The Jurassic Park Bus Stop

Nearby is a bus stop. The village has proudly decorated it with tubs each side planted with the biggest pampas grass I have ever seen. It dwarfs the bus stop giving it a nick-name in our house. I passed it yesterday en route to Towneley. I was asked (with a big grin) whether I was covered with tarpaulin each winter and dusted down, ready for the Festival! I am so proud to have been asked back every year since it started. People always want to tell me where they’ve heard a harp before and I listened with some amusement to the tale of a harp player who was a ‘legend’ in Haworth. Apparently she was playing in the Black Bull one Easter Sunday when there was a bit of trouble and the Landlord threw out everyone except 5 men. One of them wore a black leather kilt and they all looked a bit scruffy. They asked her if she would carry on playing and could they jam with her. They played for nearly two hours with guitars and a tin whistle alongside the harp, and the Landlord let a few people in through the back and they stood silently, spellbound, listening to the amazing music. Finally the harp player stood up to leave, thanked the musicians and was amazed that the landlord still paid her the agreed £25. As one of the men held the door open for her he looked puzzled. ‘Don’t you know who we are?’ he said ‘we heard you last night and came specially to hear you again, we are Guns and Roses, the full line-up’. I had to get home for the babysitter you see but I think I managed to babble something like ‘how nice’ …

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I have travelled the length of England this last week to give concerts for The Book of Caris – all on ‘word of mouth’ recommendation – a big thank you to you all. My dad always said that music would ruin the foundations of our house, which were Roman. Consequently we had no records, TV or radios – except for Radio 4. He owned 2 records – one was of jazz banjo and the other was Tom Lear – both 45s. We did have 2 grand pianos though in the massive drawing room and he encouraged us to play everything from Fats Waller to Beethoven. Built to withstand sieges it had a well in the centre and two huge fireplaces (one of which we named Stone Henge) that didn’t quite line up but faced each other across the pianos. Getting in and out of that huge room was difficult as it was originally built without a door at ground level so a passage way wound through the thick walls. The windows were taken out to get the pianos in. My sister and I played the pianos at the same time – how lovely I hear you say – trouble was we both had completely different tastes and played our own thing regardless. Eventually it was decided to sell one of the pianos! I used to play for hours and hours in that room in the dark with my eyes closed, just feeling my way and loving the music. I am playing the harp at the Towneley Hall Heritage Day next Sunday 11th September 12-4. Hope to see you there.