Trees of Yorkshire Museum Gardens

St Olav’s Church – York Museum Garden

I intended to write about six Champion Trees of Yorkshire but discover the subject is fully covered in the Yorkshire museums own web site.

Champion trees are the biggest examples in Yorkshire identified by the Tree Register. However there are many ‘unusual large trees’ and ‘decorative smaller trees’ in the park originally established by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in the 1828. The definition of our Yorkshire heritage is never ending and awe inspiring to visitors, residents and true born tykes. To be a Yorkshire heritage tree it needs to be a large, individual tree with unique value, which is considered irreplaceable, “The main criteria are age, rarity and size, together with aesthetic, botanical, ecological and historical value.”

The best way to appreciate all such trees is to get up close and look and compare. York is one of the great places to visit as soon as the lockdown environment is eased. Would that I lived close enough now.

On the Banks of the Ouse York

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Spectators on Yorkshire Puddings

With no live sporting fixtures or artistic performances where have all the spectators gone? Well one answer is on some form of ‘lock down’ even those who are doing sterling work to keep us live, fed and serviced in all sorts of ways are social distancing.
Did you notice the social distancing between the sweet potato and the traditional ‘baker’? A baked potato for dinner today will make an interesting change from Yorkshire pudding and roasts.

Interesting Facts about Yorkshire Puddings

  1. National Yorkshire Pudding Day is celebrated annually on the first Sunday in February. For some reason the Americans, who rightly revere the Yorkshire pud, use a date in October for a similar celebration but less reverentially they call them popovers. (We can’t pop over anywhere at the moment with the lock down.)
  2. The Royal Society of Chemistry claim that “A Yorkshire pudding isn’t a Yorkshire pudding if it is less than four inches tall.” Nor to my mind if it is called a Dutch baby , a Bismarck or a Dutch Puff.
  3. Yorkshire pudding do not rise as tall at higher altitudes but do brilliantly in the Pennines, the Yorkshire moors and our coastal regions.
  4. Morrisons supermarket have experimented with  a ‘Yorkshire pudding pizza’ but whata mistaka to makea.
  5. The weirdly named Toad in the Hole is one of my favorite ways of cooking up a good Yorkshire pud. Bang on or should that be banger on?
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Two Yorkshire Culinary Favourites Rhubarb & Ginger

It is the time of year when Wakefield rhubarb is in season and gingerbread is never out of season. So here is a combination of these two excellent local products brought together as Rhubarb Gingerbread. I use thicker stalks of the rhubarb as the forced pink variety is a bit wet.

Rhubarb & Gingerbread Ingredients

  • 11 oz  flour plus small teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 5 oz  butter, softened
  • 5 oz castor sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 6 oz crystallised ginger
  • 10 oz rhubarb cut into small pieces
  • 4 oz  golden syrup
  • 1 beaten egg & milk to mix

Continue reading

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Owzthat Yorkshire Against Surrey and the Aussies

One game that wont need to be cancelled during the period of social distancing is the old standby for wet summer weather – Owzthat!  Called a cricket dice game it is far more than that to me. As a youngster, then a spotty youth I reveled in the game that spoofed cricket.

Two metal slugs with a hexagonal cross section are engraved one for the runs made and the other for the method of dismissal. Numbers 1-4 and 6 and OWZTHAT  are engraved on the smaller there was no 5 as that is seldom a realistic score from one ball. After rolling an owzthat on rolled the umpire slug engraved with caught, bowled, run out, stumped, LBW and not out. With those two items you can roll on to your hearts content.

Initially I would compete with my little sister but her interest waned after a couple of minutes so I competed against myself. Or more accurately I set up competitions against the Aussies or Surrey and other nefarious counties. As a Yorkshire county cricket club junior member from about the age of 8 I sat at Park Avenue or Headingley with my owzthat and note book to keep me amused during intervals in the play. I filled up many silvine red note books with actual or dream teams – 60 years on I wish I still had them. I graduated to a proper score book for games at home but then realised I could get paid for watching cricket as a scorer in the central league. After that epiphany the owzthat was consigned to toy heaven but to me it was much more than a toy.


