I am sitting on top of the hill looking down three valleys and watching Dave metal detecting. I spot a small VW camper van winding its way through the village and smile. It belongs to friends of ours and is called Florence, they are setting off on holiday. I cannot sit here forever alas, Dave’s finds are coming in thick and fast – buttons, pennies, halfpennies, buckles and a lovely token with ‘Oxenhope ??? Company Ltd – 3d’ and I go to help. The memory of the Wedding is still fresh in my mind, they loved the harp music and the bands were brilliant. All in all a fabulous day and all my love and best wishes for health and happiness go to Luke and Susan.
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.
I promised you details so here they are: The Black Dyke Mills have opened a new venue in the their mills in Queensbury. They say it can be a bit chilly so wrap up but you can take as much of your own wine and beer as you want … you get to listen to me and jazz bassist Seth Bennett (playing separately that is – but you never know!) and its on 28th March – starts at 7.15 pm. There’s enough room to just turn up on the night and I’m told its a very interesting space. If you want to get it all booked up email me on email@example.com
I played at the local school again this week and (out of a class of 30) 6 children announced that I had played for their parent’s weddings! We have two more additions to our house – I have called them Cordelia and Cedrick but have absolutely no idea if they be does or bucks. I suspect when my step son sees these very cute baby bunnies he will re-name them and perhaps we may know if we have sister and sister by then (fingers crossed!!!!) More soon …
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
Many of you might know that sometimes when I come down for breakfast I am quite often met with a harp been laid right across the kitchen table having new strings or been patched up.
This is what happens when you are married to a harp mad woman who has played with Led Zeppelin , Guns and Roses and is friends with Fleetwood Mac.
Fiona Katie spend hours and hours making her harps look old and one year she did too much of a good job as it just so happened where she was playing the antiques road show was on.
Spotting Fiona katie with the harp one of the professionals dashed over and before he could even open his mouth a crowd had gathered around .
“Ha Ha” “Thats a Beauty” then he said this is a rare 17th Century italian triple harp he declared in excellent condition look at the patina where it has aged he declared. “Can you play it he asked “? Yes replied Fiona Katie
Then he looked again
“Tell me where did you get it he enquired “? in front of a crowd of about 40 people which had now gathered
“I made it n the kitchen table two weeks ago” she said grinning and the triple down the middle is a chocolate box ribbon to cover up my bad joinery. The crowd laughed and he took a big swig of his wine and walked off very quickly indeed. We never did see that bit aired n the television program but Fiona Katie did get a call from Mick Fleetwood couple of weeks later to see how she ws and to wish her a happy christmas.
I have put a link to Fiona Katies last interview with out local journalist
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 .
We live on a small farm in Haworth West Yorkshire
Fiona Katie my wife designs, plays , and builds harps.
Many people think that farming is a easy job and that a idyllic life but the truth of the matter is that is is incredibly hard work and life and death can occur quite quickly.I remember when I started in farming a few years ago and was told the first thing to remember is that wherever their is livestock there is also deadstock .
Today I was reminded of those words I had heard when I found out I had lost one of my closest companions Dennis,. even though I am hardened to death and I do not fear it in many ways this has nevertheless upset me.
Dennis was not a person he was in fact our pet goat (named after a person called Dennis who is the Illustrator for “The Book of Caris )but nevertheless I loved him like many love a pet dog or pet cat and he always seemed to have a lovely smile on his face.
Fiona Katie my wife was very wary of Dennis especially when he would stand on his hind legs and said that he smelt (which he did) and I have to admit he was incredibly strong.
Dennis would often at one time torment the neighbours .
Dennis would walk out of the farm gate along the track down into the manor house at the end of the track and would feast on the rose gardens. He would then walk back to the farm and sit at the side of his wooden shed and pretend he had never left the farm.
His actions infuriated my neighbours and cost me many bottles of wine as recompense for his actions.
Seeing the chap next door red faced with anger moaning that Dennis had eaten his prize rose bush called Oscar nearly caused me to choke as I tried to stifle my laughter inside (Yes naughty I know but you had to be there to appreciate the situation)
Fiona Katie found Dennis on his bed this morning and thought he was just asleep.
Sadly he had passed away in his sleep .
Dennis you will be very sadly missed by me for sure . But maybe not by our neighbour .
Sleep well my friend .
Fiona Katie Plays in concert at the Farm
Here she is seen playing Big AL all the music drumming percussion, bells etc is all created by Fiona Katie Roberts
Fiona Katie is a unique performer she uses NO backing tracks or musical tricks whatsoever