Wednesday, 31 October 2012

???

I can't see what this comment (received today) has to do with my blog or any of its posts - but it made me laugh!
         The fact that it hides the midsection already brings comfort to full-figured women who find it difficult to buy plus size swimming apparel that flatters their body. For example, don't try to go for boy shorts for your bottoms unless you really have a big problematic butt. Avoid two-piece swimsuits with polka dots; they can make you look like a little girl. 
This was it in its entirety - and no, I'm not going to let everybody have the link, no commercial plugs here.  However, Blogger does manage to filter these out pretty well, so still no need for the dreaded Word Verification!
PS I don't even have a double-chin, never mind BOTTOMS!

Autumn song


Roberts Park's bandstand looks pretty in Spring with the blossom on the trees (see here) and I think it looks equally good in the autumn, now that the leaves have turned red and gold. The summer bandstand concerts have finished and now the bandstand sings the sound of children happily playing on their scooters (funny how they seem to love riding round and round in circles!)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Tripping the light fantastic


I often find myself trying to capture the wonderful play of sunlight filtering through leaves.  Mostly my attempts end up far short of the beauty of the reality, but I think this one comes close.  Taken from the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath just beyond Hirst Lock, the trees are in Hirst Woods, a small but semi-ancient patch of woodland that grows on a moraine left by retreating glaciers 10,000 years ago.  Many of the trees are beech, with oak and birch too; I love their autumn colours and the way they catch the light.  I recently read that there is supposedly the remains of an Iron-Age settlement within the wood, but I don't think I'd know what to look for to discover that.  It is one of my favorite places for a calming walk; you're never far away from other people (lots of dog-walkers!) but it's very peaceful nevertheless.

Monday, 29 October 2012

The other Saltaire

I'm thinking tonight of those who live in 'the other Saltaire', Suffolk, New York, USA, which is a coastal area east of the city (Fire Island). It is bearing the full force of the fierce hurricane storm that is attacking the eastern USA right now, receiving a terrible battering and already flooded. (See here for photos). Indeed, my thoughts and prayers are with all those in the affected areas and especially those that I know or who know me through our blogs.

I only know about 'the other Saltaire', because 'Google alerts' for Saltaire, which I subscribe to, picks up lots of stuff from there as well. It seems as though it couldn't be more different from here and I'm always fascinated that the two little communities share the same name.  I wonder how they got theirs?  Maybe if it doesn't get washed away completely (!) someone will tell me.

Love's gonna lose my head


I don't know what tomorrow brings
I don't know much 'bout anything
Love's gonna lose my head tonight
I can't stop it

(Nerina Pallot)


(Funny what you think about when you see graffiti...)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Blue hair-net


To complete the series of photos I've shown over the last three days, taken from the top of Salts Mill chimney, I though it appropriate to include one of the chimney itself, complete with its blue 'hair-net', which was added after the scaffolding was erected. Taken on one of the bright, crisp autumn days we've been having, interspersed with fog and drizzle, the golden stone and autumn leaves look wonderful against that blue sky. Regular readers of my blog will also recognise 'the perfect tree' in another of its costumes.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Hawk's eye view


More wonderful views from the top of Salts Mill chimney.  These are perhaps of more particular interest to those who live locally...  Like me, you may be able to spot your own house! (Photos will enlarge if you click them, I think.)

5⇧ We start with the picture above, looking north from the chimney, beyond the New Mill and the river hidden by trees, and over to Baildon's Coach Road. The hamlet of Baildon Green is up to the top right with the main village of Baildon on the hill. To the left is Hope Hill and the woods of Shipley Glen. By the way, as I'm sure you'll realise, the turquoise pole in the foreground is one of the copper lightning conductors attached to the Mill chimney.


6⇧ Swinging round clockwise a little, to the north-east, the foreground shows some warehousing attached to Salts Mill. The modern hexagonal building is the banking centre for Britain's tax authorities (HMRC), bounded by the canal to the front and the river to the back, where the lines of trees are. Behind that on the right is the Victoria Mills apartments complex.


