One characteristic of the South Pennines, which as locals I think we tend to take for granted, is the use of our local stone. In its raw state, as loose boulders or roughly quarried, it can be seen in the miles of walls which define not only fields but the boundary where pasture changes to moorland.
Cut and shaped (dressed) stone has been used to create many fine buildings; always sturdy, occasionally elegant with beautiful carved lintels over the door, often bearing the initials of the first owner and the date.
Our locally quarried stone has been used for hundreds of years and to me it has an integrity about it as it sits in the landscape. Locally sourced material always just looks right and this feeling that things should sit in their surroundings rather than impose themselves led us to attempt something new.
We wanted our new eco-office in the garden to fit in with the house (gritstone) and surroundings (dry stone walls) and initially thought of cladding the walls with gabions (wire baskets) filled with stone to achieve this. The cost of the gabions put us off and we thought we had enough stone available, dug up, salvaged and cadged, to emulate the craftsmen of old so we decided to have a go at dry walling. The walls have free-standing buttresses either end to visually sit the building into the garden and the main wall (3metres high) is a single leaf backed by a concrete block wall.
It took an age, but was a labour of love (most of the time) and we are really pleased with how it looks. Before it was even finished it was tenanted by some blue tits and wrens who completely ignored our ongoing building work and raised their broods in the cavities. Moss and lichens have started to grow and it looks like the place has been up for years. Next job is to re-plant the beech hedge in front of it.
Having built our wall we have nothing but respect for the skills and patience of those craftsmen who have gone before and those who build today. Happily this craft is being revived and their are many good wallers available. Try it!
Dry Stone Wall Association; www.dswa.org.uk
We had heavy snow again and these are some of the scenes around our home.
Check out the snow geese! Geese are good defenders of property even in this weather.
Now for the drifts on the approach to the Mary Townley Loop
Pennine Life is delighted to report that it had already covered El Gato Negro in one of it’s early reviews over a year ago. The award is recognition of the quality of the food and service that people get from Chris Williams and Simon Shaw. Congratulations guys for the great job you do.
Last month, December certainly was challenging with the weather and I don’t think we are out of the woods yet. Not being owners of a 4 x4 vehicle we were snowed in for about 6 days leading up to Christmas. We did, however venture out, walking down to the village to do some shopping.
It was a bit of a rush to get the last minute Christmas shopping done. Good old Amazon and Royal Mail managed to deliver two remaining presents ordered on the internet on Christmas Eve and a younger member of the household gave a big sigh of relief.
Christmas Day saw us struggle getting elderly relatives to our front door. At the end of the day our kind neighbour, who has a 4×4, drove them down to the main road where we had left our car. All arrived safely home.
On my way to the Oldham Coliseum I realized that it had been some years since I’d seen a pantomime. Mother Goose was definitely a glorious example of how a traditional pantomime should be performed. It was a pleasant surprise to find that I thoroughly enjoyed myself and even joined in the audience participation. Mother Goose’s costumes were spectacularly funny and totally over the top.
The jokes were well delivered and had a childlike quality about them, as they should. The script by Eric Potts was well written with lots of local references. For example when Mother Goose became rich from the golden eggs she said; “We are now posh and can move up to Saddleworth” Or …”you have as much chance as the Metro coming to Mumps Station.”
Fine Time Fontayne was a wonderful Dame making you chuckle and laugh throughout the evening.
We got lots audience participation with various members of the cast when there were scene changes taking place behind the curtains. Plenty of “oh yes are you!” and “oh no I’m not!” with the Demon of Discontent played by Andonis Anthony.
I must admit this version of Mother Goose certainly leaves you with a golden pantomime experience.
A group from the Rossendale Valley have a 2020 vision to emulate friends from Calderdale and make their town healthier and wealthier.
A book entitled ‘Confessions of an Eco-Shopper’ by Kate Lock and the Incredible Edible project from Todmorden, have influenced Haslingden residents Joanna and Paul Scott-Bates to the extent that they have joined forces with Souta Creagh from the Stubby Lee community greenhouse project to try and encourage people to grow their own fruit and vegetables. They recently held a public meeting in Haslingden and have set their sights on orchards, community gardening and encouraging people to grow and buy locally.
