Sunday, 27 December 2009

Big boys toys!

What a way to get over Christmas - more excitement! I got the opportunity to ride the footplate on a steam locomotive today. I was invited down to the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway, where I met up with Crazy Dave Anderson. He introduced me to the train crew, then we set off for Bolton Abbey. I was surprised at the heat coming from the firebox - it was tremendous, and contrasted with a pretty cold afternoon. Needless to say we got plenty of pictures too, a couple of which I've included below.

We're ready to set off to Bolton Abbey (above)

The engine turns around at Bolton Abbey (above)

A very arty view of the funnel, taken by Judith

Me, Crazy Dave, driver Neil Hubbs and the engine's owner

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

It's well over a month since I last posted here, but at last Christmas has arrived and I've actually got a couple of days off! I'm very much looking forward to New Years Eve, when Julian and I are going to do a four hour review of the year. Then I'm off to bring in the New Year with friends in Ripon - the first time I haven't spent it with my dad in more than ten years. One tradition we do intend to keep up though is breakfast at Stumps Cross Caverns on New Years Day. We've still a couple of Christmas quizzes to do, then I've a special one for a wedding just after the new year. The Tempest quiz will be excellent, weather permitting, as teams put in a lot of effort with fancy dress outfits. I'm looking forward to one team in particular, as they're keeping it very close to their chests!
A couple of weeks ago I got a new camera, and trailed off up the Waterfall Walks at Ingleton. I tried out a new technique (to me that is) and took the camera out of automatic mode for the first time ever! I wanted to get the effect of water flowing, using a very slow shutter speed.

This picture is the very first one I took of a waterfall - and I have to admit I'm very well pleased with the result. I'll probably never be able to repeat it, but at least I can say "I did this!" It's at Pecca Falls, around half way to the top of the walk.
I had been planning to go out this morning again (Christmas Day) but the fog's descended now, so I guess I'll have to wait until the conditions improve.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Masterbrain, The Bradshaws and other updates

It seems like weeks since I updated the blog - actually, it is! The BRadshaws went down well at the Tempest, and we're hoping for an excellent night at Gayle Mill on Saturday too. It's a completely unique venue, which I think lends itself perfectly to the Bradshaws. For tickets take a look at the What's On guide on the Fresh Radio website.
I must extend many thanks to everyone involved in the final events organised by the former club committee at Rolls Royce Leisure. Masterbrian was quieter than we'd hoped, but we did make over £350 for our chosen charity. Special thanks go to Stuart Hyde, deputy chief constable with Cumbria Police. He not only came along to present the trophies, but actually co-presented the quiz with me! John Middleton and Judith did the usual fantastic job with a very complex scoring system, and I reckon the whole thing went remarkably smoothly. Avril Hardisty and her family put in an excellent effort with their halloween outfits, and Avril won the prize for the best one, as voted by the audience!
I'm hoping to be able to sit back and relax for a while after the coming weekend, but I'm not holding my breath! 

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Buzz Hawkins at the Tempest Arms