7⇧ A little further clockwise, the office block on the left is the Waterfront Centre, which now houses, among other things, Macmillan Cancer Support's new fund-raising centre. Behind that is the new white-painted orthodontics factory. You can see the Leeds-Liverpool canal slicing through on the left and the railway on the right. In the middle distance is Shipley town centre - you can perhaps make out the modernist clock-tower on the right.  The hill in the background rises up to the areas known as Windhill and Wrose.


8⇧ Swinging clockwise again and looking south-east, Shipley's clock tower is now in the top left. The church sitting prominently on the hill is St Paul's. Behind the church, in the fog-filled dip on the horizon, is the city of Bradford. Imagine the miasma that used to hang over it in Victorian times! No wonder Sir Titus Salt moved his business out to Saltaire. You can see Saltaire Road running through the middle of the photo. The large building in the mid-right is Wycliffe Primary School.


9⇧ Moving clockwise a little further and now looking south, the terraced housing at the bottom of the photo is part of Saltaire. It was built later than the rest of the village, around the turn of the 19-20th century, when the Salts estate sold off some land after the great Jubilee Exhibition. At one time the terraced housing extended down Saltaire Road on both sides, but some of it was demolished and the more modern flats in the middle of the photo were built. You can't really tell from this perspective, but the land on this photo rises steeply from the bottom to the top. The area of green on the far right (behind the fire station, which you can't quite see) was once a quarry. Right on the skyline, about a third of the way in from the left, you may be able to see a chimney which I believe is Bradford's other great Victorian mill, Listers.

[To complete the 360º panorama, look back at yesterday's photos in the order, 4, 3, 2. ]

I'm sure you'll agree that these photos make a wonderful record of Saltaire and its surroundings in 2012. I am delighted to have been able to share them here. Once again, my huge thanks to Paul Taylor whose idea this was, and to the unnamed photographer, who bravely took a camera to the top of Salts Mill chimney to capture the views for posterity. It looks like it was a typically damp, misty autumn day when they were taken, so it was very good of him to brave the drizzle.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Saltaire as you've never seen it before


Regular readers of Salt & Light will have realised, I'm sure, that yesterday's quiz photos were taken from the huge chimney of Salts Mill, looking vertically down. (Not by me, I hasten to add. You wouldn't get me up there! The only way up is by the long, long ladder. I am, however, rather flattered that a few of my friends thought me capable of it...)

You may recall that I showed photos of the scaffolding erected to enable some repairs to the chimney. Someone who works in Salts Mill noted in the comments on that post that he was hoping to get one of the workmen to take some photos from up the top. He was a good as his word and, even better, he has offered me the photos to share here on the blog. I'm thrilled therefore to showcase these fascinating images and would like to offer my huge thanks to Paul Taylor for the privilege - and to the unnamed photographer, who did a great job!

1⇧ The photo above is looking more or less west and shows part of the south frontage of the Mill with its twin towers, and the railway line to the left. You can see that building work continues, to improve one of the main visitor entrances to the Mill.


2⇧ Here, looking north-west, we see the main body of Salts Mill, the satellite dishes giving a clue to the modern use of the building, which houses Pace plc, a technology company. Beyond that is the New Mill with its elaborate chimney. That is actually on the opposite bank of the Leeds-Liverpool canal, though you can't really tell that from this photo. The trees, green lawns and cricket pitch in the middle distance are in Roberts Park. You can just see the River Aire curving round. At the top of the photo you can see Titus Salt School and its playing fields, and the little white shed that is the bottom of the Shipley Glen Tramway.


3⇧ Looking west again, the railway line carves it way through, with the Victoria Road bridge passing over it and, just beyond that, Saltaire station's platforms. You can see how the United Reformed Church sits immediately opposite the main entrance to Salts Mill, within its own tree-filled grounds. The village houses on the left of the photo are among the oldest in Saltaire. Beyond the houses, the woodland towards the top left is Hirst Wood.


4⇧ Looking south-west, the dominant building is the Victoria Hall, with the original factory school opposite. The large school-like building to the bottom left is Shipley College's Exhibition Building. On the left edge, you can see a three-storey building that is the old Salt's Hospital (now apartments). Very bottom right is the grey roof of Caroline's Club and next to that the Caroline Street carpark. That used to be the site of the village's Sunday School, which was demolished. Opposite that space you can pick out some of the shops on Victoria Road. This photo gives a good idea of the grid layout of Saltaire and its relative size. I guess it covers about a square mile altogether.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Vertigo


OK, where's this?  If you can't guess from the first photo, take a look at the second....


