Interlude for Afternoon Tea in Shipley

Afternoon Tea

King George V would recognise many of the items on display at Interlude the Cafe Society tearoom ‘to be seen in’ when visiting Shipley. Between Elsie Russell’s florists and The Samaritan charity shop is an exceptionally well furbished cafe with great food and an environment to savor. High Tea comes a bit more expensive than Afternoon Tea but with boiled egg with toast soldiers  the prices are very reasonable and the choice just right.

All the tables are similar to the one shown with old china crockery and a collection of old art books, comics  and magazines to peruse. When you wish to order you have your own little bell to ring and there are numerous other touches to take in whilst you drink your Yorkshire tea.

Upstairs at  this Westgate Cafe is a boutique of vintage clothes, although my daughter thought they were more secondhand than 1920’s. Still the sound of syncopated rhythms and an occasional Charleston  wafted gently through the rooms. The emporium at the front of the cafe sells cakes and treats for you to take home if you wish and this shows the enterprise a business needs these days to survive. Support your local shops and visit Interlude when in Shipley. More about Interludes history can be found on there own web site.


Halloween In Haworth

My simple advice would be don’t do it, parking in Haworth that is, unless you are prepared for the clampers. I had heard many apocryphal tales about the private car park at the top of main street in Haworth where they obsessively look for cars not parked straight or ones that over stay be one minute. Even Christa Ackroyd has commented on the parsimonious way the owner treats visitors to Haworth.
Having just ‘parked myself for a cuppa and butty’ in the excellent Apothecary Tea Rooms I saw the sign warning tea drinkers to drink up and check their car or risk a £75 clamp or worse. Knowing I had parked at the bottom of the Cobbles in a council car park I was less worried except I had been unable to pay in either of the broken and vandalised parking machine. The signs told me numerous time to pay on entry but I would look like these former parkers if I had waited to get a ticket.

It was Halloween weekend and the whole of Haworth had made an effort to join in the spirit with spirit. Eight foot dragons roamed the cobbled street and the wicca influence was wicked. The town is ideal for this sort of festivity and a walk around the church grave yard crammed with Gothic grave stones was spooky.

That Betty Boo is really frightening

Stalactite & Stalagmite at Stump Cross

Remember the Difference between Stalactite & Stalagmite

A stalactite is named from the original Greek  stalasso “to drip” and meaning “that which drips” (drips do not go up except in science fiction.)
A stalagmite also from the Greek   stalagma is the “drop” or “drip” that ends up on the floor or running down the walls. (Sounds like a student flat)
You can remember the Greek derivation and work out which is which or you can recall the schoolboy incantation ‘As the tights come down, the mights go up!’ or another memory aid A stalactite – with a “C” – hangs from the “C”eiling in a cave system or cavern. A stalagmite – with a “G” is on the “G”round of a cave system or cavern.
Helictites are a delicate cave formation of calcium that changes its axis from the vertical at one or more stages during its growth creating a curving or angular form. Helictites have been described in several types, ribbon helictites, saws, rods, butterflies, “hands”, curly-fries, and “clumps of worms”.( I do not mind meeting Curly Fries but Clumps of Worms ugh!)


Stump Cross Caverns lie between Pateley Bridge and Grassington in Nidderdale. The limestone cave system at Stump Cross extends beyond the show caves which are open to the public to an overall length of approximately 4 miles.  Many of the deeper caverns are only accessible to experienced cavers.(see below)  In both areas there are numerous Stalactites and Stalagmites to inspire and damp corners to explore.

How the Caves Were Formed

The formation of Stump Cross Caverns began millions of years ago, when the area which is now the Yorkshire Dales was covered by oceans. Sediment from the ocean floor would eventually form limestone, the basic material from which the caves are made. The caves themselves began to form as the limestone was eroded by weak acid rain, created when carbon dioxide from the atmosphere mixed with the precipitation to form carbonic acid.
Many years ago, underground streams found their way into the cracks and began to expand the cave system as more rock was worn away. Once the streams had gone from the upper levels of the valley the cave system was left behind, and the mineral structures that are present today slowly began to form as water dripped through the caverns.

The caves at Stumps Cross were discovered in 1860 and have long been a visitors attraction. As I child I remember the’ butchers block’ a lump of stalagmite that was lit be a gruesome red glow. The impressive reindeer cavern was opened to the public in 2000 and development continues. The Stump Cross centre now includes a spacious tea rooms to cater for Patrons, who work up an appetite touring the caves, via a ‘Luxury Yorkshire Afternoon Tea’. Cave entry for the public is about £7 and more details and opening times are available here.

Caving as a Hobby

There is a list of Yorkshire Caving clubs and societies on the My Yorkshire web site. This may prove useful if you want to take up Potholing or caving as a retirement hobby but I think I will remain with my feet on the above ground. The Stalactite & Stalagmite formations have taken millennia to form and are very fragile so the British Caving Society produce guidelines on conservation access and protection.

