Have you got the brains you were born with? If so do you keep them under your flat cap?
March is ‘Brain Tumour Awareness Month’ in the UK and the charity Brain Tumour Research and Support Across Yorkshire, at Wagon Lane, Bingley are urging the people of Yorkshire to join their Flat Cap Friday campaign to help raise vital funds and awareness for theCharity No. 1095931. The flat cap is seen by southerners as the iconic hat of Yorkshire.
Last March Sheffield Hallam Students’ Union took part in Flat Cap Friday With a whole host of Yorkshire themed activities going on including:- Yorkshire pudding burgers and real ale in Bar Phoenix and of course a Yorkshire edition of Friday night Karaoke, Yorkshire toppings on Pizza’s and a raffle of Yorkshire foods up for grabs! It’s was a reyt’ good day! Lets hope they do the same on 30th March 2018 and support this cause.
Yorkshire is a significant producer of eggs and chickens. It is also as humane as practical in the way it treats the flocks including some re-homing of aging birds.
The British Hen Welfare Trust have regional co-ordinators to help with ‘Hen Re-homing’ when the birds get past the age to lay eggs. All commercial laying hens are sent to slaughter at around 78 weeks old when their working life reaches an end unless they can be re-homed. The British Hen Welfare Trust work with schools and 92% of the hens they find homes for come from formerly caged birds not free range chickens. Very occasionally they take barn hens but supporters prefer to offer the old birds a life they previously didn’t enjoy.
Ikkle Chooks Yorkshire Rescue is a re-homing hub. for ex battery hens or ex-commercial hens, with a no cull policy. All rehomed birds are as pets not for commercial activity.
How Long Do Hens Live
Birds grown for meat are culled at around 6 to 8 weeks
Poultry producers slaughter battery hens or egg layers when they’re between one and three years old. This is when the cost of egg production out weighs the income from egg sales.
Free range or garden birds can live beyond 5 years.
One of the oldest pet hens was 16 years old when it passed away. Age for a pet hen will depend on the care provided and the breed.
The average life of an ex-battery hen could be from two to 12 months as they are about worn out from high egg production when they are 72 weeks old.
‘Free from harm’ a USA charity reports ‘Male chicks born to egg-laying hens can not lay eggs, and are not the breed used for meat …. so they are worthless to the egg industry’ and are disposed of as soon after birth as possible. The RSPCA says ‘meat chickens are bred to grow large breast muscle and legs but surplus newly hatched chicks (including males bred for egg laying) that are destined for disposal must be treated as humanely ….. they must be destroyed promptly by a recommended humane method such as carbon dioxide gassing or quick maceration. ‘
White Rose Forest plans are in place even if the trees aren’t yet but the plans are inspirational. In fact it will be many years before the plans are complete but by then there will be a continuous belt of trees across the county. The Woodlands Trust has received a welcome boost to membership and participation as a result of the publicity.
Plans to plant 50 million trees to create a “Northern Forest” include new woodland in and around Leeds and other major urban centres. Planting is planned over the next 25 years, beginning in March, across a 120-mile stretch of the M62 corridor between Liverpool and Hull. Its aim is to boost habitat for wildlife including birds and bats, protect species such as red squirrels and provide more public access to woodlands. The Northern Forest will connect the North’s five Community Forests, including the Leeds White Rose Forest, the HEYwoods Project in Hull and South Yorkshire Community Forest.
Community Forest is a partnership between local authorities and local, regional and national partners including the Forestry Commission and Natural England. The founding basis for each Forest is a government-approved Forest Plan, a 30-year vision of landscape-scale improvement
The community charity trust is an environmental charity passionate about community forests and the power of trees to transform places and strengthen and enhance communities.
A Bit More About Yorkshire Trees
The oldest living trees in Yorkshire may be the ancient yews at Fountains Abbey.
The new forest will contain native species not more foreign firs! Oak, birch and beech will figure strongly.
The Wych Elm in Bainbridge is a survivor of Dutch elm disease it stands as one of only two elms that has grown to a girth of over 13 feet recorded in the county.
Yorkshire is proving to be a real treasure chest for tree hunters with magnificent trees ‘If I could spend a month tree hunting, Yorkshire would be my county of choice. Magnificent trees are coming out of the landscape all the time’ said David Alderman, Registrar of the Tree Register who is leading a hunt for old fat trees or Champion Trees.
Thorp Perrow aboretum near Bedale is the holder of five National Plant Collections including Ash, Lime, Walnut, Cotinus (smoke bush) and Laburnum. Not all forest trees but worth a visit.
In York the Museum Gardens are home to six county Champion Trees including Alder and Hornbeam.
The Yorkshire Arboreturm is a large garden of trees on the Castle Howard estate maintained in partnership with Kew.
