Not strictly Ilkley, but just up the road. According to the new Wisden, Shane Warne's last match in England (assuming he stays fit) will be for Hampshire vs Yorkshire at Headingley, Sep 19-22. As Engel puts it, something to tell the grand-children about.
New research suggests that good management of heather moorlands can have an important impact on the battleagainstglobalwarming. Or, rather, bad management will have a highly negative effect on said battle. And is there any moorland worse managed than our beloved Moor?
Hmm, so Cameron visits Keighley (not really prime Tory country, but one assumes the news reports meant the constituency.) and gets a story on Newsnight out of it. Unfortunately, not the one they wanted. What have we here? Seriously un-Cameron-like behaviour from our local grande dame Mrs Hawkesworth's consort, John. An email calling opponents 'reptiles'? 'Cripples'? Now I'm not much of a hypocrite, and I've abused enough people on this blog so I'm not in a position to criticise. Course, if I start flinging around terms of abuse about the blessed Anne now, its going to be a tad harder for her or her husband to complain. But its not exactly that new face of conservatism that Tory Boy has been promoting is it--and one assumes the Labour spin doctors will be keeping it running to keep the arrest of one of their aides for perjury out of the public eye ? (btw, the recipient of this email, Kris Hopkins, who is seeking to appear whiter than white (a Jade Goody reference there), is of course only leader of Bradford Council because of a rather sordid power-sharing deal with the LibDems after the voters comprehensively trounced his party in the 2006 local elections, is also now the local Tory candidate for the constituency (and will need the Hawkesworths' help if he's to stand any chance against t'other Ann), and was heavily involved in the scandal over the failed sell-off and leaseback of public buildings, protecting Simon Cooke over his 'interesting gestures', the scandal of Bradford's failing schools, etc....) The email runs--
"My brother Peter met the Cripple (our unPC name for Mark Taylor) this afternoon, and he, the Cripple, was pumping Peter about the selection for the PPC. "I would trust that reptile less than a barrel of monkeys."One wonders whether that 'our' includes the less-than-sainted Anne? (btw, love the image used to accomoany the piece at politics.co.uk--is that really Mr Hawkesworth? Hope he hasn't got one of those exploding Sony batteries)
Given the Gazette's refusal (well, okay, they've just ignored) to print my latest epistle, here it is. In response to the latest attempt to sell the 'Panorama Stones are modern inventions' line. Gavin Edwards has once again used your columns to promote his pet theory of the Victorian embellishment of the Panorama STone(s). The latest account (23 Nov) seems to provide no more evidence than the previous story (carried in July 2004). In the meantime, an exhibition at the Manor House has also promoted the theory. Are we to take it that this is now the official view of the Bradford Museums Service, and therefore is an explanation for the wilful neglect of these important carvings? Mr. Edwards' case rests on two pieces of evidence. Drawings given to the museum in 1880, and a lecture given in 1913. As yet, he has proved no date of completion for the drawings, so we are unable to say when they were done. What we do have, however, is the drawing of J. Romilly Allen accompanying his article of 1879 ('The Prehistoric Rock Sculptures of Ilkley'), and we also have Allen's and Dr. Call's account of the rocks. All of these point to the ladder motif being present. Allen was a fairly scrupulous draughtsman and was more prone to leaving elements out than including extra (see his drawing of the Badger Stone for instance). As to the lecture, he is taking as evidence the talk given by Gill in 1913, at which point Gill is 63, and talking of events forty years earlier. Against this we have the research and accounts of Allen, Dr. Call, J.H. Turner, and Dr. Little. All were researching and writing in the 1880s, all believe in the ladder motif and none mention any rumours or suspicion surrounding the markings. Indeed, Little worked with the Ilkley Local Board to relocate the stones at considerable expense and effort in 1890. Are we to assume that none of these people ever had a local wander up to them and mention that 'old Ambrose done those markings.'? Or is Mr. Edwards implying a massive conspiracy? Simply put, there is little evidence that these markings were added in late Victorian times. There is ample that the ladder motif was present in the 1870s. English Heritage continues to refer to the stone(s) as being, "one of the finest examples of rock art in the north of England, if not in the British Isles." So why does Mr. Edwards continue to press his line? Why the not-so-subtle campaign to downgrade the importance of the stones? Can it be anything to do with their wilful neglect, and the unwillingness (whatever they say) of anyone to move the stones to the Manor House? What has happened to the Dr. Little Heritage Group, and why have they not been quoted over this story? These might be rather more worthy of coverage than repetition of an interesting though completely unproved theory.
I said at the last election we should just get her out, but you lot didn't listen. The glaring hypocrisy of our MP was shown up on Wednesday. She signed the EDM on the conduct of the war in Iraq, demanding an enquiry. And then, when the chance came, she voted AGAINST. Way to go Ann. Nothing like consistency. (sorry, by way of that man over there)
So, after all that, the Moor remains in Bradford's hands. But selling off Silver Well Cottage to finance improvements? Why? It smacks of selling off the family silver. What happens next time, in a few years, when Bradford still hasn't provided the money the moor requires? Retaining ownership is fine, as long as they start increasing the amount of money spent on it. Most cultural institutions over the past ten years have produced audits reflecting their impact in terms of cash, and other instrumental effects (help with social inclusion, etc.), in order to make their case for increased grants. Given the amount of tourist money the Moor brings into Bradford, the £10,000 per year provided by the Council was shameful. Given also the agenda around health, there are probably other funds and grants that can be applied for, without selling off local assets (and without re-introducing shooting without any consultation as happened last year). Actually, talking of other funds, our research elves dug up this story from a couple of years back--how the moor and other areas had received £850,000 of extra support back in 2003. So where's the moor's share of this money gone? Also note Danny Jackson suggesting the new group then created--SCOSPA--was the vehicle to receive a lot more money from European and other sources. So was the local trust ever needed?