Any ideas?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Dahlias


I would never go to the bother of growing these flowers. The battles with the slugs and snails would wear me out. But I am fascinated by the structural shapes of the petals and the vast array of brilliant colours and shapes that dahlias assume. Native to Mexico, dahlias nevertheless seem to have acclimatised to our cooler climate. They're a cheerful sight in early autumn in our parks and gardens.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Through the arched window


An attractive view from one of the rain shelters in Harrogate's Valley Gardens.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Harrogate's Valley Gardens


Harrogate's Valley Gardens, one of the many public parks and open spaces in the town, is always worth a visit. It is especially famed for its Spring displays but it looked very attractive in the autumn sunshine and there were plenty of people strolling in its 17 acres of land. The trees here seemed to have a bit more gold on them than was visible around Saltaire at the same time (a couple of weeks ago). As well as meandering paths, there is a creeper-covered colonnade, a café, a boating lake and a large play area and skate park for youngsters. Apparently 36 of Harrogate's 88 mineral wells are found within the park, though I must say I haven't particularly noticed evidence of them.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Royal Pump Room, Harrogate


The Royal Pump Room used to dispense Harrogate's spa water. The mineral water is highly sulphurous and smells - and no doubt tasted - disgusting. You can't try it now. A recent EU directive found it unfit for human consumption! The Pump Room is now a museum with displays related to the history of the area.


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Elegant Harrogate


I like to find an excuse to visit Harrogate every now and again. It's an elegant spa town about 15 or so miles north-east of Saltaire, famous for its floral displays, parks and upmarket shops. It became famous when a mineral spring was discovered in 1571 and grew into a resort and spa in the late 18th and early 19th century. Nowadays you're more likely to find visitors attending a conference or trade exhibition, though there is still a functioning Turkish bath, with wonderful Victorian tiles and rich mahogany fittings. I go with a friend sometimes to relax in the steam rooms; lying around wrapped in fluffy white towels, with little to do but chat, is close to my idea of heaven!

My granddaughter's first birthday provided a good reason to visit, as there is a stylish children's clothes shop in Harrogate, part of the Jojo Maman Bébé chain (which in fact started out about 20 years ago in Wales, not France!)  The babycord dungarees with the sweet little toadstool pattern that she is wearing in her photo are from this store (and no, I'm not getting commission for mentioning them!)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Wool re-fashioned


As well as having shops and permanent gallery space, Salts Mill in Saltaire hosts some temporary exhibitions. This is 'Wool re-fashioned' - an exhibition of vintage garments and contemporary clothes. (On until 11 November, so there's still chance to see it if you're local. It's well worth a visit if you like clothes.)

Students and staff at Leeds University School of Design, in collaboration with The Woolmark Company, have selected pieces from the Yorkshire Fashion Archive. The dozen or so items, from the 1940s to 1980s, all have some connection to Yorkshire and range from designer labels (Ossie Clark, Issey Miyake) to high street (Laura Ashley, M&S) and exquisite handmade wedding dresses. After studying how the garments were constructed, the students have reworked the ideas into modern pieces, using wool cloth with slightly unusual trimmings like leather and metal. They showed some very creative touches: one dress had pretty sleeves that seemed to be made from leather, laser-cut to look like lace. Each pairing was accompanied by notes, drawings and photos.

A couple of the vintage dresses were made from moss wool crepe, a fabric I don't remember having seen for years. It sent me all misty-eyed, remembered one of my own favourite dresses of all time, a pale blue wool crepe mini-dress, high-necked with balloon sleeves and deep cuffs, and a pretty velvet ribbon tie at the waist. It was the first dress I bought entirely of my own choice when I was about 15 (in the 1960s) and I felt SO good in it!  I really wish now that I'd kept it until it was vintage. Though it wouldn't fit me now...

Thursday, 18 October 2012

One today!


