Wednesday January 13th, 2016

The sun came out this morning. It teased and taunted for a few minutes, went behind a cloud and was rarely seen for the rest of the day.  Small steps, eh.

I fancied a trip out to celebrate this rare and remarkable event so after my very late breakfast porridge, I set off for the 25 mile drive to the North Yorkshire market town of Skipton.  Gateway to the Dales and all that.

I wanted to walk around the canal area and have lunch there so I parked at the Coach Street pay and display car park (which is ironically at Bridge Street), literally a stone’s throw from where the Leeds-Liverpool canal meets the Spring Branch.

I walked around for a while, looking at the canal boats, swans, ducks and hundreds of pigeons auditioning for a Hitchcock remake.  Then I went to Bizzie Lizzie’s, my favourite fish and chip shop in Skipton and had sausage and chips as we may be having fish and chips on Friday and twice in a week is one too many.

I took my meal to eat up onto a bridge overlooking the canal and was immediately joined by dozens of pigeons so had to keep on the move.  People insist on feeding these flying rats and so they have no fear of humans and will take a chip out of your mouth if you’re not careful.

I set my meal down…………….


And 3 seconds later…………….


When I’d finished and put my leftovers in a bin, I walked back down to the canal and spotted this chap doing exactly what I’ve just mentioned.


I wanted to go into the town centre so decided to stay off the streets and walk along the canal path to get there.  This gave me plenty of photo opportunities which I took, despite the now overcast weather.





Some canal boats were more unusual than others…………..


As the photos show, apart from an occasional dog walker, I basically had the canal path to myself. I’d never walked its full length before so wasn’t sure where I’d end up but knew I was going in the general direction of the town centre. I finally came to what looked like a dead end but off to one side it turned out to be a narrow alley and in the distance I could see movement. Pedestrians !


I came out onto Main Street, across from the Town Hall, which was perfect as there were loads of market stalls set up along the street and I was up for a bit of a browse.

I love how stall holders look out for each other so that when one or more need to go for a break, nearby holders look after their stalls for them.  So although it looked like a line of them were unattended, one owner was walking up and down keeping an eye out for customers…..and probably thieves too !

I nearly bought another “man bag” as my current bag, which has become indispensable since I plucked up the courage to buy it a few months ago, is plastic and the ones on this stall were leather……and at around a fiver……a bargain.  I’m kicking myself that I didn’t buy one but then again, I’m sure that stall will be there the next time I’m in Skipton.

I did buy one item from another stall….and there is some history surrounding it.

Many years ago, and I mean MANY, I bought a tub of something called Astonish which claimed to clean anything from your cooker hob to your teeth with some natural product that wasn’t abrasive.  Ok maybe not your teeth but everything else, especially in the kitchen.  For the last 15 years at least, this product, which was a paste at the beginning, had become a solid block of…..well Astonish !  But it still worked a treat.  I’d bash the block against something hard (don’t go there !!) and mush up the tiny fragments back into a paste and use it to get rid of baked on crap on pots and pans, even ceramic pans, without doing them any damage.

I’d contacted the company (which was in Leeds when I bought the tub) to tell them how long I’d been using their product despite it being a solid block for probably 2 decades or more but found they were underwhelmed by my enthusiasm.  Well it seemed they’d moved to Bradford so I can understand them being more than a little depressed.

So, back to today in Skipton and what did I find on one of the stalls ?  It was a tub of….oh, you guessed !

It was wonderful to be able to squeeze it a bit and realise it really did start out as a paste whereas my tub has been harbouring a piece of moon rock since about 1985.

It was £1.  I bought it.


Can you spot which is the older ?  Clue :  the older one has the contents on the OUTSIDE.


Skipton Town Hall was a few feet from the Astonish stall and I saw a sign showing there was a “Craft Collectors and Gift Fair” taking place inside.  As the adrenaline was still pumping after my large purchase and I still had over an hour left on my parking ticket, I popped in.

I felt as underwhelmed as the chap from Astonish.  There were about a dozen tables set up with 3 people who had already started the process of packing up.  I was the sole visitor and wanted to back out as soon as I’d entered.  The tables were covered with…..well tat would best describe it and that would be generous.

I strolled along the tables, giving the items much more interest than I really felt or that they deserved.  I felt sorry for the “crafters” but was a bit disturbed as the 3 of them gathered around me like the pigeons earlier.

And I didn’t even have any chips to throw at them.  Bless.

I did stop by a table as the sign on it held my attention.  “Glasses cleaned for free”. Hardly the greatest offer in the world, or even in Skipton, but before I could move on, I was trapped by the crafty table holder.  His products were small tubs of some home made gloop that he claimed cleaned glass items to be like new, hence the sign.

Now it may surprise some readers but I do wear glasses, so I was up for a bit of a clean. Before I handed them over, I noticed that he had a kettle on the table but assumed that was for him to have a cuppa as the day wore on.  He put some of the gloop onto a tissue and cleaned one lens, talking all the time. He then fired up the kettle and once it was steaming, he briefly held my glasses over the spout while telling me that the newly cleaned lens was clear, whereas the other lens had steamed up.  Ahhhh well ok then.

I had to take his word for it as without my glasses, he might as well have been talking to Stevie Wonder.  I ohh’d and ahh’d appropriately without seeing a thing and after he’d cleaned the other lens and handed my glasses back, I walked off with him still telling me how good the gloop was for car windscreens. Given the size of the tub, it would have needed at least 2 to clean a windscreen and they were £6 each !

I should have told him about Astonish.


Back home I had a small supper seeing as I’d had a relatively big meal for lunch. I watched a couple of footy games on the telle and was about to watch “Creed” (despite not liking boxing) but all that fresh air caught up with me and I knew I’d be asleep before it finished.


Instead I watched the excellent “Madam Secretary“from last Sunday and went to bed at 2am.  Early for me.

I was still wishing I’d bought a leather “man bag” today but as Skipton has market days on a Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat, I guess another trip could soon be on the cards.

4 thoughts on “Wednesday January 13th, 2016

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