The Storks of Böbs

The Storks of Böbs
A Very Fine Pair

Bury Market.

The Market!

It was a smashing Saturday morning when I crossed the Pennines and dropped down into Bury, the route to the market is well sign posted and there are ample carparks in the near vicinity, as well as lots of other outlets leave a bit of time as there is a T-Kmax, I managed to pick up a few odds and ends (but then I always do). But to the market, it was smashing, tasting a bit of this and a bit of that, the variety was really fantastic, not as varied as the large French, Spanish or German weekly, but never the less just as good as most outside of the larger towns and one plus is you can even get a Sari and there are even Hallal butchers. What I did not know was that the covered market is open all week and that is only the open part that takes place on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

As said, I parked near to T-Kmax and went down the under pass and was greeted by the wonderful sound of a folk guitarist, (I can stand and listen to street musicians for hours, if they are good, well worth the 2 quid). Coming out into the sunlight, I turned left and started to pick, sausages, cheeses, bits of cake and bread.

I was feeling a bit peckish so went inside of the covered market to have a cuppa and a bite to eat. I found this wonderful Deli (Can’t for the life of me remember its name but it does have deli in it and inside and outside seating) Roast pork, beef, lamb, sausages, and those peals and real reason for my visit the Bury Black Puddin’s, I actually just had a bacon sandwich in a oven bottom muffin (Those Lancastrians will knick anything, they have pinched wor stottie, dimple and all and called it an oven bottom muffin).

I next done a bit of a look see in this hall and then went across the way to the fish market, this also has quite a few butchers in here as well. But a fine range of wears on display “2 trays of pork chops for a fiver mate”, they even had real Finnan haddock, some of which is now in my freezer with the Craster kippers.

In all it is well worth, nay a must to visit and I enjoyed my time there. I didn’t have time to have a look around every nook and cranny, but I did buy some fantastic baby Jersey royals, carrots and some spring greens to take back with me. Got a few cakes and stuff for the girls back in Yorkshire, I took the motorway setting out of the SATNAV and set off across the Pennines by the scenic route, I stopped up on top near Rotherham and had a drink of water beside a reservoir (and ate two small custards, I know I shouldn’t but they are one of my favourites). The weather was fantastic, the bikers where out in force, now that did bring back happy memories, BSA, Matchless, Norton, James, real bikes, real noise, ok, ok, real oil under your fingers).

Returned home in time to go to my mates daughters to watch the late match.

Next morning it was across to Manchester to pick up my mate who had become stuck because of volcanic ash and needed a lift back to Gütersloh. Got back at 03:30 and was in at work at 07:30 tired and a little saddened, but besides the funeral, I had a smashing time and visited many places and haunts from down memory lane some, that I don’t wish to ever visit again, but others though changed are still recognisable and still others that time stood still. It was these that brought back the best memories because, in the most, they are well off the beaten track and are hidden from the vandals in Government, Town Halls and District Councils. This for me is the real Britain, not the inner city squalor, the grey high rise flats, the only colour being the splashes put on by Banksie and his mates, the traffic calming zones, which lead to the quad bikers turning them into a slalom track.

Thanks for bearing with me!

It will be posted on my blog with pictures, the link I will be putting on here very soon



down the dales

Thursday morning dawned bright, very bright; it was in fact a warm spring day. After a light breakfast (coffee and toast), I said to my Sis I was off to the village to pick up a couple of pies and a few bread buns from Andertons and pop into the butchers to have a butcher before setting off to the "Toon". She said "you have no chance, Molly (the church organist and one of Mams dearest friends) died about 20 years ago and no one took over the bakery and it closed".
I still decided to go and have a look for myself, it was worse that I had imagined. I travelled down the road passed what once where the pit yards and blacksmiths shop, one of my best mate’s dad, Joe, worked as a black smith there, great hulk of a man but wonderful and kind, he used to make our gourds and keep us supplied with ball bearings for our catapults. Then down along the park wall (still intact, thankfully). But, I then came to the Cuddy Trap, Horror, who the hell had built a dual carriage way right slap bang through the middle of it. It was here that the pit ponies would be brought to the surface for their summer holidays and we would try to catch them and ride them, playing the Lone Ranger. At the top was the Pit Offices, often chased out of the grounds (they had a great big pear tree at the back). But better still was at the top end of the Cuddy Trap was the rabbit warrens, so now you see why we needed ball bearings for our catties.
The butchers at the Co-op is now a hole in the ground as is all of the rest of that part of the village, but they have built a Sainsbury’s on the land that had once housed our Scout hut, Parish Hall and the vicarage, urban vandalism, pure unadulterated vandalism. It was here that I cooked my first camp fire meal, slept under canvas, sang my first ging gang gooley and drank my first oxo round the camp fire. It was here that I went to my first dances in the 60s. It was here that the old mining trains would puff their way from the mines to the staiths at Percy Main, with my uncle George on board, Uncle George, my hero he was a train driver and well above any other man on the planet.
The old houses are still there, including my birth place of 62 years ago, but my dads allotment, the farms and fields are now gone, people are living on my memories now, there are no shops, I mean real shops, dairies, bakers, butchers, haberdashers, green grocers or grocery stores all gone.

