Messy Church at St Oswalds seems to go from strength to strength with each monthly session attracting return families plus this time two news family groups. We had 29 people there this morning and had some great fun and praise in a hectic morning which started with archaic BCP service then leapt forward several hundred years and then pleasantly floated in a midstream family service at 11am. By the end I was pretty washed up but exhilarated. The new tea urn saw service and with snow outside most stayed for tea and biscuits so used up all the water, 9 litres that is some supping. I'm now enjoying an aperitif while the beef cooks and some Priorat wine from Albert's region in Catalonia. Here is a shot of our congregation enjoying breakfast this morning about 10.15 we actually seemed to get more adult engagement this month - really looking forwards to the second session at St Lawrence's in Over Peover next month but I think I'll be in Singapore or Malaysia., no I've checked and I don't go until mid week.
With the weather being cold, snow again today the garden is full of birds enjoying the luxury of our multitude of feeding station, latest residents over the past week have been treecreepers, not a first as have seen a few now and then but day after day how splendid - ok not as colourful as the nuthatch but very welcome.
We have quite a few dvd orders in today, not as much as Christmas but enough to keep me occupied, Mandy will post them out in the morning while I'm off to Chester and Wrexham, the latter has seen so many changes since my last film session, I did try last week but it was hopeless too much sunshine, light cloud promised tomorrow. Here are some Chester shots from past visits.
Our usual group of circa 1K blog followers has grown to about 1.5k, great to have so many of you on board with us and the adventure which is PMP Films, the company is a not for profit business and you deal with just myself Dave or my far better half, Mandy. We are celebrating 30 years of video production and 40 years providing services to transport enthusiasts- I guess we should have a logo with all that on and an article in Buses mag, I'll see what I can do. A little dip in the latest PMP Youtube viewing figures but it's always a little up and down but I'll try and post some nice truck shots on it tonight to keep all the worldwide lorry fane on board our fine vessel.
The viewership overall is on the rise again probably the same as Christmas our target now back to those pre Christmas levels of 90k views on our channel per day, I think we are back at 60k a couple of days back, the stats are always a little in arrears although there is a real time graph which looks encouraging. Sorry to bang on about this stuff but it is now what creates the income to finance all our travels and having established the only transport orientated archive at all in several countries, take Vietnam for example we do wield some clout on the world stage.
We are still faced with the future of the PMP archive, what do we do with it when we are gone, the Online archive once held much promise but now languishes as a black hole, do we approach them with a promise of our archive and the hope that we'll get access to their material which now seldom get to see the light of day. I've already got negotiations going with the BFI over my non transport archive film material. These are important issues but most viewers are too young to even care about the cine archives and they know little pre 1990 let alone the 1930's. So much cine film from the 60's could still bring pleasure and add to our understanding of transport in times past but locked into cupboards going no where at all.
I've got a lot done today, went to St Oswalds early on got the door ramp cleaned and reassembled, tidies out 5 pews of flower arrangers junk, got the spot lamp moved for Christmas tree illumination back to its normal orientation, ie organist no longer blinded.
Checked for woodworm, no signs of fresh activity. Checked out the re-positioning of our ancient bog oak chest and found solutions along with positioning of pews when removed for disabled access requirements. I fitted the new tea urn and its retaining safety belt. A few other minor jobs a good mornings work then went home and after lunch to Potteries for a top secret project ref St Oswalds, more of which in April. Right thats enough you lot, what have you all been doing other than watching PMP DVDs, plenty of orders coming in now, the New Year has really got underway at last. Photos, well, eerrmm, I know lets have something really different, Vietnam hey our best viewers outside the UK!
A few jobs done, I got my Russian visa application filled out and ready to take up to the agent in Manchester next week which took a bit of time sorting. We got the covers for the latest DVDs sorted and on the PMP shop. We went over to Liverpool in the afternoon to see Jennie Mandy's cousin's daughter who is an artist and had been holding a small paining she did we purchased at an exhibition nearly two years back, we had a clear run there and despite being late afternoon got a straight run back on the M62/M6 no mean feat on a Friday afternoon. I managed to get a couple of leather belts from charity shops in Knutsford which will secure the tea urn which has now been fully tested and ready to go for Sunday at St Oswalds.