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Rainbows – Crock of Gold at the End of Lock Down



Yorkshire Rainbows

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Menston Garden Conifers












In addition to Gods Own County I also maintain a gardeners tips web site with over 2000 pages of photos, tips and quirk posts. One of my recent pages ‘Rock on with my Garden’ explained how my ‘Rock Garden’ effectively became overgrown with conifers.

Experience with a ‘Conifery’

  • Some conifers are out and out thugs like Cupressocyparis leylandii a tree sold for hedge growing. A suppliers quote that I found interesting was ‘height: easily maintained at 2-6 meters (I can’t reach that high) Very fast growing, expect up to between 70-90cm per year’. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
  • The large variety of colours and styles that are available at reasonable prices make some excellent evergreen plants for form and varied habit.
  • I like the prostrate forms that only grow about 1 foot high but cover a couple of square yards. There is an example of a spreading Juniper shown in the above photo from my back garden.
  • Dwarf conifers don’t stay dwarf for ever but you can clip them or restrict the root growth in a container and thus there exuberance. Failing that you have to be prepared to sacrifice them and dig out the stumps which tend to be shallow rooted. That is a job I started last month and have some more work to keep me occupied for the rest of April.
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In the Olden Days – Pre Covid 19

bradford bus
Bradford buses used to be blue and people used them. Now they are rainbow of colours and virtually no one uses them for pleasure.

With nothing to do with our time we are home cleaning and recycling like mad. This has led to some councils consternation as they are struggling to collect and dispose of all our recyclables and excess waste.

When we think about going for our one a day walk we can’t plan to go too far from home so trips to Swaledale or Arkengarthdale should be saved for another day. Thank goodness for Calderdale and I never thought I would be saying that.

  • ‘Oh stands the clock at ten to three
  • and is there still football to see?
  • ‘sorry dear football’s off’

With thanks and apologies to Peter Sellers, residents of ‘Football’ in Yeadon, the good folk of Calderdale, all the public transport and council workers and anyone else who knows me.

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Ow Much!

A clever shop window sign Ow Much would be even cleverer if I had finished with a ?

Queuing for the Otley 20p Shop

I currently miss  shopping in Otley at the 20p shop! A great concept with everything only 20p a pop. Lots of the items including some books, greeting cards and shop surplus is brand new. In the bric a brac there may be the odd gem and at 5 for £1 it is as near a Yorkshire bargain as you are likely to get.

  • It competes well with the Scottish  bawbee shop only up there they think that is expensive.
  • It knocks in to a flat cap the Cheshire footballers mansion zone £1,000 shop now without 30% off!

Yesterday God was seen walking around Yorkshire.’What are you doing?’ he was asked  ‘Working from home’ he replied. Thanks to Tony Service of Selby & the Daily Telegraph.


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Songs, Ballads & Poetry from at Least 160 Years Ago

Yesterday during the housebound phase of the day I was furtling around my old bookcase and discovered an 1860 edition of  ‘Ballads and Songs of Yorkshire’ by C J Davison Ingledew. I was impressed with the half dozen items related to Robin Hood’s Yorkshire links. Thinking this would provide fertile ground for some posts on GOC I started to copy some relevant poems. They are long out of copyright and I assumed largely unavailable to any fervent seeker of old Yorkshire poems, songs and verse. I was wrong on that availability assumption because, rather belatedly, I let google and amazon in on the act.

Digital Poetry

Amazon had several works by C.J. including Ballads and Songs of Yorkshire Transcribed From Private Manuscripts, Rare Broadsides, and Scarce Publications; With Notes and a Glossary (Classic Reprint)

Google led me to The Project Gutenberg (see logo above)and an EBook of The Ballads and Songs of Yorkshire, by C. J. Davison Ingledew with all the words and detail on each ballad and song. It saved me all the time and effort of copying selected work as I had intended. In case you find it hard to search here is the contents list and links to all the words.