“Initially we want to get as many people as possible growing their own fruit and vegetables – whether it be in gardens, allotments, parks or window boxes”‘ said Joanna, adding, “longer term, we would love to see community orchards. We are also keen to promote local businesses and traders, and, want to see products indigenous to the Valley all over!”
According to Paul, “Anyone can get involved. Everyone has someone to offer. Over recent years, community spirit seems to have dwindled and we want to see that return to our towns. The Incredible Edible project is truly inspirational, and, it would be brilliant to have Incredibles all over the Country. The project at Stubby Lee is a superb achievement and with the Council’s help we can spread the word throughout the Valley.”
Other things mentioned at the meeting included the encapsulation of the Valley’s rivers to become self sufficient in power, and, seed giveaways at the popular farmers markets.
Incredible Edible Rossendale hope to have a website live soon and have planned a second meeting for January 2010.
Anyone interested can contact:
Joanna – firstname.lastname@example.org (you can also follow Joanna on Twitter@GreenFieldGreen)
Souta – email@example.com
Liam’s of Littleborough is a popular local butcher always cheerful and helpful. Like so many of our local shopkeepers he knows his customers by name and almost instinctively knows what you want without looking at your shopping list.
Buying from your local butcher can not only keep them in business and the village centre buzzing but it can also keep local farmers in business too.
When interviewing Liam I found out that locally bought food has environmental benefits too. With a short supply chain helping to reduce food miles it keeps air and vehicle miles down. The farmer supplies the butcher and you buy the meat. Other small businesses also benefit when the local economy is kept active.
You can hear the entertaining interview with Liam the Littleborough butcher and find out more about his thriving business including what he’s doing to keep the local economy going.
Another bonus of shopping from local and family run companies is they are more often than not more friendly and provide a more helpful service. That can certainly be said of Liam and his staff. They are always very helpful and like to share a joke with customers.
Locally produced food doesn’t have to be more expensive. With little or no delivery expenses and no middlemen prices can often be lower.
For Christmas from Liams you can get locally sourced fresh farm turkeys, turkey crowns, Littleborough Lamb, Gressingham Ducks and prime Topside joints.
In the afternoon at Milnrow Workmen’s Club four Milnrow and Newhey primary schools performed “The Tim Bobbin Lancashire Day Concert”. With Taffy Thomas the first ever national Storytelling Laureate presiding, the children entertained parents, friends and family to traditional Lancashire country dancing, clog dancing and singing of Poverty Knock. The children of Crossgates School with Taffy Thomas told the tale of Mabel’s Gables based upon the ghost of Wicken Hall. The concert concluded with the children and parents singing “A Lancashire Lassie.”
The celebrations have been made possible by MoorEnd Development Trust with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Pennine Prospects South Pennines LEADER programme.
Thousands of school children, parents and grandparents will thoroughly enjoy themselves as usual this year with Mother Goose.
I can’t wait to go and see the stunning sets and sparkling costumes.
The South Pennines area are lucky to have one of the oldest independent theatres in the country dating back to 1885. Oldham Coliseum is well established and has a highly respected reputation for its work within the community and provides opportunities for everyone to get involved.
So why not go along and have a bit of fun.
Mother Goose runs from 21 November – 9 January at the Oldham Coliseum.
Tickets start from £10.00, a Family Ticket (two adults and two children) costs just £49 and group rates are available.
For more information call the box office on 0161 624 2829 or visit www.coliseum.org.uk.
Directed by Kevin Shaw
Designed by Celia Perkins
Demon of Discontent Andonis Anthony
King of Gooseland Patrick Bridgman
Jill Nicole Evans
Billy Goose Richard J Fletcher
Mother Goose Fine Time Fontayne
Colin Goose Amy Rhiannon Worth
You can also have a look at interviews with the cast on their Youtube site.
The second Tim Bobbin Festival will be celebrated on 27 November – Lancashire Day.
Work has started with four Milnrow Primary Schools with the National Storytelling Laureate Taffy Thomas and his team. This year’s title is “Bobbin Around” and not only will the children be learning about storytelling but also clog dancing and traditional Lancashire song and dance.
The Tim Bobbin Exhibition will be on display at Milnrow Library from Tuesday 24 to Saturday 5 December.
There will also be hoisting of the Lancashire Flag near ‘The Bobbin’ public house by Rochdale’s Mayor Cllr Keith Swift.