I finished the DVD on Buxton trucks and put clips on Youtube, our hits there are climbing steadily back to Christmas levels, the revenue with reduced payments to Google will lag until the end of February when the cost of advertising climbs towards the Easter holiday - still quite acceptable levels though. Not a lot of orders coming in but with magazines appearing it may get busy the weekend. I'm hoping the weather will be more settled next week and I can get a few filming days in.
I'm calling in to St Oswalds tomorrow to measure up our ancients chests with a view to shuffling them around to create more space and to fit in the pews we are removing as seating for the tea area, when complete we'll have much better wheelchair and circulation room. Just had a chat to John Bishop re the Ukraine trip in July, we are stopping off in Kiev then getting the train to Odessa so we can have a day in the city, I'll have a go at getting the trucks at that nice location near the end of the east metro line which was spot on for the light etc. It's near a major tram junction so fine for John as well, I'll have to try and remember all the details and directions!
A few kind words from Stewart in Falkirk who enjoys following our daily blog, actually sometimes comments can be destructive as well as supportive, we have around a thousand people following us on the blog and about 10k hits a week. On our Youtube channel at present we have approaching 30k followers and about 60-70k hits a day. We always welcome more. Anyway what weather we are having, I'm so busy but I really wanted to get out and see if I could capture something with the snow so headed up to Buxton but there were trees down all over and Macclesfield has the main road shut and no signed diversions its chaos at the best of times but particularly bad today but the Cat and Fiddle pass was fine and really there wasn't much snow other than slush on the ground. It did pick up and snowed heavily for a while, I bought a rain cape and a brolley to make it possible to film in this mix of weather and although you can never have as much control and certainly not do photos as well as video while holding a brolley
I got some nice truck shots but thus not so many stills. I'll post clips on Youtube tonight. I've also finished the Huddersfield Bus Spot Ultra but have two covers to prepare, Huddersfield and St Helens. Eventually I'd got an hour or so of film and was pretty cold and wet and thought i'd catch a coffee in Marks & Spencers but it doesn't have a cafe which isn't very helpful, I passed on Costa after the stale cake episode in Hull ended up at a place in the precinct which boasted everything was fresh but the cake section was pitiful, really Buxton seemed very miserable like a seaside resort out of season, goodness knows where visitors eat. I had another stab at filming and by now the Cat & Fiddle was obviously closed by the ammount of traffic heading back out on the Manchester Road. I did likewise but stopped and got a few more shots and tried for some snowy photos but was really soaked and didn't want damaged kit before the Asia trip coming up. Here is a sample of what I did get! Don't worry the best stuff is on film!
A wonderful afternoon at the RNCM with a masterclass with world renowned bass Sir John Tomlinson.
A local lad born in Oswaldtwistle, he trained as a construction engineer before deciding on a career in opera at age 21. Whilst studying at the RNCM, he was a member of the Manchester Universities Gilbert and Sullivan Society. He sings regularly with the Royal Opera and ENO and has appeared with all the major British opera companies. He sung at the Bayreuth Festival in Germany every year from 1988 to 2006, as Wotan, the Wanderer, King Marke, Titurel, Gurnemanz, Hagen and the Dutchman.He was knighted and is president of the RNCM. It was amazing to see how he could assist young singers to improve their performance in just 20 minutes. After that amazing afternoon back to earth with a bang as we go off to the church pcc meeting, I am so not a committee person . I've taken delivery of a tea urn today which I need to set up at St Oswalds, I need to get a restraining strap to make sure it doesn't tip, I suppose I'll have to do a 'warning hot water' sign to go with it.
