Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Star Wars Saltaire

Fun to see a mini Star Wars invasion during Saltaire Festival...  The films rather passed me by; I'm not really a fan of that kind of thing. I just about recognise some of the characters. The belly dancer wanted a selfie with (I think) the Red Squadron fighters. They looked a bit friendlier than Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers. There were so many people crowding round that it was difficult to get photos.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Festival colour

Saltaire Festival 2017

Colourful balloons...


Licorice candy laces...


Monday, 18 September 2017

Festival Monochrome

Saltaire Festival 2017
The second weekend of the Festival, cool but mostly dry this year, really brought out the crowds. This is Exhibition Road, the broad street behind the Victoria Hall and in front of Shipley College's Exhibition Building. Closed to traffic and lined with a 'continental market', here you can buy street food of all kinds from all over the world - from Spanish paella to Asian curries, French tartiflette, Provencal chicken, ostrich and kangaroo burgers, crepes and churros - as well as coffee, slushies and ice creams.
(I've blurred the face of the little girl at the front, as I mostly try to avoid having identifiable children on here, though it's hard when there are crowds.)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Food, glorious food

Saltaire Festival 2017
The Festival's first weekend has a community feel that increases year on year. Some people open their gardens to visitors and there is a growing trend for 'pop-up' events. They can be anything from record fairs and vintage sales to live music, in people's homes or yards. This year there were a number of food stalls too; there's an enthusiastic 'foodie' movement in the area - gardeners, cooks and food bloggers. A family on Titus Street were selling authentic Spanish paella, cooked on an open fire in a large, traditional pan. I managed to snap a quick photo through the front door. It looked delicious and there was a long queue to sample it.

On Katherine Street, there were next-door neighbours providing food out of their tiny kitchens: one selling soup and a rabbit ragu and the other a range of Portuguese sweets and savouries. Tempting!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Festival folk

Saltaire Festival 2017 
The Festival usually sees a number of folk dance teams dancing around the village.  Above: Four Hundred Roses, a local dance side that fuses traditional English folk dance with tribal belly dancing. They always make a colourful sight and seem to be going from strength to strength in terms of numbers.

Below: Makara Morris, in their green 'tatters', hail all the way from the East coast resort of Bridlington. They are a traditional Border Morris side and their name links them to ancient 'green man' legends.

Leeds Morris Men (below) are more locally based and dance in the Cotswold Morris style. As is traditional, their side includes a fool, extravagantly dressed, who communicates with the audience, joking and explaining what's happening. He dances around and through the dances, often fooling with an inflated pig's bladder (balloon) attached to a stick, that he uses to swipe at the dancers. It takes great skill to 'fool' effectively without detracting from the dances themselves. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

From Salt to Silver

Saltaire Festival 2017
Once again, the magnificent and evocative roof space (a quarter of a mile long!) in Salts Mill, formerly a spinning shed, is being used as part of the Festival. It is hosting a wonderful exhibition of black and white photographs by Ian Beesley, a renowned local documentary photographer. Most of them were taken in 1986/87 when he was commissioned by the (then) National Museum of Photography to document Yorkshire's declining textile mills. He captured the last months of textile production in Salts Mill and then the sad days when the machinery was dismantled and removed. These photos have been archived ever since. They have been augmented by some photos he has taken of the Mill this year, some poignantly taken from the exact same spot as his earlier images. Ian's photos are beautifully accompanied by poems written by the brilliant Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan.

I found it incredibly moving. There is, anyway, something powerful about the roof space itself, echoing with the stories that once unfolded here. Born of the vision of one great man, Sir Titus Salt, nurtured by many others, the Mill (and thus Saltaire itself) stands as a symbol and celebration, once again, of one man's vision to transform and move forward. That man was the late Jonathan Silver, who bought the mill in 1987 and created the powerhouse of industry and tourism that it is today, thirty years later, a vision upheld and developed nowadays by his family.

The exhibition continues until the end of October, open (after the Festival) at weekends only. Go, if you can!

From 'Change of Use' by Ian McMillan:

"And the opposite of managed decline.
This is the present unwrapped
And presented to the present as the future."

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Saltaire's tunnels

Back when I first started this blog in 2009, I posted the photo on the right (see HERE for post) with the title 'Mystery...' The question concerned the green arched door and what it was for. The answer is that it is the entrance to a tunnel that goes under Victoria Road. It connects Salts Mill with the Dining Hall (seen above the door) that Sir Titus Salt had built so that his workers could get good meals.

The door has remained firmly closed for all these years, until this year's Saltaire Festival, which is on at the moment. The Festival always coincides with a weekend of Heritage Open Days across Britain, when interesting buildings that are normally closed to the public are opened for viewing. This year, for the first time, Saltaire History Society in collaboration with Shipley College, who now manage the Dining Hall building, opened the tunnel, together with another that runs between the college buildings higher up Victoria Road, so that people could see inside.

There was a huge amount of interest, so that the planned tours were all booked up by about 10.30am and lots of people were, I think, disappointed that they couldn't get in. I did manage to join the Dining Hall tour and it was very interesting, although I was disappointed to realise that the tunnel is now bricked up and access does not now extend all the way through to the Dining Hall building.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Barley.... or wheat?

