I had to drive the exact route back to Boarding School as a child at the weekend. It brought back the same collywobbles in my stomach. This time I was actually playing the harp at a wedding but it still brought back the same old feeling of dread as I climbed up Sutton Bank Once as children the journey and dread was unexpectedly broken as we rounded a bend near Helmsley and nearly crashed into a bright pink, Chauffeur driven Rolls Royce with the Rolled Gold ‘logo’ painted across the entire bonnet. My sister and I stopped blubbering for a moment to look at eachother and then scanned the back seat quickly before it trundled past. We were completely convinced it was Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall and then couldn’t wait to get back to School to tell the other girls. This time the venue was a bit short of School but they kept hens and they wandered in and out and sat waiting to be stroked by the guests. I have one hen who waits for me every night on the path to the hen house to be picked up and carried and cuddled and placed on her perch. The chicks I hatched at Easter are nearly grown and all look the same – that is its difficult to tell if there are any cockrells. I need some ‘new blood’ so desperately want one. I am optimistic. One of the chicks was constantly escaping and now this same chick is exploring, so much so he forgets the way back to the hen house. I was dismayed the other morning to find him missing but as I went down to the wood with the bucket of feed, he appeared from behind the barn with one of the old hens. That’s my boy!
Well, who’d have thought the taps worked liked that? The hotel was absolutely beautiful – all brand new – must have cost a fortune! I have been to places where the Bride and Groom wanted to have unique photographs so have swopped carpets, curtains and pictures round, sometimes with disastrous results. I have been ‘roped’ in, with minutes to spare, to match the ‘slightly stained mark on the wall’ where a picture once hung, to the exact picture so that the stain was covered up again! Easy done I hear you say – but not in an entire country house hotel with hundreds of pictures! This time the décor was untouched and I was impressed with the bathroom and its miniature ‘beer pump’ knobs stuck up where the taps should be. My first thought was to try and pull one down. As it was stuck fast I looked along the line of basins and realised that most of these little white plastic ‘beer pumps’ had been crudely glued back on again. Oh well, I thought I’ll now try the obvious. They twisted on and off using two fingers and very little effort. Gliding down the Aisle to the theme tune of Black Adder was inspired though – and definitely unique.
I have never been made so welcome, thank you. I have played all over the place, up and down the country and people often ask me ‘where’s good?’. There’s always a pause whilst I think and then I say – well it smelt good! Mr Ali made sure I went home with a huge bag of different dishes to try. They even cooked a special meal for Dave who has such a complicated diet and hasn’t been able to have a standard curry for about 2 years! This time if you ask me ‘where’s good?’ – I can truly answer! AZEEMS in Keighley. I was delighted to have at last fathomed my new phone and answered correctly instead of cutting the poor caller off – and further delighted to discover the caller was ringing to ask me to provide the music for Bradford Literature Festival’s opening night. I received quite a few invites to London last year by surprised guests. They were fascinated by multi-cultural harp music and the full sound I could achieve from the one instrument – all the work making my unique harps and the amazing music from The Books of Caris and Anon is paying off at last!
Really enjoyed the reception and venue last night – thank you Black Dyke Mills. They weren’t joking – it was cold, but there were settees and comfy chairs where people were snuggled up under blankets with hot water bottles. Lots of wine bottles and picnics at the chairs and tables. Luckily they had a pa system as the space was vast and my expensive microphone decided to break alas … I have another one but it needs a mic stand which at the moment is being used as a ‘gibbet’ to dry a batch of hands for some more puppets we are making! One of our parrots, Bennie, is still very sweetly saying ‘hello’ to the rabbits who now live opposite her! She is absolutely fascinated and spends here time watching them from her low perch. In the summer last year when we moved the parrots outside in the sunshine they were all quite happily chatting away to the hens who came to peck at any seeds thrown from the cages.
Dave was unwell and had picked up a bit of a bug. Normally this would not have held him back but his immunity is not as good as it should be and he laid on the sofa for most of the morning in front of the fire . After a light lunch , Dave and I decided that we would head off to Hebden Bridge which is a small mill town located just over the moors from ourselves. I purchased some hooks to hang clothing from over the wood burner and we went for a cup of tea in the famous “waterwheel” cafe
Dave just had a cup of tea and I joined him but had a small bun
Dave was fascinated as just outside is a river and the cafe owner has made the most of it as the cafe has a archimedes screw which is computer controlled.
Dave also noticed the picture on the wall of a skeleton playing the harp and just had to get a photo of it as he found it highly amusing
After a long spell of bad weather I decided that Dave and I would do a spot of metal detecting.
Metal detecting and local history is Dave’s hobby and it was good to see him enjoying himself for a coupe of hours and I joined him to keep him company and to help him out where I could .
We put the Detector on one of the preset modes and away we went .The first few digs were iron and then we found a really good target and so had a go at digging that.We detected a modern 1p coin and it was a good 5 inches deep.But I was really pleased to have actually found a coin albeit a modern one.
I expect that many targets on the land will be quite deep as the land is called “Marsh” and not without good reason and it is quite easy for even the tractor to get stuck at this time of year.
Local legend tells of a horse and carriage which left the road in pre victorian times and became stuck in the marsh. The owner of the horse and carriage was unable to get either free so shot the horse and allowed the whole lot to sink, how true this is I dont know but I have seen a few cars go off the road over the years and it took a whole day to get one out and the damage to the car would have made it a “write off”.
We are going to carry on detecting over the next few days .
The area we live in was heavily influenced by the textile industry boom and there is a wealth of history in the local area.
This afternoon I decided to try my luck down one of the footpaths which runs through our land . We own the footpath and the land but have to allow “right of access” through our farm. I got a really good signal and found Dave’s walling hammer which he lost about 3 years ago .
On Sunday I am playing the harp at a private concert in Ribble Valley. I love the area and the scenery. I am hoping the weather is nice so that I can play outside .