Sunday, 28 June 2009

It's the weekend!

D'you know, there's been so much on this weekend that we decided not to do anything! It's been the game fair at Broughton Hall, although surprisingly we didn't have anything to do with that; there's been a Veterans and Armed Forces Day in Skipton, and at Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick a Forties Day, on a similar theme. I very much wanted to go to the Dent Folk Festival to see Les Barker, but just about everything was sold out there, so no joy. One thing we did do though was to celebrate my father's 93rd birthday and our tenth wedding anniversary. I spent Saturday afternoon cooking over the barbecue for the masses, and once again we had representatives from all corners of the world! I got a huge pile of meat from Jacksons of Cracoe - burgers the size of dinner plates, some VERY tasty belly pork, and of course their prize-winning sausages. A skipping session was the order of the day today - not exercise with a rope, just clearing more rubbish created during the kitchen building marathon! Tomorrow morning Tim Finlay and I are on Breakfast as Julian takes a well-deserved couple of days off - he's back on Tuesday morning.
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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Salterforth Fun Day

Well named too - it was great fun! And for once we weren't beset with bad weather either. Last year the rain held off until the last few minutes, but the year before it was horrendous! That didn't stop the hardy folk of Salterforth though, and we still had a great day. This year the weather was excellent, as was the entertainment. I shared the stage with a young man called Billy D, who brought us music from the sixties to the present day. Up on the canal was the Kennet, with an on-board display all about life and work on the waterways, while on the showfield there was something to appeal to the whole family. I just HAD to have a go at Splat the Rat - and managed to get one! I'm donating my prize to tonight's quiz at the Tempest! The Game Show at Broughton Hall is next on the agenda.
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Friday, 19 June 2009

Nigel Haworth on the Fresh Radio Breakfast Show!

What a week! First we have Jeff Wayne on Breakfast, now today we've had celebrity TV Chef Nigel Haworth.

Nigel has taken over the Bull at Broughton, just a few hundred yards down the road from our studios at the Watermill. It opens tomorrow having been shut for around six weeks for a third of a million pound refurbishment. Nigel, who's from Lancashire, told us about one of his special dishes he aims to introduce to the menu - chicken hotpot! He also revealed he's to be on Saturday Kitchen in August, where's he'll take on the omelette challenge. And coming up shortly - James Martin on Fresh!

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Thursday, 18 June 2009

Sitooteries and Salterforth Fun Day

A pretty busy weekend ahead, and we're hoping for some sunny weather for once. It's the Salterforth Fun Day on Sunday, and all weekend there's the Sitooteries event at Thornton in Craven. I'm the "compere" at Salterforth, having done so for the last couple of years, and as always we're very much looking forward to it. Lots in store there, including a legendary barbecue grill, with some of the best burgers for miles!

Back to the Sitooteries event though, and it's a name that intrigued me for some time when I first moved over to this area - but now it's something we won't miss. Thornton in Craven has some of the most fantastic gardens you can imagine, but most are hidden from view. This weekend gives everyone the opportunity to see some of the very best, with a tour around lots of them. It's a pretty energetic hike too, with the majority on a steep hillside, and quite a long walk if you want to take in them all. The gardens and village hall are opening in aid of the local church, and for the most energetic if you make it to the furthest you'll be rewarded with a free glass of the most delicious home-made lemonade (you'll need to take your own hip flask if you want anything stronger!) There's always a plant sale where you can pick up some real bargains, and in the village hall there's a selection of home-made cakes, buns and cups of tea. Oh, and the name Sitooteries? Well I'd have thought it was fairly obvious - it's somewhere where you can sit oot - I mean out!

The Fun Day at Salterforth kicks off at Mid-day on Sunday, and I'll be providing the commentary as well as playing all the music. If you reckon you're up to it one of the highlights of the event is the annual run up what's known locally as the Salterforth Drag - I've entered Julian into it this year, as training for the Birdman Challenge at Broughton Game Fair the following weekend. Bet you he doesn't turn up for it though!
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Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Jeff Wayne - rock God!

