Tuesday, 30 April 2013

An Imposing Preston Driveway

© Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse
under this Creative Commons Licence
Following on from our previous Lancashire Driveway post, here's another imposing entrance, this time between Preston and Blackburn.

Like Stoneyhurst College, the length of Hoghton Tower's driveway is an impressive half a mile, although records indicate it used to be longer!

The Red Carpet Treatment

Having such a long driveway isn't always a good thing though. In 1617 king James I visited Hoghton Tower, at that time under the care of Baronet Richard Hoghton.

Although already burdened with financial difficulties, Richard was eager to impress the King and keep favour at court, so during the celebration the entire length of this vast driveway was carpeted in a luxurious red velvet.

It is reported that the extravagance of the royal visit nearly bankrupted the family, and indeed within a short space of time Richard Hoghton was jailed at Fleet Prison in relation to his debts.

The family prevailed however and went on to entertain many famous guests including The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Mary and George V, William III, James I, Shakespeare, Dickens and Turner.

Pattern Imprinted Concrete Carpet

To get a feel for just how long half a mile is, take a look at this YouTube clip from the annual Hoghton Tower Bike Sprint, in which competitors race up the hill against the clock.

Now imagine that covered in red velvet. It'd probably have been cheaper to get red pattern imprinted concrete installed and certainly much longer lasting and easier to clean!

Perhaps if Wills and Kate visit, we'll call them with a price.

More Preston Driveways

If you live in the area and would like your more modest driveway, garden path or patio finished with stamped concrete, why not take a look at the Northern Cobblestone website for examples of our driveways in Preston and the surrounding area.

Mews cobblestone is more popular, but if you want us to try red velvet, just let us know!

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Origins of Lead Up The Garden Path

The phrase 'to lead up the garden path' has many variations in use across the English-speaking world. You may be led down the path in Australia, up it in Europe, or lose the word path altogether in the USA.

The Meaning

Of course the phrase means to deceive or mislead, and is thought to originate in pre-twentieth century England, when most village homes had a garden or vegetable plot, complete with trails or pathways.

Possible Origins

But why do garden paths have this unfortunate association with deception?

One possible origin is the old practice of villages marrying off their most unattractive women by tricking a groom into marrying a veiled bride, only seeing his new wife after the marriage has been completed. Weddings were often held in gardens, so the groom would literally be led up the garden path. Although the veil is still commonly used now all over the world, it does not always completely hide the bride's face from view.

Alternative theories suggest that the phrase refers to someone being so distracted by the beauty of the garden that they may be easily fooled.

The first known published occurrence of 'lead you up the garden' is in Ethel Mannin's 'Sounding Brass' (1926) where it refers to women leading men 'up the garden' for the purposes of seduction.

Other Uses

Psycholinguists have adopted the term 'garden path sentence' for a sentence that fools the reader by being grammatically correct whilst beginning in such a way that their most likely first interpretation of it will be wrong. For example: "He told the boy the dog bit Bob would look."

The effect is to cause confusion but is mostly confined to written text, as speech patterns and the emphasis of words tend to prevent misunderstanding in verbal communication.

Well, there you go. Now where does the phrase 'lead you a merry dance' come from?

The Ultimate Spring Clean

Yes folks, it looks like it may finally have happened. The great British weather is showing signs of improvement and a long overdue spring may be upon us.

In Lancashire as with many other parts of the country, the bitterly cold and long winter has left us trapped indoors, watching snow cover our gardens and driveways, all the time itching to get out and do all the things we promised we'd do in the New Year!

Better Late Than Never

Cleaning out garages, weeding, planting, painting fences and hanging out washing for the first time are normally more associated with March than May, but at long last homeowners up and down the country are getting to grips with those essential outdoor maintenance tasks.

As people strive to get their garden ready for the hoped for summer, sales of patio furniture, new hoses and lawn feed will rise, along with creosote, fence panels and more.

Paving / Driveway Damage

The cold winter has had a pretty devastating effect on our gardens and yards though. Freezing temperatures over long periods have wreaked havoc on plants, garden buildings and the ground beneath our feet.

Tarmac and flagged paths, patios and driveways are usually susceptible to cracking and sinking as the ground beneath them repeatedly freezes and thaws, but this winter has been worse than many.

Time For Change

If this has been the fate of your paving, perhaps it is time to consider pattern imprinted concrete? Imprinted concrete is fibre enmeshed to give it greater strength, making it up to 25% harder than even standard concrete.

Not only will it improve your property aesthetically, but will last for years to come and provide a safe outdoor surface for the whole family to enjoy.

So if you're tired of looking at a worn out driveway or want somewhere nice for your summer BBQs, give your garden the ultimate spring clean and call Northern Cobblestone about a pattern imprinted concrete patio, driveway and / or path.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Pattern Imprinted Concrete, Preston

Based on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, Northern Cobblestone have many satisfied customers in the nearby town of Preston and throughout the wider North West area.

Preston Driveways, Patios and More...

Take a look below at a few examples of our pattern imprinted concrete installation within the Preston area:

Concrete patio area with a satin finish installed to a garden in Chorley, near Preston

Pattern imprinted concrete driveway in silver grey finish for a property in Penwortham, Preston

Ashlar slate style driveway with mews cobble edging for a bungalow in Leyland, near Preston


If you live in or near the area, consider Northern Cobblestone for stamped concrete patios, paths, forecourts, steps and driveways in Preston and all surrounding areas, including Bamber Bridge, Chorley, Fulwood, Higher Walton, Hutton, Ingol, Lea, Leyland, Longridge, Longton, Lostock Hall, Penwortham, Ribbleton, Walton-le-Dale and more.