31 August 2019


THE ADVANCE PARTY - Our Ian on the far left. Stewart back row far left. Frances third from
 left. The young woman in the blue dress is Charlotte - the maid of honour. The two fellows next to Ian
had come all the way from Wisconsin USA.
Last Sunday the wedding walk began at 1pm. There were lots of us. It was a diamond day and many had donned sunglasses. First across the main road and into Cressbrook Dale. We passed Peter's Stone that is pictured on the reverse of the beermat then we climbed up Tansleydale before crossing green farm pastures into the charming village of Litton. 

There we had refreshing drinks outside "The Red Lion". After half an hour, the walk continued across more fields and down through the cool shade of woods to the bottom of Cressbrookdale once more. 

I was in the advance party of fourteen but there were another thirty behind us. The advance party climbed the valleyside and headed into Wardlow as planned. Unfortunately perhaps, the slowcoaches continued along the valley bottom back to Peter's Stone and home to the barns that way - failing to spot clear guidance on the maps I had had printed. But it didn't matter too much.

The advance party stopped at Wardlow Church for snacks and drinks at "The Gingerbread Festival" - a smallscale affair arranged to raise money for church maintenance. There we all cheered when live mobile phone news told us that Ben Stokes had hit a four in England's cricket match at Leeds - to dramatically beat Australia in the third test! Hurrah!
The Newly-Weds last Sunday afternoon

30 August 2019


Regarding the wedding beermats, I did something stupid as I was deleting addresses from the blog comments and transferring them to a separate "Word" list. I managed to lose some of the addresses! First the wedding accommodation key and now a few addresses!  What is going on?

These are the people I WILL be mailing beermats to today:-

Vivian Swift
Jennifer Barlow
Mary Moon
Christina in Blackburn
Bonnie Darby
Kylie Tai
Kathy Prickett
Mary Hennessey
Thelma in Normanby
John Gray
Now sent:-
Steve Reed in London
Linda in Ventura CA

These are the people I  WILL NOT be sending beermats to today:-
Jan F in Bellingham WA
Sue in Lincolnshire
Could the two people listed above please send me their addresses again - in the comments below? And if there is anybody else I have somehow missed out could you also put your request and address in the comments? Thank you and sorry about my muddle!

Meantime, here are some fruit pictures I snapped at the bottom of our garden just yesterday:-
I sprayed these apples... with water
Brambles...not blackberries.
A pair of Victoria plums...one riper than the other. I believe
that this hairless variety is called Tasker Dunham

29 August 2019


It was the key to the cottage accommodation I shared with Shirley at the wedding venue. It was the colour of dull grey gun metal and it was not attached to a fob or keyring. 

After showering on the morning of the wedding, I locked the door of the former cowshed and slipped that key into my right pocket. My pockets already contained keys to both of our cars, a linen handkerchief, my wallet, some loose change and the key to the "Enterprise" hire van that I had rented for the duration of the wedding time.

Hardly anybody else was up and about. It was before eight o'clock and Shirley was in the big barn working on table arrangements. Late summer mistiness was still being burnt off by the rising sun as cattle lowed contentedly behind limestone walls.

I had jobs to do. I needed my sledge hammer from the van and some wooden pegs from Clint's rear end. The painted wedding signs I had previously made were already propped up by the barn door.

I set off down the track and crossed the main road. I hammered the first sign into the verge and then I came back for the second sign, first uprooting the Wardlow Gingerbread Festival signs that were partly blocking the view from the wedding venue gateway. I hammered the second sign into the opposite verge and put the gingerbread signs elsewhere.

Then I returned to the wedding venue yard, planning to return to the former cowshed for a mug of tea and some breakfast. You guessed it already! The door key was no longer in my pocket. I emptied both pockets but it had gone.

Not too panicked at this stage, I thought that I might end up phoning the owner for a spare key. First of all it was time to retrace my steps which I did very diligently, scanning the ground below me like a hummingbird hawkmoth searching for nectar. There was a lot of gravel and a lot of grass. I soon realised that it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

By now Frances was having her hair and make up done up in the accommodation barn where she  had spent the night with her brother and twenty five friends. I asked if she had the owner's phone number and she asked why. I said, "Nothing for you to worry about dear!"