I decide it was time for me to be, also gone, nothing but memories left for me their now, if it wasn’t for my sister I don’t think I would ever return. I was a child of the open air, the fields, we where never urban kids we had things to do in the evening and at weekends, never heard us whine about having nowt to do! We couldn’t get enough of "things to do"!

I thought, not everything can have disappeared into the past, so as I had to go to St. James’s Park to get a tankard for my mate,.

I decided to visit the Granger market, thank goodness, though it has been somewhat revamped, it still has butcher and fresh food aisles with their open fronts with the mingling smell of meat, sawdust and blood. I went to my butchers of old and got some pressed tongue, York ham and roast pork, further along I purchased a pot of Pease pudding and a piece of pork pie with egg in the middle, went to Greggs and got a couple of Stotties, this was to be my picnic, a lot grander than those that I took in my youth, but not overtly grand. Had a quick rummage in the 2nd hand book shop (I bought all of my Engineering books there and sold them back after completing my studies).

The next part of my journey down memory lane takes me along the Roman Wall and up into the ancient lead mining area of the Northumberland and Durham moors and then down into the dales. But we shall keep that for another day!

Another part of another day !!!

And so setting off from Pons Aelius (the Toon) Gallowgate and heading down the West Road towards Hexham you hit the first visible piece of the Roman settlement on the left at Denton. I didn’t follow the new A69 but took the old military road (B6528 and then B6318) this is far more rewarding, passing through the small settlements that grew up during and after the 300 year Roman occupation, many made with the whin scale rock used to build the wall. I passed along the route where 2000 years ago the feet of legionnaires and cohorts tramped.
I travelled along the route stopping here and there to take in the wonderful views, I stopped a while to look at the crags (The whin sill) that I broke my rock climbing teeth on 48 years earlier, thanks to a Scout leader/instructor from Gosforth Great Park, he was mountaineering daft (he lost his life in the Alps doing what he loved)

I reached as far West as I wanted and headed due South towards the Tyne. I turned up the road that leads to Langley Castle, if anyone is thinking of a romantic weekend away, here is the place, I stayed there a couple of years ago for my nephews wedding. The setting is magic and the food superb (they even had Craster kippers for breakfast).

Passing the castle I continued up the road to Catton, I have an old photograph of our fifth form at Catton lazing by the banks of the river Allen after a hike across the moors prior to staying the night at the youth hostel. Next I reached Allendale town, this is one of those towns that time has passed by, it has the wonderful square and the pub the Kings Head serves nice meals (large portions and no frills) I think that they more than likely get their meat from the local butchers next door. I stopped but for a short while and had a coffee as I had my picnic in the cool box and knew exactly where I was going to have it.

I headed out of the town (not that it is a one really, more a large village) climbing towards Allenheads (if you thought Allendale town was small, I think if you blink you would miss this) and reached the top of the Dale and the end of Northumberland.

I stopped between the two sign posts dividing the counties of the land of my fore bearers and the land of the Prince Bishops (and that marauding mob dressed in Red and White).

I opened my cool box and was making a couple of pork and pease pudding sandwiches when I heard a call that I hadn’t heard in at least 20 years, the crawking scratching call of the Blackcock, I turned and not 50 mtrs away were a pair of cocks strutting and lekking, with wings spread with their flash of red above the eyes, tail feathers raised displaying their true Geordie colours, the girls looking on from the sidelines.

I walked a little closer and saw that it was a nesting site with the nests marked by wooden boxes and white marker sticks, it is wonderful that people are taking such an interest in the conservation in this increasingly rare game bird (these are not for the pot).

I spent a good hour just mesmerised by the surroundings and took some photographs of the Blackcock and a pair  in flight and enjoyed my repast enormously. I then set off down into Middlehope Moor turning right at Lanehead onto the A689 leading to the Killhope lead mining museum. Passing the disused lead mines and spoil heaps of by gone days. I took some photographs

 and retraced my footsteps or in this case tyre prints to the cross roads and headed down towards Stanhope and from there down into  Teesdale,

from there across to Brough and then dropping down into Kirby Stephen.