What can I say? Another brilliant night from Buzz, well attended, and enjoyed immensely by all who were there - all but one that is! (More about him later).
As expected the Tempest proved to be a great venue, with just enough room to seat the audience comfortably, and despite the fact the place was already heaving with people wanting to dine we were made very welcome. They also provided a great little "Lucky Bag" for everyone who bought a ticket, crammed with lots of those sweets that everyone remembered from their childhood - sherbet dips, flying saucers, penny chews. In fact I'm eating the paper off a black-jack as I write! Buzz as always was on excellent form, but I've come to expect that anyway. Despite the fact that I'm writing this early on Sunday morning, I've already had some great feedback from members of the audience too. BUT - there was just one person who did nothing but whinge. He'd travelled up from the Midlands and was staying in a pub in Eastby. He got into conversation with my wife - and just moaned, and moaned and moaned. He started having a go at me first;
Miserable git: "Is that your husband, the bloke from the radio? Huh, his voice sounds a lot younger than he looks!"
Wife (ignoring comment): "Where do you come from?" Miserable git: "Burton on Trent"
Wife "Oh, I've got relatives down there, they live in Meir" Miserable git; "Meir? what a sh**hole that is!"
Wife (ignoring second rude comment): "Where are you staying tonight?" Miserable git:  "A village called Eastby - that's a right sh**hole too!"
EASTBY??? He must have discovered another Eastby that we don't know about - it's a lovely place, nestled just below the fell on the fabulous run across from Barden to Embsay, with a marvelous pub too.
Anyway, back to the conversation, by which time the wife was losing the will to live. By this stage I'm playing a Michael Buble track as background music
Miserable Git: "Does that radio station play Michael Buble then?" Wife: "Yes" Miserable Git: "Bye then!"
But that sadly wasn't the end of the conversation; his final remark was to start "slagging off" the Tempest. He reckoned he couldn't tell whether it was a pub, a restaurant or a leisure complex. Now I know I'm likely to be fairly defensive of the place, but the most recent accolades - and the two packed car parks - must surely speak volumes by themselves. It's literally just been voted the UK Food Pub of the Year too, and justifiably so. It's warm, friendly, extremely comfortable and very, very popular. But this guy was having none of it.
Miserable git: "This place is also a "sh**hole" and the food is far too expensive".
Now MG, if you're looking for the sort of food you obviously enjoy, might I suggest a little "Greasy Spoon" on the A1 near Newark - as you head back to where you belong! I'm SO pleased you enjoyed your trip "oop north" but I'm sure you'll forgive me MG, when I say we're very, very glad to see the back of you! Oh, and by the way, can I suggest you take back a couple of Yorkshire beers with you, to show them in Burton how it should be done!
By the way, our "Up close and personal" tour with Buzz Hawkins moves up to Gayle Mill near Hawes next month. It's on the 14th of November, possibly with a matinee on the 15th, depending on how ticket sales go. We're also hoping to put on a show in Sedbergh or Kirkby Stephen, and either Richmond or Catterick Garrison - but PLEASE  - only enquire about tickets if you have a sense of humour - and if you're from anywhere in the Midlands you WILL need an entry visa! Keep listening to Fresh Radio for more details.
Top; Buzz chats to Alf Bradshaw has he takes a bath.
Bottom; The Tempest Arms on one of those extremely rare occasions when there was space in the car park

POSTSCRIPT: It would seem (from a phone call I received this morning) that the gent in question DID enjoy the show - it's just the rest of the world as we know it above Doncaster that he despises (and Meir)!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Buzz Hawkins, Phil Cool and Masterbrain - oh, and Harry Gration!

A quick word about Harry Gration - he popped into the studio to talk about his new book, all about his sporting heroes. For those of you out of the BBC Leeds broadcast area, Harry is a journalist of 40 years standing, and currently fronts Look North on BBC1 from Leeds, with Christa Ackroyd. Harry's a really nice guy, and quite an expert on sport, emphasising on cricket (which I know precisely nothing about!) His new book (left) is published by Dalesman.

It's Up Close and Personal with Buzz Hawkins at the Tempest in Elslack tonight. Buzz will appear from 8pm, and I gather some tickets are still available at the door.

All ticket sales for Phil Cool at Rolls Royce Leisure are now being handled by the club management. Phil's appearing on Saturday the 24th of October, with all profits from the evening going to the Air Ambulance. I had a word with Phil the other day, and he's very much looking forward to coming across to Barnoldswick.

Masterbrain? Not sure what's going to happen yet - I sent a bulk e-mail out a couple of weeks ago inviting people to come along to the event, which again will raise money for the Air Ambulance. Sadly only five people have bothered to respond! Watch this space for latest developments. Masterbrain and the Inter-pub Quiz Challenge is planned for the 31st of October (Halloween) and is the very last event organised by the (former) club committee at Rolls.

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

MacMillan World's Biggest Coffee Morning

Another week's flown by and we find ourself approaching October - already! The World's Biggest Coffee Morning was a great success - we went out to visit several in the dales, doing live inserts into Steve Joy's show from a couple, starting on the Grove in Ilkley. From there we moved on to the Lawn Tennis Club (also in Ilkley) which was very busy indeed. We also visited Embsay Village Hall, where we learnt the rudiments  of Carpet Bowls, Bolton Abbey Village Hall (which was packed!) and on to Barnoldswick. There we caught up with Tricia and Beryl of the Calendar Girls at Rolls Royce Leisure, and from there we went into the town centre.
Sadly we missed the event at Victoria's Needles, and in fact that had to be the end of our tour, time having caught up with us. We had planned to go much further - up to Ingleton in fact, but our three hours alloted time sped by far too quickly. We also missed out on a planned trip to Craven College, assuming that the event would be at the Aireville campus. When we arrived there we were told it was at their High Street site, so we reluctantly made the decision to give it a miss, it being Market Day. We hear It was a great event though, and congratulations must go to all who put in such a fantastic effort.