Inside the cowshed cottage was Shirley's wedding apparel and my suit and shoes etcetera. There really was something to worry about. I borrowed James's laptop and we managed to connect to the internet. Then I was into my hotmail account where I retrieved an email from the wedding venue. I knew that it contained the owner's mobile phone number.

Leah kindly  lent me her mobile phone and soon I was speaking to the owner. I told him about the lost key.

He claimed that there was no spare key - which seemed highly unlikely. I suggested that I would call a locksmith but he said that he didn't want a locksmith damaging his door.

"What shall I do then?"

"You'll just have to look harder for the key."

And then he said goodbye as he stopped the call. I was flabbergasted and now affected by a wave of panic.

A posse of  young guests came out to search for the key, following my early morning  route exactly but as I expected - there was no joy. No key.

Back at the cottage, James volunteered to climb in through an open window. He slid in like a tree snake. By now it was half past eleven. He started passing the wedding clothes through that same window. At least we would be able to get dressed appropriately and not attend our daughter's wedding in T-shirts and summer shorts!

I returned to little jobs in the wedding barn. Around twelve fifteen - an hour before vehicles would take us to St John's Church in Tideswell, I heard a vehicle on the gravel. Moments later, I spotted that same vehicle - a black Nissan pick up heading down the track and away. I recognised it as the owner's truck.

The fellow had screeched into the yard, jumped out with the key and stuck it in the cottage keyhole before screeching off without telling anybody he had been! How crazy was that? Fortunately, I half-guessed what he had done and there it was - a shiny new key in the lock complete with a chunky keyring. 

Panic over. But that whole episode meant that I was quite flustered and agitated when I speedily donned my wedding suit with the time trundling on to one fifteen. Frances was ready first and she looked so beautiful as I tied the brand new red tie that now matched my flushed cheeks.  I had wanted another shower to cool me down but there simply wasn't time.

Maybe I will laugh about it one day but at the moment I still wish that the key incident had not happened. I had wanted to wear a single white Yorkshire rose in my lapel but I ended up with a little bush like the groomsmen, hastily attached to my suit by the wedding car driver.

28 August 2019


These pictures of the great day came from camera phones. The professional wedding photographs will take three or four weeks to arrive.
Mum and daughter
Frances with her brother

The wasp attack
Groom and groomsmen
Bride and bridesmaids
Shirley with her sister Carolyn and who is that lurking behind them?

26 August 2019


Dear Bloggings,

Being a crazy "father of the bride", I designed  a beermat for the wedding and had it specially produced. I ordered two hundred. They appeared on the tables at the wedding banquet. On one side there's Stewart and Frances pictured on a holiday in France a couple of years ago and on the reverse there's a picture of Peter's Stone at the head of Cressbrookdale. You could see it from the wedding venue.
Now that we are home I see that plenty of beermats were not used so I want to propose something to you.

If you send me your name and address in the comments below I will mail you one of the spare beermats at no cost to you! As soon as I see your name and address I will copy it down and then delete it from the comments so that your mailing details and your proper name are not visible for very long.

I know that a few bloggers already have my email details so they may wish to contact me via the regular email process - avoiding putting contact details in the comments.

It will be nice to give citizens of Blogistan a little souvenir from  my daughter's wedding day and what is more, beermats are very useful!

Yours sincerely,
Yorkshire Pudding (Mr)

25 August 2019


 Now that was a wedding!

Being the father of the bride made the snapping of pictures very difficult but I managed to get a few. No doubt there will be more pictures of the great day on this blog in future posts.

Frances looked so lovely and as I walked her into Tideswell Church I was almost overcome with emotion as the assembled guests in their best clothes turned to greet us. The first hymn we sang was "Jerusalem" with words by William Blake. It was a very beautiful service conducted by Stewart's father as sunshine pierced the stained glass windows.

And then we all travelled two miles back to the wedding venue which had been prepared with much forethought - mostly led by Frances's vision of how she wanted it all to be.