So - Jeff Wayne on Breakfast at Fresh Radio! What a star! Lots of feedback already too, and Julian's done an amazing mix of the interview (20 minutes long!) with music from the album. That's going out just after the 7 o'clock news tonight, so don't miss it. Catch us on FM, Medium Wave or on line at
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Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Jeff Wayne on Fresh Radio!

Well, I'm gobsmacked! I enjoyed War of the Worlds so much I thought I'd try to contact Jeff Wayne and tell him personally. Imagine my surprise when he came back to me personally, to thank me for my comments! After that I took the bull by the horns and asked him if he'd come onto our Breakfast Show - never thinking for a minute he'd have either the time or the inclination. Once again I was in for a surprise; he came straight back to me to say Yes! So, all being well, telephones not misbehaving and swine flu keeping at bay, he'll be on tomorrow morning (Wednesday) after 9am when we run our "War of the Worlds Winning Wednesday". We're giving away a load of CDs to half a dozen or so lucky listeners - I can't wait!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

War of the Worlds and a Tees river cruise

Well, what a weekend! We went to Newcastle on Friday evening with Jeremy Gartland of Superquiz fame, his wife, mother and mothers partner. I can honestly say it was the best gig I can ever remember going to. I've always been a fan of Jeff Wayne, and bought the original album on vinyl, then on tape, then CD, and at last I've seen the live show. Justin Hayward was superb - I had serious misgivings as to whether he'd still be able to carry it off 30 years on, but I needn't have worried. We had front row seats at the Metro Radio Arena, and consequently had a close-up view of some of the Gods of Rock - Chris Spedding on lead guitar, Chris Thompson (ex-Manfred Mann's Earth Band) as the Voice of Humanity, Herbie Flowers on Bass and of course Justin Hayward and Jeff Wayne. Alexis James absolutely knocked spots off David Essex as the artillery man, while Jennifer Ellison took on Julie Covington's Beth extremely well. The effects were magnificent, the sound made Sheffield Arena sound as though you'd been listening on a crystal set, and the atmosphere was simply incredible. If you get the chance to see this show, snap it up whatever the cost!
Then - Saturday afternoon we went for a 14 mile cruise on the river Tees, from Stockton upstream to Yarm and back. Now I don't know what your thoughts are concerning Teesside, but I was filled with misconceptions about a stark industrial landscape, which couldn't have been further from the truth! Cost of the cruise was £7 (June 2009) which for three and a half hours was pretty amazing! A lot's been done to the Tees to clean it up, and the Tees barrage at Stockton means there's a controlled, constant level, making our cruise possible all year round. We picked the best time though; we saw wildfowl on and in the water, what has the makings of a quite beautiful wildlife area on the river bank upstream from Stockton, and even saw a deer running through the grassland. The crew on board were marvellous too - friendly, efficient and very helpful. And what about this for value for money - I ordered scampi and chips plus a ham sandwich and it came to only £6 - AND it was delicious! Again, if you get the chance, do it!
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My early posts

Monday 1 June 2009
We're into the beginning of June and I've not updated this blog since early May! As predicted Holker Festival was brilliant - a hot, sunny day at an excellent venue, with loads to see and do, and a great interview with Monty Don again. That evening we ran the Air Ambulance Race Night at Rolls-Royce Leisure, so by the end of the night I was pretty shattered. But it turned out to be a great night, where EVERYTHING worked perfectly, against all odds. Many thanks, especially to Steve Blake, Avril Hardisty and Steve Ansell, but not forgetting the fantastic job done by the Tote Girls. The band Glamourise were probably the best we've ever seen at Rolls, keeping the dance floor bouncing all night, and getting a standing ovation at the end. The only VERY minor irritation has been hearing a rumour in town that the event was a washout; don't believe a word of it, just ask anyone who was there!

