Shire Horses Otley and Bradford

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What happened to Murdoch ans Darcy whose home was threatened with council cut backs in 2011? I will try to get an update


Bradford Telegraph and Argus report ‘In a climate where hundreds of people are losing their jobs and cutbacks are happening throughout the district then the future of two shire Horses is not automatically at the top of the list of priorities. But Murdoch and Darcy, who are stabled at the Bradford Industrial Museum in Eccleshill, clearly have a place in the hearts of local people as evidenced by the last time they were under threat.’ and the threat was beaten back but new cuts at Bradford MDC may not be as forgiving.
Getting rid of the horses from the museum would save money “Stabling and taking care of horses is expensive and finding somewhere else for the horses would save £126,000.’ Says Tony Stephens AD cultural and tourism, but then again so would getting rid of ‘AD cultural and tourism’.

As the old cowboys used to say ‘Git on your ‘orse Bradford.’

New foal shire horses were on display at the Otley Show

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Shire horse books DVDs and memorabilia is available from Amazon. Perhaps Bradford need to latch on to similar marketing opportunities.

See a Bradford Shire getting a wash and brush-up


Wiig to Wed – Bridesmaids Needed

Beverley Minster

Beverley Minster could be the location for the PR media frenzy that will be the luvvies wedding of the century. It could alternatively be the name of one of the Bridesmaids when Kirsten Wiig weds. Mother Shipton would be the Maid of Honour and other bridesmaid contenders could include Victoria Cave, Adel Church, Burton Agnes Hall, Greta Bridge, Jet Whitby, or even Rose Berry-Topping.
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Bridesmaids The Movie

Wiig is the creator and actress who wrote the script for  Bridesmaids a new, potentially cult comedy currently being previewed in cinemas around Yorkshire. Continue Reading →


In the Shoes of J B Priestley

Bradford has a tradition when it comes to the shoe trade based around Stylo which was founded in 1935.
The Stylo business grew in the 1960’s by buying Barratts and in the 1990’s when they bought Priceless. Unfortunately that record is badly tarnished by receiverships, administrations, redundancies and liquidations. Barratts shoes, Priceless, Stylo, Shutopia and Dolcis have been ‘rationalised out of existence’.
Three times the same executive management of Michael Ziff and family have tried the shoe trade on for size. Let us hope that they are more successful this time around having just bought the latest, much reduced, business from the liquidators.

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With this as a background I found it interesting to see Bradfordian J B Priestley was being used in the Bata-ville shoe context by the folk at No Way To Make A Living. In ‘Bata in Essex and the Decline of the Third England’ they record

‘When J. B. Priestley wrote Eng­lish Jour­ney he was exer­cised by some trouble­some 1930s women: lip­sticked, dressed up to the nines to ape Hol­ly­wood glam­our on light industry wages. These were the women of the third England.

“the Eng­land of arter­ial and by-pass roads, of filling sta­tions and factor­ies that look like exhib­i­tion build­ings, of giant cinemas and dance-halls and cafes, bun­ga­lows with tiny gar­ages, cock­tail bars, Wool­worths, motor-coaches, wire­less, hik­ing, fact­ory girls look­ing like act­resses, grey­hound racing and dirt tracks, swim­ming pools, and everything given away for cigar­ette coupons.”

Priestley, J. B. (1984[1934]) Eng­lish Jour­ney, Pen­guin Books.’

These fact­ory girls were an object of con­cern and scru­tiny, troub­ling the estab­lished cat­egor­ies of class with their out­spoken, per­formed fem­in­in­ity. A new, light, indus­trial labour force destabil­ised the estab­lished under­stand­ings of gender and class. The Bata fact­ory in East Tilbury was staffed, in part, by this kind of woman: mak­ing shoes in order to pay for new shoes and hand­bags and lip­sticks. And to keep their fam­il­ies: women’s work is not all about pin money and frivolity, J. B.’
Read the full ‘Bata in Essex and the Decline of the Third England’

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J B Priestley and English Journey from Amazon

What Would J B Priestley Make of This

  • Stylo Shoes is now a sound business based in Pakistan becoming the largest selling ladies’ shoes brand in Pakistan and the largest ladies shoes retail network in the country with 57 outlets in 30 cities.
  • Bradford’s Shoe business could be three time losers with the Ziff family.
  • The ‘English Journey’ is being used in academic texts about the decline of the third England.