A very happy 1st birthday to my precious grand-daughter, Elodie Grace. She's as beautiful as her mummy (and daddy of course) and is developing into a lively, engaging and sweet little personality. I was delighted to receive this photo one morning from my daughter, via my iPhone. I smile every time I look at it. E is not quite walking yet but can pull herself up to standing and loves to be on her feet. What a long way she's come, from this to this. Such joy and gratitude in my heart.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

App-y coincidence


I just happened to be crossing the bridge over the canal on my way home from work when this barge was passing. Alert readers will recognise the old cottages, known as Jane Hills, as I've shown them before. They are now hemmed in and dwarfed by modern commercial buildings. These 18th century cottages were originally homes for boatmen who worked the barges that carried wool, lime and all manner of other goods along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal in its heyday, wide barges like the one in this photo. (See also The Kennet, last Saturday's photo.) The prettier narrowboats that are often seen on the canal nowadays were not the main working boats on this canal. Look back here for a photo of a horse-drawn boat on the canal.

I had scheduled this blogpost anyway but, coincidentally, I've heard that a new free app for phones has just been launched, which covers the stretch of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal between Saltaire and the Bingley Five Rise Locks. Developed by the Canal and River Trust, with graphic designer Tom Blockley, it's full of photos, history, stories and information and is an innovative way of helping people to enjoy and understand our local heritage. There are trails to follow and family activities to do, as well as information on nearby cafés, pubs and transport links. A digital guidebook (and more!) in your pocket. I haven't had chance to really try it yet but there is lots on it to explore at home as well as out by the canal.

(See here for full information and here to download it from iTunes.)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Men at work 3


Someone else on his knees, this time carefully painting a mural in the children's part of the bookshop on Salts Mill's second floor. It really is a lovely shop (see here for a more general view). I called in to buy a couple of books for my granddaughter's birthday. I'm looking forward to when she's old enough to accompany me and choose her own books, but this time I chose for her - a couple of board books: 'The Very Busy Spider' by Eric Carle and 'Goodnight Moon' by Margaret Wise Brown.

Later: It seems that our talented mural painter is a 'Salt and Light' blog fan - he just emailed me! Sounds like he has forgiven me for sneakily taking his photo when he wasn't looking. His name is Nick; he describes himself as a Saltaire resident and bookseller at the Mill - so I think he must be behind a lot of the creativity evident in what is, as I have said, one of my favourite stores.  Isn't it nice when people get in touch?

Monday, 15 October 2012

Men at work 2


Repairing the steps from Victoria Road down to Salts Mill. I love these old steps. You can see (even in this photo) how they are worn down by generations of feet on their way to the Mill - to work and nowadays also to shop and to explore the galleries. It seems that the retaining wall was becoming unstable, so these men were carefully pointing and strengthening the structure to make it safe, hopefully, for another few generations.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Men at Work 1


The street sweeper.... or rather, the lovely man who keeps Saltaire looking neat all year round, picking up litter, emptying the litter bins and often helping visitors find their way around too, I think. He will have his work cut out keeping the pavements free of autumn leaves!

I had to have a day off work to wait in for a tradesman and, once he had been, I had a few errands to do in the village. It's not often I see what's going on during the working day in Saltaire - but believe me it was a hive of activity. People were hard at work in the shops and doing various repair jobs around the village, a coach load full of tourists was arriving and another group was being guided round the village on a Salts Walk. There were students from the college buying their lunch, a few ramblers down by the canal, dog-walkers in the park and young parents with pre-schoolers, feeding the ducks. Never a dull moment, in a World Heritage Site!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Wool barge trip


The restored 'short boat', The Kennet, which I have mentioned before on my blog, recently made a historic 27-day journey from Liverpool to Saltaire along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal, retracing the 200-year-old trade route along which wool used to be transported from the docks to the mill. It was to commemorate the third year of HRH Prince Charles' Campaign for Wool, intended to help, support and grow the wool industry. The barge was carrying three bales of wool, from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and picked up a fourth bale, of British wool, at Skipton along the way. The bales were unloaded at Saltaire and will be blended, scoured, spun and woven into Commonwealth tweed jacketing in West Yorkshire.

The boat's arrival time wasn't publicised and sadly I arrived too late to see the bales being unloaded. However, the boat remained moored in Saltaire for a while after, so I did get a photo. Typical of the broad barges that transported goods, The Kennet was built in 1947 specifically for trade on this canal and was fully refurbished this year, so that it now looks very smart again. It will be used as an educational and training resource along the Canal, to promote understanding of the history of our waterways and to teach traditional skills.

