Posts Tagged ‘Todmorden’

A Yorkshire Post!

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

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Ribblehead ViaductRibblehead Viaduct | Image credit: Andrew

In association with Yorkshire Water, we’ll be extolling the virtues of the fabulous county where we live & work in this post.

Malham Cove in the Yorkshire DalesMalham Cove, Yorkshire Dales | Image credit: Alison Christine

The diversity of the landscape is amazing – beautiful farmland scenery, rugged mountains & moors, pretty woodland, meandering rivers & dramatic sea coasts – it has it all.

Flamborough Head LighthouseFlamborough Head Lighthouse | Image credit: Mike Elleray

The county has three national parks either wholly or partially within its borders, which is quite something. This stunning scenery was a major factor in Yorkshire being chosen for the Grand Départ for this year’s Tour de France. The enthusiasm of the population & amazing spectator numbers would follow later.

Dry stone wall in MalhamDry stone wall, Malham | Image credit: Paul Stephenson

The man-made additions can make a wonderful impact on the landscape – just look at the stunning Ribblehead Viaduct which we featured as our main photo – or the classic dry stone walls which snake for thousands of miles across the countryside.

view over Scarborough taken from the castleview over Scarborough from the castle | Image credit: Dave Kilroy

There’s amazing architecture both old & new – from ancient castles like the coastal fortress at Scarborough to spectacular abbeys like Rievaulx, Bolton & Fountains. Stately homes like Castle Howard – through to classic Georgian market towns & spas such as Richmond & Harrogate.

Workers' houses in SaltaireWorkers’ houses, Saltaire | Image credit: Tim Green

Victorian mill buildings & civic splendour of the 19th century – Saltaire immediately springs to mind!

Salt's Mill in SaltaireSalt’s Mill, Saltaire | Image credit: Tim Green

Relative to size, the number of listed buildings in industrial towns like Halifax & Huddersfield is amazing.

Twins l and ll by Jaume Plensa at Yorkshire Sculpture ParkTwins l and ll by Jaume Plensa, Yorkshire Sculpture Park | Image credit: Bryan Ledgard

Then right into the 21st century with places like Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Even the humble car park can grab your attention. This is the Charles Street car park in Sheffield, christened ‘the cheese grater’ by the locals (it’s been voted the 3rd coolest in the world don’t you know!).

Charles Street Car Park in Sheffield also known as the Cheese GraterCharles Street Car Park, Sheffield | Image credit: Duncan Harris

We have a choice of cities such as York, Leeds & Sheffield for a metropolitan buzz and shopping trips.

An extensive canal network, originally built to transport goods in the 18th & 19th century, criss-crosses the county. It now provides the perfect opportunity for boating holidays & tow path walks.

Five Rise Locks in BingleyFive Rise Locks, Bingley | Image credit: Allan Harris

It’s hard to pick favourite places when there’s so much on offer. Everyone who lives here or holidays in the area will have their own ideas.

Whitby Abbey at sunsetWhitby Abbey | Image credit: James Whitesmith

We love the Yorkshire Dales and the coast around Whitby. Malham is a great place to visit – with it’s stunning limestone scenery of streams, springs, caverns, gorges, clints & grykes – it’s a real life geography text book!

Winskill Stones in the Yorkshire DalesWinskill Stones, Yorkshire Dales | Image credit: Alison Christine

…and just mentioning Whitby makes us dream wistfully about a trip over there.

It’s a lovely drive from here – through Helmsley & Pickering, across the North York Moors – stopping for a sandwich & a cuppa at the Hole of Horcum – then dropping down through Sleights and into picturesque Whitby.

Whitby Harbour with the abbey on the hill in the distanceWhitby Harbour | Image credit: Matthew Hartley

We’d probably stay at the Old Dispensary. No doubt, there’d be walks on the beach or coastal path to Staithes or Robin Hood’s Bay. A mooch around the town maybe, fish & chips on the harbour at sunset. Perhaps a few drinks in the Black Horse pub – and a lazy breakfast with the newspapers the morning after.  Bliss – the perfect weekend away.

Staithes Harbour looking out to seaStaithes Harbour looking out to sea | Image credit: PauliCarmody

We really enjoy a drive out somewhere – a day wandering around the local sights & shops – stopping for a coffee. We’re spoilt for choice really – places like Ripon, Ilkley, Harrogate, Skipton and Richmond all within reach. It brings to mind another favourite little trip – with flask of tea made, take the lovely drive over the moors through Oxenhope to Addingham (where you can pick up a snack for lunchtime if you  haven’t brought a packed lunch. Spend a couple of hours by the river at Bolton Abbey, then onto Ilkley or Skipton for the afternoon. Each has its own attractions depending on what you fancy that day – auction house, antiques centre, shops, park, boat trip on the canal, medieval castle, Betty’s Tea Rooms!