In the morning we'd kicked off an on-air auction of a football, signed by all the players at Burnley FC. I'd hoped we could raise around £50, but in the event Steve Joy managed to double that, with some frantic last minute bids coming in to his show just before mid-day. That will go into the Rolls Royce total, the ball having been donated to Martin Holden, who organised the event there with Catherine Oldfield. Martin had been into Fresh and came onto the Breakfast Show last Wednesday to tell us all about his experience of MacMillan when his late wife sadly and very recently succumbed to cancer. I'm not sure what Roohi Lupton from MacMillan is going to spring on us next, but I think I can speak for the whole fresh team when I say were proud to have been able to be a part of the World's Biggest Coffee Morning!

Top: We gather at the Tennis Club in Ilkley. Ian Wighton (who used to do the Motown and Soul Show in the Yorkshire Dales Radio days) was drafted in to help out on the day.
Middle: I catch up with Tricia Stewart of the Calendar Girls at Rolls Royce Leisure.
Bottom: Steve Joy and I discuss how much we reckon the Burnley Football will fetch.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Richmondshire Citizenship awards, and the Hairy Bikers ride into town

Blimey! It's been almost a week since I wrote anything in here, but in my own defence it has been just about the busiest week ever! Wednesday night I was in Hipswell, near Catterick Garrison, hosting the annual State of the District debate and presenting the Citizenship Awards. I'd been on the judging panel a few weeks earlier, and I must say it was a tough job with a lot of the categories. I was pleased to be able to hand out awards to joint winners in the Arts category though, with both North Country Theatre and the Georgian Theatre Royal equally deserving. Many others received well-deserved awards on the night, including the tea-rooms at Scotton, and a company called thecitysecret. It was a well-organised event, and probably the best-attended since I became involved a few years ago. But, it was yet another late night and I was looking forward to relaxing after work on Thursday - no such luck!

The Hairy Bikers - alias Dave and Si - had rolled into town and were filming at Bolton Abbey. I went along after work to watch them film an episode of their new series, due to be broadcast on BBC2 next spring. How on earth they get anything into the can is beyond me - they're just hysterically funny to watch, and hugely entertaining! They also seemed to be genuinely nice lads to talk to when I chatted to the pair after filming was over for the day. We ran the whole fascinating interview on Breakfast on Friday morning.

Saturday again I thought I'd get a chance to relax after doing the news in the morning, but then I realised I had an appointment to go to meet William Lambert, chairman of the Gayle Mill Trust. We're planning another up Close and Personal with the creator of The Bradshaws, Buzz Hawkins as part of his mini-tour of the Dales, and William had told me some time ago how much he'd enjoy a show in the mill. Ticket sales are doing well for the Tempest at Elslack on the 10th of October, so it made sense to get something else organised in the wake. I took Buzz's publicist Jennifer Shaw up to Gayle Mill to show her around, and give her a feel of the place, and after a useful meeting with William we went on a tour of the area to find more locations for the Breakfast Show's Billy Bradshaw's Brain-buster. I eventually got back just after 7pm, just in time to visit the Mrs in hospital, then back home for an early night! Er, no - I remembered I had a complete quiz to write and record, so I made a start on that when I got in, and promptly fell asleep at my laptop!

Pictures: Top: Hairy Biker Si King, myself and Dave Myers. Bottom: Gayle Mill, Gayle near Hawes, where Buzz Hawkins is set to appear "Up close and personal"

Monday, 14 September 2009

Gretna Green - a DREAM wedding!

