Sunday 29 September 2013

Something old, something new

After work on Monday evening, hubby and I took ourselves off to Leeds for a spot of entertainment.  The venue for the evening may be very familiar to those of a certain age! How many of you can remember "The Good Old Days"  with Leonard Sachs ?  I certainly can!

I had never been to the City Varieties theatre in Leeds and was thrilled to discover that my newest band discovery were playing here.  The theatre is tucked into some little alley in the main shopping area and has just undergone a refurbishment.  It is a beautiful little place.

I had discovered "Boyce Avenue" on Youtube and I really loved the lead singers voice and guitar playing.  They are a bit of an internet sensation, and I thought it was very ironic that they should be playing in such a very old venue.
It appears that they still perform the Good Old Days - with some very old faces in it!  If you remember, the audience used to dress up in Victorian clobber and this is still very much encouraged.  I think I may have to put a visit to one of these shows on my list and bring out my inner Nell Gwynn!
The refurb has been done brilliantly and retained the very Victorian feel of this little theatre.

We did notice that we were approximately twice the age of most of the audience - but that never puts me off! The band were every bit as good as I'd hoped they would be and we had a great evening.  They sang a mixture of cover versions and songs they had written themselves.

I'll leave you with one that they sang with one of their guests.  Hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Sunny Day in Elsecar

On Sunday, we made the most of the short time that hubby had between silly shifts to make the most of the perfect blue skies.  We didn't want to travel far as we were very short of time, so we went to nearby Elsecar - these days there always seems to be something happening here.  The Heritage Centre houses plenty of individual shops etc and the old engine shed here is now a huge children's indoor play area.

 There are plenty of places to eat and drink too.
 We discovered a vintage car club were having a meet up.
 The old station has a lovely little book shop and cafe in.  They sometimes have a car boot sale in the yard behind.
 They have been restoring the line so I don't think passenger trains have run this year, but the volunteers have kept the engines rolling.
 The Heritage Centre is in the old colliery yard.  When the pit closed in the early 1980's, you could pick up these lovely houses for a song - no one wanted them.
 We noticed lots of old orchards dotted around - I wonder what variety of apples these are?
 You may have seen our famous Newcommen Engine on the recent Hairy Bikers programe - it is currently being restored.  It is the only engine of it's kind that is still in its original location.
 We walked along the Canal.   This is stil popular with the fishermen of the area.

 The old rows of colliery houses are fascinating and all still lived in.
 This one is called Old Row

 And Reform Row is really sweet.

 The old flour mill is now owned by a company who sell craft stained glass.
 The "Bun & Milk Club" is a grand building.  Now lovely apartments, it was built as a hostel for miners who moved into the area.  Elsecar grew from an area that comprised of 3 farms to a large mining village in a very short time which meant bringing in workers from all over the country and even from abroad.  When I started comprehensive school, I was amazed to discover that the kids from Elsecar usually had parents from Scotland, Ireland and Poland.  Part of the village was called "Scotch Village" as the streets filled up with Scottish miners as soon as the houses were built.  The mine was owned by the Fitzwilliam family of nearby Wentworth Woodhouse.

 A quick walk through the park and back to the car to pack hubby off back to work.
I really like Elsecar - there is always something see.

Friday 20 September 2013

Tiny Tamper

We started our day on Sunday with breakfast at the original small Tamper Coffee shop on Westfield Terrace in Sheffield.  It doesn't have as extensive a menu as the new larger place, but the coffee and food is still very very good - especially for a weekend breakfast.

