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Monday, 30 September 2019

Festival Weekend 2

Saltaire Festival 2019
Amazingly, the second Saturday of Saltaire Festival was a very warm and sunny day too, rare for this time of year. (Though the Sunday was more traditionally seasonal again, with dull skies and drizzle!) The crowds flocked to the village to enjoy the various markets, a vintage fair in the Victoria Hall and the live music in the park. Personally, I prefer the first weekend, which has much more of a community feel to it, but you couldn't help getting caught up in the lively atmosphere and it was lovely to see folks enjoying themselves. Exhibition Road is pedestrianised for the Continental Market, with street food and gifts for sale.

Victoria Road (seen here from one of the upper windows in Salts Mill) was partially pedestrianised and was thus a lot safer than in previous years. It doesn't look too crowded here but there was a huge jam of people further down, trying to cross the narrow footbridge into the park. Check out the hordes of people getting off the train in the station, too! When it's busy like this, it always reminds me of the old film clips I've seen of Saltaire in the early 20th century, when people came here at weekends to enjoy the pleasure grounds up in Shipley Glen. Many things don't really change, do they?

It was very crowded in Roberts Park and I didn't stay long. There was another market and many food and drink outlets, all around the main stage where they have live music all afternoon. The act I caught was a band called Majesty, a reggae soul band, with singer Hayley Gaftarnick.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Front garden fabulousness

Saltaire Festival 2019
Many of Saltaire's houses don't have front gardens but Viv's is one of the larger houses on Albert Road, built, they say, for the more significant members of Victorian Saltaire's community: senior managers at the Mill, teachers, accountants and lawyers.

Someone had decided to sit and rest on their bench... It would be too impolite to call this lady a scarecrow. She was beautifully made with felted wool features. (Great hair!) There were some baby succulents for sale too, so sweet, and a selection of tiny, colourful, crocheted hanging baskets. And, yes, more blue and white pottery and pretty fabrics.

Also on display was this pair of worn leather clogs, with heavy wooden soles, that were traditionally worn by mill workers. This pair had rubber soles over the wood. They found them under the floorboards of their house, so it is possible they belonged to a previous occupant of the house who worked at Salts Mill. If only objects could talk, what stories they'd tell!

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Back yard blues

Saltaire Festival 2019
It sometimes shocks me to realise that I've lived in Saltaire for 20 years this year, longer than I've stayed anywhere else. I love it and one of the things I love most is the sense of community, how I have a social network fostered simply through bumping into people in the street, or at events in which we have a shared interest, or even through being 'friends of friends'. One such acquaintance is Viv. I wouldn't exactly say we're close friends, as we've never been to each other's houses (in fact, I didn't even know where she lived until recently) but we've stopped and chatted at various times over the years and I'm always pleased to see her. We met a week or two ago in the village and had an amicable chat. She mentioned then that she was opening her garden as part of this year's Festival and invited me to visit, so of course I did. It was only when I arrived at her house that I realised I'd taken a photo of it before - HERE.  She's clearly a lover of blue and white. Her pretty, walled back yard had a selection of blue glassware, blue and white pottery and fabrics, as well as some lovely plants and a fine selection of succulents, nurtured by her partner.

I've never really paid much attention to succulents until recently. I was interested in the amazing display they have a Cliffe Castle (HERE), and then noticed the variety of plants in the alpine house at RHS Harlow Carr. I've even planted up a small stone trough with some this year. The leaf forms are fascinating: whorls, crinkles, spikes and layers. It's magic too when they suddenly throw up a flower, intricate and vibrantly coloured. I think I'm rapidly becoming a succulent fan.

Friday, 27 September 2019


 Saltaire Festival 2019
As well as a series of Open Gardens around the village, the Saltaire Festival encourages 'pop-up' events, where people can provide refreshments, sell their wares or explore and educate visitors about a hobby or interest. This year there were Mexican breakfasts, the history of gin, poetry, letterpress printing and specimens of 150m-year-old fossils from the Yorkshire coast, among the varied offerings. For several years, some neighbours on George Street have hosted 'Yardfest'. They close the road and provide live music, food from Edward Street Bakery and drinks from the Cap and Collar, a local bar. There's stuff for the kids to do and it usually ends up with people dancing in the street. All good fun.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

The Forest of Saltaire

Saltaire Festival 2019
Planting trees and hedgerows combats climate change, prevents flooding, regenerates landscapes and provides habitat for wildlife. What's not to like? (As they say).

The Forest of Saltaire is an interesting project that aims to encourage people to grow and plant native trees within our local area. Many of Saltaire's small gardens and yards, my own included, are not big enough for a full sized tree. Nevertheless, they are encouraging local people to plant tree seeds (which they can provide) in a pot, nurture and water the plant and, after two years, return it to the project team to be planted out in a suitable local spot.

Such a great idea! There is a Facebook page that interested people can join - search for The Forest of Saltaire. It's very new, so no doubt there'll be more information as time goes on. I might have a go at this. If I put a pot in my back garden, that might discourage the grey squirrels from digging up the seed!

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Terence Lister sculptures

Saltaire Festival 2019
One of Saltaire's larger gardens on Albert Road was hosting a number of sculptures by Terence Lister, an artist based in Huddersfield. Most of them were depictions, in one form or another, of the human body. I really liked the wooden panel, below, which used the wood grain as well as some gentle carving to subtly suggest the curves and shaping of a nude torso.

This wooden head also had so much character:

Two figures that might suggest Adam and Eve were placed beside a tomato plant - a love apple. I'm sure that wasn't an accidental placement.