You could be forgiven for thinking that a wedding held over the anvil at Gretna Green's celebrated blacksmiths might be a little twee, or even tacky - but it couldn't be further from the truth!
We went up to Carlisle on Thursday night to prepare for the wedding of our friends John and Carolyn the following day. We all stayed at the Pinegrove Hotel on London Road on Thursday and Friday night, the ceremony taking place on Friday afternoon. There were so many guests travelling up to the occasion that a mini-coach was laid on which was probably just as well, given the popularity of the place. I took the brides parents to Gretna, following the fabulous white open-topped Bentley carrying Carolyn up the M6 to the ceremony. We were all ushered in, and shortly afterwards the bride-to-be was piped in to the tune Flower of Scotland. The registrar instantly put everyone at ease - and the ceremony itself was very moving indeed.
Following a photo-shoot outside the Blacksmiths Shop (which was shared by dozens of Japanese tourists!) we all went back to the Pinegrove hotel. On arrival we were ushered into the function room, which had been decorated to a standard usually only found in a glossy wedding magazine. There were gifts for all of the guests plus a glass of fizz to toast the happy couple. The food was simply delicious and was a credit to the chef - thoroughly enjoyed by all. After the speeches we were entertained  to a Casino Night by a team who'd travelled all the way up from Otley. I can honestly say I've never enjoyed a wedding quite as much, and it will be an incredibly hard act to follow. Just one small point - the entire event was planned and brought together by the happy couple themselves! (*Mood lighting by Ben Middleton)

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The Bradshaws - a Night with Buzz Hawkins

Boy have we got a great night organised?! Buzz Hawkins, the man behind the Bradshaws, is coming to the Tempest Arms in Elslack next month. He's set to appear on Saturday night, the 10th of October - and it promises to be an excellent, hilarious night's entertainment. Buzz has allocated 30 tickets for me to sell, there will be some available at the Tempest, and of course you'll be able to get them from the Bradshaws own site -
Buzz is a very, very funny man with a wealth of humour based on nostalgia, the sort that gave rise to the Bradshaws in the first place. And no doubrt he'll be able to tell us the latest on his new project, bringing Alf, Audrey and Little Billy onto the telly. Drop me a line to for more details, or to book your tickets. Here's a link to my own website with more details:-

From The Bradshaws Website: . . . . .
Presenting ... Buzz Hawkins Does The Bradshaws ..

An' All That!

Once upon a time, on a dark and stormy night, a small thought festered in the broad forehead of a man named Buzz Hawkins. This thought skipped along terraced streets gathering up the memories that you left behind and so grew into The Bradshaws.

Now The Bradshaws are real people and anyone who thinks otherwise is ficticious. Now Buzz Hawkins is merely a figment of their imagination.

And don't forget, you can hear The Bradshaws every morning on Fresh Radio - go to and check out the daily schedule

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Kilnsey Show

Phew! Julian, Tiiu, Judith and I are just beginning to recover from our visit to Kilnsey show in Upper Wharfedale on Tuesday. It's just one of a long list of shows we decided to visit this year - we've not been able to visit them all due to other work commitments, but we've thoroughly enjoyed those we have been to so far. Kilnsey lived up to the dales reputation and was wet - very wet! But there was plenty of sun between the showers, and it didn't seem to put too many people off. We were surprised though to see people being towed ONTO the car parks at the beginning of the show!

The main attraction for me was the Farmers Market - we came across Richard Morphett, the Foodie Farmer from Hebden Bridge, (01422 845952) a guy we first met several years ago at a food festival at the Westmoreland showground. He makes soup to die for, our favourite being Lentil and Bacon. We also met up with the guys at Raydale Preserves, who gave me some great ideas for the forthcoming Chutney competition at the Tempest Arms in Elslack. We tried (and bought) fantastic sausages from Bowland, and soft goats milk cheese from Paganum Produce, which was absolutely delicious. The generous folk from Coniston Hall treated me to a glass of delicious red house wine, and superb canapes - my favourite being some fantastic smoked salmon.

My day ended co-hosting a cookery demonstration with Chinese chef Tim Lee and Chris Wildman of Paganum, based at Kirkby Malham. It was tough going for a while, as Tim (the chef from E-Pan in Skipton) spoke very little English. That meant the pair of us, joined on stage by Julian, had to second guess what he was up to while providing a running commentary.

Kilnsey Show wouldn't be complete without the Fell Race, and once again Bruce Elsworth of the Angel at Hetton competed. That was AFTER he'd served breakfast and done a demonstration for Real Food and Farming's Dales Kitchen, and before he went back for evening service. And he managed a very respectable fifth place in what must have been one of the most gruelling races of the season!

This was my first Kilnsey show in quite a number of years - but I'll be back again next year for sure! Coming up this weekend we hope to visit the Moorcock Show on Saturday, then on Sunday I'll be at the Great Milk Stout Ride at Bewerley Park, Pateley Bridge.