The Dirge of Offa 1
Athelgiva 4
The Battle of Cuton Moore 18
Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne 35
The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield 45
The Noble Fisherman; or, Robin Hood’s Preferment 48
Robin Hood and the Curtall Fryer of Fountains Abbey 52
The Bishop of Hereford’s Entertainment by Robin Hood and
Little John, in merry Barnsdale 58
Robin Hood’s Death and Burial 61
History of Sir John Eland, of Eland, and his Antagonists 66
The Boy of Egremond 86
The Deposing of Richard II. and his Murder in Pomfret Castle 90
The Felon Sew of Rokeby and the Fryers of Richmond 93
The Rising in the North 104
Yorke, Yorke for my Monie 113
The Sisters of Beverley 119
Mother Shipton 123
Bold Nevison, the Highwayman 125
Roseberry Topping 128
The Cruel Step-Mother; or, the Unhappy Son 131
The Bonny Scotch Lad, and his Bonnet so Blue 138
The Child in the Wood; or, the Cruel Unkle 140
Bowes Tragedy; or, a Pattern of True Love 145
The Doncaster Volunteers 152
The Yorkshire Horse-Dealers 160
Bill Brown, the Poacher 162
The Romanby Tragedy 164
Armthorpe Bells 171
Paul Jones, the Cumberland Militia, and Scarbrough Volunteers 184
A New Fox-hunting Song 187
An Honest Yorkshire-man 190
Spence Broughton 191
The Yorkshire Knight; or, the Fortunate Farmer’s Daughter 193
The Virgin Race; or, Yorkshire’s Glory 202
The Mayor of Doncaster 204
The Crafty Plough Boy 209
The Yorkshire Tragedy; or, a Warning to all Perjur’d Lovers 211
Dolly Dugging 217
Scarboro’ Sands 219
The Sheffield ‘Prentice 220
The Yorkshire Volunteers’ Farewell to the Good Folks of  Stockton 221
Fragment of the Hagmena Song 225
The Fair 226
The Yorkshire Lad in London 227
The Tryal of Patience 229
The Beggar’s Bridge 233
The Banks o’ Morton o’ Swale 235
The Chase of the Black Fox 237
Miss Bailey’s Ghost 241
The Two Yorkshire Lovers 242
Natterin Nan 246
The Barber of Thirsk’s Forfeits 254
The Yorkshire Irishman; or, the Adventures of a  Potato Merchant 255
When at Hame wi’ Dad 257
I’m Yorkshire too 258
The Sweeper and Thieves 259
Howell Wood; or, the Raby Hunt, in Yorkshire 261
The Collingham Ghost 269
The Twea Threshers 273
Dolly’s Gaon; or, the Effects of Pride 275
The Widow’s Lament 282
Alice Hawthorn 286
Tommy Thumb 288
The Funny Wedding 289
The Flying Dutchman 292
The Yorkshireman in London 294
The Great Exhibition; or, Prince Albert’s Curiosity Shop 296
The Lord of Saltaire 298
A Remarkable Circumstance connected with Bretton Hall 300
The Butcher turned Devil 304
Song 306
Colonel Thompson’s Volunteers 307
The Sledmere Poachers 308
The Yorkshire Concert 311
The Soldier in Yorkshire 313
Aw nivir can call hur my Wife 315
Glossary 317

There is a wealth of free content on Project Gutenberg and I was a bit awestruck  by its scope. I wonder what the original Yorkshire creative folk would think about the digital availability of their work 160+ years on. However to me there is still no substitute for being able to hold a book so I am off for a read.


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Gisburn and Yorkshire’s White Bull

We want it back!

  1. Gisburn is a ‘West Riding’ village in the Ribble Valley on our border with Lancashire. The natural and historic affinity with Yorkshire was usurped during some misguided county reorganisation and Lancashire was given primogenitor.
  2. The quiet and unspoiled village of Gisburn lies in the Ribble Valley but in what many think of as Airedale in the Yorkshire Dales.
  3. In Gisburn Forest and nearby Forest of Bowland there are mountain biking trails located at the western fringe of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
  4. The historic village has a medieval church, St Mary the Virgin which boasts architecture and parish records of great historical interest.


The White Bull Gisburn

  1. An 18th-century coaching inn in the village of Gisburn has been offering me exemplary service and support over a booking during the corvid-19 scare. They and staff deserve a positive mention and a recommendation to visit them when we are able.
  2. This warm Grade II-listed pub with quaint rooms is well located for walking and exploring the local area.
  3. The charming pub features include wood decor, fireplaces, garden with a terrace and great meals.
  4. The White Bull, Cawthorne Barnsley, and the White Bull restaurant at Cannon Hall farm will also be suffering a loss of trade due to corona-virus restrictions so we wish all three establishments well.


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