From Kirby it is but a short drive out of Cumberland and into Yorkshire  to the home of Wensleydale cheese (one of them) Hawes, visited the dairy shop got a few lumps and headed off down to Aysgarth and from then along Warfdale to Grassington, Skipton, Keighley and then on to Bingley for tea at my cousins. Tea done a quick skoot to Calderdale.

My oldest and dearest friend was waiting for me, with a cheery welcome of “where the F**k have you been, get yourself ready we are going out for a curry”. A quick shower, shave, change of clothes and off we went to Bradford.
I have been to Bradford for many a curry and because my mate works in Bradford he knows his curry houses, but this one was special, very special. It is called Zouk and is one of two the other being in Manchester run by a Lahore dynasty. If you ever get that way please visit it you will not be disappointed.

We had the normal array of starters and popper dams, with the riatas, chutneys and pickles
My mates’ wife and I had the lamb and potato dish cooked in a spiced yoghurt, tomato and garlic sauce. It was sublime, delicate and warming, not burning hot, just right,
My friend had the Sindhi Biryani, a chicken Biryani which he said was quite exquisite (he does like his food)
We had the normal naans, whole meal chapatti’s and various side dishes as accompaniments .

But for me what made it stand out above the crowd was the service, this was fantastic, they have moved away from the normal Pakistani family enterprise and use waiters from all over the world, ours was a fantastic bubbling Tunisian and wonderful Russian girl that spoke with a very pronounced Welsh accent.
So please if you’re ever in the area, pay it a visit, you will not be disappointed and watch out for Ben the waiter, he is a lady killer.

So off back home to open a bottle of wine and fall asleep on the sofa, but I drank mine first.

I am now back from my doing my brotherly duties in the UK!

It was a shame that it was under such sad circumstances that I visited some of the most wonderful places of my youth. But I was also, at last, able to visit "Bury Market". I went on Saturday and it is everything and more that people had said, I sampled (quite a bit), and bought the famous bury black pudding (do they really have to make a 'light one' )? I asked the question, why? And got a shrug of the shoulders and a “there’s folks that know nowt about good food, but mind thee we don't sell many and then most ti forrin folks. Where did thee say yi came from?" I smiled took another free sample of the original and replied, Germany! "By Gum" said he "thee don’t have much of a German accent." smashing folk.

I also got a load of lamb chops, kidneys, liver. New potatoes, carrots. these I shall be cooking tonight.

My tours seem to grow in length and stature as the years go by, I seem to be trying to cram more and more, into less and less time, it may be that I wish to get it all done before the grim reaper makes his call

I started off by going to Melton Mowbray (Market Day is a Tuesday folks) I got a few pork pies and some sausages for my dear Sis.

I then went up to Newcastle for the funeral on the Wednesday. Thursday I visited some of those hidden places in Northumberland, places where my brothers and I spent a lot of our childhood and youth, camping, fishing, poaching, doing what normal kids did back in the 50s & 60s.

I visited Rothbury and climbed Simonside, may be for the last time? I lay in the heather and bracken and time machined my thoughts back in time, to the Sundays school trips that we went on, I remember catching my first trout by tickling in the river coquet at the ripe age of 7. Climbing up into the hills to pick bill berries, for mum to make plate pies with when we got home. I turned my gaze to the North and saw the snows still on The Cheviot, the place that my family originated from (My great great grand father was a hill shepherd on the Cheviots).

I had a nice roast beef lunch at the crossed keys Thropton,(a fire was burning merrily).

 I then headed up to Ford and then across to the wonderful wild coast of Northumbria, I missed the normal hot spots and headed for Low Newton, a crab sandwich and a cuppa in the old coastguard square.

 Then down the coast to collect my real oak smoked kippers from Craster(though double wrapped and in a container, the wonderful scent pervaded through out my car and is still lingering.

From there I headed across to Alnwick, just to see if it was as grand as ever and it was, (a line in my family are Percy's, In fact my fathers middle name was Percy, likely from the days of serfdom or more likely still from the days of the Border Rievers).

I then headed back to the coast and ended up at the North Shields fish quay, got some haddock and chips to take home for Sis and I. (Woman in shop said “not very big today Hinney, I'll gi yi three”. I am not kidding it was a mountain of chips (real ones) and three smashing haddock fillets .

That evening I just watched TV it was the great debate ahem

The rest of the tour will follow later.