Photo (top): Chris Wildman of Paganum Produce, James Wilson, Julian Hotchkiss and Tim Lee of E-Pan in Skipton. For more pictures of the show, go to the Fresh Radio gallery

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Camp Hill, Bedale

What an amazing day out - and what an excellent and effective way to illustrate just how unfit I am! We went to Camp Hill yesterday as part of a stag day organised for John Middleton, who's getting married in 12 days time. The entire event was organised by John's son Ben, which I have to say he did with military precision! We set off for Camp Hill with John blindfolded - he'd no idea where we were going - in fact the whole thing had been kept secret from him until just minutes before we went.
At Camp Hill we had a coffee and a briefing by the staff, and were then split into two teams. Our team went off for an hour on quad bikes, racing through forest trails and generally having a whale of a  time. We then changed places with the other group, to do some clay pigeon shooting. I didn't start off too badly, scoring eight out of ten kills in the first set. We then changed to a different discipline and I failed miserably! John's son Jack however pulled us out of the mire by scoring an incredbile 16 out of 16. That was despite never having pulled a shotgun trigger in his life before! It was also the first "full house" at the centre in several days. From the clay pigeon range we moved on to the fifty foot high climbing wall, and this is where my lack of stamina really showed. Ben, Jack and John's other son Joel were up to the top and back down several times. Other members of the team didn't fare quite so well, but I think I must have been the worst. I came off the wall with my arms and legs like jelly, and was quite relieved when time was called and we received our final scores. Despite my feeble efforts we beat our opposition by a couple of points, but I think I can speak for everyone involved when I say we had a fantastic time and we'd all go back again tomorrow!
From Camp Hill we made our way back to Ripon where there was just time to go back to the fabulous Unicorn hotel (the ONLY place to stay when in North Yorkshire), have a scrub and freshen up, before we met again the the bar for a drink, and then off to the Dragon Inn for a Chinese meal. We rounded the night off in a pub called the Royal Oak before heading for bed. What a fantastic day, which I hope John will remember for a long time to come. The weekend after next we all head off for Gretna Green - and The Big Day!!
Above - Thomas (rear), Jack, John, Joel, Me and Paul.
Below (left) me on the climbing wall.
Below (right) The quads in action

And if you want to see all of the pictures from our day out, go to:

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Reeth Show

It's 6pm, and we've just got back from Swaledale. We've been to Reeth Show which, despite less than pleasant weather, was great! Had some excellent fish and chips, talked to the team at Swaledale Mountain Rescue, and show president Kathleen Brown. We also had a very interesting chat with the guys from Mainsgill Farm which has resulted in an invitation for Julian and I to go along and make some sausages - should be fun! Having also had a very interesting chat with a lady from Kirkby Stephen I think I may have a recipe for chutney, which will blow Julian's chances of beating me in the Tempest Chutney competition right out of the water!
Once again my waxed jacket failed me (as it did at Ribblehead a couple of weeks ago), and leaked water horrendously, so I had to go down into Richmond and buy a new one. Posh boots stood up well though, so no complaints there. Hopefully I'll have a short package about the show ready for Breakfast tomorrow, which will include an interview with William Lambert, who I bumped into at the show. Many thanks to the kind lady who lent me her Orange mobile phone to do a live piece into Steve's programme. Despite having an O2 and a Virgin mobile with me, neither had a signal in Reeth, so she certainly saved the day!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

The Fresh Wedding of the Year

And what a great day it was too! There had been a bit of a dodgy forecast for the weekend earlier this week, but come the day it couldn't have been better!

Steve and Pam Mawdesley tied the knot in style, at the Rendezvous Hotel in Skipton. The couple have been listeners to Fresh Radio for more years than either cares to remember, so it was excellent news when the results came back from Rendezvous following our on-air competition earlier this year. We'd invited entries in the form of letters saying why you deserved to win the wedding of a lifetime, valued at £4,000 and provided by Rendezvous. And I have to confess we weren't prepared for what was to follow, with some lovely, and in a lot of cases very heartwarming letters - and, more than one turned up in support of Steve and Pam! Julian and I and the team at Fresh were VERY grateful we didn't have to make the decision, which must have been very hard for our friends at Rendezvous.
Julian, Jeremy and I and our respective partners went to the ceremony and thoroughly enjoyed the excellent wedding breakfast (at 5pm!) laid on afterwards. Needless to say Steve was the subject of an hilarious speech by his best man (his brother) who related the occasion when as small boys, Steve found an ancient axe and attempted to chop down a telegraph pole with it - of course it all ended in blood, sweat AND tears! It was a lovely day, thanks to Steve and Pam for inviting us along, and the very best of luck to you both.
And yes, I DID wear a pink tie, and as the picture (right) shows, it was even pinker than Julians!