Easter warrants the simplest of crosses in the hall at Fountains Abbey
The complexity of the construction at Fountains Abbey makes you consider what might have been without the dissolution in the 16th century. Arch way lead to arch and yet another arch!
Framed by the remnants of one window are the impressive ruins of the Cistercian monastery at Ripon
The moss and ferns give atmosphere to the steps many monks would have taken out of the main abbey hall.
March has not yet awakened the leaves on the branches. Spring would be an exciting time for the monks and shepherds who would have been hoping for a good crop of lambs for future wool production. Wool and sheep were the source of most of the abbey’s wealth.
This view was too stimulating to ignore even though it of arches and buttresses rather than just arch windows.
Baa Baa Brighouse has teamed up with a number of Yorkshire based indie dyers to bring you the Yan Tan Tethera Yarn Club. They produce specialty yarns, that have been reared, sheared, spun or dyed in ‘God’s Own County’ (as easy as one two three). The big nits of Sirdar, Rowan and Wendy brands are still based in Yorkshire along with many other smaller yarn producers.
Knitting Pretty is a ‘purl one’ of Knaresborough’s independent businesses and it hasn’t dropped a stitch recently. Based in Castlegate it has won a Best Dressed Premises award for 2017. (I guess it is best dressed in woolies as it needs to be dressed or it wouldn’t have a stitch on)
The Holmfirth based Knitting and Crochet Guild is a national educational charity dedicated to UK domestic knitting celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary in 2018. In 1996, the national Knitting and Crochet Guild formed a Dales branch called the Airedale and Wharfedale KCG.
The knitting reference library based at Southampton University’s earliest published work is dated 1840. The journals include a run of Girls Own Annual dating from 1881 collected then donated by Montse Stanley.
There are several Knitting and Crochet Communities Online including one for Men Who Knit
Knit and Natter goups abound in Yorkshire. Age UK organise them in Scarborough and Malton to swap patterns and ideas, catch up on gossip and have a good laugh. Other groups include Dringhouses library York, Miss Butterfinger’s Tea Room on The Green in Idle village, from 2.00pm on the first Thursday each month, Montgom needlers Montgomery Hall, Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham every Thursday 10am-12pm and Commuknity Knit and Natter Yew Tree Inn Malin Bridge Sheffield.
Airedale hospital staff are encouraging people and local ‘knit and natter’ groups to make ‘Twiddlemuffs’ as an eye-catching distraction for patients with dementia. These are bright coloured hand muffs with interesting bits and bobs attached inside and out. ‘They have been designed and developed to provide simple stimulation for active hands, while promoting increased flexibility and brain stimulation…….. a pattern can be found from this
Now I am off for a cup of tea from a pot covered in one of my cosies (both crocheted)
I remember my father saying he breed budgies before WWII in his attic at home. It was more than a hobby as he then sold them to Luther Wrights pet shop and any budgerigar fanciers. There was a skill when breeding good show specimens but I never had the tips of the trade passed on to me and it is too late now.
Confusion about Names
All Budgerigars are parrots of one sort or another. Obviously the opposite is not true and all parrots are not Budgerigars.
The Australian shell parakeet, or budgerigar is the most common parakeet and is colloquially nicknamed the budgie,
Melopsittacus is the genus for the species name for Budgerigars or the common parakeet.
Budgerigars are also called budgies or keets, shell parrot, warbling grass parakeet, canary parrot, or in many cases Joey, Buddy or who’s a pretty boy. I guess Yorkie would be popular too!
Special Types and forms of Budgerigars
Budgerigars are naturally green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back and wings, but are now bred in captivity with colouring in blues, whites, yellows, greys.
Dominant pieds, Clearflights, Recessive Pieds and Dark-eyed Clears.
Crested, Spangle and Pied Enthusiasts
Slates, German & English Fallows, Saddlebacks, Lacewings, Greywings, Easley & Texas Clearbody, Anthracites & Rainbows
Below is a graphic of a common budgie showing it’s key features:
For an idea on how to choose budgerigars and how best to look after them try a book that you can refer back too as needed. Housing or caging, toys, cups, perches plus health care, feeding, training, and general wellbeing are all subjects you may need to consider at different stages of looking after your pet budgie.
Budgies are seed eaters but the best diet may include different types of seeds, including millet, some limited greens, fruits, and grit. This will get them ‘pogged’
One endearing feature of budgies is the ability to train then onto your finger and back into the cage. Patience may allow you to teach them to talk or mimic.
Unlike a canary they are no use wukn dahnt pit as gas detectors (fortunately for the budgies).
The small grass parakeet was introduced in 1840 and since then has been the most popular caged bird and house pet.
