Must admit to enjoying the new speed thing on Bolling Road. Trying to pass it exactly at 30, or even crawl up from 25 to 30 as approaching it (and you have to make it check off each mph on the way) is a lot of fun. Indeed, watching it means youre almost certain to crash sooner or later. The sheer thrill of doing 31 and being told by the flashing light you're breaking the law! Sheer joy.

Fantastic idea

From the people who brought you theyworkforyou, comes hear from your MP. Ever wondered what Ann Cryer does between elections? Wonder why she doesn't show her face in Ilkley except at the Remembrance Day commemorations? Wonder why she keeps making stupidly racist statements? Then add your name and e-mail to the list, wait for another nineteen constituents to join and then an e-mail gets sent to Ann suggesting she might like to talk to some of her constituents. Mind, given the trouble me and Yorkie had in getting in touch with her, I wonder which e-mail address it will go to?

You dirty old man

And thanks to the teachers at IGS for organising a Children in Need three-legged race funday. What I need on a driving lesson two weeks before a test is two hundred teenagers blocking off most of Brook Street as they cross and re-cross the bloody road. And what I especially needed was the group of four nubile young things in French Maids' uniforms. And, yes, with bloody garters. I knew they were only fourteen, but they didn't look it from behind, okay? It's not my fault, it's this damn Y chromosome.

Work, what, me?

Walking up Parish Ghyll Road, the builders are working on the old nurses' house opposite Moda in pelle (which has a sale on you'll be surprised to know). They're transferring some concrete slabs from a lorry, so the road is blocked off. This requires two men in yellow jackets at the top and two at the bottom, with thermoses and sandwiches, just standing there and stopping traffic. It's a tough job.

Back in white

Well, here we are again. Most of the posts (including those from the IACCTV blog) have come over. Most of the images haven't. Indeed, given the way the image on the 'stunning' post now looks, I'm going to have to play around with that. Not sure how to make a thumbnail connect to the main image. In the meantime, this is the last regrets WP theme, only using the header from one by northern web coders. And, as I've just discovered, Wordpress doesn't like Opera anymore than Typepad used to do. Sorry to say this blog won't be updated that much. More time willbe spent over at Cynicalbastard


As most of you know, I'm not living in Ilkley during the week anymore, so it's an absolute delight to come home. Potter onto the moor, look at the scenery. It's a very beautiful place and you should all be very happy there.

Rose coloured spectacles

Visiting the 'Get Wet, Get Well' exhibition at the Manor House, I was struck by the content of some of Fred Reynolds' cartoons, published in (presumably) the Gazette or the Free Press during the first decade of the last century.

This was a time when there was considerable disquiet about the amount of money being spent on new public buildings (the Town Hall and Kings Hall), which was being raised from the taxpayer with only the slightest nod of the head towards democracy. It was a time when there were real concerns about changes being made to the moor to take away the 'wildness' and make it suitable for visitors. It was also a time when concerns were being expressed over late-night noise, particularly in the form of late-night drinking (and the far greater number of drinking establishments then available) and fireworks ('being released every night').

All of which sounds terribly familiar. Some of the less intelligent members of our parish (supported by various of the councillors) are campaigning against extending pub opening hours. They're talking of the increase in anti-social behaviour, the problems of vandalism and noise. All of which might be true, but are nothing new. Vandalism has been a constant worry since Ilkley became a resort town (and the working classes trooped over from Bradford every Bank Holiday); fountains and tea rooms alike have been forced to close. Not in the last decade, but a hundred years ago.

It's the basic faustian pact made by the elders of the Parish as the hydropathy craze retreated. Bringing money into the town, letting it survive as a town, means an acceptance that on certain days of the year, there will be trouble, there will be vandalism and there will be noise. If you don't like it, move out of the centre.

What irritates me is that number of citizens who can't see further than the end of the warts on their noses. Shut down the visitors, and you shut down the town. The economy starts to collapse and within a decade it's a commuter village for Leeds. That you don't have to have even a basic understanding of local history or the fundamentals of economics to be a Parish Councillor isn't surprising.

And, above, all, a wilfull lack of understanding of what made this town what it is, and what can help it survive.  It's a good thing we have so many opticians in town--there's obviously a great demand for rose-coloured lenses to appreaciate the past through. The darker the better.

Obscure fact

Visitors to our fair town immediately assume that the central car park was once the site of an Ilkley market, and it's the great joy of historical pedants like myself to point out that Ilkley (apart from the granting of a couple of charters in the mid-thirteenth century) has never hosted a market. Indeed, up till the 1840s Ilkley was a completely insignificant place compared to its market-town neighbour Otley.

However, it does appear that there was an intention to host a market on the very site where the car park now sits. Looking closely at the Plan for the second Middleton Land sale (1868), the area around Hawksworth Road now occupied by hundreds of commuting cars is clearly marked as 'site of intended market'. Given the amount of time it usually takes for things to happen in this 'burg, perhaps its still on the plans somewhere in Ilkley Town Hall.