Wednesday 10 May 2009
Very much looking forward to the Holker Festival at Holker Hall, and a day out fly fishing at the Bessy Beck trout farm in Newbiggin on Lune. We spent a very pleasant hour with Lord Cavendish at Holker Hall the other day, before heading for Ambleside where we met up with Cumbria's chief Constable, Craig Mackey. He took great pleasure in reminding me of the occasion when we first met, and I'd been invited to Kendal Magistrates Court to hear a presentation on domestic violence. A lady was just getting into a very harrowing tale when I received a text message on my mobile phone. Trouble is, on that particular mobile the tone is a very loud, bad taste, screeching laugh - and I couldn't find the damned thing! Craig Mackey found the whole incident hilarious!
That's not to say we find domestic violence in any way amusing, which brings me to another incident. we were discussing the split of Katie Price and Peter Andre on the Breakfast Show, when I made an off the cuff remark about Katie Price "needing a slap". Obviously I didn't mean it literally, just that she needs a good shake because of the abominable way she's treated her husband in public. Now he's seen sense, and he's had enough of what in my opinion was the worst kind of abuse from his wife. He dotes on their children - ALL of them, and has been a remarkable father to them. She really does need a serious METAPHORIC slap - in my humble opinion, like it or not!

Sunday 10 May 2009
Another busy week, and a sad goodbye to Catherine, who was on work experience for a couple of weeks. For a fifteen year old she showed remarkable talent, and in fact was on-air on day one. She wrote news scripts extremely competently - in fact I can't remember having to edit a single one! I was due to go to the launch of the 10th anniversary Calendar Girls calendar at Harvey Nichols tomorrow, but I suspect it may be a bit too hectic at work. Julian and I were due to go to Ingleton Primary School on Saturday, but ended up standing in fior Jeremy, who was called away at the last minute and couldn't do his show. I listened to the comments on Sunday when Jeremy returned - surely we weren't THAT bad were we Ellie??

Monday 4 May 2009
It's our 12th birthday today - and what a couple of years it's been since our landmark 10th anniversary. But we've put an awful lot of stuff behind us now, and yesterday's event at Broughton Hall brought home just what a loyal band of listeners we still have, despite the trials and tribulations of the last few months. The Duck Race was a great success, and it showed what a fantastic, supportive team we have at Fresh. Mike Hammond did an excellent job commentating on the races - and there was quite a lot of excitement during each event too! I think I'd rather watch ducks going down Earby Beck (or is it Broughton Beck?) than the gee-gees! Tim Finlay provided great off-course entertainment between each race too, and I think everyone was delighted (and more than a little relieved) that everything went more or less to plan, with no major glitches. I'm certainly looking forward to next years event!
I've been invited to the official launch of the 10th anniversary Calendar Girls calendar, to be held next Monday evening at "Harvey Nicks". Tricia Stewart (one of the original team) came along with husband Ian to the Duck Race. It was good to meet up with her again and reminisce about the launch of the first calendar! I have to confess to having had mixed feelings about "a calendar" when I was first let into the secret, and I remember Tricia being not a little nervous about it too. They hadn't ordered all that many, but of course were totally gobsmacked at the response, once the story was out. And as they say, the rest is history!

Saturday 25 April 2009
I've been fantastically busy since I last updated the blog. Been to Brussels (one of only two UK journalists out of fifty-five at the meeting at the European Committee of the Regions. It was incredibly interesting to me, but may well not be to you!
Got sick when I returned, so I had a couple of days off work. Yesterday Julian and I went to Brompton Lakes to meet William Hague MP and Gary Verity, chief executive of what was the Yorkshire Tourist Board. William was opening the Brompton Lakes lodges, which are simply fabulous! Then it was on to Marrick, near Reeth to deliver some flowers, and we got to meet an insane chicken that likes to perch on your head, and have a go on a quad bike (in my case, for the first time ever).
Today (Saturday) Judith and I went to the spring fair at Gayle Mill, where I met William Lambert for the first time in around eight years. He was doing a bit of wood turning at the mill - a far cry from watching his animals being slaughtered at the beginning of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in 2001. Pictures will appear in the gallery in due course.
Some that I can't wait to put on appear below though; I wonder if anyone knows the people in the 4 by 4 pictured? It had to be the most idiotic and dangerous piece of parking I've seen in years. Today was the Three Peaks race, and I would guess they were either involved in that or had been caving. The road from Ribblehead to Ingleton is a bit of a rat run at the best of times, with loonies using it as a race track; As you approach Chapel le Dale on the section called Low Sleights Road there's a slight rise, then the road drops quite sharply away. As you can see from the pictures this bunch decided to park right on the apex, forcing bikers and drivers to pull out blind into oncoming traffic. And they were there for some time too! Doh!
(To take the photographs we parked in a layby, which had available spaces, not more than 100 yards down the road)

