A Night at Black Dyke Mills with Seth Bennett, Dave Widdop and co

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.

A trip to the Doctors with a harp in tow

The title of the blog today might be a little bit misleading as I was not at the doctors because of been ill.I was at a clinic / practice as part of a community programme where different musicians play at a GP Practice each week .

The practice forms part of a much bigger community programme which involves a cafe where patients can get a drink and a bite to eat . New mums can meet each other thus cementing the community together.

it has been a very busy week for me and tomorrow I am demonstrating the harp in a local school . I will be taking along a few harps and some mini instruments to get the pupils involved in the project.meanwhile back at our farm Dave is busy making heads , arms and bodies for the ventriloquist dolls he makes which are based on characters from his books. The Book of Caris and The Book of Anon .  He continues to write and is currently working on his third book and is researching more and more historical legends.

Breakfast and Harps

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.

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/lifestyle/news_real/11253138.Fiona_Katie_Roberts_is_plucking_at_the_heartstrings/
I have put a link to Fiona Katies last interview with out local journalist
below
http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co….atie_Roberts_is_plucking_at_the_heartstrings/

Harp , Pennies and a Horse and Carriage

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 .

Donkeys and sleighs

Was too busy doing Winter Weddings these past two weeks but the weddings were particularly amazing – every year winter weddings seem to take on a new high.   The ‘tech’ teams for the lighting are now arriving in huge artics!   The old country house hotels I work in are transformed into wonderlands – either with huge ‘Victorian’ mechanical Christmas toys or ceilings lit up with thousands of tiny lights so that when you look up you think there is no roof and you are literally looking up into Heaven itself.  The weather was either wet and grey – in which case it was lovely to be transformed – or it was deep in snow ‘deep and crisp and even’!   Back at the farm Dodge the donkey was unimpressed however.  He loves to work and we are looking for a small cart for him.  Growing up we had a donkey called Flossy and Dad commissioned a proper sleigh to be made one Christmas.   Wooden reindeer antlers were strapped onto Flossy’s bridal and there were secret wheels set under the skids out of sight.   She pulled this sleigh around the houses where we lived and Father Christmas sat in the sleigh and gave out presents.   Occasionally disaster would happen as Flossy loved sherry and mince pies.   She was quite a large donkey and if she tried to set off up the garden path she completely forgot about her precious cargo and it was left stuck in the gate hole as she grabbed her booty.

Welcome To Yorkshire

Welcome to Yorkshire is the latest Hollywood style signage that has appeared on the hillside on the opposite side of the valley to our house. This is all part of the hype which is leading up to the Grande Departe next month.

There has been a noticeable infusion of cyclists appearing in the local area and both Dave my husband and I are somewhat bemused  by all the publicity, hard work, enthusiasm  (and expense) which has gone into getting the area ready for the spectacular which will last a few minutes as it whizzes through our village .

I have been asked to perform at a venue on the weekend but I am unable to actually get out of our Farm on that weekend so I have had to turn the work down due to the numerous road closures which surround us on all sides.Whilst we welcome the cyclists and will be waving our flags enthusiastically on the day. It has to be said we will also welcome the Grande  departure of the Welcome to Yorkshire signage which is right in our field of vision every time we leave our front door .