A wife, mother and teacher who's always up for learning something new and meeting new friends.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Day After Whit Friday...The Beerwalk!

The weekend that has just been, is one of the most anticipated weekends of the year in Saddleworth.  The day after Whit Friday has, for the past 38 years, been 'The Beerwalk'.

Just thought I'd grab your attention at the start with these fine bodies.

Saddleworth Beerwalk is now one of the biggest events on the Saddleworth calendar. Some two thousand people in fancy dress walk the traditional eleven mile route through five villages and back, being rewarded with a beer at ten beer stations along the way while collecting money for various charities. 

The round table and local pubs work incredibly hard to provide drinks for 2000

It started 38 years ago with six Round Tablers doing a charitable pub crawl and has grown to such an annual event which now raises something in the region of £90,000 for various worthy causes.

Many groups build their own props.

I realise I've included a lot of pictures in this blog but it really is a visual feast of creativity and fun.
The 'beer a mid' won first prize this year.

Come rain or shine thousands of people line the streets well-wishing the Beer Walkers on their journey. It takes approximately six hours to complete and the high spirits of the walkers never fails to make it a great and memorable day for everyone year in year out.

This group of traffic cones were 'protesting' against all the road closures in the area.

Every year the Beerwalk has a theme, this year it is Crawl Of Duty - Black Hops, a play on words of the popular video game.

All the money that is collected on the day is distributed out to various organisations and charities in the area.

This was taken at the top of 'Lark Hill' a killer of a hill two-thirds of the way round.

Gingers For Justice

Everyone pays a £20 entrance fee which goes to the Round Table.  Each group or individual can also carry collecting buckets and raise money for their own registered charity.

My beautiful sister (left) was a bridesmaid in a real 'hen do'. (The bride had walked off by the time I took this picture)
Have baby, will travel.  The ascent up Lark Hill.

My gorgeous niece was the cowardly lion

The beerwalk has a special place in my heart as in it's infancy, featuring about 500 walkers, it began and finished at my parents pub.  I was six years old when I witnessed my first beerwalk and I've walked about eleven of them over the years.  
Every year as a child, I would wake on the Sunday morning to a feast of abandoned costumes, props and even an enormous Viking ship on wheels one year!

Does anyone else have anything like this on their part of the world?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Whit Friday in Northern England

This weekend saw the annual Whit Friday and walks in Saddleworth, a cluster of villages in north west England.
On this day, the schools shut and children take part in walks around the area, wearing their 'Sunday best' to the sound of local brass bands.
If this sounds a little strange to you, maybe it is, but it's a northern tradition that stretches back 'donkeys' years.

Here's a little history to set the scene:
The Feast of Pentecost falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter.  This is followed by a week of festivities called "Whitsuntide".   
The origin of the Whit Week processions of "Sunday school scholars" dates back to 19 July 1821 when there was a procession of the children of Manchester to commemorate the coronation of George IV. On that day, children of all denominations walked in procession from their schools and assembled to sing "God save the King". From then on the annual festival flourished.  Each Whit Friday, local churches or chapels in the region employed bands to lead traditional processions through the streets. Whit Friday was the "Scholars' Walk", or the Church's Annual Day when the girls would have a new dress and the boys would have new trousers, and neighbours, friends and relatives would give a penny for their new clothes. The church officers, clergy and children carried baskets of flowers or ribbons attached to banners.

    Diggle 1924

For more information on the brass band side (of which my knowledge is limited) please follow this link written for The Guardian by a local reporter.  The link includes sound bites of various bands playing traditional marches.

Leyland band (who came 3rd overall this year) playing in Dobcross village.

Dobcross band playing 'Hail Shining Morn' a traditional Whit Friday march.  As a child, when I heard this music floating up through the hills from the valley, I knew Whit Friday had arrived!

Whit Friday also featured in the hit movie 'Brassed Off ' (1996) featuring Pete Postlethwaite, Ewan MacGregor and Tara Fitzgerald.

This scene from the film took place in Delph village on Whit Friday.

My Whit Friday now begins in Mossley, a nearby village where my mum lives.  We watch the local church, school, guide and scout groups march smartly past.  My Mum waves and smiles at her friends as they pass and my sister and me end up in fits of giggles as mum passes comment about everyone's hat and outfit.

