at the sign of the Broken Drum

Mediaeval Drum


We found ourselves in the vicinity of Shipley on 16 May, and it’s only down the road from Saltaire, the home of the Early Music Shop, a highly dangerous emporium. I only went in for a look, honest, but I wanted a drum to bang with the Morris side and …

We had a small bash of pretty much every drum in the place, and this seemed the best – nice tone, manageable size. I bought a case, and the chap threw in a pair of small drumsticks, as he said the ones supplied with it would be too big, and away we went.

It went to two practices, and one dance out (in Doncaster, last Saturday), and on what was probably its eleventh tune, the hide split. I wasn’t playing it at the time, someone else was, so perhaps it hadn’t been treated with the respect that I had; but anyway, broken it was, and it seemed to me that it should have lasted slightly longer than two weeks’ worth of very light use.

So yesterday Pete and I hopped on a train to Saltaire, via Leeds (at £45 I reckon it was cheaper than paying diesel and parking, and it’s also far nicer to sit on a train then swelter in a car). I took the drum into EMS, and they went “crikey” (yes, really – I didn’t think anyone said things like that, except in a post modern, ironic way), and said that they could replace the skin, but “not today”. And I said that would be fine, take as long as they like, but I want another drum to take away, given that I’d come 70-odd miles with it. So they quite happily gave me another, and apologised a lot, and it was all good.

We then went and had lunch in Don’t Tell Titus (what sort of poncey name is that, FFS? – one, presumably, that might just possibly justify the price of *£4.30* for a bottle of locally brewed beer. And there was artisan bread too). Still the food was nice.

We had about 90 minutes to kill before the train from Leeds, and I really didn’t fancy walking along the main road to Shipley, but we discovered a really nice walk along the canal, part of the Airedale Way, so we ambled down that to Shipley station, and got on a Leeds train. We had about half an hour to kill there, and we foolishly bought – and ate – a large bag of Minstrels. Horrible sweet stuff, don’t know why we did it. And then we got the train back to Hull, and walked home. I clocked up 16.5k steps through the course of the day. Lovely weather too – sunny, but not too hot.

And now I have a new drum; lets see how long this one survives 🙂


As part of my new and absolute determination to get my weight under some sort of control, I have bought a treadmill from eBay. It wasn’t easy to shoehorn it into the house, but we’ve done it; it helps that it folds up. I’ve made a little nest on one of the bookshelves where my iPad keyboard/stand can sit, and am embarking on The Sopranos while I run.

Early on Saturday morning, I gave it its first real go – and did 4.1 miles in 58 minutes. Not, I think, to be sniffed at.  And then, because it was such a gorgeous day, Pete and I decided to go up and have a yomp at Flamborough. In fact, we turned off to the car park at Danes Dyke, and did the circular walk there. I managed the *exceedingly* steep steps down to the beach, and actually sprang up some of the ups, so I’m definitely getting fitter. There were snowdrops, and primroses, and even a handful of early daffodils; spring is definitely on the way. And there was mud. The bridle path was impassible if you didn’t have hooves and long legs, or at least proper boots, which I didn’t – I was wearing my wonderful Easy Walker boots, which are the most comfortable thing I own. But their grip is not as good as a proper walking boot. Sadly and painfully) I have plantar fascitis in my left foot, and these give me brilliant support, but I cannot get orthotic insoles into my leather hiking boots, so they’re a no go at the moment.

We also walked down to Flamborough village, and had a very nice bacon and brie baguette; well, I did – Pete had a tuna and cheese confection. All in all about 5.5 miles, I think. Map should be embedded below, but is here for those whose browsers are being difficult.

On the way home, we stopped at Hornsea Freeport, which was once a factory producing the glorious Hornsea pottery, and is now a raft of outlet shops, and had a look at walking boots for me that would both accommodate the necessary insole, and allow mud traversal. Bought a pair of Egret boots from Mountainwarehouse, and wore them all round the house yesterday (after I’d returned from a 3m round trip to Aldi, long way via Pearson Park :), and they seem perfect. There are loads of lovely walks round here, so I’ll get the use out of them.

And we watched Submarine, which is utterly wonderful. I commend it to you.

an evening stroll

I was out of the house yesterday morning at 6.15, and did a 2.5 mile round trip walking to the baths, and 20 lengths of the pool. Then, at lunch time, we went and delivered the purple bike to its new home, stopping at B&Q to buy a new terracotta pot for Jane’s triffid, and imdulging ourselves in a truly naughty bacon, egg and mushroom bap from the van in the car park.

So why I felt a bit restless after supper, I have no idea, but I did, so I suggested to Pete that we went for a walk. It was a beautiful evening, and we did about 4 miles, along the old railway line to Anlaby Road, then back through West Park, stopping for a gin and tonic at Pave on Princes Ave; this bar is about 5 minutes from the house, and we’ve never been in it!

And while they did a very acceptable Bombay Sapphire with lime(!), at £6.30 for that and a pint, I’m not sure we’ll be doing it again either 🙂 But it was nice to sit outside, watching the world go by.

Home then for a nice cup of tea and a netbook catchup before bed. Made a really nice change.


I took this morning’s daily constitutional (3.21 miles, starting at 6.15 a.m., thanks for asking) accompanied by two Desert Island Discs podcasts – Fay Weldon, and about half of Rob Brydon, so the remainder of the latter is a treat waiting for next time.

I was fascinated to hear Ms Weldon say that one of her best ever moments was sitting *on the stage* at a Grateful Dead concert; apparently they invited her to do so, although I don’t think she said why. Fascinating woman.

I came home through the cemetery – I don’t know when they unlock the gates, but they were not open the other day at 6.15, and were today at about 6.55.  Lots of birds singing, and squirrels running about, including some baby ones.

The things you see …

Elvis is in the buildingOut leafleting this morning in Bricknell ward, I spotted this tasteful door.  I delivered Bricknell Ave, Fairfax Ave and Southfield Road, walking 5.74 miles according to Runkeeper, but probably nearer 7.5 when you take all the driveways into consideration.

Got home, and grabbed a cup of tea while the chilli from the freezer finished thawing and the rice cooked. Carried on with some more of the Ecclestone Doctor Who, which we are working through on DVD.

Then over to the church on the corner of Cottingham Road/Chanterlands Avenue for a local hustings – I was quite pleased to skewer the Labour candidate, who was rabbiting on about a referendum about PR; I asked if it would be like the EU referendum which we were promised, and never got.

That was another 3.2 miles, so probably almost 11 miles walked today! Now another cup of tea, finish the episode of the Doctor, and bed.

Tomorrow evening: six rounds on and around Marlborough Avenue to deliver. Oh my aching feet …

walking in the snow

Pete in his Swedish hat
Originally uploaded by ramtops

We had some serious snow overnight, and it kept on coming down, so at 7.50 we donned walking boots, warm jackets and silly hats (and a stout stick, in my case) and set off for a walk. We don’t often see this sort of weather in Long Ashton (BS41).

We went round Dawsons Walk, about – oh, 3/4 mile, I suppose, through the woods. It was lovely, although the snow was coming down sideways across the level ground before the wood.

We stopped at the baker on the way back for a hot pasty, which was a very good idea. Ron thought so to, and so had to be fought off.