Our last post was from among the dunes of Northumberland, which turned out to be an inspired choice for an overnight stop. Once the dog-walkers had all gone we were alone with the sound of the wind in the grass, the booming surf and the occasional Virgin Pendolino flashing past on the East Coast main line! There was absolutely no light pollution so we were able to enjoy glimpses of the stars between the clouds before we decided it was too creepy outside on our own in the dark, and legged it back into Vince’s cosy warmth. After the following morning’s breakfast we enjoyed a refreshing walk along the beach then hit the road for a boring A1 drive down into Yorkshire.
Next stop was Saltaire, which eagle-eyed readers may remember from our visit at Christmas. This time we were there for the annual Saltaire Festival which celebrates music, art and quality food from around the region and worldwide. We managed to find a really good stopover at Esholt Sports Club. It was only a ten-minute taxi ride to our daughter’s house from there, and the original Woolpack pub from Emmerdale was a short walk away! We didn’t find time to enjoy a pint there but we’ll definitely stop off for a sharpener on our next visit. Facilities on the site were pretty basic but clean, and the prices were great value. Highly recommended if you’re passing through.
Our first morning at the festival was spent browsing the stalls set up in the cobbled streets – I sampled the world’s best pork pie made with port & oranges, just as an appetiser on the way to lunch you understand. Roberts Park was where the bands were setting up for the afternoon’s entertainment. The park is in a lovely setting by the River Aire, and for the festival weekend had food and drink stalls set up round the perimeter. The choice was endless – wood-fired pizzas, Indian delicacies, Mexican food, vegetarian treats and a large selection of real ales and speciality gins for the thirsty (like us). I needed plenty of ale to cool down the fire started by the fish curry I chose. Gill made her own attempt to cool me down by “accidentally” (she says) squirting raita sauce all over my jacket when she squeezed the bottle too hard. At least the rest of the queue had a laugh at my expense d’oh!
As the bands we really wanted to see were playing on the following day, we went into the village after lunch to browse around Salts Mill. If you’ve never been before it’s well worth a visit. An enormous converted mill houses several floors of books, art exhibitions, jewellery and vintage & designer furniture among other things. There’s always a Hockney exhibition of some sort there as he’s a local boy, and this time there was an intriguing display by Czech artist Blanka Šperková. Her work consists of intricate wire sculptures and jewellery made by finger-knitting. It sounds weird I know, but hopefully the pics will show you what I mean. We loved it.
The main event for our weekend was the Sunday afternoon entertainment in the park. We needed to be there early as the first band was the trio who played at our daughter’s wedding last October – the fabulous Backyard Burners. They play foot-stompin’ bluegrass & country music & had all the kids dancing in front of the stage yee-ha! I love local festivals like these – the atmosphere was so friendly with hundreds of families meeting friends, kids playing together, good music, good food and did I mention the beer? As we sang along to Eddie Earthquake & the Tremors (really!) there was a little girl running in wild circles around her Dad, a toddler tied to a balloon strolling in front of the stage, a disabled lad whooping with laughter as his carer hung on to his wheelchair rolling down the hill. Everywhere were smells of wood smoke from the pizza ovens, and the delicious scents of sizzling Polish sausages. Does it sound like we had fun? You bet we did! So much so that we can’t wait to come back next year – and we hope to see you there…
For now? It’s back to counting the days until our house sale completes. There’s a nasty rumour that our Estate Agent is on holiday next week so what the hell – we may have to fire up the Vincinator again or we’ll go mad with impatience. See you then 🙂