Tuesday, 12 September 2017

12th September 2017 - Cleckheaton - Saltaire - Bradford - - wool scouring - Hartlepool - Whitby

Wednesday 12th September 2017

54 degrees 16.375N
00 degrees 29.109W
Whitby UK

Strange and unlikely…we are now in Whitby.

Staying in a glorious place, Bagdale Hall. 501 years old!  (Our room, with a resplendent 4-poster bed, is a bit newer.  But not much!)  Whitby is a jaunty little seaside town.  We will go out and explore as soon as I have written this post…And tomorrow we will go somewhere else!

We came here via Hartlepool, and stopped at the local museum, to have coffee in the café, peopled entirely by people quite a longer older than either of us…And we loved the museum!  It was very simple and charmingly curated, with a large room devoted to Reg Smythe, creator of Andy Capp.  I loved his story, and the embiggened cartoons.  As the cartoon strip developed Reg changed some of the less-than-acceptable themes.  No longer so much wife-beating… And Andy gave up smoking!  This created an uproar amongst faithful readers in 1987.  Political, correctness gone mad! was the cry.  But the truth was…Reg himself had given up smoking and he wasn’t going to let his creation enjoy smoking now that he no longer could!

Our plan had been to drive along the coast and to admire the splendid beaches and the dozens of coastal castles.  But…we were heading in the wrong direction for this and instead found ourselves in an area of enormous industrial development.  Fascinating!  Cooling towers, giant gantries, oil rigs, factories.  And then more farmland, and wide expanses of heath and common land.  Loved it all!

Salutary church - thanks Google for a sunny one!~
I have got ahead in my narrative.  Sunday in Cleckheaton with Jo and Mark was wonderful.  They took us to Saltaire, at my request, while they took Lottie for a walk in the pelting rain.  I had read about Saltaire (thank you Bill Bryson) which was an industrial town built by Titus Salt, a wealthy mill owner.  

He wanted his workers to live in salubrious surroundings and to behave in a decorous manner. School, hospital, recreation centre, dining hall for 700 at a time, spacious (for their time) cottages) and NO PUBS!  

Fanny's for cider
Saltaire is now all yuppified and we did indeed go to a pub for a cider…

Mark drove us kindly around Bradford and surrounds.  The surrounds are all very pretty and rural and we could imagine what the views would be like, all the way to the Pennines, if there had been no rain…

Jo comes from Bingley, one of the pretty villages, and notorious for being the home of Peter Sutcliffe (the Yorkshire Ripper.)  She told a hair-raising tale… When she was 14 she and a friend (naughty girls!) snuck off to the pub quite regularly.  Jo was friends with John (Peter’s brother) although he was much older than she was.  All of Yorkshire was in a state of terror – the Yorkshire Ripper killed 13 women and attempted to kill seven more…No woman, young or old, would dream of walking alone at night.  So…one pubnight Jo wanted to go home and was about to set off alone.  John was there and said, “No, no!  Peter is going home, he will walk you!”  And indeed he did…along dark narrow laneways and streets all the way to Jo’s front door…She said, airily, “He wouldn’t have killed me.  I was his friend, and he never killed anyone from Bingley anyway.”

Gorgeous Jo with MarK
Bradford is no longer the wealthiest city in Europe.  And a lot of its splendid buildings have been demolished, in a fit of 1960s municipal planning madness.  There is still a lot to admire although…it is a breeding ground for bombers…

Googel photo - it was not sunny on Sunday!
On Monday morning Mark took us to the wool scouring plant where he is manager.  It was amazing.  Very efficient! 

Bales of wool!
They process 100 tons of wool a day.

Scraps for recycling
We went right through the process, following the wool as it went through various vicious hot water and bleach treatment, shaking and sorting and cleaning until it is ready to be turned into beautiful carpets.

I was particularly impressed by one of their (efficient!) byproducts.  A lot of grit, grime, fibre and general crap comes out through the filters in the process of scouring the wool.  A local old codger (retired engineer) sank his pension fund into researching and developing a use for this not-very-attractive by product.  It is now a very successful business.  The crumbs are turned into pellets which act as snug and snail repellent.  They get all fat and heavy after a while and can be dug into the ground for fertiliser.  Win!

Scraps in the blue tray ready to do good in the world!
We left Jo, Mark and Lottie with a bit of sadness and set off for Durham. 

Castle on the hill above the river - home to Durham University
It is just beautiful!  Small and hilly, with lovely stone houses and leafy laneways.  And a splendid castle and cathedral.

Nice bits of...ummm...vertical gardening?
We stayed in a nice small hotel on a steep hill (Farnley Towers…no not quite Fawlty Towers!!) and spent some happy hours wandering around.

Farnley Towers

The cathedral has immense pillars.  We sat and listened to evening prayers (very soothing) while I wondered about the designers – did they say, “Let us have pairs of matching pillars.  Some fluted, some with zigzags, some with stripes?”

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