The Budgerigar Society (BS) was initially set up in 1925. The World Championship show is staged at the Doncaster Dome every year, and at the Club Show also in Doncaster there are 730 different classes with an annual entry of several thousands. There are other societies and specialist clubs including the Crested Budgerigar Club
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to say nothing of the downright diabolical! Do we care about the environment where we live, work and spend our recreation time?
I have recently developed a stronger interest in Yorkshire’s overall environment and how our human endeavour is having a major impact. I want to spread the message be it related to health, abuse of resources or general disdain for the wider understanding of the environment. So far the various posts have not hit home but I have tended to focus on the ugly or worse: In the last month I have posted with photographs about 9 issues in my whimsical style including:-
Noise is Environmental Pollution – Disturbing a Peaceful life
Air Pollution an Environment Problem in Yorkshire –Yorkshire more polluted then expected
Litter and Wheelie Bins There is a lot of trash about
Naturally Looking After Wildlife Yorkshire Charity looking after Wildlife for us
Visual Environment Hag Farm Ilkley Old farmers equipment
Wrong Sort of Plastic on the Line Railway Track & Platform dumping
Shed Street Keighley – Our Environment Casual litter attitudes
Following condemnation from theEnvironment Agency (EA) in the 2016 study produced this month that ‘nearly 90% of rivers fail to meet environmental quality standards’ now is the time to consider the state of Yorkshires great rivers.
In October 2017 the WWF produced results of a nine-month investigation on the state of UK rivers that reveals 40% of all our rivers in England and Wales were polluted with raw sewage. This is caused by discharge from outdated sewage treatment plants and sewer overflows during extreme rainfall. Too little public information or concern has led to water companies and government not taking enough preventative action.
The Environment Agency produces detailed maps highlighting the incidence of river pollution but who investigates and acts upon the information. Pollutants from industry are a major concern and the EA highlights :
Metal, minerals and chemicals from industry including paper, pulp and board manufacturing
Waste landfill sites, waste treatment, transfer and storage sites
Fuel and power production and contaminated land.
The farming industry needs more effort to ensure agricultural leaks of slurry, illegal dumping and fertiliser abuse are reduced or better still prevented all together. Polluted rivers can also be caused by run off from roads, urban area dross and land that has been intensively fertilised transfers nitrates and phosphorous into our rivers.
Us, the great Yorkshire public are sometimes guilty of disposing of garbage or litter directly into rivers even indiscriminate feeding of ducks or pets. Pouring items down a drain, sink or toilet can end up in a river. Take care with medications or drugs that should be returned to the chemist for safe disposal.
Over the last two years Yorkshire Water has been fined £1.45 million for illegally discharging sewage that polluted the River Ouse near York and Rud Beck and the River Crimple in Harrogate.
According to the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust the Swale, Ure, Nidd, Upper Ouse, Wharfe and Lower Ouse catchment have a legacy of metal mining that accounts for 2% of the reasons waters fail to meet quality standards.
Rivers of blood(y) plastic have hit the headlines recently. Some river banks have plastic detritus that looks gross and is doing damage to the water in rivers and seas.
On the brighter side 14% of rivers have good ecological status according to EA’s ‘The State of the Environment Water Quality’ report and water quality is better than at any time since the industrial revolution according to EA chairman Emma Howard Boyd. (What century is she living in?)
Talking of industrial revolutions ‘Laurie Dews of Selby worked the Ouse from 1937 to 1987, and is now the only man remaining with first-hand experience of a lost way of life.’ Whilst not focused on pollution but the life of a Yorkshire river bargeman this interesting book harks back to simpler times and a less disposable society.
A racing pigeon needs a carrier and a carrier pigeon needs a boy racer in a silver car to help transport them.
Fancy That : Pigeon Facts
There are over 300 species of pigeon and dove or columbines as they are collectively grouped.
Columba livia domestica or homing pigeon is a variety of pigeon related to the rock pigeon. These racing or homing pigeons can live for upwards of twenty years.
Wild or feral pigeons, like the ones you see in town centres are often and derogatorily termed flying rats. They scavenge food, create a mess and have a shortish life-span of three to four years.
D K Higgins is the Rawdon based official for The Royal Pigeon Racing Association in the North East region including North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. It is a wider sport than you may first imagine.
Following a family tradition started by Edward VII and King George V, HM The Queen is actively interested in pigeons and is patron of a number of racing societies most notably the Royal Pigeon Racing Association and the National Flying Club.
An injured pigeon nicknamed The Banker still attracted a Chinese buyer to pay a British record of £16,000 as breeding stock. The world record is closer to £260,000 paid for a Belgian bird.
In Leeds early enthusiasts gathered at the White Swan during March 1896 forming the National Homing Union (now the Royal Pigeon Racing Association) the regulatory body for the sport.
Premier Racing Pigeon and Breeding Stud east of Hull (can you get east of Hull?) has numerous lofts that hold more than 2,000 birds.