Stepping stones across the river at Bolton AbbeyStepping stones across the river at Bolton Abbey | Image credit: linearclassifier

And then there’s home of course – we can’t write a post about Yorkshire without highlighting our own little corner of the county. We live & work in the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. We know the neighbouring towns of Todmorden & Hebden Bridge particularly well having lived in both.

Todmorden stone on entering the townTodmorden stone on entering the town centre

It’s Todmorden at the moment and we’re very happy here. It’s actually very easy to shop & socialise in both which is ideal. Two for the price of one! A ten minute drive or train hop between the two – or an hour’s walk along a lovely stretch of that canal we mentioned earlier – the perfect distance for a stroll with a well-deserved pub lunch at the other end!

Rochdale Canal at Hebden BridgeRochdale Canal at Hebden Bridge | Image credit: Phil King

There’s a lot going on here for relatively small towns. Interesting independent shops, markets, art galleries, restaurants & bars. Each town has a  lovely, big park where they stage a wide variety of events. There are agricultural shows, vintage car rallies, beer & music festivals and spectacular fire work displays.

View of Hebden BridgeHebden Bridge | Image credit: Tim Green

We have beautiful countryside on our doorstep where we spend many hours walking with our dog Fudge. The folk are friendly & helpful and there’s a strong will to give things a go – whether it be a new business or social endeavour. Just take Incredible Edible as the perfect example – a wonderful organisation aiming to provide access to good local food for all.

view overlooking TodmordenView of Todmorden nestled in the Calder valley

So, that’s our Yorkshire. In addition to sharing lots of lovely images, this post gives us the opportunity to highlight the importance of Yorkshire Water in all this.  It’s actually one of the county’s largest landowners and has given access to thousands of acres of their land for everyone to enjoy. Their Blueprint for Yorkshire details their achievements to date & plans for the next 25 years. Their work is essential, from providing our drinking water, to reducing flooding to protecting wildlife and the natural environment. Their activities affect residents & visitors alike and are vital for the well-being of this county.

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The Flood!

Monday, June 25th, 2012

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A 1950s G Plan sideboard in our sitting room with flood water surrounding it

Have you noticed that we’ve been a little scarce on the blog and social media front since last week?

a flooded corner of our sitting room

Well the reason behind it is that we were one of the flood victims in the Calder River Valley on Friday night.

antique chest in our sitting room with flood water surrounding it

A metre of water lapped at our front & back door and it was soon apparent that we wouldn’t be able to stop it coming inside – it quickly came up through the floorboards to a height of about a foot and a half. We managed to save a lot of our things by putting them on our big kitchen table or taking them upstairs but alas, bigger items of furniture, kitchen cupboards and appliances have been ruined. And there’s now an awful lot of cleaning up to do – there’s a layer of mud on every horizontal surface!

Any further blog posts will be postponed until we get everything sorted out and back to normal. We’ll just leave you with a little clip of video we took on our mobile phone out of a top floor window after we’d retreated to higher ground:


The river and street become one!

Tuesday Huesday: Vintage garden chair

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

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vintage 1970s blue floral garden chair

We’ve been having the most glorious late spring/early summer weather here in Todmorden and our vintage garden chairs have been seeing some action for the first time this year. We completely disagree with whoever came up with, “blue and green should never be seen”!

Chuffed with my ciabatta!

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

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sliced, homemade ciabatta with Todmorden-made Pextenement cheese and watercress

I’m chuffed with my ciabatta! It was my first ever attempt and I think the loaves turned out really well!

two uncooked, homemade ciabatta loaves prooving before getting put in the oven

I used a recipe from one of my favourite baking books, Bread by Christine Ingram & Jennie Shapter. If you’d like to try making this one yourself, I’ve listed the recipe at the end of this post.

sliced, homemade ciabatta detail from a sliced, homemade ciabatta

There’s always a little ‘hold your breath’ moment as you cut the first slice and have a look at the crumb. Proper, big ciabatta holes!

sliced, homemade ciabatta with fried eggs and Todmorden-made sausages

I had a few slices, fresh from the oven, with a handful of watercress and East Lee soft cheese made locally by the Pextenement Cheese Company… Justin had his with the slightly less healthy option for his Sunday brunch – fried eggs with pork & chive sausages – but it was all local produce too – and delicious he said.