These were attractive displays of very good work. Much of it appealed to me. Pity I'm not wealthy!

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Bird life

Saltaire Festival 2019 An almost hidden gateway off the busy Saltaire Road...  a curving, secluded path ... and a tiny, charming, hidden garden complete with a wildlife pond. Saltaire is full of surprises and the Festival's Open Gardens enable visitors to discover some of them.

This year's Festival did not have the usual sculpture trail as part of the Open Gardens, but some residents had organised their own art exhibits. Hiding in the magical little patch above, there were a series of bird sculptures and ceramics by Jo Whitehead, Kate Rawnsley and Sarah Muller. They were celebrating the birds that live alongside us and enrich our lives, whilst also marking the tragic decline in song bird numbers.

I particularly liked the small bowl, below, cradling two little eggs; the combination of shades of terracotta and blue grey was beautiful.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Festival Sunday

Saltaire Festival 2019
In contrast to the sunny Saturday, the first Sunday of Saltaire Festival was dull, overcast and rather chilly. I was free to wander and take photos though, as I'd delivered my grandchildren safely back to their parents, so I explored quite a few of the Open Gardens. I was also able to see some of the choirs taking part in Saltaire Sings. Community choirs seem to be a growing trend and we now have the Great Yorkshire Chorus, launched about a year ago in Saltaire. They are fairly easy to spot in their colourful bright purple and orange tops. Being so deaf, I can't really tell good music from bad but they had drawn a good crowd outside the Victoria Hall. It's a large choir too, obviously attracting people to join, so I presume they are pretty good at what they do.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

The serious business of ice cream

Saltaire Festival 2019
Another activity that needed intense concentration... the serious business of eating ice cream. Not just any old ice cream either... These were carefully curated concoctions of whippy ice cream in a wafer cone and sprinkles and raspberry sauce and a chocolate flake and a spoon! (They were most definite about what they wanted.) Not a drop was spilled.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

The serious work of childhood

Saltaire Festival 2019
There were a few activities laid on for children as part of the Festival, perhaps not as many as in past years but my granddaughters certainly enjoyed themselves.

Here they were engaged in creating 'cameras' out of egg boxes, with plastic lids attached as 'lenses' and 'shutter buttons'.  They drew pictures on small pieces of paper to store inside as 'photographs'. Both of them settled down to the task with intense concentration, producing cameras that they seemed quite pleased with (even though the plastic lids kept falling off!)

Then there was the opportunity for a 'framed photo' - taken with Gran's camera, of course.

Friday, 20 September 2019

Day of Dance

Saltaire Festival 2019
Mid September in Saltaire means it's the annual Saltaire Festival. The first Saturday dawned fair and warm, delightful for the crowds who gathered. Teams of Morris dancers were dancing at various places throughout the village. There were at least six teams, including the border morris side from Otley, Wayzgoose (above), with their colourful traditional costumes. They make a lot of noise with their sticks, all rather exciting. Our local Rainbow Morris were dancing too, and Four Hundred Roses, the ladies who dance an interesting fusion of folk and belly dancing.

I didn't take many photos as I had my two granddaughters for the day. My focus had to be on them, making sure hats and toy dogs didn't get lost and drinks and snacks were constantly available. (Toy dog nearly did get lost!) When there are crowds, I get anxious about losing sight of them. It's a bit like keeping an eye on two fireworks! The girls are not really old enough or familiar enough with the village to find their own way home. All was well, however and we had a super day. They were enthralled by the dancing.

Thursday, 19 September 2019


I was reading a feature in a photography magazine the other day about 'developing (no pun intended!) your own style' as a photographer. I'm not sure if I have a style or not; that is, whether my photos are recognisably 'me' or not. I suspect I take too many different subjects to really nurture a style. What I do know, though, is that most of my images that I truly love are rather colourful.

Here are a few that I've taken recently, just for the sheer joy of the colour. (Yes, there's a self-portrait there too!)

The next two are in-camera double exposures, just to capture even more colour!

Finally, a selection of beaded necklaces I spotted on a thrift stall.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

The church treasurer and the church treasures

I enjoyed noticing the smaller treasures in the seven churches we visited as part of the 'Sculpt' Arts Trail. The little bear above made me smile; the church treasurer, perhaps? 

Elsewhere, there was a pretty little angel, made out of the folded pages of a book:

All the churches had floral displays, some more elaborate than others but all bringing a breath of nature into the interior. 

There were interesting carvings in the choir-stalls: dogs, birds and all manner of strange gargoyles.

In one church there was a small brass plaque in the floor, with a Latin inscription to a Thomas Sutton, a former rector, who died in 1492. It was quite worn away by polishing and brass rubbings over the years. 

I found a piece of Roman mosaic, from a Roman villa and bathhouse that was excavated nearby,

In Snape Castle Chapel, there were several of these ornate gas lamps, now superseded by electric lights but still looking fairly intact. They are on brackets that could be folded out away from the wall.

Church doors are often rather beautiful, with studs, scrolled ironwork and large handles:

I love stained glass windows of all kinds, ancient and modern. In one church porch there was a pair of these trefoils, one either side, which I thought were very attractive.

In the church in Healey, they had thoughtfully placed a floor mirror to enable a view of the cocoons hanging overhead, without craning one's neck.  Depending on where one stood, it provided a variety of interesting shapes and patterns to amuse a photographer.

Finally, a couple of pieces of apparently lost property made me laugh, casually placed on a pew end that could, at a quick glance, have been the profile of a face.