The Spirits of the Sky

Do you remember the Solar Eclipse that we had the other week? March 20th was when we experienced it – I experienced a Total Solar Eclipse here at the Mansion, whilst the rest of the UK was either covered in cloud, or saw only a Partial Eclipse; and other countries probably saw something different as well… Well, I was glancing over the photos I’d taken, and spotted something rather remarkable in a few of them that I hadn’t noticed before… and the more I looked, the more I noticed.

Yes, this is another of those can you see? posts… and I hope you can see what I can here!

Here’s the clearest photo I have:

Looking directly at the Sun – now there’s something you don’t get to say every day (and for any younger readers I mean the Sun in this photograph and not the actual Sun in the sky… that’s just silly!) – does anything else stand out in the picture?

Not even the three shadowy figures looking down from beyond the clouds?

I’ll highlight them, if you can’t see them:

As I was highlighting the three (in red) my attention was drawn to two other faces just below them. The one highlighted in yellow looks like a traditional ghost, and the one highlighted in green looks like a face but in the negative image.

I was using Photoshop Elements to do the highlighting. Photoshop Elements has a little thumbnail image of the layer that’s being worked on (I sound very techy, I know!) and it was when I looked at the thumbnail another face jumped out at me.

Here’s the thumbnail:

And here’s the image highlighted again, with the large smiling face outlined:

This post has other photos taken at the same time… the shadowy shapes aren’t visible in all of them, but they are there in a few.

Can you see any different Spirits of the Sky in today’s photo?

Let me know in the comments!

Diminishing the Darkness

I’ve caught up with a few blogs I follow this evening, and have received quite a few messages from several of them that could literally have been intended for me.

We seem to be going through dark times at the moment; well some of us do.

Although I’m quite upbeat, I can sense that I’m being ‘dragged down’ by some invisible hand – talon – more like. I keep shaking it off, but it keeps grabbing hold.

I’m focussing beyond the darkness. I’m seeing myself free of these dastardly clutches. And I’m lighting up the tunnel that I’m in, before I actually reach the end.

Take that, darkness! You may be all around me, but I’m shining far brighter because of you. So thank you. And through my gratitude, you lose some of your grip… so go on… make me shine brighter! You know you want to.

Oh no! Oh NO!

An iconic part of Cheshire has been destroyed today.

Back in 1988, club goers everywhere, well, everywhere in the UK, were treated to a late night music show called ‘The Hit Man and Her’. The Hit Man was Pete Waterman, a third of the song-writing trio Stock Aitken and Waterman, and Her was Michaela Strachan, who has since moved on to presenting wildlife shows. The Hit Man and Her was broadcast live, from slap-bang in the middle of a heaving nightclub, as they tended to be in those days.

The very first show was broadcast from a nightclub in Warrington, Cheshire, named Mr Smiths.

The building was built in 1937 by Union Cinemas, and was called the Ritz Cinema. Associated British Cinemas took over the Union Chain later in 1937, but they kept the name for the Ritz until 1958, when they renamed it the ABC. Folk today still refer to it as the Ritz.

In 1972, the building split into two, housing a bingo hall in the stalls and a cinema in the balcony; and in 1982 the cinema closed its doors for the final time, followed shortly afterwards by the bingo club.

The bingo hall became Mr Smith’s nightclub, and there have also been a few other names for the club in the years since then.

I remember vividly going to the Saturday Morning Club that they held there, back in the 1970s. And I also remember (rather strangely) my nights of frantic dancing and merriment during the 1980s and later. Frantic dancing is probably the best way to describe my moves. They weren’t smooth; and they certainly weren’t pleasant. I ached for a week after doing that, and my ears rang for about the same length of time afterwards also, as the music was so loud. Still, good memories.

This morning, there was a definite smell of burning in the air. I wasn’t aware of what was happening until I approached the site. The building had been alight since before 2am this morning, and fire crews from neighbouring towns had been called in to help fight the blaze.

Most of the roads around the area were closed, but I was able to continue with my journey as my way was clear. Smoke was still rising from what remained of the building as I watched from over the bridge, mouth open.

The building has been empty and unused for a few years, but the owners were in the final stages of talks for the building to become a youth club.

The ironic thing? Seven youths aged 15, 16 and 17 have been arrested in connection with the fire. Can I ask what is wrong with people?

The building is now in the process of being demolished. Fire crews are still damping down other parts of the building, well, they were at 7.30pm, but the bulldozers have already moved in and torn down the worst affected parts. How much will be demolished and therefore how much will remain tomorrow morning remains to be seen… but if the building is gone completely the Warrington skyline will have a completely different look tomorrow morning.

As I drove past the building this evening, and saw the demolished side of it, I felt physically sick. I know it’s ‘only’ a building, and one I haven’t stepped foot in for many a year, but it’s a building that invokes memories all the same… and now, it seems, only those memories are all that is left of it.

A sign that nothing lasts forever, perhaps.

The Union Cinema, 1937:

The ABC (EMI) Cinema in 1978:

Mr Smiths in the 1980s (or thereabouts):

And April 14th 2015:

Oh no! Oh YES!

Oh, Heavens to Murgatroyd! I hear you scream. It’s back!
Oh yes indeed, it is. And I am.

I’ve had a lovely little break away from Blogland, but now need to get back into things. Reignite that muse, as it were. Stoke the fires. Ships ahoy and what not.

I was a little disappointed when I checked my stats and noticed that in the whole time I was away, I’d received half a visitor. HALF! Not even a whole one.

But, thinking about it, who’s gonna visit when I’ve not been here myself? I can try to expect miracles, but actually experiencing them is rather a different matter. Hey ho… I’ve experienced miracles, however, so maybe that was a wrong term to use. All things considered, though, I’d better start pulling my socks up with this blogging malarkey… or blog with one sock on and the other off – now there’s a novel idea.

I’ll send out a quick psychic burst to let folk know that I and the blog are back, just in case I’ve turned off the notifications… I’ve been tinkering with the blog’s theme today and may have caught the wrong button during a ferocious sneezing session brought on by a sudden bout of hay fever.

There. Psychic message sent.

The weather around here has gone sub-tropical. A few days ago, we were freezing cold, but now we’ve hit the heights of a sweltering Summer, and we’re only just in Spring. Folk are having barbecues. Leaves have suddenly appeared on trees. Wasps and butterflies are everywhere. Hordes of people are flocking to the Lake. Air conditioning is wreaking havoc in the workplace. Talk of drought is already being muttered in some circles. And I have hay fever. Sigh.

Hi! How are you doing?

The glorious weather has caused a growth spurt to occur in my hair. It’s now, officially, all over the place. Not to Cousin Itt extremes just yet, but pretty close in length. I have hair at the side, just above the sideburns, that reach down to my shoulders if I don’t trim them back regularly. And I have one eyebrow hair that I’m sure is trying to reach the upper atmosphere. I need to trim that back too, but that’s a persistent thick strong little sucker, I don’t mind admitting. After pruning that colossus, I need to lie down in a darkened room.

Hang on, I think I’m receiving a psychic message.

Nope. It was the wrong number. Sigh.

Now, where was I? Ah yes.

Hay fever. Lovely. At least it isn’t a cold which I thought it was, hanging around. I realised it was hay fever when my eyelids felt as though they’d been replaced by sandpaper every time I blinked. I’m fine now, just to let you know, my eyes have finally stopped running.

There, see… and hardly bloodshot to boot. Bonus!


I’m back. The blog’s back. I’ll be back visiting soon. And replying to comments, I promise.

I just have an eyebrow to see to right now. Sigh. If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

I wonder who that half-visitor was though…? Hmmm…