Just add salt…

The town of Saltaire just north of Bradford in Yorkshire was founded by philanthropist and mill owner Titus Salt.

Salt had mills in the city of Bradford but decided to build a large new textile mill, known as Salts Mill and create an entire model village on the banks of the River Aire, near Shipley.

This allowed him to provide much improved accommodation for his workers away from the slums of the city.

The name Saltaire derived from his name and the name of the local river, the River Aire.

Salt created a village of stone houses for his workers with running water, bath houses and even a hospital and an institute for recreation and education.

The village also had a school for the workers children, allotments for the families to grow fresh vegetables, almshouses and a park.

In December 2001, Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

So what now…rather than just be a preserved relic of past Victorian ideals, Salts has a vibrant new life.

The mill is home to art by way of permanent exhibitions of Yorkshire artist David Hockney’s work, a truly amazing book shop and some other specialised retailers.

This is no ordinary bookshop..on the ground floor of the mill it has a cathedral like feel, grandeur and ambience.

On the higher floor, a more esoteric style where presentation and space is the emphasis.

Every window provides a backdrop of Salts vision..rather than a shopping mall, retail park or mundane high street.

I can’t think of many bookshops adorned with fresh lillies!

Everywhere in the building there is evidence of both Hockney and the original purpose of the building and this just adds to the magic of the place.

Salts mill draws the crowds for its history, the books, the art and even the restaurant and tea shop.

I visit regularly – its a great place on a winter sunday, a rainy summers day or whenever the mood draws you.

If you are visiting West Yorkshire it’s a “must do” visit. A great example of getting preservation just right.

Salts is very alive with many one off events and opportunities to embrace books, music and art in a wonderful setting…oh and yes it’s completely free other than special events.

Sure you have to buy books if you want to take them home..but otherwise it’s there to enjoy!

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Time for an embrace…take #2

We had dogs visiting and I had time for an early morning walk prior to setting off on a work trip.

Our local reservoir is a mirror of the season and looking in the mirror what I saw was waves on the water whipped up by the stiff breeze, a hint of brown on some of the leaves and a little chill in the air.

Now it’s only August, but here in the UK as we encounter global warming we see a shift with warm weather spells from as early as April or May so in some way it’s no surprise in August to get a hint of the autumn that is waiting for us when we turn the calendar page at the end of the month.

My natural response to this is to bemoan the end of summer but on this walk accompanied by my daughter I was reminded to embrace the seasons for what they are….so true, and indeed we in the UK are fortunate to live in the land of distinct seasons…even though occasionally we experience all four in one day!

Enjoy each day for what it is.

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A tale on the trail

When I say I am a member of a running club, you may have visions of this superbly toned, lean and hyper fit athlete. I think it is fair to say I have a little way to go on that front. But what is amazing is my running club. It is totally inclusive, warmly welcoming and embraces the abilities of all. It had fairly humble beginnings and now meets on several days per week affording lots of running opportunities. Like any organisation it relies on all to play their part in different ways and tonight I volunteered to be tail runner on our trail run. One of the joys of where we are located in West Yorkshire is that within minutes of starting from our club room we can be on rural paths, beside reservoirs, running on canal towpaths and farm land tracks.

As tail runner i.e. making sure no one is left behind, one of the benefits of this task is that you get to talk with and meet with more of your fellow runners than you normally would. Tonight was no exception and in fact proved to be an education as our run leader shared a lot of local history with me that as a ‘comer in’ (as one is described in Yorkshire when not being a local) I was unaware of. My club is actually located in a largish town, but if you move into a smaller village from outside…you can be a ‘comer in’ even after 20 years residence!

Tonight was also a first for me as tail runner as safety related duties are normally associated with keeping runners and traffic apart. We came across a very young hedgehog meandering across a road with seemingly no knowledge of the green cross code or whatever should apply to hedgehogs.

A swift bit of encouragement into some undergrowth was required and hopefully an accident avoided!

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