I got the Bus Spot Ultra series dvd Huddersfield partially completed before we went out as far as all being loaded onto the project, I've collated 7 hours which needs to go down to 120 minutes which seems to have become the de facto running time for all future Bus Spot Ultra releases. The weather for tomorrow is looking pretty grim, we had wind and rain last night, no snow anywhere near but I believe Buxton may get a load tonight, if it sticks and stays that might open up scenic possibilities for next week in the hills to Buxton or Sheffield. I need to do the cover for the other Bus Spot I finished on St Helens, each has a slightly different flavour depending on how my archive I can find in our collection , we have 30 years of video to start with though!
Hopefully we'll be getting stuck into lorry films again next week, fingers crossed all days are up for grabs next week but I only have tomorrow Thursday left this week, Friday visiting a relative in Liverpool. I've completed all hotel booking for the Ukraine trip in June/July, just need to decide if its train or plane Kiev to Odessa. I've contacted the Russian visa people and may get the application form done tomorrow if rain stops play, it usually pans out that paying the extra to an agent with a close relationship to the Embassy/Consulate pays dividends, the worst ever was getting the Algerian visa direct, never again - they just stole the money first time round, it went registered and they only accept cash, say no more! What can I bring you tonight I wonder, lets think out of the box and play lucky dip. By the way in desperate need of million more Youtube hits to make up for the late winter advertising doldrums in revenue!
I had a bit of a lay in as it had been very busy Monday then I set off for Wrexham, parked up but although it had looked cloudy and ok for filming it soon cleared and eventually I gave up and set off down the A55 for the roundabout I film trucks at near Oswestry, then it clouded over and went dark with wet sleet which was blowing on the lens so eventually once again I gave up and this time returned home, a waste of time and fuel but it was probably worth the risk it was just that the cards were stacked against me.
So I then decided to load the truck shots on just the net rather than trying to marrying them up to something else and then I got on with my next Bus Spot Ultra production which is on Huddersfield. I've a lot on the trolleys and a tiny bit on the older buses but thankfully my video coverage started in the late 1980s so there is still some pretty old video scenes. The project is ongoing at present , I've got tomorrow morning free but I might make a start on my next ministry course essay proposal, the books I ordered for it from Amazon have started to arrive.
Tomorrow afternoon we are at the RNCM where Sir John Tomlinson is conducting a masterclass with a selected audience, a rare opportunity to see a world class baritone delivering guidance to young singers. Anyway back today , all was not lost I got a few photos!
A late blog as I've been at my ministry course at Chester this evening and then had several emails on church related topics to wade through. Tomorrow is going to be both windy, stormy, cold, snow or sunny and of course any combination of these but despite all that I'm going to try and get over to Wrexham if the weather isn't too awful- I passed the Cheshire council depot on my way back tonight and all the gritters looked like they were ready to go out overnight to do their bit. If it works out for Wrexham it's possible that I could also do Chester but then the reverse is true for them both. I've got my eye on Stoke for Thursday my only other free day. Really the strong winds and cold preclude filming lorries but if it does snow tomorrow and it's safe Thursday I'll try and get some snow shots on Thursday on the Woodhead or Cat & Fiddle routes.
I've spent the day getting yet another of our Bus Spot Ultras done today, this time on St Helens - my hasn't a lot changed since my first video coverage, we now have film back to the corporation days and even some on the trolleybuses in a two hour special with digitally enhanced images and widescreen format throughout. This should be finished by tomorrow night - lots more possible locations being considered, St Helens was never covered in the first Bus Spot series from PMP. Bed time now folks, I'll pop a tranche of clips from St Helens on tomorrow evening and some truck stuff to keep the flag flying.
Its going to be challenging getting any days filming done this coming week so I've busied myself this afternoon with hunting our supporting film clips which would give my next Bus Spot Ultra releases a good edge on the golden oldie counterparts, differences on top of the 20 intervening years that is! I've several possible projects on the burner including St Helens, Warrington, Chester, Ipswich there may be others but that list is long enough. A overseas version is possible looking at Malta. I was up early to go and support vicar Jane at the 8am service which is in the archaic Book of Common Prayer language but it has its adherents but many ministers have never conducted such a service in their whole careers. Then it was the midway family service which only goes back a couple of generation in it's derivation so at least more or less discernible to the majority. We had a good turn out for a cold blustery January , my opposite number Keith was busy catching up with work so I did it solo which is actually very easy, when Keith completes his term in office in April I will be on my own but Keith and Tom have promised their support as assistant churchwardens and perhaps we will have identified a recruit by then.
