Photographs & tales, following a jazz saxophone & piano duo from Scotland, as they tour around the UK and beyond, in their Tour Bus (a converted ambulance). Click on a photo below to read each post.

Leathley, Wrelton, Low Bradfield & Repton

September continued with concerts in Yorkshire and Derbyshire. It was our first trip south into England since the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. We were blessed with some absolutely glorious late summer/early autumn sunshine! Our first concert was in Leathley, just south of Harrogate, near Otley in the beautiful Washburn Valley. The painter JMW Turner roamed this area with his sketch book.

Click here to see Leathley on Google Maps

The historic church of St, Oswald was across the road from the village hall. Much of the original 1100AD building remains (the tower and east and west walls of the nave are from this period). Other parts date from 1472. The Norton-Fawkes family live in nearby Farnley Hall and are related to the infamous Guy Fawkes, the conspirator who famously failed in his attempt to blow up the House of Lords at Westminster in 1605!

We had a full house for our gig! An encore was duly supplied.

Dom relaxing in the sunshine before the gig in Leathley

Leathley Village Hall

Leathley Village Hall from the church

Leathley Village Hall Noticeboard with our poster

Our gig!

St Oswald Church, across the road from the village hall

Punishment stocks from olden times!

The view from the hall

Looking out from the front of the hall

Morrisons supermarket in Ripon acknowledges
the legend that was Miles Davis!!!

The next morning we headed east to our concert in Wrelton near Pickering in the North York Moors National Park – another very beautiful part of the country.

Click here to see Wrelton on Google Maps

The start of our concert was a bit unusual. As I took in a large breath to play the first note…..I swallowed a small fly!!! Somehow I managed to recover (Dom played on). A warm friendly and appreciative audience, and another full house! Encore duly supplied.

Our poster in the village hall window

Wrelton Village Hall

Wrelton Village Hall

Our Tour Bus in the hall’s car park

Looking down into the village from the hall…..

…..and out from the village

photo courtesy of Tony Miller

photo courtesy of Tony Miller

We had already planned to stay the night in Scarborough after our concert in Wrelton. It was only 20 or so miles away and its a place we like very much – not least because it’s a good place for a run in the morning. Indeed, I managed to fit in an 8 mile run the next morning (some of it barefoot) in glorious sunshine – a great way to start the day!

Click here to see Scarborough on Google Maps

We saw some interesting road signs on the motorway and in motorway service stations. Brexit looms…..

Motorway Service Station Government adverts

Brexit motorway sign

After returning to Edinburgh for a few days, we headed off down south again for the last two gigs of the month. We decided to break the journey up a bit and stopped at Scarborough again the night before. After a Chinese takeaway and a 5 mile walk along the promenade from North to South Bay and back, we settled down with a beer or two. The next morning, I fitted another 8 mile run in along the coast. One of the great things about running in Scarborough, is that everyone is really friendly. People walking to work, dog walkers, other runners, all smile and say “hello“. It was a stunningly beautiful day, with the sun rising up from the sea. Again – a great way to start the day!

Our next concert was in Low Bradfield near Sheffield. Although only 7 miles from Sheffield (England’s 4th largest city), you wouldn’t know it. The countryside is absolutely stunning. Lots of very steep hills and valleys, reservoirs and rivers, and beautiful stone cottages and farms. Low Bradfield is very picturesque. It is set in a “bowl” with hills all around. The centre of the village has a green, which was given to the village by the Ibbotson family who lived at Burnside House.  It has within it, the cricket ground, bowling green, tennis courts and the village hall where our concert was. Bathed in glorious sunshine, I think we saw the village at its very best!

Click here to see Low Bradfield on Google Maps

The village grew up around a farming community where Agden Beck and Dale Dike meet to form the River Loxley. Bradfield means “broad stretch of open countryside“.

The Smithy Bridge at Low Bradfield

A sign for “Dungworth” just above a sign for toilets!!!

Low Bradfield Village Stores, Flask End Cafe & Post Office

Bradfield Village Hall through the tennis courts

Bowling Green, cricket pitch and village hall

Our poster

Our poster on the Smithy Bridge Road with the hall in the distance

Bradfield Village Hall from the road junction

Our Tour Bus (in the distance) from the Tennis Club’s verandah

The hall had been opened in 2007
by British tennis star Greg Rusedski

Click here to see Greg Rusedski’s Wikipedia Page

Although it wasn’t our busiest gig, the audience were very warm, friendly and appreciative. An encore was duly supplied.

Since I had run 8 miles at 7am that morning, I wasn’t intending on running the next day. However, I was persuaded (badgered?!) into going for a 4 mile run around a nearby reservoir by the barmaid in the hall and by the village hall chairman, Jim.

I was very glad I did! There was a tree-lined, woodland path that went around Damflask and across the damhead itself. It was a really enjoyable, scenic run with the mist hovering just above the reservoir, and rowers in sculls swishing silently past.

The reservoir was built in 1867 to provide water for the people and industries of Sheffield. It takes its name from the village of Damflask that was almost entirely washed away in 1864 when the Dale Dike dam burst, causing the Great Sheffield Flood in which 250 people lost their lives.

Rowers on Damflask Reservoir

Damflask Reervoir looking towards Low Bradfield

The damhead

Rower in a scull

A heron near the damhead

We headed south to our last gig in September – Repton, the “historic capital of Mercia“, about half way between Derby and Burton-on-Trent. The stunning sunshine and warm weather continued and we managed to find some time to walk along the towpath of the Trent & Mersey Canal which links the River Trent with the River Mersey.

Click here to see the Trent & Mersey Canal on Google Maps

…..I spy a Scottish narrow boat!

The Trent & Mersey Canal at Willington near Repton

Fishing with very long rods!

Moored up

An old brick bridge over the canal

Looking through the bridge

Trying to steer with the sun in his eyes!

It can be a tight squeeze to get past

Beautiful location, beautiful weather!
This looks like something you would see in a
painting by John Constable…..a timeless scene

The cows seem unperturbed by the boats…..

…..the boat continues on

We travelled the short distance from Willington to Repton. Repton dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and was the place where Christianity was first preached in the Midlands.

Click here to see Repton on Google Maps

Some of the houses in Repton’s main street

Some of the houses in Repton’s main street

Repton Post Office with our poster in the window

Repton Cross and St. Wystan Church

St. Wystan Church

A detail above the door of the church

The headstone of a former vicar of the church who died in 1882

The Art School, Repton

Window display in The Art School

…..I wonder what sort of cowboys are buried here!

These place names sound like a jazz trio!
Bretby Swadlincote (piano)
Milton Ticknall (double bass)
Newton Solney (drums)

St.Wystan’s Independent Preparatory School
for 2 1/2 to 11 year olds

Repton School – a co-independent boarding school
for 13 to 18 year olds

We were performing that evening in the brand new Repton Village Hall, finished just three weeks before our concert. Its a beautiful hall with everything you could ever ask for inside.

The road to the village hall

Repton Village Hall

The brand new hall was opened on 1st September 2019

…..yes, it does say “Brookside Close” on the sign!!!
(sadly knocked squint by the local bin lorry!)

Over 40 people came to see us play, including a young boy who sat in the front row listening to every note. He played the saxophone and piano and was Grade III on alto sax and Grade V on piano. It was a very friendly and appreciative audience. Many of them talked to us in the interval and at the end. Two people told me that they found my tune “Gemma” very moving. Fantastic. An encore was duly supplied. It was a joy to be performing in a brand new hall. We wish them luck with future events there.

Words and photos by Ian Millar © 2019

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