Saturday, 29 August 2015


A day off work, nothing much planned, sun shining... and I was struck with a sudden fancy to visit Giggleswick, a village in the Craven district of Yorkshire, set among the limestone hills. I've never been there before, though I have been past it on the main road up to the Lake District many, many times - always on my way to somewhere else. The village sits barely a mile outside the larger and more well-known market town of Settle, and in truth there isn't much there - except for an independent co-educational boarding school, which has existed in Giggleswick in one form or another for over 500 years.

Despite the fact that the name sounds like being tickled with a feather, it actually means 'dwelling or dairy farm of a man called Gichel' and even now the area is pleasantly rural, with farming on the lower pastures of the hillsides and a sense of a sedate and rhythmic pattern to life, well away from the busy city environment I'm used to.

My photo is taken from the school site on the hillside, looking down towards the village itself.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Roses all the way

I've mentioned this dance team before on my blog. They are known as Four Hundred Roses and dance a beguiling fusion of traditional English folk dance with Tribal style bellydance. It's colourful, graceful and and fun to watch. The costumes are fantastic - lots of silk roses, of course, but mixed with lace, ribbons, lots of jewellery and colourful dreadlocks. I don't think I could shimmy my hips like they do, but I'd like to dress up in a costume.

There are videos on YouTube if you want to watch them dancing: search 'Four Hundred Roses'

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Fiddle 'n' Feet

Fiddle 'n' Feet are an Appalachian dance group, based in Shipley. Their style of dancing originates in the American Appalachian mountains. It's different from morris, in some ways more akin to Irish or Scottish dance. It involves an energetic tap dancing style, on a board that allows the taps to be heard, accompanied by lively fiddle music. It seems to get everyone around tapping their feet too.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Let the music play

Morris dancers need music and there were a number of accordion players, drummers and other instrumentalists providing the music in the park - mostly costumed for the occasion too. (Love that hat! It has miniature windmills on it, as well as flowers and feathers.)

There is a tale in my family that my father used to have an accordion, which he reputedly sold in order to buy my mother an engagement ring!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Oakworth Morris

It seems that men's morris dance sides are dwindling in these parts. Oakworth Village Morris Men dance in the Cotswold Morris style, traditionally with six men but on this occasion they only had four dancers. They may be short of dancers but they were not lacking in enthusiasm and energy.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Happy birthday

Our local morris dance team, Rainbow Morris, is celebrating their 25th anniversary and had a celebration in Roberts Park. They were joined by several other dance teams for an informal afternoon of dancing on the promenade beside the bandstand. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm but not uncomfortably hot. I really enjoyed watching and there were plenty of other onlookers making the most of the afternoon's fun. Rainbow Morris's dances are in the North West tradition, dances that developed in the local industrial towns east and west of the Pennines, using decorated sticks, garlands and traditionally danced in beribboned clogs. Dance is always evolving and the scarf dance in my photos was choreographed by one of the group members specially for one of the Saltaire Festivals, when there was a 'knitting' theme.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Chilling out in the park

When the weather is good, Saltaire's Roberts Park is always full of folks enjoying themselves, having a drink or an ice-cream from the Half Moon Café, watching the cricket, playing games and, no doubt, enjoying people-watching as much as I do. The clothes may have changed but I think the overall scene has probably changed little since the Park was first opened in 1871.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Through the mill

I've photographed this view of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal cutting between Salts Mill and the New Mill more times than I like to count. So often, in fact, that I almost take it for granted and can't be bothered to shoot it again. However, on one of my lunchtime walks I noticed that the water was unnaturally calm (unusual during the day). One of the reasons the site was chosen for the Victorian mill was because of the strong prevailing wind down the valley, great for blowing the chimney smoke away, so the water is rarely unruffled. Anyway, the calm conditions meant the reflections were really special. I thought it worthy of a snap on my iPhone even though the light was flat and the sky dull white with overcast cloud. It wasn't a great photo so I decided to play around with a texture layer to add more colour and interest. It's 'been through the mill' a bit and I am really pleased with the result, so much so that this image is one of my ten submissions for the OU final assignment.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Big skies

I've mentioned that my daughter and family have moved from London back to their roots in Yorkshire. It's lovely for me having them nearer. The drive from my home to theirs takes me about 50 minutes. It's quite a spectacular and 'active' drive, along narrow and twisty country roads, up and down steep hills and across a wide stretch of high Pennine moorland. Lovely in summer, though I am a bit apprehensive for the winter. The high terrain makes for some wonderful 'big skies' where you can see the weather changing as you watch. On this day the storm clouds were amazing and you could see the rain coming from the far distance.
(Click photo to view larger).

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Ball pool

Bingley Show - I have never seen these before, though they were a popular activity at the Show. Tumbling about in a plastic ball floating in a pool wouldn't be my idea of fun but the children seemed to love them. I thought it made a pretty photo, as the wet plastic created a diffused effect.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


Bingley Show - Such a beautiful bird... this red kite and its handler seemed very much in tune. I took several photos whilst they did an interview for the local radio station but this shot, in repose, was my favourite of them all. The falconry display was by SMJ Falconry, based in Oxenhope. They had a number of hawks and owls with them but this red kite was the star of the show for me.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

I want to be over there...

Bingley Show - I was amused by this little West Highland Terrier, who clearly wanted to be somewhere else.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Fluffy tail

Bingley Show - I gather that this judge knows his rabbits. Who knew there are so many varieties? I don't have much experience with rabbits but a childhood lived with Beatrix Potter's stories has left me with an enduring fondness for all fluffy things.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Cock of the roost

Bingley Show - prize winning roosters strutting their stuff