Monday, 17 August 2009

The Bradshaws

Buzz Hawkins, the man behind The Bradshaws, came for a look round the new Fresh studios today. He came with some great news about the Bradshaws latest venture, and we've brand new feature on the way - my lips are sealed, but stay tuned or sign up as a Fresh VIP on our brand new website - and you never know, you might be the first to hear the latest news! Anyway, linked to this I'm trying to organise a couple of Close up and Personal evenings with the Bradshaws around our region. Buzz and I have already looked at one potential venue in the south of the area, another venue right in the centre of Freshland has expressed an interest in holding an event, and Jenn Mattinson has checked out a third in the northwest. It's all looking very promising, but until details are finalised Bradshaws fans will just have to be patient. If you tune in to Breakfast tomorrow morning though, you could hear something to your advantage!

Saturday, 15 August 2009

A man with genuine integrity and talent.

How nice it was to meet a man with genuine integrity today. Sean Wilson left the cast of Coronation Street three years ago after his storyline made him a pretty unsavoury character, and he decided enough was enough. "Martin Platt" had an enormous fanbase from all corners of the globe. When the decision was announced that Sean (AKA Martin Platt) was to leave the Street after 21 years there was a massive public outcry, but the decision was upheld. Perhaps unsurprisingly many people we spoke to today in Skipton Market said they'd stopped watching the soap after he left.
Now Sean's found a totally different outlet for his talent, and has set up the Saddleworth Cheese Company, having enlisted the help and advice of our old friend Bob Kitching, of Leagram Cheeses. Bob has become something of a master cheesemaker since we first met him a few years ago, and chatted to him on Fresh Radio. You may or may not remember his comments about his Sunday morning cheese, which varied in strength and intensity depending on how long his local vicar's sermon went on!
Despite having officially been in the business only a matter of weeks Sean's enthusiasm and obvious talent as a cheesemaker has paid dividends, and he's already won top industry awards. I had a long conversation with him as he promoted his products on the famous Lawson's Cheese stall in Skipton Market today - you can hear what we talked about, and the results of a potted survey about cheese, on Breakfast this coming monday morning. If you're out of our broadcast region go to to listen on line.

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Big Day arrives - it's finally over

Well, I needn't really have worried. My dad's funeral went without a hitch - yes, it was poignant, and yes, there were tears - but the service was outstanding. Few people can have seen the Guard of Honour without developing a massive lump in the throat; then when the piper began practising behind the church there were quite a few tears shed. But that was nothing compared to the procession into the church, led by the piper right to the altar playing Amazing Grace faultlessly.
The vicar had done a superb job of researching my father's background, then my sisters both did a reading, and I was immensely proud of them both - if not a little ashamed of myself for chickening out. Flight Lt Tom Bailey from RAF Linton on Ouse laid a wreath on the coffin, and after the service the piper led us out again. After the coffin was laid in the hearse it was the pipes again, leading the hearse up the road and away from the church.
My father would have been so proud of his send-off, in a way it's a shame he couldn't have seen it all beforehand! Many thanks to all who packed the church today, for a very fine send-off which we will never forget.

The Big Day arrives

It's the big day no-one ever looks forward to - my father's funeral. It looks set to be an extemely poignant occasion too; the British Legion will provide I think what they call a Guard of Honour, RAF Linton on Ouse are to place a wreath on my dad's coffin, and he'll be piped into and out of the church by a lone piper playing one of his favourites, Amazing Grace. I was given the option of reading at the service, but I'm horribly afraid of making a complete fool of myself, so I declined the offer. Although dad was a Presbyterian he apparently expressed the wish to be "seen off" at the church in Dacre Banks, his home village for the last 59 years. I'm still quite overwhelmed by the response to my father's death, and the lovely messages we've received.
On a lighter note our friends Yvonne and Hasse sent a large bouquet of fabulous flowers from Trosa in Sweden; I got a phone call from a bemused florist the other morning asking where exactly "Kirkstall Drive Road is?" - in Barnsley!
And on another note: I've just found my father's obituary in "Norway Banking News" and "Gun Service and Repair - Tampa FL - Florida"

Friday, 7 August 2009

Don Wilson - a humorous poem

John Crooks, a former president of the British Veterinary Association, frequently called on my father's services to dart dangerous or unmanageable animals. He composed this poem for his friend and colleague, Donald Wilson.