It looks like we'll have the august pilgrimage sorted out by tomorrow, friend Ged is getting it booked and with the hotel supplying logistics it should be fairly easy although I think it will still be comforting to have Mandy shadowing us even at a distance in case of trouble en route, some pretty wild and remote countryside in the borders above Northumberland. It's college tomorrow night, seems like I'm never away from it. I need to get my brain in gear to look at the proposal for my next essay which I need to submit before I go to Asia.I put some clips of Trafford Park trucks on our Youtube Channel which should keep the lorry lads happy , it's on the roundabout that has been eliminated, eradicated and otherwise obliterated.I've just seen the weather forecast there could be gaps in the chaotic wintry fronts arriving all wekk, if so I'll take advantage. So what can I give you this evening, well as Chester has been mentioned lets keep close to home.
Yes it's late but I've had a busy day, at Church House near Warrington, a full day associated with my ministry course through Chester University and then back home, topped up the bird feeders don't want them deserting us before the big garden bird watch at the end of the month talking of which our first overseas adventures are nearly ready to take off starting early Feb in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia then it's all go through to next Christmas with so much happening including Russia in May and Ukraine in July plus Madagascar and Reunion in the autumn. I've spent the remainder of the afternoon and all evening getting the Bus Spot Ultra DVD ready and I've done it and in the next few minutes a whole torrent of trailers will go on our Youtube channel which hopefully will continue it's post New Year collapse recovery as the Google auctions push up the rates for advertisers and you my friends get clicking on the adverts.
The new Norwich DVD last over 120minutes and is the most comprehensive coverage of the developments of buses in East Anglia ever released. I'm not sure what we shall get up to next week, Monday looks like foul weather, my only hopes for film work are Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesday we are watching Sir John Tomlinson give singers a masterclass at the RNCM and then the church pcc in the evening and on Friday we are visiting one of our artist relations over on Merseyside. So as ever a fun filled week not to mention evening class Monday and mundane things like churchwarden duties tomorrow. We have just signed on to walking St Cuthberts Way at the back end of August which neatly joins on to Lathalmond bus museum open weekend and saves us having to driver up to Scotland twice albeit in the van and not the comfort of Mandy's car.The hotel does all the running around picking up, dropping off, luggage, packed lunches etc although the final day's walking will be a challenge getting to Lindesfarne. I'm not really sure what to bring you, the elimination of the roundabout we enjoyed at Trafford Park seems to be relevent having seen it's enormous replacement on Friday so lets go back there.
I was going to cover Trafford Park lorries today but when I got there the work which I'd seen last year has been vastly extended and the roundabout perhaps familiar to many viewers has been lost into a huge motorway style gyratory system and lots of work onging with barriers and fencing and diversions and not at all obvious where the lorries are actually going. I'll let it settle down, I'm sure eventually it will be busier than ever and on a sunny day just as good as it ever way but meanwhile I headed into the traffic chaos of central Manchester where the First bus station was almost gridlocked and surrounding by stationary traffic.
Needless to say I scurried away to Piccadilly area and be the early afternoon had about 70 mins of film, variety is no longer a facet of Manchester's bus scene, First, Stagecoach a few Arriva and MCT ( community Transport) and buses/coaches going in to Chorlton St bus station. I got back just in time to get changed and round to Vicar Jan's to review my ministry course progress and next essay choice plus tomorrow, Saturday we have a full day at Church House near Warrington so not so interested in prospective weather, although I seldom do film work at weekends they are still pretty full up. Iim burning the master DVD for Manchester buses and they needless to say make up tonight's slideshow.
PMP Sponsors the North West Vehicle Restoration Trust at Kirkby.