Castleford and one of the many resident pigeons near the Calder. Columba livia domestica
Jim Emerton has authored several books since racing his first pigeons in York. In his early days he had rollers, fantails priests and various fancy breeds and crosses but notably developed his own strain called not surprisingly ‘Emertons’. One of Jim’s bird reportedly returned home from 879 miles away.
‘Between 1941 and 1944, sixteen thousand plucky homing pigeons were dropped in an arc from Bordeaux to Copenhagen as part of ‘Columba’ a secret British operation to bring back intelligence from those living under Nazi occupation……….’
On the banks of the river at Castleford is a deluge of plastic and other litter waiting to be washed down stream to the sea. It may take some time waiting for the next storm and high flood but this sort of mess near the centre of town will surely drift to the sea. I wont go on in this report as it is about Castleford and I have covered several environmental issues recently.
Celebrate instead the 132-yard long S-shaped footbridge that was opened almost 10 years ago (how time and pigeons fly). Held to be a ‘really beautiful piece of architecture … there is a sense of real excitement and movement when you walk across the decks’. (Aliah Syed). After a recent cup of tea in the old Queens mill I asked if a new bridge was near by? The waitress summed it up, ‘there is a bridge but it don’t take you anywhere fancy’. Never the less as a newcomer to the town I thought it looked fancy enough for the start of a regeneration of this very very old area.
Aire & Calder Navigation
Leeds and Liverpool Canal – Foulridge to Leeds with the Aire and Calder and Calder and Hebble Navigations from Leeds to Knottingley and Castleford to Sowerby Bridge (Waterways Series)Map
Predominantly a leisure facility the Aire Calder Navigation around Castleford allows large loads of goods to be carried from the Humber ports. With the redeveloped waterfront area in Leeds it joins the Leeds Liverpool canal effectively running right across the county and country. It is also a popular leisure facility for boats, walkers, fishermen and cyclists.
The Navigation connects Wakefield, to reach the Huddersfield and Rochdale Canals. The Selby Canal connection boats to the Ouse, from where they can travel upstream to reach York, Boroughbridge and Ripon, or downstream to the River Derwent. Beyond Goole are the Humber and hence Hull, Immingham, and the North Sea. The Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation with the Don Navigation forms a links with Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield to the south. So in one sense Castleford is justifyably at the center of Yorkshire.
Chocolate And Allinsons Flour
Like Terrys at York, Castleford has a claim to be a provider of Yorkshire top chocolate treats. After Eight Mints were manufactured in Castleford from 1970 at a local Rowntrees factory until Nestles took over then closed it down.
Around Castleford sweets and candies are called Spice and liquorice is known as Spanish. Bellamy’s Chocolate covered Liquorice Allsorts were a local product and you can guess where Pontefract cakes come from.
Haribo, produced theirfirst golden bear in 1960 and now has a new sweet factory in Castleford. The company also bought the owner of Pontefract Cakes and employs over 500 in Yorkshire.
Allisons stone ground wholegrain flower was milled in Castleford as one of 3 sites suppling bread makers since the 19th century.
Ancient and Modern Castleford Quirks And Facts
The book above did not include Papa’s fish and chips where I should have ordered the pensioners deal in this Castleford chippy. They also own the world’s largest fish and chip shop in Willerby and others in Hull and Cleethorpes and in 2017 won a BBC contest The Best of British Takeaways.
The station has a couple of confusing subway or tunnels to reach the southern side where the old platform is grassed over. Arriving by train from Leeds I expected the return journey to retrace my steps (or rails). On jumping on the train I was surprised and a little disconcerted when it went backward towards Sheffield again only to swing around in a loop to get back to Leeds.
Local celebrities include Henry Moore (1898-1986) the sculptor born in the town and Viv Nicholson (1936 – 2015) of Spend, Spend, Spend and football pools fame.
15,000 years ago nomad tribes used the Aire valley as an east- west crossing and a limestone ridge to move north south. As farming developed and the bronze age developed Henges like the ferrybridge henge were developed as settlements.
In Roman time Castleford was called Lagentium.
Local entertainment can be found at Digger Land the JCB themed attraction, Snozone, Xscape and nature reserve Fairburn Ings.
Rugby League in Castleford
Classy Cas – A catch phrase for the rugby league team aka Castleford Tigers
John Joyner is a Tigers Hall Of Fame Inductee played over 600 games for Castleford and once scored 5 tries in one match in 1973.
Weldon Road or The Jungle’ has been the home ground since 1926. A new retail park and stadium called Five Towns retail park will become the new stadium in 2020.
Largest home gate at Weldon road was 25,449 in 1935 against Hunslet. They played in the 1969 challenge cup final in front of a crowd of 97,939
Daryl Powell has been head coach since 2013 with and Danny Orr and Ryan Sheridan as assistants.