When all of You are Dead and Gone
John Crooks, MRCVS, Beverley.

When all of you are dead and gone,
They'll still tell tales of Immobilon Don.
So settle down - fill your glasses, of course,
And I'll tell you the tale of the unlucky horse.
Everyone was helpless, the owner upset,
No one could catch it, not even the vet.
Ever since he went out, in the spring of the year,
They couldn't get near him and thought it was fear.

But the crafty old equine, it wasn't just fear,
He was blowed if anyone was going to get near.
For saddles or bridles were not to his taste,
Nor galloping, nor jumping, nor unseemly haste.
Lots of grass, lots of sleeping and nothing to do,
While other poor ponies could wait in a queue,
For snotty nosed kids in pony club hats,
Instructed by colonels in breeches and spats.

His name was a legend, like Churchill or Beckett,
Or Engler or Amin or Sir James Reckitt.
Don loaded his darts, Don loaded his gun,
Shooting horses with Immobilon is skilfully done.
"I'll soon put a stop to this ridiculous farce!"
Out flew the dart, slap into the arse.
The horse leapt forward, brushed past an alder,
Staggered and swayed - and fell into the Calder!

The river was fast and the river was deep,
And Immobilon induces a most rapid sleep.
As they pushed out a boat Don stood in the bow,
"He's just about out, put a rope round him now!"
There's a legend at Reckitts that Don never missed
Bullocks, camels or horses, sober or p...d.
It's true, cardiac arrest was occasionally found,
But this was the first PM finding "Found drowned"!
© John Crooks - 2004

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Donald James Ross Wilson - 1916-2009

It came as quite a shock when my father died suddenly on Tuesday, after falling ill a few days ago. He was 93 years old, but lived on his own, quite independently in the Dales. I've been deeply touched by all of the kindness shown to me and the expressions of sympathy following his death - and got quite a surprise to receive an e-mail message of condolence from sir David Jason. I introduced my father to sir David when I had the good fortune to interview him at the Yorkshire Air Museum last year. I'm not going to say any more on the subject right now, but below is my father's obituary:

One of Nidderdale’s most fascinating characters has died suddenly aged 93.
Donald Wilson moved from Edinburgh to Dacre Banks in February 1950, having been stationed at RAF Linton on Ouse during the war. Don was shot down over Germany early in the conflict and was eventually imprisoned in the infamous Stalag Luft III, setting for the film The Great Escape. He provided invaluable information and advice for the makers of the film, having kept a detailed wartime log during his incarceration.
Having trained as a vet before the war Don took up a position as a veterinary services advisor with Hull-based Reckitt and Coleman, spending almost the rest of his working life with them. He was a friend of Thirsk-based vet turned author Alf White, better known as James Herriot, who he visited on a regular basis. During his career with Reckitt and Coleman Don became involved in the development of a new drug to be used in the rapid tranquilising of animals, and subsequently set up a rapid response dart gun service for the company. He appeared on TV’s Blue Peter and Magpie programmes, and helped out on the set of what was then known as Emmerdale Farm – in the days when it featured real animals!
When not working Don became heavily involved in local life, and over the years served on the local Parish Council the Village Hall committee and the Home Guard. He was extremely reluctant to accept becoming old, and walked down to his local, the Royal Oak most lunch-times until relatively recently, when he bought an electric buggy. He quickly got used to riding the machine, and almost as quickly – despite being by this time in his late eighties – decided it wasn’t fast enough, and went out and bought a “GT” model!
Don never forgot his time in the RAF and had been a long-time member of local branches of the RAFA, and the British Legion. Just a few years ago he accompanied his son on a news assignment to the Air museum at Elvington, and was delighted to be offered an exclusive look inside their recently restored Halifax bomber – once again, despite his advancing years, he was up inside the aircraft, as one member of staff put it “like a rat up a drainpipe”! More recently he had the pleasure of being introduced to the actor Sir David Jason, who’s a huge supporter of ex-RAF flyers.
Despite the privations Don suffered throughout the war years he never lost his sense of humour, and would often recount the tale of when he first moved into Dacre Banks and making friends with the Abbot family, owners of the local garage. One dark, windy night he visited Kit and Norah Abbot, knocking on the door and asking a bleary-eyed Kit, who at first hadn’t recognised him, if he could have a fill-up with petrol – for his cigarette lighter!
Over the last few years his ever-increasing family and friends have celebrated his birthday with the annual June Barbecue, which has recently become more like a United Nations event. Guests have represented Australia, Africa, Israel, Scotland, Norway, and of course his beloved adopted home – Yorkshire. Don’s only regret was that his late wife Vera, who died 16 years ago, couldn’t be with him.
He leaves six children, eleven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, with another on the way.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Ribblehead in the rain!

