Here’s the story of how I came to take some photos of Worsley Old Hall Stables in 1996. Earlier that year my brother helped me in getting my first computer together with scanner and A3 mono laser printer. Those were the days of windows 3.1. And so, equipped with an early version of photoshop, v3.0 I think, and serif pageplus, I began many hours of learning. It was a steep, yet rewarding learning curve.
By the September I’d learned enough to know how to scan in some drawings of mine, optimise them for printing, then use them to create a calendar. The pen drawings were scanned in as 600dpi bitmaps and saved as tiff files. So, 1996 became the year of my first calendar illustrated with 12 pen drawings, and in the following year I produced 12 pencil drawings for my second calendar. The calendars were sold in various shop outlets in Walkden, Worsley and Salford, and were very popular. Both sets of drawings can be seen on the Drawings page.
I remember taking my camera to Worsley Old Hall, hoping to take some photographs. This was just before the Old Hall had been bought by Marriotts and develped into the Hotel & Country Club. On the day I visited, the Hall itself stood empty except for a security man who patrolled the grounds. He saw me wandering and I explained why I was there.
As well as allowing me to take photographs, he was kind enough to walk me to where the old farm stables were, which I found fascinating. Below are some of those photos.
Many years ago I was living at the home of a couple who, every Friday evening would honour the Shabbat which included baking this Jewish egg-rich bread. The smell as it emerged from the oven was wonderful, and the taste of the warm challah was simply the best. As time passed, and with me having moved home I wanted to learn how to bake challah myself and share it with my friends.
Challah is the name given to the Jewish bread, made with eggs and sometimes honey, eaten on the Sabbath and major Jewish holidays (except Passover).
The word challah (Hebrew חלה) refers to a small portion of the bread dough separated as a firstfruits offering to God by giving it to the temple priests (kohanim). “Of the first of your dough you shall lift up a cake ( חלה /challah) as an offering” (Numbers 15:19). Find out more about the challah portion here.
In making challah the dough is kneaded, then left to rise, then kneaded a second time before being braided into two loaves.
I looked at several challah recipes before settling on my own recipe, which has 7 ingredients – flour, yeast, water, eggs, honey, olive oil and salt. I then learned how to braid the dough with 6 strands.
Finally the dough is brushed with egg for a shiny, golden crust. Seeds can optionally be sprinkled on.