It was a day filled with sunshine, happiness and joy. There was so much love around as people  let their hair down, ate good food and drank like fishes and oh how we danced! The band were superb and when they left around midnight it was disco time. Lightweights began to drift away but a hard core of twenty or so - including the happy couple remained partying beyond three o'clock.

There is luxury farm accommodation a mile and a half from the wedding barn. Some of the guests were staying there but had no idea how to get back safely on foot. At three thirty in the morning, as a crescent moon curled above the dark Derbyshire fields, I led this drunken  party of ten home along a public footpath I know by heart. It wasn't something I had contemplated doing but they were Londoners and this landscape was unknown to them so I felt obliged to walk them right back to their doors.

Cows loomed in the darkness and the grass was heavy with summer dew and of course I had to get back to the wedding barns on my own. I locked up the party barn after turning off all the lights and finally got into bed at 5am. The last man standing.

It had been a truly joyous day - almost magical - far better than anybody imagined it would be and at the centre of the celebrations was my lovely daughter with her new husband dancing deep into the night. Yes that my friends - that was a wedding! Certainly one of the proudest days of my life. Never to be forgotten.
The wedding cake - made by my amazing wife

24 August 2019


Above, a limestone farm shed close to Wardlow Mires, We are staying in this hamlet for the wedding weekend but not in that shed. It is one o'clock on the morning of the wedding. Everything is pretty much ready. Shirley has made the four tier wedding cake and Frances's two wedding dresses are hanging up in her room. And I remembered my black shoes.

Everyone has pulled together. The barn is decorated. The flowers are done. The tables are set. There will be one hundred and five guests and the sun will shine and all will be well with the world as Stew and Frances tie the knot.

Thanks to all the kind blog visitors who left nice messages after my last post. Please don not feel you have to repeat those pleasantries. Below - the view to Peter's Stone from the head of Cressbrookdale. You can see that domed limestone outcrop from the wedding venue.

22 August 2019


God is gazing down upon us. In His divine wisdom, it seems that He has decided that Frances and Stewart's wedding in The Peak District will be blessed with dry, summery weather and sunshine. That's the forecast for this coming weekend. Thanks be to God!

In terms of weather, arranging a wedding at the end of August around the time of the British bank holiday weekend is akin to rolling the dice in a Las Vegas casino. You hope you will be lucky but fear that fortune will evade you.

Of course, even if rain teemed down every hour of the weekend ahead, the wedding guests would put on a brave face and celebrate in spite of the weather. But blue skies and sunshine have a habit of lifting the general mood and injecting social events with an extra dose of joy.

It's going to be a busy day today. The sun is already shining through the front window of our semi-detached suburban house. We will be off to the flower market again in forty minutes. Time for a shower and shave methinks....

21 August 2019


Weddings require flowers. We hired a van this morning and drove over to the city's wholesale flower market. This is where florists from around South Yorkshire purchase their stock.

Frances spent over £400 (US $500) on her chosen flowers and there will be more to pick up tomorrow morning. There are also a good number of our own garden flowers to add to the mixture.
As I write this short blogpost, the beloved wife and daughter are currently outside sorting out the flowers and getting them in buckets etcetera before storing them temporarily in our underhouse area. Some of you may recall that this was where I imprisoned several parking enforcement officers a few years ago before transporting them to Afghanistan. I wonder what happened to them...

As Shirley and Frances were selecting flowers at the flower market, I was wandering around wondering where the vegetables were. The only wedding flower I am really interested in is the white Yorkshire rose that I shall be wearing in my lapel.

Now I must dash. I am off to Oxfam for my regular Wednesday afternoon shift. See ya!

20 August 2019


Dr. Georges Gilles de la Tourette (1857-1904)
I am grateful that I do not suffer from Tourette's syndrome. This neurodevelopmental disorder must cause the sufferers untold misery as involuntarily they display muscular tics and/or verbal or phonic tics. It is estimated that around 1% of children of school age suffer from some form of the condition and I remember with some affection a childhood friend whose tics went crazy whenever he was stressed or nervous. His was not the most intense version of the syndrome but it blighted his life. Ron died from alcoholism in his forties.