We then move very swiftly (before the roads are officially closed by the police) on to Uppermill, the largest village in Saddleworth and the place where I grew up.  Its here that I get the chance to see old friends from school who I only seem to see once a year. And family from across the north who gather together to celebrate.

Being British it would be remiss of me not to mention the weather.  This year the met office predicted a total washout, but Mother Nature smiled down on us and although it wasn't a very warm day, the rain held off long enough to complete the walks.

When the walks are over we all go to a lovely local restaurant, Dinnerstones. Where we enjoy a couple of glasses of wine and some lovely Italian food.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Listography - Inventions

Having recently discovered 'Kate Takes 5' on blogger. http://katetakes5.blogspot.com/
I have decided to jump in and have a go.

5 inventions I wish were real:

1. Teleportation:
It seems that someone has actually been working on this one already if this picture is anything to go by:

The thought of being able to zap yourself anywhere, be it across the world, across town, to work (when running late) or around the house is brilliant and I have dreamed of this since being a little girl.

2. A Time Travel Machine:
Perhaps influenced by the lovely Dr Who, I would love to go back in time to important parts of both my own and world history. I'd love to meet both my granddads who died before I was born, take a peek at my mum and dads wedding and go further back to see what my great grandparents were like and what the house I lived in for 20 years was like when it was first built (1745).  
 And world history? I'd like to check out what Jesus was really like, even though I'm not a Christian.  Be at Wembley in 1966 when England won the world cup and I would love to see some classic artists perform in their heyday.

3. A Mary Poppins Bag:
A regular sized bag into which you could put ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you could possibly need for the day or your whole two week holiday.

4. The Ultimate Doctor:
A machine in which you stand inside, it scans you and then fixes anything 'wrong' with you. Quickly and painlessly! From sprained limbs to cancer, can you imagine how amazing that would be?

5. A Money Tree:
Boring and predictable, yes. But I still wish one was available!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith

Introduced to me by my wise friend PJB. x

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Scared but compelled

Yesterday whilst on Twitter I noticed a lot of celebs were tweeting about a blog by a young girl, Alice.  'So what?' you may be asking yourself. 'Loads of teenage girls blog'.  I decided to take a look and was incredibly moved by what I read.  Like many others, I enjoy a good blog, but this one has touched me like no other.  

Alice is fifteen and has terminal cancer.

She has written a 'bucket list'.  Things she would love to do before she has to go.  She intended it to be 'a little blog for a few friends and family to read but it has spread rapidly and you will see why when you read it.

This courageous young lady isn't asking for money or sympathy.  All she wants is for people to sign up to their local bone marrow donor list.  That's all.  In a world where the only thing many young people want is fame, fortune and material items, all Alice wants is to raise awareness and help others who have the same condition as her.

Therein lies my challenge... I'm frightened of needles, injections etc etc. Really frightened.  But how can I ignore the simple request of a dying girl?  I have everything I need, I'm healthy and happy and so, thankfully, is my daughter who is the same age as Alice.

So, scared as I am, I am going to make an effort to sign up as a donor.  The procedure is apparently quite simple and painless.  It involves bone marrow cells being withdrawn by a needle and leaves you with a little bruise.  A small price to pay.

Please, please, if you are reading this, click on the link below and read for yorself this inspiring blog. xxx


Thursday, 2 June 2011


 After a particularly bad week. I went out for lunch and some shopping today with a friend. Someone who has become a confidante, a 'big brother' and a very good friend.  
 Someone who knows my darkest thoughts and secrets but never judges me and is always full of sound and thoughtful advice.  I hope, that if they ever need me, I will be there for them, always.
 This collection of classic quotes on friendship is dedicated to you, my friend, you know who you are. Thank you. x

"Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods."
- Artistotle

"One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives."
- Euripides

"Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant."
- Socrates

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
- Helen Keller

"A friend is one who walks in when others walk out"
-Walter Winchell

" A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."
- Arabian Proverb

Do you have any thoughtful or memorable quotes about friendship?  If so, post them below. x