Ate at Ilkley Moor Vaults on SUnday. After one local contact said they had 'the best chips in Wharfedale'. Praise indeed. No chips are being served on Sundays though. Haven't been since the re-fit. The old urine-stinking bar seems to have been replaced by a lovely stone real ale parlour, and the upstairs Mr Q's by a London gastro pub. Great service, very helpful, excellently kept beer, and (according to she who knows such things) lamb to kill for. I had a sort of mess of puy lentils, courgettes and goats' cheese which possibly wasn't to everyone's taste, but made a very nice alternative to rissotto. Dealt with food queries very well. Only downside was a lengthy wait for the mains. Which, given they only had ten or so people in, was a little surprising. However, we will be re-visiting very soon. REcommended, seriously hope the new owners make a go of it.
Is it true that Monkfish and Arcade Fruits get the majority of their fish from the same source? QUite a difference in prices I note.
Only problem being, to arrive into Ilkley five minutes early, it must have left Ben Rhydding (and probably Burley too) before it was meant to. Well, its one way of hitting punctuality targets I suppose.
Much to the suprise of the gentleman over at Ilkley-More, yes, Chris Monkman's new wet fish establishment/bistro is indeed called Monkfish. Monkman's reputation, both as ebullient (sometimes oleaginous) host and creator of above-average eateries such as T'Fleece in Dingham gave us all high hopes for the new establishment. First, the conversion of the old lighting shop on Cunliffe Road seems to have included recovered lights, and a rather odd green colour on the wall. The downstairs (always bad for the head) has become the kitchen and the wet fish shop also contains a bar area where six or so people ate on the Sunday we were there. Ilkley has needed a proper supplier of fish for a long time, though Arcade fruits have done a valiant job (and I feel a little sorry for them if this impacts on their business), and Monkfish is definitely at the high end of the market. Having both a shop and a bistro does, however, mean that the front door is open most of the time. I was sitting in a permanent draft. Which was slightly unpleasant. There's about 24-28 covers in the bistro area, which is fairly-very crowded (intimate might be the word their marketing will use), with a bar at the back end. Menus are on the blackboards. Its Sunday and is booked out which shows a) Ilkley is waiting for somewhere nice to eat on Sundays, b) its small and c) Monkman is known to everyone. Indeed, his blown kisses and hellos to everyone walking in begin to grate after a while, but that's my misanthropy speaking. We have initial confusion. There's no moules on the menus, but one couple is eating them. Hmm. Apparently they ordered in advance (we weren't offered the option when booking, but maybe we shold have demanded). There's also no bread on the menu, but bread is brought out to two tables. And, no, it doesn't come with the soup. Hmm, probably made in the now-deceased brick oven as well. Damn. That's the second way in which we (me and t'angel) feel like second class citizens in this eaterie (not a usual feeling for us, I have to say). So, nice range of dishes---four-five starters, the same of mains, plus three or four salads. And, yes, all fish. I order the Fsh Soup, angel the haddock (IIRC). Hers is delicate and light, rather lovely. Mine, well, Provencal Fish Soup it ain't. The fish pieces one would expect to see have been reduced to a very thin mince. Rustic it's not. And it's lukewarm, barely even that. One-all I guess, but most deli's do a better version of the provencal. For mains, I plump for the reasonably priced (£10) fsh and chps, angel for the herring salad. My fish (haddock) is cooked in light batter, not greasy, the peas are interestingly mushed. But the chips have obviously been cooked too quickly at too high a temperature. They're uncooked in the middle, and brown-black on the outside. Obviously trying for the rustic feel, and not succeeding once more. And there are roughly ten of the things. Very measly portion. With angel's dish we come to the real problem. She's made clear that she's allergic to dairy. The (very helpful and efficient) waitress has helped her choose the right dish and no hollandaise appeared on the starter. Half-way through the main she finds one, then two, then another slice of cheese. Hmm. Calling the waitress over, the dish is taken away. On her return, we're told that though there was no cheese in the dish 'officially', the chef hadn't cleaned out the mixing bowl properly. Hmm times two. Waitress deals properly with the event 'I can't apologise enough...it's no consolation, but I wanted to explain why it happened.' And, of course, we're not charged. Service overall from the two waitresses working was very good, at least by Ilkley standards. They seem to have gone a cut above the usual sixth formers and to have people who have more than a modicum of training. It was noticeable, however, that having approached our table three times during the first two courses, Mr Monkman himself was noticeable by his absence once the incident had occurred. Too busy greeting his obviously wide circle of acquaintances (yeah, I know, bitterness, but I run a venue, and make sure my bistro manager or myself is out there as soon as we know of a customer problem.) (£25 over all, would have been £32, though only water for drink) So, positive--excellent to have in Ilkley, great starter, helpful and friendly staff, good value. Negative--sloppy service from the kitchen (and potentially dangerous too), lukewarm soup, bad chips, drafts from the door. So, teething problems presumably, but ones needing to be dealt with, and one that simply isn't acceptable. With Monkman concentrating on this, it'll also be interesting to see how The Fleece does. More coverage if we return.