It's been a hugely busy weekend, with work starting on alterations to the Broughton Hall studios on Saturday morning, me at Ribblehead and Julian at Richmond Swimming Pool on Sunday. Saturday was the better day weather wise; in fact Sunday was pretty appalling really, as we had to walk the length of the Ribblehead viaduct and conduct several interviews in the pouring rain. It might not sound very far - crossing Yorkshire's most famous viaduct - but the total distance was around two miles.

I wasn't particularly suitably dressed, having put on jeans, waxed jacket and wide-brimmed leather hat, but my companions on the walk, Tom Lister (Carl King on Emmerdale) and ITV weather man Jon Mitchell had obviously put more thought into their attire. Jon in particular was dressed in waterproofs from head to toe, I guess having had inside information! Another little secret I can let you into is that Jon has a personalised, weather-related number plate - I wonder if you can guess what it includes?!
Jon Mitchell (left above) and Tom Lister (right)

I met up with Tony Doveston of the Yorkshire air Ambulance, who told me - despite the lousy weather conditions - he was hoping the helicopter would fly in for the event - and it made it! The cloud base was obviously very low and there was driving rain, but the aircraft flew in virtually on time. We reckon somewhere approaching 4,000 people turned up to take part in what will be the final chance to walk over the viaduct for many years, which was simply staggering. Money raised from the event will benefit (amongst others) the Cave Rescue Organisation, the Air Ambulance and the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Railway. Other people I met on the day included old friends Keith and Linda, who reminded me the last time I met up with them was around seven years ago at Pateley Show, Ruth Annison of the Wensleydale Railway, and lots of the guys from Appleby Rotary who were doing a fantastic job of marshaling traffic. I was delighted to have been invited along for the day, and I must thank Keith Lumley of Network Rail for organising my visit. I'll find out how Julian got on in the warmth of Richmond Pool in the morning!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The (truly) Great Yorkshire Show

I never tire of the Great Yorkshire Show; it's one of those institutions from our region that seems to go from strength to strength. Despite the recession this year's event has so far been largely upbeat and reasonably optimistic. Show director Bill Cowling told us that the farming industry is ahead of UK business in general with regards to the recession, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There was the occasional bit of bad news though - one farmer told us how her fleeces were worth around 70p, and yet at best it was costing 75p to shear. What happened to the brilliant ideas proposed not too long ago? Sheep wool would replace fibreglass in household insulation; it's the product of the future! Somebody needs to seriously get their finger out and make it happen!
But all in all Julian, myself and the team had a great day out at the show, with lots of live inserts into our programs back in Skipton, on Steve Joy and Dave Metcalfe's programmes. It all worked very well technically too, so thanks must go the the YAS for the excellent facilities they provided for us, and to all who agreed to be interviewed.

They included Sir Ken Morrison who was great, as was Henry Aubrey-Fletcher from the CLA, who talked about the problems people in rural areas face when it comes to getting a decent Broadband connection.
Special thanks must go to Julian and Tiiu though - at one stage I lost my camera and the two of them scoured the showground to find it - and they did! Also to the people at the Rydale stand who looked after the camera; that's where I'd left it!

It's Jason's turn at the show tomorrow; he's got far more stamina than me, so hopefully he'll turn up with some more great stuff from one of the best shows in the country.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Dacre Fun Day and the KITCHEN!

I'm having a week off work in a bid to finally finish the kitchen - a job that's been underway since March!
Sunday we headed up Nidderdale for Dacre Fun Day, an event I've compere'd for the last three years. This, however, was the first year without rain - and it was great fun! We had local group Rosie on stage, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed their performances, at least some of which were a little tongue in cheek! Lots on offer elsewhere on the field, including a karate display, dogs display, and a fantastic barbecue. All the money raised is to go towards a new, much needed pavilion.
Julian and Tim were kept busy in Skipton, for Sheep Day, which this year was probably one of the most ambitious so far, with special guest of honour on the day Shaun the Sheep!

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