Every summer at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival an award is given for the best new oneliner from a visiting comedian. This year that winning "joke" was delivered by Swedish comedian and children's author - Olaf Falafel. This was it:-

"I keep randomly shouting out 'Broccoli' and 
'Cauliflower' - I think I might have florets".

Do you get it?  There is a play upon the word "florets" which of course rhymes with "Tourette's".

I hope that I am not being oversensitive or too politically correct but I am not applauding this winning joke. It appears to be taking the piss out of an unfortunate minority who suffer from a debilitating condition that they cannot control and very much wish that they did not have. The curiously named Olaf Falafel should himself be grateful that he is not a Tourette's sufferer.

I wonder if the target of his joke had been different would it also have won acclaim? What if it had focused upon people in wheelchairs or the elderly? Maybe women or homosexuals or the homeless? What about black people or followers of the Jewish faith? 

I doubt that Olaf Falafel intended any offence but accidentally he may have helped in a small way to further marginalise and poke fun at a significant minority of unfortunate people who have suffered from far too much misunderstanding and mockery through the centuries.

19 August 2019


Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillar
   © Warren Photographic

Last week I saw a creature I had never seen before. It was an elephant hawk moth caterpillar. It was in the palm of our neighbours' ten year old grandson's hand. I didn't have my camera with me so I have included a picture of such a caterpillar that I found in Google Images. See above.

With its bulbous snake-like head and its little feet , it looked as if it had crept out of a Disney cartoon... Ellie the Caterpillar voiced by Lady Gaga or some such celebrity. Co-incidentally, I think the caterpillar's face is very similar to Lady Gaga's.

Of course if that three inch caterpillar makes it, she will pupate - becoming a chrysalis for the wintertime and then next spring she will emerge as a beautiful elephant hawk moth. See below
© Warren Photographic
Despite its name the adult moth itself is not especially large. It has a wingspan of around two inches and is excellent at hovering in the air above blooming flowers at night. The name of the moth chiefly derives from the caterpillar which from the front appears to have some sort of proboscis like an elephant:-
© Warren Photographic

18 August 2019


While I was happily screwing away yesterday afternoon, I hurt myself. Perhaps I should have been wearing gloves. I was screwing for an hour or so.

I was building a strong wooden structure on which to attach a 40cm convex mirror. I plan to put it on the verge opposite the wedding venue driveway. That driveway meets the main road at a dangerous bend where visibility is limited. The thought of one of the wedding guests having a road traffic accident gives me the willies. The "hurt" referred to was the popped blisters on the palm of my right hand.

Other practical jobs I have recently undertaken include painting two old wooden stepladders that will be used to display flowers - I understand. I have also painted a heavy wooden pallet on which the "Order of Day" will appear outside the wedding barn.

In addition, I have created three signs to go by the main road - directing guests to the wedding venue entrance. And I have created a simple welcome sign that will be hammered into the ground in front of the wedding barn: "Welcome to Frances and Stewart's Wedding". Stemming from all of this, I suspect that I missed my vocation as a sign writer.

I keep calling next weekend's event a "D.I.Y. Wedding". It is by no means all about turning up on the day, enjoying the celebrations and giving the wedding venue proprietor a big fat cheque (American: check). No way. Almost every element of this wedding has involved thinking through, phone calls, text messages and practical activity - just like my signs and the structure for the convex mirror.

Now I am thinking about my "Father of the Bride Speech". It may go something like this..."Hello. I am the father of the bride. Please raise your glasses to toast the happy couple...Thank you!"  I am kidding of course. In fact I plan to bore the assembled multitude to death by explaining my screwing techniques and regaling them with amusing tales from Frances's childhood. 

On Wednesday, I will be picking up a hire van and then driving over to Sheffield's flower market to collect many more flowers than you would find in a bunch. These will be used to decorate the church, the wedding venue, people's lapels and so forth. Rest assured that selecting the flowers is not my zone of responsibility. The only flower I want is a small white Yorkshire rose for my own lapel.

At the moment, in this unsettled month, the weather forecast for next weekend is looking surprisingly clement. God must be watching... maybe it's the fact that Stewart's father, a recently retired vicar, will be conducting the church service. Yet another D.I.Y. element.