I'm not sure I can tell wheat from barley when it is growing... I always assume that our harvest fields are wheat but after 'googling' this, I am persuaded that this may be barley. Barley (apparently) has whiskery strands all along the ear whereas in wheat it is shorter and concentrated near the tip. Wheat tends to be more golden yellow and barley is paler. Wheat tends to stay more upright than barley when ripe; barley heads can bow over. I may be completely wrong, of course! Anyway, the flat Lincolnshire arable fields were full of ripe crops and the harvest was in full swing when I was there in August.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Doddington estate

We intended to visit an Elizabethan (late 1500s) mansion west of Lincoln, called Doddington Hall. We didn't realise the hall itself and its gardens are closed to the public on Saturdays, as they host weddings there. Something to look forward to another time, hopefully... It didn't matter too much, as there is an attractive café, where we had a delicious lunch; a farm shop; home and clothing store and some lovely walks around the wider estate. The large fishpond appeared to have been relatively newly renovated, with an attractive curving bridge (on which I was standing to take this photo) reminiscent of that in Monet's garden at Giverny. It was a beautiful, tranquil scene. (Just needed some waterlilies, maybe?)

Monday, 11 September 2017

Lincoln Cathedral

We didn't go into Lincoln Cathedral this time. See HERE for a photo I took on a previous visit. 

There were a few Knight sculptures in the Cathedral precincts. 'The Lincoln City Knight' by Leah Goldberg celebrates the local football club's promotion to Sky Bet League Two at the end of the 2016-17 season. The Knight's shield is signed by the team's players. It is, perhaps, a rather incongruous choice to place at the front of the Cathedral but then football is, for many, a religion. The creature on the front of the horse is the Lincoln Imp, a carving that can be found in the Cathedral (see HERE).

'Inside Out', by Erin Fleming, is sited behind the Cathedral near the Chapter House. It has references to the pillars and vaulting inside the building, which are likened to trees. 

Below is the full glory of Lincoln's octagonal Chapter House, with its wonderful flying buttresses. Built between 1220 and 1235, the Chapter House was an annex to the Cathedral, where the cathedral chapter (clerics appointed to advise the bishop) would have met. King Edward II held a parliament here in 1316. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Knights' Trail

As has been popular elsewhere, this year Lincoln has installed a series of decorated sculptures throughout the city. These are knights on horseback, commemorating the 800th anniversary of the Battle of Lincoln (1217). The sculptures have been sponsored by local businesses and organisations, and painted by different artists. People are encouraged to follow the Knights' Trail to learn some interesting facts about the area and look for clues in a Knights' Quest.

There are 37 sculptures altogether. These are just a few of those I photographed. Above is 'Not all Stories are Black and White', by Ruth Piggott, sponsored by The Nomad Trust, a charity supporting the homeless. It has maps depicting the streets they walk on and the journeys they have taken to get where they are, with the various colours symbolising that everyone is different.

'The Knight in the Forest' , by Julia Allum, refers to the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Charter of the Forest, which dealt with the punitive Forest Laws that applied in all the royal forests. The Charter made life better for farmers who grazed their animals in the woods. 

Halfway up the steep hill I found 'Pedal Pride', by Erin Fleming, inspired by the Lincoln Grand Prix cycle race.

This is 'Sheriff de la Haye', by Rachel Olin, posed in front of the gateway to Lincoln Castle.  It is perhaps surprising that a woman held such a position of power in the 1200s. Nicolaa de la Haye resolutely led the defence of Lincoln Castle during the Battle of Lincoln in 1217, when rebel forces took the city of Lincoln. The rebels were trying to oust King John and his young son Henry, in favour of Prince Louis, son of the King of France. They were eventually defeated by a force of English knights led by William Marshal.

Finally, I liked the one below: 'The Knight has a Thousand Eyes', painted by Sue Guthrie. It refers to a hit song from the 1960s by Bobby Vee. (Oh yes, I remember it!) The cartoon eyes that decorate it are made of phosphorescent paint that glows in the dark.

Saturday, 9 September 2017


When I visited my sister recently, we went into the city of Lincoln for the day. It really is a beautiful old place, set on a steep hill so that the cathedral, in the oldest part of the city, towers above the more modern shopping areas. It also has a thriving and developing university, which is lower down, by the river.

The cobbled street leading up to the castle and cathedral is called Steep Hill, for obvious reasons!

Friday, 8 September 2017

Kirkham Priory

On the way back from Scampston (see Wednesday) we called in at Kirkham Priory, an Augustinian priory founded in 1120, by Walter l'Espec, Lord of nearby Helmsley, who also founded the larger and better known Rievaulx Abbey. Kirkham was surrendered in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. It is prettily situated on the banks of the River Derwent and is now in the care of English Heritage. During WWII, it was used as a base for troops to test D-Day landing vehicles in the river and to practise climbing up scrambling nets hung on the ruined priory's walls; Churchill visited it.

It has a special place in my heart; I have many happy childhood memories there. My parents always used to stop there to break the long car journey from our home in the East Midlands to holidays in Scarborough on the East Yorkshire coast. My sister and I used to race around the ruins, glad to get out of the car and stretch our legs. We used to picnic overlooking the river. I recall my mother used to make (curiously) sandwiches of cream crackers and cheese, which had always gone a bit soft by the time we stopped to eat. I still recall the way, if you pressed them, little curls of butter would ooze through the tiny holes in the crackers! Happy days...  All those years ago, a twist in the road leading down into the valley provided a sudden and surprising vista of the ruins and the river. Nowadays the lovely view is entirely blocked by mature trees.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

One garden, three butterflies

I was delighted to see a lot of butterflies and bees in the walled garden at Scampston. It was warm and sunny so the butterflies were flitting about a bit too much to get good photos.

The top photo is a Red Admiral, the second a Peacock and the bottom one, I think, is a Large White. None of them are rare but butterflies in general are under some threat so it's really good to see them.