Friday, 12 October 2012

I've got my beady eye on you..


Also at Bolling Hall, Scott Maslin, the Head Falconer at Bradford Birds of Prey was showing some of the birds they have rescued and rehabilitated. BBoP are a conservation, rescue and educational organisation and it was very interesting to see these beautiful birds and to hear their stories. Yorkie (above) is a European Eagle owl that was rescued from a life of mistreatment and violent abuse. She had a broken wing and was deeply damaged psychologically, having been kept in a cat carrier. (She has a 5' wing span!) Patient rehabilitation has calmed her behaviour and strengthened her wing so that she may be able to fly again. (See here for her full story.)



Luna is a Common Buzzard, a magnificent bird. It was wonderful to see these handsome creatures so close up. They also had a Tawny owl and a sweet, sleepy-looking little owl, whose proper name I didn't catch. You could even stroke them; their feathers were so, so soft. What a privilege. I was enthralled.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

1461 going on 2012


Inside, Bolling's Great Hall (the 'housebody') was where the Tempest family and their servants ate and where visitors were entertained.  The women of the Frei Compagnie were engaged in a little light sewing and playing games .... whilst one young lady checked her smartphone for updates.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Towton Battlefield Society


Bolling Hall is run by Bradford Council, and I think they do a great job there. They teach about history in a lively, interesting way. It's a place you feel you can really explore; not one of those 'keep off, don't touch' places. The day I went, the Towton Battlefield Society (its Frei Compagnie re-enactors) were encamped in the grounds, demonstrating combat and other activities from the time of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century. These men demonstrated how the armour was put on, piece by piece and then how they might have fought, using different weapons including pikes, swords and daggers. We learned all sorts of interesting things... Apparently, fighting in a suit of armour quickly leads to dehydration, so in a battle the men-at-arms had to be rotated and rested.


The battle of Towton took place near York in 1461 and was a decisive battle with something like 40,000 fighting men in each opposing army. It was a very turbulent time of England's history when the Royal Houses of Lancaster (red rose) and York (white rose) were fiercely contesting the right to rule. All very complicated. In the end there was reconciliation (through a political marriage) and the great Tudor dynasty started.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Ghost Room


The Ghost Room at Bolling Hall was the Hall's guest room, where, in June 1643, William Cavendish, the Earl of Newcastle, slept as his Royalist troops prepared to attack the town of Bradford. Bradford was a Parliamentarian stronghold. The town had earlier resisted an attack by the Royalists, and the troops were out for revenge. The owners of Bolling Hall, Richard and Francis Tempest allowed King Charles' forces to use the Hall as a base and about 2000 men were camped in the grounds. Legend has it that the Earl was visited by a ghostly woman in white as he slept, begging him to 'Pity poor Bradford'.  He changed his orders and in the end only a few Bradford men who offered armed resistance were killed.

The room is lavishly decorated, with a fine plasterwork ceiling full of references to the Tempest family, including a boar - the symbol of Bradford, and a red rose indicating their Lancastrian sympathies.  The Flemish portraits above the fireplace represent actors in a play.


Monday, 8 October 2012

Bolling Hall


Bolling Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Bradford.  Now a museum and swallowed up by the city, it was originally a medieval (1370) stone pele tower, built out on a hill in the countryside to protect its inhabitants from attack.  It would at that time have been surrounded by wooden buildings. The tower has been added to and updated many times over the years and the Hall has a fascinating history.

During the Wars of the Roses the Hall's owner Robert Bolling fought at the Battle of Towton in 1461 on the Lancastrian side. They were defeated and he lost his estate, which took ten years to win back. Later, during the English Civil War, the then owner Richard Tempest supported the King, whereas Bradford was a Parliamentarian stronghold. Bolling Hall was used as a base for the Earl of Newcastle and his Royalist troops, who attacked and besieged the town in 1643.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Le Bid


The whole country went mad when Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France, swiftly followed by fantastic performances from our cyclists at the Olympics and Paralympics. It's definitely a sport that is having a renaissance in Britain, both at competitive level and amongst the millions of commuters and weekend cyclists. I never had a bike as a kid (deprived, I feel!) so I can't say that cycling is something I'm actually personally fond of, though I wish I was. But it's a great sport to watch.