For the biga starter

7g/¼ oz fresh yeast

175-200ml/6-7fl oz/¾-scant cup lukewarm water

350g/12 oz/3 cups unbleached plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting

For the dough

15g/½ oz fresh yeast

400ml/14fl oz/1⅔ cups lukewarm water

60ml/4 tbsp lukewarm milk

500g/1¼ lb/5 cups unbleached white bread flour

10ml/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Makes 3 loaves

  1. Cream the yeast for the biga starter with a little of the water. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Gradually mix in the yeast mixture and sufficient of the remaining water to form a firm dough.
  2. Turn out the biga starter dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 12-15 hours or until the dough has risen and is starting to collapse.
  3. Sprinkle 3 baking sheets with flour. Mix the yeast for the dough with a little of the water until creamy, then mix in the remainder. Add the yeast mixture to the biga and gradually mix in.
  4. Mix the milk, beating thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using your hand, gradually beat in the flour, lifting the dough as you mix. Mixing the dough will take 15 minutes or more and form a very wet mix, impossible to knead on a work surface.
  5. Beat in the salt and olive oil. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
  6. With a spoon, carefully tip one third of the dough at a time on to the baking sheets without knocking back the dough in the process.
  7. 7 Using floured hands, shape into rough, oblong loaf shapes, about 2.5cm/1” thick. Flatten slightly with splayed fingers. Sprinkle with flour and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Friday Folks: Olivia Pilling

Friday, February 17th, 2012

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Olivia Pilling in her studio

This Friday, we’re really pleased to be featuring local artist, Olivia Pilling. We first saw her gorgeous, colourful paintings in Todmorden Fine Art. Owner, Dave Gunning was excitedly enthusing about this new and extremely talented young artist that he had just started representing. About a year later, we went for dinner at the Todmorden Vintner and saw two large paintings on their walls… unmistakeably Olivia’s work. When we said to the owners how lovely they were and if they were in fact done by Olivia, they said yes, she’s their niece! Since then we’ve been to the restaurant to attend an exhibition opening of her work – and she’s invited us to another one happening next week – we’re really looking forward to it!

green dotted horizontal line

painting of a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Olivia Pilling. I’m am artist, more specifically a painter. I work in acrylics. I’m 26 years old, and have recently moved to Manchester from Todmorden.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

How did you get into the business?
It was by accident to some extent. I was doing my Fine Art degree at the time in Nottingham but over the long summer holidays I’d have small exhibitions at the Todmorden Vintner restaurant back home. I needed to get two paintings framed, so went down into Todmorden Fine Art gallery to get them framed. The paintings were just placed on the floor (apparently lent against the wall of the gallery to one side) when one customer came in and took a shine to them and offered £250 for them, then another customer came in and offered £500, then another came in and offered £750! As a skint 19-year-old student, I was ecstatic when I heard! Since then, I’ve been selling my work through the gallery mentioned and have gone on to sell with four others in the North West and the Midlands.

painting of houses by Olivia Pilling

Who or what inspires you?
I don’t have to go far before I feel totally inspired to paint. I love to walk, and try to do everyday. When I lived in Todmorden on the hilltops, I’d walk to the end of the hill and be surrounded by rugged moorland, patchwork fields, steep cliffs and be able to look down to Todmorden in the valley to my left and Cornholme on my right. Cornholme especially is a feast for my eye, the train-line runs straight through it squeezing through the valley walls. Dotted around are rows of terraces, mills chimneys and zig zagged shaped factories. It’s like a little toy town, it looks very sweet and quaint. The shapes, angles of the architecture really appeal, it allows me to create wonderfully simple fresh planes of colour with one brushstroke but still with a decorative element. I’m unashamedly a sucker for aesthetics and colour. I try to squeeze as much colour as I can into my paintings, and in parts, sections of my work will look abstract as I put brushstrokes of rich colour anywhere I can.

painting of cows in a field by Olivia Pilling

Travelling inspires me, especially exotic colourful places. I was lucky enough to go to India last year, and visited Jaipur known as the pink city and Jodhpur know as the blue city, I was in heaven with the colours and decorative jewellery and clothing, and architecture. I’m planning a trip to Jordan next year. It appears to be an absolutely fascinating place. David Bomberg’s paintings of Jerusalem and Petra are a real inspiration to me, he handles paint amazingly and creates such beautiful paintings.

I love the work of the Fauvist painters, specifically Jawlensky, Vlaminck and Kandinsky. Russian folk art is also an influence – the heavy use of black in the motifs and drawings, help to make the colour pop and this is something I try to do with my own work. I like to play around with light sources in my work. Having light coming from different directions can give a sense of isolation, and confusion, Russian folk art does this very well. It makes the image look quite enchanting and mysterious.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

What has been your greatest success?
I think simply my greatest success is just being able to do what I do for a living. Sounds cheesy I know, but I forget how lucky I am to to able to do something that I love on a daily basis. I came straight out of university and more or less started to sell work immediately. To have someone like your work is great, to have someone love your work is fab, but to have someone actually want to spend their hard earned cash on my work, that’s unbelievable – the feeling never gets old.

painting of a train on a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
I’m not quite sure I have some advice about how to actually get into the business, as the circumstances about how I got involved were quite accidental. The obvious thing to say would be to approach galleries and see if they are interested in your work.
I would say though that if painting is a real passion then you just have to stick at it, and be clear that it is what you really want to do. Sometimes you’re up, sometime you’re down, and sometimes you’ll get knock backs, that’s just the way it is but if you’re passionate about it, then the rest will hopefully fall in to place!