17 August 2019


Recycle! Reuse! Here are three poems that I dashed off recently for Jenny-O's blog "Procrastinating Donkey". She has a regular feature called "Poetry Monday" and each week there is a particular theme. I used the themes as titles too.


Dad was wise and Dad was strong
In my eyes he could do no wrong
He didn't wear a magic cape
Or take on a different shape
No he wasn't a hero quite like that
With comic expressions like "Yikes!" and "Splat!"
For Dad was human like you and me
Being the best that he could be
He taught me the difference between right and wrong
And proved that the wise may also be strong.


When God created everything
Lightning sparked from his fingers 
And the skies were filled with terrible thunder
It was elemental
A celestial alchemy
Like the night that Frankenstein’s monster
Rose from the dead
And said
And on that day
The Day of Creation
God’s own God
Made even brighter forks of lightning
That cracked the skies
As even louder thunder
Boomed like wildebeest
Migrating through the Serengeti
And the God of God’s own God
Slept on
As the endless rain teemed down.


The day my mother died
A violin cried
Wailing A minor up in the air
Its plaintive sound was everywhere
But looking back it was just in my head
A note to self
That Mum was dead.

16 August 2019


"We've got to get ourselves back to the garden..."

The famous Woodstock Festival of August 15th - 18th happened exactly fifty years ago. Some might say that it crowned the nineteen sixties. Three days of love and music. So much changed in that decade.
Like me, Joni Mitchell didn't make it to Woodstock but the festival touched her as it did me in my obscure village somewhere in  northern England. I learnt to sing and play her song and performed it on several stages in my late teens and later played it weekly at a bar in Chagrin Falls, Ohio when I was summer camp counselling nearby.

For some of us the hippy dreams of Woodstock never died. Dreams of peace and love, brotherhood and sisterhood, kindness to our planet, humanity towards others, delight in simple things like flowers and rainbows and poetry. 

Lord knows that the world could do with more of what Woodstock represented right now.

The magical weekend began with Richie Havens up on the stage singing "Freedom" and finished with Jimi Hendrix playing "Hey Joe". In between Joan Baez sang Pete Seeger's stirring anthem for the people - "We Shall Overcome":-
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome, some day

15 August 2019


"The Wedding of the Year" is fast approaching. I don't know how it is in America or Australia or elsewhere, but in this country it has become the fashion for brides and grooms to be to have lavish hen or stag dos ahead of their wedding days. Often these typically boozy trips will happen abroad, involving flights, hotel rooms etcetera.

Last weekend our darling Frances travelled up to Edinburgh in Scotland for her hen weekend. She was accompanied by ten of her best girl friends. By all accounts they had a super time, drank plenty of wine and prosecco and attended three comedy shows at The Edinburgh Festival. I snipped the picture below from her Instagram page - partly so that I can find it again when looking back through this blog in the future. It's a piece of our family history now - or to use a daft modern term - our journey!

Doesn't she look so happy?
Meantime the husband to be is going to have his stag celebrations somewhere in eastern Europe this coming weekend. I know exactly where he is going because I have been there myself - but I can't spell it out as Stew sometimes browses this blog and he will have no idea where he is bound until he reaches the airport tomorrow morning. Our son Ian is going too. Let's hope that the stag party doesn't finish in  post-Soviet police cells.

Back in my day - when the world was in black and white and Queen Victoria was possibly still on the throne - I had my stag do in our local pub with a small group of male friends. This was the night before my wedding. There was no food, not even a stripogram girl called Tallulah. The only difference between that night and any other Friday night was that I had an extra pint of beer. I was back home and in my bed by midnight, having hardly added anything to my tiny carbon footprint. We really knew how to party!

14 August 2019


More walking yesterday afternoon. How many miles have I left to tread? If I were a car I think I would need a new engine by now. "But you're not a car!" snapped Clint as I left him to snooze by the bus shelter in Litton.

Through the cattle pastures and along the path that clings to the rim of Cressbrookdale. To my left, the slope was precipitous - rolling down through the trees to the valley bottom far below. 