Captain England Play for Yorkshire










Lord Hawke,  7th Baron Hawke of Towton played for Yorkshire from 1881 to 1911. He captained England 4 times winning all of those matches.

Stanley Jackson 1905 won his only test series against Australia and retired – some non Yorkshire captains should have retired as quickly. Stanley toped both the batting and bowling averages in his test series.

Norman Yardley captained Yorkshire from 1948 to 1955. He captained England 14 times winning 4 tests which under rates his innate ability.

Brian Close won 6 of his 7 tests drawing the other- obviously he had to be fired in 1967. Those sort of results are just not cricket! Local hero of our betting shop Brian sadly was stumped for the last time in September 2015











Len Hutton won the ashes twice as the first professional to captain England and MCC. Sir Len had a career average of 56.66.

Geoffrey Boycott has never been a favorite of the cricket establishment as evidenced  by the limited number of only 4 test matches  as captain and those when Mike Brearley was injured.

Ray Illingworth won the ashes in 1970/71 and started his captaincy with a run of 13 undefeated tests.  As Wisden’s Cricketers of the Year in 1960 in he was dumped as Test captain! First class records 24134 runs and 2072 wickets Ray is comming up to age 85

Michael Vaughan captained England a record  51 Tests winning 26  and losing 11.He retired in 2008 after 5 years as captain. He was less successful in One Day matches but again that’s not cricket.

Joe Root is the latest in our illustrious line of Yorkshire cricketers who have captained England at home and MCC away. He takes the best wishes of all supporters forward through 2017 and onward until he is usurped by the next Yorkshire captain.


photo Source: CricketArchive, from an idea by Scyld Berry Daily Telegraph


Images of Yorkshire Moors & Wolds

Moor & heath

Yorkshire is blessed with dramatic and unrivaled scenery. From the East coast through Moors, Dales and Wolds there are umpteen images to catch the imagination.
You can access these images via short or long distance walks, from car windows, glossy books, old postcards or surfing the internet as you are currently doing.

On to Ilkley Moor

Roman road roam’n’ all over the place?
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‘The Yorkshire Moors and Wolds’ Book by Mark Denton

A collection of wonderful panoramic Yorkshire images of Moors and Wolds. These are two very different landscapes separated by the Vale of Pickering and encompassing forests, remote farmlands, dramatic rocky landscapes and gently rolling hills.

The Beauty of Trees. Thixendale,Yorkshire Wolds. UK.


The Beauty of Trees. Thixendale,Yorkshire Wolds. UK. by Philip Ed CC BY-NC 2.0


Maeve Binchy 1940- 2012

Maeve Binchy the best-selling Irish author has died aged 72 after a short illness.
Ian Rankin has tweeted “Maeve Binchy was a gregarious, larger than life, ebullient recorder of human foibles and wonderment.” She was a great story teller who knew where she stood in the pantheon of Dublin writers.
“I was very pleased, obviously, to have outsold great writers. But I’m not insane – I do realise that I am a popular writer who people buy to take on vacation.” Maeve Binchy

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Maeve published 16 novels  Minding Frankie – was published in 2010.
Minding Frankie is about a motherless female child and a story about unconventional Dublin families and relationships which aren’t quite what they seem. Baby Frankie is born into an unusual family. Her mother is desperate to find someone to take care of her child and she doesn’t have much time. Noel doesn’t seem to be the most promising of fathers but despite everything, he could well be Frankie’s best hope.

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Other Key Maeve Binchy Works include
Light a Penny Candle, The Lilac Bus as well as Tara Road, Heart and Soul and Circle of Friends.
Firefly Summer is warm, humorous, sad and happy.
Victoria Line, Central Line is a nice collection of short stories.
Many of Maeve’s books were translated into 37 languages and all told she sold more than 40 million copies worldwide


Gore Vidal – Homosexuality & Transexuality

During the late 1940’s and early 50’s Gore Vidal was producing challenging books. This included Myra Breckinridge (sunsequently made into a film) and The City And The Pillar with a hint of autobiographical politics and homosexuality.
Gore Vidal died on 1st August 2012 age 86 with 24 books and numerous screen plays to his name.

