Saturday, 30 January 2016

Weekend of the Big Garden Birdwatch
January 30-31 is the weekend of the Big Garden Birdwatch when the RSPB urges us to spend an hour recording the birds we see in our gardens or parks. Full details at Locally in recent years, robins have continued to be in evidence while other once-frequently seen garden birds have declined.  
The weekend brought colder weather than the record-breaking rain and mildness of December and January. In widespread supply, feeders have helped sustain garden birds on the occasional wintry days. 
Starlings seem to be as numerous as ever.
Blackbirds (female above, male below) are in decline among songbirds.

Thrushes have become a rarity in local gardens.
 Goldfinches provide a splendid dash of colour on overcast days.   
Chaffinches are also seldom seen in town gardens compared with years past.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Signs of success for a business that started by accident
A motorbike accident forced Paul Metcalfe (pictured above) to give up his job at Silentnight and eventually led to him starting his own business, Golden Leaf Designs, which has flourished ever since.   
Paul, who still has his damaged spine caged, opened in 2007 at the nearby tiny shop in Elliott Street (now occupied by Scented Creations) before moving three years ago into the old Co-op building (above) by the canal bridge, where retailing goes back more than 100 years. As Golden Leaf expanded, Paul needed bigger premises to accommodate a new printing machine. He offers an extensive range of printing services, from T-shirts to number plates. The present occupants have uplifted the appearance of the building, which is now privately-owned.     
There have been many uses of the ground-floor shops since the Co-op days. This photograph, from the late Kevin Bower's collection, was taken possibly in the 1970s when Keighley Technical College provided further education classes on the first floor of the Keighley Road building, which by that time was part of the Keighley and Skipton District Co-operative Society.    
This well-known photograph was taken soon after the Silsden Co-operative Society offices and shops opened in 1908. The title lettering on the upper frontage can just about be made out still. The Silsden Society was founded in 1873 as a Coal Co-op after local coal merchants had provocatively raised their prices three times in a week. 
The occasion is not known but this photograph, also from the late Kevin Bower's collection, shows Keighley Road by the canal bridge before the Co-op premises were built.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Daffodils blooming before snowdrops. Whatever next?
Not even halfway through January and daffodils are flowering. These are on the canal towpath near Sykes Lane. They are an early-flowering variety but even so are a month ahead of schedule following what so far had been the wettest and mildest winter on record.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year as Fun Run follows feasting and flooding

The 33rd annual New Year's Day Fun Run attracted 79 competitors, some of them in fancy dress and including Wharfedale Harrier Trevor Metcalfe (No. 124), who was celebrating his 65th birthday. He is pictured with Neville Whittingham (Keighley and Craven), left, who finished 20th in 23 mins 11 secs, and Gareth Hird (Wharfedale Harriers), who was second in 18 mins 5 secs. 
Brothers Sam (right) and Tom Ive took their children round the three-mile course, which started and finished at the Green and went up Bradley Road, along Hole Lane and then to the Heights, returning down Horne Lane and Bradley Road. Sam is pictured with his daughters Rory (standing) and Lula (in pushchair); Tom is with his two children, Max (in Spiderman outfit) and Isabel.
Fun Day? You're having a laugh. Beryl, the 14-month-old basset hound, doggedly refused to let excitement get the better of her.

Under starter's orders: competitors prepare for the run. Wharfedale Harrier Sam Smith (No. 39) finished fifth in 19 mins 14 secs and was the first under-12 boy home. Next to him on the left is Lucy Fryers (Keighley and Craven), No. 162, who was 17th in 22 mins 49 secs and the first under-12 girl home.
They're off. The event, organised by Wharfedale Harriers, raises money for charities and this year's proceeds will go towards the repair of the Burnley Road Academy (Mytholmroyd Primary School), which was wrecked by the recent floods in Calderdale. Continual rain on Christmas Day and Boxing Day brought drama to Silsden with becks overflowing and walls damaged here and there but thankfully nothing on the scale suffered farther north.

More competitors head for the uphill opening stretch.
Veterans Paul Buckley (left) and Peter Metcalfe (Wharfedale Harriers) have competed in all 33 Fun Runs to date. Paul was the instigator and organised the event until recently.
Jack Muir and Alex Thompson (under-14s) are pictured with Lily Milner, who was the first under-10 girl to finish, and her brother George (No. 52). All four are Wharfedale Harriers. 
Family funsters: Michael Rosser with daughter Holly (No. 197, a Wharfedale Harrier) and son James and Poppy, the family's spaniel. On the right is Catherine Hill with son Charlie (No. 184) and daughter Sophie (No. 188). All three are Wharfedale Harriers, as is Katherine Kirkham, who was the second lady to finish. She was 13th in 22 mins 3 secs.
Benji Grundy (Keighley and Craven) was celebrating his 11th birthday.
The winner was Dave Kirkham (Wharfedale Harriers), who completed the course in 17 mins 23 secs, better than his time when he won the 2012 race.
 Second was Wharfedale Harrier Gareth Hird in 18 mins 5 secs. 
Ian Willis (Keighley and Craven) was third in 18 mins 8 secs.
Lukas Lee (Keighley and Craven) was fourth in 18 mins 45 secs.

In coming fifth and being the first under-12 boy home, Sam Smith (Wharfedale Harriers) repeated his triumph of last summer's Murder Mile.

Sarah O'Sullivan (Keighley and Craven) was 7th in 20 mins 35 secs and the first lady finisher. Her children Alice, eight, and Jacob, four, also completed the course, running with their grandma.

Sally and Simon Sutcliffe (Bronte Wheelers) finished 18th and 11th respectively.

Susan Short (Ilkley Harriers) and Daniel James were 24th and 25th respectively.
Wharfedale Harrier Stuart Johnstone cut a dash with his outfit to finish 33rd.

Harvey, a cavachon, enjoyed the warmth of a coat as did owner Linda Clarke after a rare overnight frost.