Saturday 11 April 2009
Bit of a nasty incident today - our young 'un was walking along the canal when someone ran up behind him then punched him in the face! He had to go to hospital, more to keep the police happy than for his injuries, and he spent several hours there too. Not a good way to start the Bank Holiday weekend really.
I'm preparing to head off for Brussels on Tuesday morning, and it's an even earlier start than usual. My flight leaves Manchester at 06.40 and you need to be there at least an hour and a half before that. It takes over an hour to get to Manchester airport, so by my reckoning I need to leave home at around 4am. Jason's in charge at the Tempest this week and we're taking a night off at the Unicorn.
Had an interesting chat with Harriet Harman on Wednesday. Regardless of politics she's on a campaign to make sure as many people get off their bums and vote at the forthcoming European elections. A low turnout will always favour the extremists, and there are major concerns the BNP will get in if the polls are poorly attended.
Quite a week for news this week, with the anti-terror raid in Clitheroe. I went along to Homebase on Thursday, the day the store officially opened. It was phenomenally busy, which we put down to the fantastic publicity they received from the media!

Sunday 29 March 2009
Well, it's been quite a weekend so far. I've been off since Friday morning, working on a new kitchen. We were very much hoping it would arrive some time around lunchtime so that I would be around to help unload everything - but I got a frantic phone call in the studio before 8 o'clock to say it was here!
It was a cold, showery, windy day, but despite the horrendous conditions, by the time I got home the delivery men had struggled in with everything. One local gent though is extremely lucky to be alive; as these guys fought the awful conditions to bring our new freezer up the steps to the house the wind got hold of some sheets of paper and blew them up the street. It's not easy to chase pieces of paper in a gale-force wind when you've got both hands round an extremely heavy and expensive fridge freezer, so they were suitably grateful when someone came up the path clutching said sheets, having retrieved them. As it happens they weren't important, and could have been thrown into a bin, which he'd just walked past. But - he then started to bellow "What are you going to do about these then?" - or words to that effect.
The gent, who will remain nameless, then started shouting about the delivery vehicle causing an obstruction, and saying he was going to report the delivery men for littering. They, I'm told, remained remarkably composed, which I'm afraid is more than can be said for she who would like to be obeyed - 'er indoors that is. She told the gent in no uncertain terms where to go, in language not often heard in a Salvation Army citadel! He should be extremely grateful she wasn't holding a carving knife at the time, instead of her crutches!
What was even more galling though is that just a couple of hundred yards up the road there was genuine massive obstruction caused by dozens of parents in large people-carriers. They were dropping their little cherubs off at the local primary school, having driven (in some cases) less than 500 yards to get there - and there's SUPPOSED to be a (much publicised) walking bus scheme in place!
Many thanks must go to the delivery drivers at Wincanton Transport for their excellent efforts and patience under very difficult circumstances. Now - does anyone know a good plasterer-electrician-joiner-plumber-tiler-painter and decorator? 'Cos I'm absolutely knackered!

Saturday 21 March 2009
Another hectic week this week - we've had a couple of guests on the Breakfast Show, and I went off to talk to the Duke of Devonshire as he led his staff on a litter pick on the roads around the Bolton Abbey Estate. Last year the team shifted two industrial skips of rubbish, including a complete hifi system, dead animals, beer bottles and hundreds of Walkers Crisp packets!
John Helliwell, Supertramps saxophonist, proved to be a fascinating guest - what he hasn't done and who he hasn't worked with in the music industry just aren't worth mentioning! He's played with rock greats such as Thin Lizzy and Pink Floyd, so it was all I could do to hold myself back from bowing and grovelling at his feet! Although Supertramp still do the occasional gig John has his finger in several musical pies, including the latest project, Créme Anglais. Watch out for them on tour over the coming months, and for more information go to

Sunday 15 March 2009
Lots to talk about, but no time to do it at the moment! Just for the time being here's where the money from Masterbrain went this year, plus a couple of the fund-raisers at Rolls. The picture's been sprung on me at the last minute!
Recipients of the £500 cheque were BE Bosom Friends