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Monday, 31 August 2015

Giggleswick's churches

The parish church in Giggleswick is dedicated to St Alkelda, an obscure Anglo-Saxon saint, possibly a Saxon princess, apparently associated with Middleham in Wensleydale. The mainly 15th century church, restored in the late 19th century, is not unattractive: a long, low Grade 1 listed building with a squat tower and quite spacious inside. It has some colourful stained glass; the window shown below is the east window in the chancel, behind the altar.

The other church in the village - or rather the Chapel - belongs to the school and was built in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, a gift to the school from Walter Morrison of Malham and designed by the architect T G Jackson. With its copper dome, it has a strangely exotic look to it. Perched on a rocky outcrop above the school and the village, for years its dome was visible for miles, shining with pale green verdigris. It has recently been cleaned and now looks a coppery brown and isn't so obvious. I didn't go in, as one has to make elaborate arrangements to collect a key from the school, but I gather it is finished inside to a high standard. It is unusual in that it was all, inside and out, structure and furniture, planned as a coherent whole by the same designer.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Giggleswick village

Giggleswick village clusters around its church, a pub and a small shop that appeared mainly to sell sweets and ice-cream (presumably the fare that public school students prefer). Many of the houses in what seemed loosely to be the 'village centre' date back to the 17th century. The white house on the photo above has a date stone 1689 over the door. Like all villages, it has grown higgledy-piggledy. Around the church there is an historic pattern of narrow lanes, cottages and old agricultural buildings: stables, a forge and a farm, converted now into residences. Further out there were some attractive, larger Georgian looking properties, with more modern properties on the village perimeter, including some very smart, brand new 'executive detacheds', with more being built. With a rail station nearby, it is feasible to commute to Leeds, a journey time of just over an hour.

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

Saturday, 15 August 2015


Bingley Show - I loved this hand-knitted Teddy Bear's Picnic; it has such detail in all the little pieces. When I returned to work after the weekend, I discovered that it was created by the mother of one of my work colleagues. Clearly a talented and patient lady and a deserving prize winner. Check out those little swiss rolls.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Waterloo in red, white and blue

Bingley Show - Some wonderful flower arrangements on display. Speaking as someone who can just about manage to put daffodils in a jar, I am always amazed at the skill and artistry that goes into such pieces. I thought Gattina might like this one, since she lives in the city of Waterloo in Belgium. She was showing some pictures of the recent commemorations of the bicentenary of the battle (here) on her always interesting and amusing blog.

Thursday, 13 August 2015


Bingley Show - Among the classic cars on show were a number of 'bubble cars'. I had a great uncle who once had one of these and I recall being delighted, as a child, with a short trip to the local shop in the vehicle. Such a novelty to climb out of the front! Here, I wasn't sure if the car (a Trojan from the early 1960s) or the little dog (a pug) were the cutest attraction. Look at that pink tongue!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Tractor parade

Bingley Show - Colourful tractors of various vintages lined up at the Show.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Prize kitty

Bingley Show - This magnificent cat (a Maine Coon, I think) seemed to be well aware of her or her star status.

Monday, 10 August 2015


Bingley Show - Sheep, on the other hand, needed a firm hand under the chin to keep them still while the judge deliberated their relative merits. These were the cleanest sheep I have ever seen!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

A load of bull

Bingley Show - As a real 'townie' I know very little about livestock but I always enjoy watching the cattle being judged. Who knew that bulls like having their tummies tickled with a spiky stick? For some reason it seems to keep them docile. Just as well, as there was only a light metal fence between me and these two muscle-bound hunks.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Up and over

The annual Bingley Show, this year the 134th, is always a highlight of the local calendar. In recent years it has suffered badly from weather problems, having to be cancelled altogether in 2012 due to flooding on the main showground, which is right beside the river. For some reason that I can't now recall, I didn't get to the show last year. I did manage it this year and the weather was kind, with sunshine in the morning.

It's always best to get there early before it gets too crowded, as there is plenty happening from the moment the gates open. The show jumping starts off the events in the main arena. I haven't the right lens to get close images and I found it hard this year to get a good position with the sun in the right place and a relatively uncluttered background. This was my best effort. It does show the concentration and co-operation necessary between horse and rider.

Friday, 7 August 2015

A Yorkshire brew

Another OU assignment - to take three photos showing a visual narrative. This tea-making ritual is one I indulge in several times a day. I don't know how I'd cope without my mugs of tea - always refreshing, always comforting. It's always Yorkshire Tea in this household too, blended especially for our lovely, soft water.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Everything in the garden's rosy

They say you should always have odd numbers of things in your photos - but who could resist these perfect pink twins?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Tied up

'We learn the rope of life by untying its knots.'  (Jean Toomer)

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Flower favourites

These pictures were taken at the allotment open day but I have both of these in my own garden. Pelargoniums are always good for a pop of colour and I love lavender. The bees like it too.

Monday, 3 August 2015


Yellow sunflowers in a blue bucket - another lovely colour contrast.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Time out

Far from the madding crowd...

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Scarecrow - 21st century style

Bird scarers these days are a far cry from those my grandpa used on his vegetable patch. Maybe the birds get down and boogie?