Cycling in Yorkshire, with its hilly terrain, is a challenge worthy of the world's best cyclists. 'Welcome to Yorkshire', the Yorkshire tourist board, has launched Le Bid, an audacious proposal to host the opening stages - Le Départ - of the Tour de France in Yorkshire in 2016.  Sounds like that would be great fun. I signed the petition!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

To distract the eye...


I suppose if you're going to build a hideous modern car-park next to an interesting old stone mill, then the best thing to do is to plant some trees in front that tone with it! This is the car-park belonging to the massive Victoria Mills complex in Shipley, which was converted into apartments a few years ago. See here also. Most of our trees are not yet showing their autumn colours but these ornamental types (maples?) tend to turn red much earlier than our native trees. (Another iPhone photo, somewhat messed with in Photoshop.)

Friday, 5 October 2012

Murky


Another canal scene, this one taken on the way to work yesterday morning. Autumn... season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.  We had the mist, though things don't feel especially mellow or fruitful this year to me, yet.  It's rare to see a canal boat on the move at 8.00 am (holidaymakers usually get up and going rather later than that) so I was very lucky that this one loomed up out of the fog just as I had my iPhone out.  And yes, it's THAT view again... click the label below for more photos taken from more or less this spot.  I am always surprised how different it can look in different conditions.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Lighted windows


An iconic view of Saltaire's New Mill - one I have photographed (and shown on this blog) several times - but never before at dusk.  I think this time of year is good for catching lit-up windows. It's not yet dark early enough that people draw their blinds - and it's the golden glow of the windows in the Riverside apartments that really make this photo. Well, that and the red glow of Saltaire's only traffic light! (On the left, which stops people driving the wrong way up the narrow driveway beside the mill.)

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Ta dah!


I have mentioned the Wurlitzer organ in Saltaire's Victoria Hall on this blog before (see here). I just happened to be in the Hall when they were demonstrating the hydraulic mechanism that lifts the organ up through the stage, in the time-honoured tradition. Ta dah! The gentleman sitting there wasn't actually playing it at the time, although there was a concert scheduled for later in the afternoon. (I don't know if he was the organist, Howard Beaumont; they always dress up in smart suits when they're playing concerts.)

The organ is a Wurlitzer Opus 2208 and was originally installed in the Gaumont Cinema in Oldham from 1937 to 1961. These instruments used to provide the accompaniment to those wonderful silent films and they have a very unique sound. It was bought by the Cinema Organ Society when the Gaumont closed and has had several homes since then, eventually being installed in Saltaire a few years ago. The Cinema Organ Society sponsors regular concerts and tea dances and I think it's a lovely addition to Saltaire's heritage.

There are several videos on Youtube of similar organs being played - try this if you're interested.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Found in a wall



Both in Saltaire. And I can't decide which is the more attractive... the link with the past or the sight of nature asserting itself.  I think I'm right in saying that the sliding metal plate is a coal-hole, through which they used to deliver coal into the coal-shed in the terraced property's back yard.  As for the ferns, I remember being entranced as a youngster, learning about the mysterious life cycle of a fern.  Often overlooked, I find them really pleasing plants, especially contrasted with the rough stone as they are here.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Fire engine


This is the smart and well-equipped fire engine that is based at Shipley Fire Station (see also yesterday).  It was all ready to roll, if the need arose. Whilst other members of the watch were hosing down cars, a couple of the firefighters were patiently showing off the gear to a steady procession of fascinated little boys (plus dads and mums).  The little girls seemed to be more interested in the pink plastic fire helmets that were on sale to raise funds for charity.

It's kind of comforting having a fire station just round the corner - though it does mean you have to get used to the sound of emergency sirens going off very frequently. (There's an ambulance responder based at the Station too.) Anyone else who wears hearing aids will probably agree with me that it can be a painful experience to be in close proximity to the sound.

However, there are new proposals to close a number of fire stations, including Shipley. My sense of comfort, that if my house was on fire I'd be rescued pretty quickly, may not last if the cuts go ahead....