A trip through an abandoned pig slaughterhouse. Here you can follow the last path of a pig.
1 round them up
IMG_1974-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
2 dead pig walking
IMG_1990-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
IMG_1994-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
4 beginning of processing
IMG_1929-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
IMG_1922-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
6 hair trim
IMG_1927-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
7 hair removing
IMG_1973 by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
8 waist disposal
IMG_1967-Edit-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
9 chop them up
IMG_1915-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
10 piece by piece
IMG_1920-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
11 meat chain
IMG_1961-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
12 to the freezer
IMG_1938-HDR-Edit by Bart Hamradio, on Flickr
Visited here twice over the span of a week, once with the SO, and the second with mookster,Brewtal, Zotez and obscurity.
It's a big place and I didn't realise how much I'd missed till the second visit!
Bulstrode house (listed grade II) lies towards the centre of the park. Rebuilt by Benjamin Ferrey 1860-2 for the twelfth Duke of Somerset, probably incorporating elements of the earlier buildings, it is a rambling, red-brick, Tudor-style building with an imposing tower over the main, north entrance and a French Renaissance-style colonnade on the south front giving access to the adjoining south terrace. The enclosed Inner Court, a service courtyard, is attached to the east side of the house, with various C20 buildings close by. Attached to the north-east corner of the house is the Outer Court, entered from the forecourt through a Gothic arch with a ducal crest in the gable, flanked by railings and brick piers with stone caps. The other three sides of this court have a Gothic loggia fronting a single-storey building; access to the Inner Court is through a gateway on the south side.
In 1966, the community moved to Kent, and the property was bought by WEC International, a Christian evangelist missionary organisation who have gradually restored and improved the public parts of the house's interior.
The house was put up for sale in 2016 and it's now intended to be turned into a luxury hotel. It was also used recently as a film set for the latest Johnny English film.
A pretty simple one, apart from having to wade through a muddy bog in a field. The house is huge and even after a few hours I felt like I'd need a re-visit the following week to see the rest of it, especially with the snow and ice making parts like the rooftops terrifying slippery. The second visit was a lovely sunny day and much more pleasant.
Unfortunately the local kids have been getting in and really smashing the place up good and proper. A real shame as its got some really nice original features.
The Fire alarms still worked and these were pretty much going off 24/7, which was great to cover up the noise of us moving around inside, but also really really annoying! However Brewtal made it his personal mission to find the fuseboard and turn them off. Took him a little while but he did it! Bliss at last.
When WEC International left in 2016 they stripped out pretty much everything and so a good chunk of the rooms are empty and not too interesting. However the whole lower floor/Basement level had some really nice interesting bits and the power still worked!
We were doing really well until we set off some PIR alarms in one of the outbuildings while we were leaving. Whoops!
Turned out to be a great explore!
The clock tower mechanism which still could be operated.
The Basement level. Most the lights worked!
My oh my, how long has it been since I posted a report? Exploring has become a low priority for me ever since I left the UK, even if I've always kept tabs on new sites shared here and on social media. Truth be told learning Mandarin and my lady have taken a much bigger priority in recent years, plus my lady is no fan of me going about it alone so that makes organising jaunts more challenging. I have visited a fair few sites around Taiwan, but compared to Europe there is so little here to get me to jump on the next train there because beautiful architecture is just so rare and even noteworthy industrial sites are few and far between; many places are just rotting concrete shells. So this report here is meant to be a compilation of my latest explores to date which I feel don't have enough bite to warrant standalone reports.
There will be more reports to come in the future, but since I left my torch and tripod in England it will be some time before I visit these. I trust the results will not be disappointing though.
亞哥花園/Encore Garden, July 2018
Visited with some colleagues and non-explorers.
I'd always been aware of this one, as it's situated close to my favourite hiking trails just outside of Taizhong where I live. But being me I never made a move until last year. It's an abandoned theme park in Dakeng district, opened in 1981 and was a hugely popular site that attracted around 1m people a year. Like several sites in Taiwan it was hit by the 921 earthquake in 1999 which severely damaged the area, causing attendance to drop dramatically. Eventually the financial losses incurred forced the place to close in 2008.
On most days there is a security guard with dogs at the top of the site, living in a shack. However as of last year the entire site has been repurposed as a rally racetrack. Pay $100 (that's £2.50) to enter and you can sit back and spectate, but before that we chose to explore the park first. Initially we were in full stealth mode, when we spotted people in hi vis vests dotted around the site as well as the guard's dogs barking at us, but after seeing others drive round with their scooters we realised it was a free for all for today.
What I found really fascinating about exploring in Taiwan compared to Europe and other places is how the fertile, humid tropical enviroment is far more hostile to built structures which means nature takes over rapidly once the place is abandoned; the restaurant was completely covered in thick, thick dust, and other structures had started to be completely invaded by tree branches.
Old arcade machines left behind
Because of thick shrub finding the entrance to this ride took a bit of careful searching, but we got to it.
It turns out as long as we stayed off the roads as much as possible, we were at free to roam whenever we wanted. The racing stewards didn't mind us at all. Unfortunately the outdoor auditorium was inaccessible because there were too many race cars on the route leading up to it.
Another thing that's incredibly striking about Taiwan and nature is the frequency of earthquake tremors. In my experience they seem to hit every few months, and in mountainous and rural areas can trigger minor (or major) landslides; look at the next 2 pictures and compare to older photos...
By stark contrast to the western world, obviously with a few exceptions Asians and the Taiwanese have utmost respect for abandoned sites. Whether this be rooted in a fear of the supernatural (people in the west believe in ghosts, but superstitions are taken far more seriously here), they treat abandoned sites as tombs and relics of the past to be treated with respect. It's because of this, little if any effort is made to seal any buildings from intruders and yet sites see so little vandalism. Security guards are rare, too. Another thing is that for several sites upon closure and abandonment the owners do not bother to remove items from buildings, regardless of their value. The fundamental exception to this rule being statues and religious iconography, because to leave these to rot is to bring huge misfortune on one's life.
So although decent sites are indeed rare, exploring those that are around are unique experiences in which you can really lose yourself and let your imagination run free.
I then made my way inside the buildings in the middle of the site, and was stunned to find the power still on. It turns out even on a Sunday there were workers inside. Unfortunately the site manager walked in, then politely asked me to leave after this photo was taken.
It's far from epic, but it's well worth sharing as it's so vastly different from Crapalot. I'm still alive by the way...
Thank you so much for reading, and it's a real pleasure to be back.
According to a report in August 2018 there were 18 pubs closing in the UK every week with 476 closures in the first 6 months of that year. It's a sobering (sorry) thought for someone like me who appreciates an ale or six in a nice hostelry.
There are records showing The Bridge Inn here going back to around 1875 although how far back it dates is unclear. It closed permanently in 2013 and planning permission was given for change of use. I had the feeling that work was starting on redeveloping it when I was there.
The Welsh name is Tafarn Y Bont - I wouldn't say there's anything that makes it distinctly Welsh - but its a good example of a traditional British pub which still has a few old features. It was nice that it seemed pretty untouched in the years since it closed.