 It has very simple decor, but I love these light bulbs - I need to get some for my home! (Just realised that this is actually upside down!)
 I have had to start drinking de-caff coffee and I have to say that I cannot tell the difference here.  It is exceptionally good coffee.
 I love the simple but very effective touches around the place.
 Recognise the spoons?
 We couldn't make our minds up what to have so settled for butter fried mushrooms on toast with Chorizo to share and....
 ... very delicious french toast with bacon and maple syrup to share too.
I love having my breakfast out .  Enjoy your weekend folks x

PS  I've been faffing with the blog and my blog list and archives are now down at the bottom.  Can't shift them (without something dire happening) for love nor money!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

The Portland Works Open Day

On Sunday I met with a pal as we had decided to take a tour around the Portland Works which is a community project not normally open to the public.  You may remember I came here last year.  The place is so unique - it is like a time capsule from a bygone era that is hopefully going to be brought up to date but still used for its original purpose - workshops for the self employed.

 You can't get any idea of what the interior is like from the roadside, but once through the arch way, it is a totally captivating and enchanting place, stren with relics from yesteryear.
 The majority of the complex is in a state of total disrepair, but the guides love to tell you that there actually is a plan and little by little, as they raise the money, area's are made safe and watertight.
 This is the place where they originally made stainless steel cutlery.

 Whilst knife making is still undertaken here, there are lots of other little one man band industries working here.
 One of our favourites is the knife maker Stuart Mitchell who I believe is one of the youngest "Little Mesters" left in the city.  He worked with his father from being a young lad and he still works in the same workshop that he worked with his Mum and Dad.
 His story is wonderful to listen to and he shows you everything he is working on and tells you where all the materials are from.  He told us that the internet has helped his business so much - from reaching a global market for his sales (selling knives to workers in Canada and the Australian Bush) to sourcing materials for blades and handles.
 There are a few artists holed up on a higher floor - mainly working in mixed media.  Thier studios and their work was so interesting.
 I managed to get Mary Sewell to pose by her painting for you.  Her painting is called the Ghost of Portland Works and is based on something that a worker told her he saw.  I bet when it's dark in here, it can be very spooky.

I love seeing inside these old places and this one is really special.  It has lots of atmosphere as well as creative people within its walls.

Monday 16 September 2013

Butcher Works & Freeman College

This weekend, lots of venues were open in Sheffield for the Heritage Open Weekend.  I love this event as they open doors that you never usually get to see behind.  
My blog lurker pal Nic and I decided to make it a full day out on Saturday, so started with a gorgeous "Eggs Benedict" breakfast at the new Tamper Coffee Cafe on Arundel Street - highly recommended.

 The cafe set the scene for the day really as it has been converted from another old workshop in the city.  They have done a fabulous job of it.
 They have a takeaway, an indoor eating place and they also use the courtyard for outdoor eating too.  I love the way they have reused this great old space.
 Our first port of call, was The Butcher Works across the road.  This was one of the first of the larger workshops that the council decided to find a new use for instead of knocking down.  The gent who showed us around was one of archaeologists who worked on the conversion project.  He showed us some really interesting parts of the exterior and showed us how it would have been added to over the years.
 It is now lovely apartments and also houses some exclusive workshops too, but the big secret that I didn't know beforehand was that some area's have been left untouched.
 They have done a great job of renovating the brick work as these workshops were thrown up in a hurry and the bricks were always substandard.

 One of the rooms left untouched is the grinding room - it has a spooky feeling - making you feel like you have literally just stepped back in time.  they do have plans to restore this further, but at the moment it is left as they found it.  Its amazing.

 I loved the very old pair of bellows in here too.

 After our tour, we wandered to the next building which houses the Freeman Clollege which is part of the Ruskin Mill Trust.  Student who have special needs, can learn skills here that are really unique.  This converted old workshop is stunning and the environment and atmosphere in the college is wonderful.  It is truly a unique place.
 We watched one one man making spoons.  The cutlery they produce is beautiful.
 My pal and I also had a go at weaving and needle felting (we didn't make these I hasten to add).
 They have a gallery where you can view the students work.  It was a very welcoming place - we loved it.
 The building is also home to the Fusion Cafe (which I believe is vegetarian) and where you can see an example of the vaulted ceilings that they had to build when they installed the heavy grinding stones on higher floors.
I love this area of Sheffield and yet its an area that many have never explored.  It's full of lovely surprises.