I have no photographs as yet of the Stump cross formations so I have borrowed these American images from: Series: Ansel Adams Photographs of National Parks and Monuments, compiled 1941 – 1942, documenting the period ca. 1933 – 1942 Created By: Department of the Interior. National Park Service. Branch of Still and Motion Pictures. Photographer: Adams, Ansel, 1902-1984

On Yer Bike to Farndale Daffodil Valley

Farndale, aka ‘Daffodil Valley’ by virtue of the ‘Lenten Lilies’ which carpet the valley floor in a sea of yellow each spring. The Daffodils, Narcissus pseudonarcissus, were probably brought to the valley and Douthwaitedale by 12th century Monks and got the old name Lenten Lily from the fact they normally bloom around Easter, a little later than most British Daffodils. If you are not worried by crowds then a weekend trip at the end of March or April will repay your perseverance. Because of the cold weather this year you may find a warmer and quieter time to visit will be mid-week mid-to late April.

Walking The Dove and Farndale

If you are not on your bike ‘Walking world’ has a range of interesting walks including Church houses in Farndale on this site. Wikipedia’s entry for Farndale must have been written by a southerner who dislikes moorland as ‘Farndale is surrounded by some of the most inhospitable moorland in England, and is sandwiched between Bransdale and Rosedale. …… Around the north of Farndale, is the track bed of the old Rosedale Ironstone Railway which forms part of two Long Distance Footpaths these being Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk and The Lyke Wake Walk’. Well they are right about walking so forgive and forget. There are many fine walks along the banks of the river Dove starting at the small hamlet of Low Mill where a nearby field is used to accommodate the hundreds of cars which arrive during the daffodil season.

Tea Rooms and Refreshments

Refreshments are available at the Daffy Caffy at High Mill and the Feversham Arms Inn at Church Houses. The “Daffy Caffy” cafe tearoom is situated on the well known daffodil walk in beautiful Farndale, North Yorkshire, England. The scenery and walking is quite magnificent, whether it be along the river or climbing up to Rudland Rigg on the North York Moors. In the hamlet of Church Houses, Farndale, the Feversham Arms ‘serves good food and beer for the passing walker’. Just up the road is St Mary’s Church a small moors village church built in 1831 and well worth a visit even when the Daffodils have gone.

Other Village Activities

Alt country bands, renown folk singers and even Yorkshire Countrywomens Associations use the Band Room in Farndale variously described as ‘England’s tiniest major venue,’ ‘The greatest small venue on Earth,’ and ‘a corrugated iron shed in the middle of nowhere.’ There is a big gig no 29th August 2010 the night before the 103rd Farndale Show staring Megafaun ( I will say that a bit louder). Built for the Farndale Silver Band in the 1920s this 100-capacity wooden building adds atmosphere to most performances if you can get a ticket.
Picking Daffodils is not an activity that can be pursued as Farndale is now a protected Nature Reserve. Leave the flowers for others to see and the seeds to reproduce naturally.

Tea Rooms to Visit on the Yorkshire Tea Council Trail

bettys harrogate

In 1919 Frederick Belmont opened his first Bettys Café Tea Rooms in the fashionable spa town of Harrogate. It seems like I was queuing from that date as the people snaked around the corner last weekend. There are six Bettys Café Tea Rooms to explore: the spa town of Harrogate has two branches one in the town centre and a second at the RHS garden at Harlow Carr. York has one in the square opposite St Helen’s and Little Bettys is just around the corner in Stonegate. You can also also find Bettys in the market towns of Northallerton and Ilkley.

The above logo from the Tea Guild has an Afternoon tea group that may interest those who like to pause in welcoming surroundings with a good cup of tea and a bite to eat. The Yorkshire locations include:

De Vere Oulton Hall – West Yorkshire
The George Hotel – Huddersfield
Swinton Park – North Yorkshire
Bagden Hall – West Yorkshire
Grinkle Park – North Yorkshire

Other Tea Council locations include Elizabeth Botham & Sons, plus Bullivant both of York and The Black Swan Hotel, Market Place, Helmsley. The Bridge Tea Rooms in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire has been named as the winner of The Tea Guild’s prestigious Top Tea Place 2009 Award but that is not the Bradford Yorkshire where I have still to discover a true tea room but see Shipley’s earlier story.

The UK Tea Council’s “incognito” Tea Guild inspectors have taken tea in tearooms and country and city hotels across Britain, to find the finest tea experience. The anonymous judges award points in fifteen different categories which include the variety and excellence of the teas offered, efficiency and knowledge of service, décor, hygiene and cleanliness, ambience, presentation skills and most importantly the choice and quality of teas served. That seems like a fine job to have I wonder how much you have to pay them to go eating and drinking Teas?

Just a note on the Tockwith Tea Party where Betty’s of Fat Rascal fame sought to stop Fat Betty’s Cheese Nibbles from being made and sold. I understand the Cheese nibbles won but crumbs what a fuss.