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The City And The Pillar
‘Jim Willard, former high-school athlete and clean-cut boy-next-door-, is haunted by the memory of a romanctic adolescent encounter with his friend Bob Ford. As Jim pursues his first love, in awe of the very same masculinity he possesses himself, his progress through the secret gay world of 1940’s America unveils surreptitious Hollywood affairs, the hidden life of the military in the Second World War and the underworld bar culture of New York City.’ Amazon says Gore Vidals book based on homosexuality ‘remains not only an authentic and profoundly important social document but also a serious exploration of the nature of idealistic love.’
The publication of The City and the Pillar in 1948 shocked the American public but did not damage his personal appeal as he remained a controversial but well connected figure in US political and social life.

Myra Breckinridge
Gore Vidal novel of the same name, in which a gay man, Myron Breckinridge undergoes a sex-change operation before setting of – as Myra Breckinridge – on a mission to Hollywood to “destroy the American male in all its particulars”. A successful book that was made into a film starring Raquel Welsh, Mae West and John Huston.

‘It is a risky (and risque) business becoming ‘Woman Triumphant’ – exercising total power over men like Rusty Godowski. Rusty just wants to be a Hollywood star like everyone else at Buck Loner’s academy, but now that Buck’s niece, Myra Breckinridge, has arrived, the curriculum is taking a wildly strange turn. Willing to risk all to be superb and unique, Myra means to prove to her old friend Dr Montag that it is possible to work out in life all one’s fantasies – and survive.
‘From Myra’s fist appearance on the page she was a megastar’, explains her creator, Gore Vidal. Myra caused a second furore when she returned in Myron to battle it out with her eponymous alter ego, a drab little man fallen into marriage and a job in Chinese catering. Theirs is a contest of hormonal roulette, with glorious Myra off on time-travelling missions of mercy back to 1948 to try to change cinema history and to introduce her own radical theories of popuation control. Meanwhile Myron tries desperately to stay in the present as inconspicuously as Mrya will allow.’

Gore Vidal Selected Quotes

There is no such thing as a homosexual or a heterosexual person. There are only homo- or heterosexual acts.
It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
The United States was founded by the brightest people in the country — and we haven’t seen them since.
Andy Warhol is the only genius I’ve ever known with an I.Q. of 60.
‘George W Bush was the stupidest man in the USA’ and Gore Vidal couldn’t be a conspiracy theorist as ‘the administration were not clever enough to pull it off.’


Clog Almanacs

Before the invention of printing, uneducated people in England used wooden calendars to keep track of the seasons and of the religious festivals. These calendars were known as clog almanacs. This booklet describes some of the clog almanacs that survive today and explains some of the medieval Christian symbols used on them. It is illustrated with drawings and photographs and has a useful bibliography for those who would like to know more about this fascinating subject

English Clog Almanacs: An Introduction: Volume 1 Paperback – 16 Jun 2012

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The origin of these runic or clog-calendars was Danish and were more prominent in the North. No runic calendar or Clog Almanac  has  yet been found in any Saxon or German province

Runic inscriptions recorded special dates for example saints days such as June 8th for St William Archbishop of York 1144 a.d.  or May 7th St John Beverley from 721 a.d.


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Nostalgia is Bigger Than It Used To Be

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Nostalgia is big business and isn’t going to disappear anytime soon. Alan Titchmarsh has latched on to the trend with his BBC book ‘When I was a Nipper’ available from amazon as paperback or hardback.

Why Nostalgia is Getting Bigger

  • The baby boomers are enjoying life and there are a lot of them around.
  • Old music acts from the 60’s and 70’s are touring and performing in ever growing numbers. I saw one of the Dubliners on a zimmer frame at St Georges Hall Bradford last year!
  • Discretionary spending on nostalgia increases year on year. Collecting memorabilia, old pottery, and modern antiques has been promoted by lifestyle programmes on TV.
  • Family tree compilation and ancestor research has joined the list of popular hobbies.
  • Themed holidays and a greater number of museums and local attractions based on nostalgia proliferate.
  • There is a demand for nostalgia because times were good. The supply of nostalgia based products, services and media is aimed at satisfying the demand.

Yorkshire Nostalgia

    • The Railway Children is running again in a live performance at Waterloo Station

  • Heartbeat of Aidensfield fame may have ceased production but it is still running on digital TV channels and dvds. How long before we are nostalgic for analogue TV?
  • Another show that runs and runs is the Last of the Summer Wine. I can even get nostalgic for the reruns!
  • If you want to keep up with nostalgia you can do a lot worse than read The Dalesman

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