Monday, May 16, 2016

A weekend in sunny Lancashire (real time)

Some weeks ago, we planned to drive to Lancashire, to see Said the Maiden opening for folk-rock legends Fairport Convention at the Darwen Library Theatre . And, thinking we could make a long weekend of it, we booked into an hotel in nearby Preston for three nights. Shortly after we'd done that, Jess told us that The Company of Players were playing a gig at the Settle Victoria Hall, also close by, on the following night. What a fortunate coincidence! We didn't tell Jess our intentions. It was all hush-hush.

So we drove the two hours to Preston last Thursday, and then on to Darwen for 7:00pm. And what an evening that was. The Maidens did a brilliant set, performing amazingly, and totally captivating an audience to whom they were previously strangers. Lots of CDs were sold that evening! Fairport weren't bad, either.

Actually, I was happily surprised. I've never been a great fan, hearing only their biggest hits over the past five decades, and never being tempted to listen to more of their work. I was bowled over on Thursday. Old they may be - and they kept telling us they are! - but they've not lost their talent in the slightest. They were brilliant. It was a great evening.

The sad thing was that Victoria Hall had hardly promoted the Company of Players' gig. Grace and I had bought the very first two tickets, and they'd managed ten more. It seems they'd tweeted about the event once. They cancelled it. The Company had booked accommodation, all ten of them. And the venue had let them down badly. So we didn't get to hear them on the Friday. A great disappointment for the Company, and for those of us with tickets.

But Grace and I still had three days in which to have fun, and Friday we started to explore. We drove out to Gawthorpe Hall.

We drove across the hills and dales of the Forest of Bowland.

And we stopped at the unexpectedly charming town of Clitheroe for lunch and sightseeing.

It was a very full and varied day. The sun shone for us, too!

On Saturday, we drove to Thornton Cleveley, on the coast. Grace had, just the previous week, bought a flute on the web, arranged to collect it while we were here in Lancashire. Another happy coincidence. A visit to the beach, then, was a must. We hadn't seen and smelled the sea for years.

The beach wasn't far from Blackpool, and we'd been encouraged by Twitter friend Andy Claret to pay Blackpool a visit.
So we drove into Blackpool. And we kept on driving! We'd had a taste of the beaches here, and loved it, but the town, the seafront, the crowds just aren't our cup of tea, too. Nor Andy's, either. I seem to remember him saying something like how lovely it is on the beach, facing the sea!

Continuing along the coast road, stopping along the way for photos, we arrived at Formby Point, a stretch of coast owned by the National Trust. It's another fabulous beach. And, it being a sunny Saturday afternoon, it was fabulously full of people, too! I'd been misled by the National Trust app, which shows a photo that must have been taken at 6:00 one morning.
But it was getting late, and lots of people were going home, so there was room for us!

And somewhere in there, we still had time for a visit to Rufford Old Hall - "A fine Tudor building, the home for stories of romance, wealth and 500 years of Hesketh family history." (National Trust)

Yesterday, we returned home to Kantara. But not without first a visit to Tatton Park (which was overflowing with visitors to a special event, so we didn't even park), and Dunham Massey, which was excellent. "A garden for all seasons, an ancient deer park and a house filled with treasures and stories" (National Trust)


  1. A lovely post. What a weekend! But how sad for the Company of Players. Is that your daughter's group? Where can I hear their music? Is it on YouTube or can we hear samples somewhere? Could you tweet them? If you already do, I apologise, but I haven't seen anything.

  2. Thank you, Val! Jess's group is Said the Maiden [], but the three of them are also part of the Company of Players, put together by Jess to work together for a week last month to create songs inspired by Shakespeare, for the 300th anniversary of his death. [] To hear the Maidens' music, look at They have released two EPs and a full album. The Players are soon to release a 4-track EP, with a 12-track album next year. Enjoy!