Just before I reached Cressbrook I spotted an American woman having a pee with her ten or eleven year old daughter keeping guard.. As I approached the Yank yanked up her khaki shorts. A bit further along, I met her baseball-capped husband and another blue-eyed daughter They were heading for Monsal Dale and they all had walking poles.
But I was heading for Ravensdale Cottages in the green heart of the valley. It had been seven years since I last passed by them. They were built in 1823 and housed lead miners and their families. It would have been a very peaceful place to live but the steep valley sides mean that the spot where they were built enjoys only limited direct sunlight each day.
The lead mines are all gone like the lead miners. Today half of Ravensdale Cottages are holiday rentals. I could hear some holidaymakers making conversation as I stopped to take pictures. Their front door was open for this was a time of day when the cottages were not in shadow. I didn't listen to what they were saying. It was just like bees humming.

When I got back to Litton I treated myself to a pint of bitter shandy in "The Red Lion" and it was as welcome as the potato crisps (American: potato chips) that I ordered with my drink. Twenty five minutes later I was back home. Another five miles plodded en route to oblivion.

13 August 2019


Above our front door there's a glass panel. Americans call it a transom window but here - where the English language was successfully concocted from a diverse range of ingredients - we call it a fanlight.

When we had our new door installed a couple of years ago, we asked the door company to include our house number in the translucent glass. I remember being quite specific about the size and font required as I didn't want large, rather vulgar numbers that would be almost as tall as the fanlight itself.

Having your house number in the fanlight is helpful to postal workers and the army of people now employed in delivering parcels from waiting vans.
This morning when I got up, I noticed something on the carpet in our hallway. It was the image of our house number painted in sunlight that was beaming all over the front of our house. It has gone now as the sun arcs over the house but for a little while there was magic. Of course we have seen this phenomenon before but this was the first time I have bothered to capture it with my trusty camera.

In other news from Pudding Towers, I was feeling very restless late yesterday afternoon - like a young colt in a stableyard or a Welsh terrier in a corner country cottage or a Staffie in a swish West Hampstead apartment or a tousled hound in a Lincolnshire mansion.  I drove two miles out of the city to tramp a familiar circular route from Shorts Lane on the edge of the city.
Stepping stones over Blacka Brook
The walk takes exactly an hour and I have plodded the selfsame route at least three or four  times a year for the last thirty years so I know I have completed it well over a hundred times. It's a good way of burning off energy in the country but only five minutes away from our house. And every time I walk that route there's something slightly different to see. Besides I can walk it in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction.

By five o'clock I was back home to make our evening meal. I had only been out for an hour and a quarter.

12 August 2019


I have just finished a book that concerned The Jarrow Crusade. It is an account of the author's attempt to follow in the footsteps of the marchers - eighty years after the original march happened. The writer was Stuart Maconie. As well as looking back in history, he also reflected upon modern day England and what he observed along the way. "Long Road from Jarrow" is eminently readable and at times thought-provoking.

For those of you who do not know, The Jarrow Crusade was a 250 mile protest march. On October 5th 1936, two hundred unemployed men from the town of Jarrow in the north east of England set off for London. It would take them twenty six days to get there, They intended to present a petition to the government.

A once proud steel and ship-building town, by 1936 Jarrow was on its knees. 70% of  Jarrow men were unemployed and poverty was rife. In desperation, it was decided that the march would happen. It would be a plea for work, for compassion and for government support. 

The men made their way steadily down the spine of the country towards England's soft underbelly and the wealth and power that  gather round London. It was like descending upon a different planet. On Friday October 16th, 1936 the marchers reached this city - Sheffield. 

Of course, the England of 2016 that Maconie encountered was different in many ways. More traffic on the roads, better welfare protection for the unemployed, less heavy industry, television sets in every home, more comfortable walking boots. Nonetheless, some things never change. London remains a magnet for wealth and privilege and places like Jarrow still feel marginalised, forgotten.

Some of Maconie's political and cultural opinions did not chime with my own views and at times I bristled but he is an engaging writer. Sometimes very funny. It was an excellent project and a fine way to pay homage to the Jarrow men of 1936.  However, it should be noted that while the marchers tramped every inch of the route, Maconie occasionally used buses and taxis to cover some of the miles between.

