlington County

15. Shackled And Drawn

16. Waitin’ On A Sunny Day

17. Save My Love

18. The Promise (solo piano)

19. The River

20. The Rising

21. Out In The Street

22. Land Of Hope And Dreams

As usual the Boss gives his all and more and he and the East Band played an encore of:

23. We Are Alive

24. Thunder Road

25. Born To Run

26. Bobby Jean

27. Cadillac Ranch

28. Dancing In The Dark

29. Tenth Avenue Freeze Out

30. Twist and Shout (with a bit of Louie-Louie).

Whilst it had been raining all day in Manchester it stopped, we are told, as soon as Bruce took the stage although we did have a few small showers from time to time. But being the Boss he came out to the audience during the showers as he likes getting wet on stage!

As professional cameras were not allowed I couldn’t take my trusty Canon SLR so along with other people using their iphones I tried to take some pictures using my old Canon Ixus 850 pocket camera, it doesn’t have any form of image stabilization so I couldn’t get any shots of the band on the stage that weren’t a bit shaky and blurred but I managed to get some pictures from the big screen on our side of the main stage.  We were sat in East Stand.  The stadium was not completely full, in the Colin Bell stand opposite us there were some empty seats probably being others that were stuck in traffic somewhere in the north of England but the pitch was packed.

There were lots of highlights from the show.  As is customary the Boss strutted along the front of the crowd pulling out some young people and ladies to dance and sing along with him.  One young lad pulled onto the decking sang a whole verse of ‘Waitin’ on a Sunny day’; he deserved one of Bruce’s plectrums that was thrust into his hand as a memento as the Boss lowered him back into the crowd.  “The Promise” played on solo piano by Bruce was another high spot.  On ‘Tenth Avenue Freeze Out’ when the Boss got to the line “and the big man joined the band” he and the band stopped playing and stood completely still as statues in their positions as they showed pictures of Clarence Clemons celebrating his life and contribution to the East Street Band. As the film ended they crashed back into the end of the song with the echoing crescendo “with a tenth avenue freeze-out, tenth avenue freeze-out…”

Clarence’s nephew Jake Clemons has taken on the mantle of playing sax and the crowd applauded him on every sax solo he gave.  Taunting the crowd that at his age (he is now 62) he is no longer up to giving any more songs Bruce falls onto the stage in mock exhaustion to be revived by Little Steven wringing out a spongeful of water over him.  Reinvigorated off we went into the pounding encore setlist.

The Boss and the East Street band played their last song and at 10.35pm as they took their last bows the riggers and roadies were straight onto the stage to start dismantling the scaffolding and equipment to get the show back on the road and off to the next venue.  We then joined the thousands of people getting out of the stadium thronging the streets walking back to their cars or public transport links and then wending their slow journeys home.

In the garden part 2

This weekend has been very changeable.  Showers with winds and some bright sunny spells. I’ve taken some more photographs of the flowers in the garden before they fade.


Day Lily

Fir Tree


Sweet William (Dianthus)

Snow in Summer (Cerastium)

Japanese Acer


Castor Oil Plant (Fatsia)

Rock Rose (Cistus)




Fly on a leaf

Sambucus Purpurea (Purple leaved Elder)


Hydrangea Serrata

Kites over the Mersey

Wirral’s annual kite festival ‘Kites over the Mersey 2012’ was held at The ‘Dips’ in New Brighton.

There were kite flyers from Britain and across the world attending the Wirral International Kite Festival which was held on 9th and 10th June.

There were a variety of spectacular show kites on display, including artistic kites, giant inflatable kites, sports kites and power kites.

It was a little overcast but the sun kept trying to get out and there was a light breeze.  It was well attended with lots of families enjoying the spectacle.

The Chinese dragon kites were particularly impressive and took quite  a lot of control.  They had a dragon’s head with a vey long tail.  They were difficult to get up and get down again in the breeze.

Another dragon inflatable kite was equally impressive but the kite flyers found it difficult to launch in the conditions so it never got fully into the air.

The event was held over two days and the kites were changed around with new kites on display on a regular basis.

Brightening our day

This year two fields alongside Levers Causeway in Storeton are planted up with oil seed rape which is currently in flower. I’ve been waiting for a sunny day to photograph the field against a nice bright blue sky.  But we haven’t had too many sunny days up to now and the rapeseed flowers are fading away to be replaced by their seed pods and the bright yellow is quickly changing to green.

Storeton has long been an area for agriculture. Storeton has Viking connections and the name derives from the Old Norse meaning “great farmstead”.  The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1085 as ‘Stortone’.  It is much older as it has been thought that the medieval poem ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’ refers to Storeton Hall in the dark ages before the Norman Conquest.  The later hall was built around 1360 for William Stanley.  Today it is now a house and farm buildings.

I’ve taken a few shots of the field and St Saviors Church on Gerald Road in Oxton high up on Wirral’s central ridge can be seen in the distance.

Whilst the fields are full to the brim of oilseed rape plants…

…the verges have many different wild plants such as Honesty in full bloom here.

Soon the fields will be all green and then as the plants seeds ripen they will turn brown and be harvested later in the summer.

Monday in the garden

Bank Holiday Monday is a very different day from yesterday’s grey rainy day.  The sun is shining but not for long, the weather forecast says its rain again tomorrow.

Getting out in the garden I’ve taken some photographs of the flowers before they fade away.

Tree Peony


Maple tree





Cranesbill Geranium

Oak tree

The Green Man who has become faded and worn

Californian Lilac


Lets hope that there’s a long hot summer ahead.

A wet weekend

It’s a very long bank holiday weekend marking 60 years of The Queen’s reign with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations right up to Tuesday 5th June.  Friday was hot and sunny, Saturday was overcast and Sunday was wet and grey.

This was the day of the Thames river pageant where The Queen led around a thousand boats in one of the largest flotillas ever seen on the River Thames. The pageant started up-river from Battersea Bridge finishing downriver of Tower Bridge.  They had closed the Thames barrier to ensure the small boats could navigate the Thames.

We went on our own pageant walking around the Marine Lake in West Kirby.  It was a cold and wet Sunday and there was only one sailing dingy on the lake but not for long as it couldn’t cope with the strong off shore winds.

There were a few other brave souls out.  The visibility was poor and you could not see the Welsh mainland across the Dee estuary.  We could just about see Hilbre Island and its smaller islands.

The Lifeguards were snuggled up in their Land Rover in the deserted car park.

We did a circuit of the lake and then straight into Morrisons for a hot cup of tea.