11 August 2019


Let's have a little frolic around The Pudding Garden. We have got more flowers than usual in our garden this summer but I am afraid I don't know their names and Mrs Pudding, who would know the names, has just gone over to Tideswell Church where our daughter will be married in two weeks' time.

But I do know the names of our pet sheep. That's Beau on the left with her lamb Peep who never seems to grow old. Behind them there's a little path - between the two pots - that leads to the top part of the garden where you will find our vegetable plot, the composting bins, the fruit trees, the bramble hedge and the gate into the back lane.
You will also find The Lord Buddha who I have presented with a gift of conkers. I prayed that he would fend off garden slugs from the hostas. What use is a deity if it cannot keep garden pests away?
 Below, Florus PInkus and Florus Orangeus meet by the fencing on our decking:-
And these gaudy flowers are now growing up in the vegetable plot where there would normally be potatoes and onions growing - things you can eat. I believe these flowers are called zinnias but they might be daffodils. The photograph doesn't show this but they were dancing in a stiff breeze when I pressed the camera button.
It's nice to have a garden. It's good for the soul. Some friends of ours have recently moved into a second floor flat in a gated apartment block. All they have now is a balcony when before they had a garden with grass, hedges, flowers and vegetables. Personally, I wouldn't like such a change - not at this time in my life anyway.

10 August 2019


St Mary's Church in Badsworth
This may surprise you but on Thursday I was out walking once again. If you don't like my walking posts with associated photographs, please click away now.

Clint carried me out to the M1 motorway. Then we filtered left on to the M18 and after a few miles we were heading north on the A1M  passing Doncaster. Then on to the  A638 and soon I reached my destination - a small village I had never visited before called North Elmsall.

With boots on, the plodding began. Very soon I found myself in a rapeseed field. I had to thrash through the drying vegetation because the footpath marked on my map had  been sadly neglected and untrodden. For a while I was like Indiana Jones, pushing through the chin high rapeseed following the course of a small stream up to a long abandoned railway track.
At North Elmsall Hall Farm
My five hour circular walk took in a former coal mining village called Upton and two other more scenic villages - Thorpe Audlin and Badsworth.

Frequently on my solitary walks, I don't talk to anyone as I move steadily over the landscape but on Thursday I had four encounters. 

At remote Walton Wood Airfield a mechanic in overalls came out of the hangar where he was maintaining  light aircraft to challenge me even though I was on a public footpath. I could have easily turned this situation into a confrontation but I disarmed the fellow by showing him my map and explaining where I had come from and where I was going to. He returned happily to his work. I posed no threat.
Hangar by Walton Wood Airfield
Then in charming Thorpe Audlin, a man in a parked blue van yelled across the street, "Can we help you?" There was another old fellow sitting beside him. I knew instinctively that he didn't really want to give me any help. He was just suspicious of a stranger walking by and his question was a way of challenging me. I went over and chatted with him and showed him my map and I asked if there was a shop in the village but he said it had shut down five or six years ago.

Later, in the equally charming village of Badsworth I walked into the village church - St Mary's and found a middle aged woman sitting alone in one of the pews looking at her laptop. It was a potentially risky situation - a lone six foot stranger and a defenceless female. Immediately, I got a whiff of trepidation from her which I quickly defused and soon we were chatting about the church and the village like old friends.
Tattoo shop in Upton
I asked if there was a village shop but she said it had shut down a few years back. I said I was rather thirsty so she made me a cup of orange squash and offered me a biscuit.  Then the church warden came into the building and after chatting with him for a short  while, he gave me a little booklet about the history of the church.  Then he left.

As I was about to depart myself, I realised I had very little money on me though I wanted to make a donation to the church for the booklet and for the refreshment and the welcome I had received. Trustingly, the woman wrote her name and address down for me and I promised to send her a cheque (American: check) which I duly posted on Thursday night. She was called Anita.

Rogerthorpe Manor House  is now a country hotel with a public bar attached. I wandered in there and asked how much a pint of bitter shandy would cost me. The young barman said £3.60 as I explained I only had £3.50.  "No worries mate," he smiled and poured the pint anyway. It was a small act of kindness and the shandy tasted good, sustaining me on the last leg of my trek.
Heading back to North Elmsall

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