jacey: (blue eyes)
A couple of comments on my previous local history post got me thinking about Birdsedge.

penistone road sepiaIt's not old as English villages go. There are some old farmsteads dating back to the 1600s, and some cottages in the village show signs of having had weavers' galleries on the top floor (very recognisable by the windows), but the village as it is now didn't really spring into being until the industrial revolution brought the weaving trade out of the cottages and into the mills. I'm guessing most of the older houses (terraced cottages mostly) were built between 1770 and 1830. They were probably buit to house millworkers as the mill in the village grew. Most of them were one-up-one-down and according to the census returns people were raising families with eight or nine children in these tiny two-room houses. The ones nearest to the camera in the forst picture look to be two rooms deep, but we think they were originally built as back-to-backs. The ones furthest away from the camera are only one room deep. Yes, that's a gas lamp halfway along the row. These two pics were probably taken some time between 1905 and 1911. The building that sticks forward on to the roadside furthest from the camera is now the village hall, but it was then a school, built by two Quaker benefactors soon after the 1870 education act. It wasn't until 1911 that they built the current 'council' school.

Birdsedge MillThe River Dearne rises behind our house and there's a small dam, which drains into a culvert beneath the road and thence into the mill dam proper. The undershot water wheel (once at the extreme left hand edge of the mill photo) is long gone, but the course of the mill race is still visible. More importantly, the mill dam in Birdsedge controls the water flow into the Dearne from here to Denby Dale, the next village down the valley. The Hinchliffe family, which owns the mill in Denby Dale, also owns the mill in Birdsedge, and I suspect the water flow is the main reason they've kept it going as a viable working mill. Of course the water isn't used for power in Denby Dale, but they do still actively dam it, so I expect it's used in some kind of process.

I must ask James Hinchliffe when next I see him.

sunside cottagessepiaIn a cottage-weaving situation several families would collaborate to buy one or two hand looms, and keep them working as long as there was light to see by (which in summer, in this part of the worlc, can be from 4.30 a.m. to 10.30 p.m.). Though some weavers' lofts were individual, some spanned several houses. I suspect that might be the case with the first three cottages here at Sunside. If you look carefully there are blocked up windows at either side of the upper ones (and at the back, too). Only the first three cottages were built as housing, the rest of the row was part of a farm range which was converted to three dwellings some time between 1905 and 1911. In an earlier photo you can quite clearly see a tall barn door where, in this picture, is a lighter patch of front wall. Barn conversions are not a new idea. (The farm house is part of the same structure, but is round the back)

sunside rear 1960sYou can see blocked up weavers' windows much more clearly on this 1960s photo of the back of Sunside cottages. Imagine the light in that gallery with a long row of mullioned windows at both the front and back of the gallery. Compare the size of the domestic windows downstairs where it was more important to keep heat in even if it meant shutting light out.





Sunside farmhouseAnd here is the farm house. The photo is probably from the 1960s. It remains a farm - or rather a smallholding - to this day.












crownsepiaIt's a bit more prosperous looking, but the top floor of what was the Crown Inn was obviously a weavers' gallery. The mullions of long-blind windows are still very obvious. I can see this building from my front window. It's still lovely and is now an artist's gallery rather than a weaver's one.

Having a weavers gallery on a third floor was fairly common, giving more space to the family. The weavers at Sunside must have been amongst the poorest, probably each family living in just one room and sleeping upstairs next to their looms.
jacey: (blue eyes)
I responded to a post in Jaine Fenn's blog 'Tales from the Garret' and realised that it makes a perfectly sensible blog post on its own, so here it is, tweaked, and with added local history photos.

It's fascinating how the world we live in has layers from the world before.

BB and I live in a sort of cottage with later accretions, possibly built about 1800 - it's hard to tell because bits of it certainly were and bits weren't. The new extension is about 1890 - anyhow, I digress...

In the first pic our house is hidden behind the clump of trees just to the left of marker point A, which is our road. If you look very carefully you can see smoke from a domestic chiumney trickling up from just behind the trees.

So...
village1905Step out of our front door and turn left up the lane. (The start of the lane is marked A on the first pic - taken about 1905.) In less than a hundred yards the tarmac peters out into a farm track between dry stone walls. In a quarter mile or thereabouts the far end of the track rejoins a spiderweb of narrow country lanes at Five Lane Ends which is just about on the hotrizon.

Cross over, more or less direct, and follow your nose up and over the ridge and down the steep twist to a pub (which has suffered many inappropriate name changes, but used to be called The Junction). There, at Gate Foot, the old road intersects with a newer 'turnpike' road, laid down by entrepreneurs in the late 1700s. Ignore the turnpike and cross over. Up another twisty lane (praying you don't meet a tractor because it's barely wide enough for two small cars to pass) and you crest the hill at Snowgate Head (uncharmingly pronounced Snoggit 'Ead, locally). From there you twist again and drop down into New Mill, past the church, which you can't even see from the turnpike road, the bypass of its day.

This little twisty lane used to be the main coach road from Birdsedge to New Mill and - beyond it - Holmfirth, and from there up and over Holme Moss to the Woodhead Pass, over the Pennines, an inhospitable 11 mile crossing into North Derbyshire and Lancashire that you probably didn't want to attempt in winter except, perhaps, with a native guide and a sturdy pack-horse.

The main road through our village is another turnpike road - one actually built by Blind Jack of Knaresborough (Thomas Telford) which is a name I recall from junior school history projects without ever expecting to live so close to one of his actual roads. If you stand outside our front door and look to the right, down the hill, and imagine the main A629 isn't there, you can see the tiny track that shows the continuation of this 'main road' in the opposite direction. (Just to the left of B in the first pic) There are still traces of it between dry stone walls as it passes (C) a farm of unknown age (datestone 1642, but that may have been for alterations) and continues up to Quaker Bottom (along the line of the stone wall a D) where it is lost.

fortystepsThere's a footpath continuing from Quaker Bottom, but not a 'road' suitable for horsedrawn vehicles, so at that point the new road and the old road may well run along the same track.

The past is not always another country. It's right beneath our feet.
jacey: (blue eyes)
The planning application for the Dearne Head Windfarm - just 500 metres from my village, local school, church etc. and within topple distance of well-used local roads is finally to be heard by Kirklees Council Planning Committee on 22nd August. This has been hangung over our heads since 2009.

The plan fails on many counts, noise, shadow flicker, safety, opennes of greenbelt; visual amenity, heritage etc. Not only that, but it's been shoddily put together and the developers have refused to provide additional information requested by the planning department. It's obvious when you read it closely that they've got statements that are just plain wrong. For instance they've said that their noise data 'passes' the government guidelines by calculating all the measurements against the wrong background levels.

But despite all that, the councillors could still ignore their own planning officer's recommendations and give it approval. Why should they? Well, some of them are not local to the area so - hey - not their back yard, so why worry. Others are Green Party who support windpower and assume protests are from NIMBYs and will approve anything vaguely green regardless of whether it's a good application or not. Still others may have been got at by the chap in this video who just happens to have been employed by PRE, the developers. That's the scariest part.

OK, for somer reason embedding the video didn't work, but you can also see it here on our website oif it's not showing on LJ: Scroll down the page.
http://www.birdsedge.co.uk/bolt.htm:

jacey: (blue eyes)
I've ranted about wind turbines before.

They're all fine and well (if expensive and not terribly efficient) when sited in the right place, but according to many European countries the right place is a minimum of 2 kilometres away from housing. The fact that the UK doesn't have many areas (outside of national parks) which are 2 kilometres from housing just goes to prove that onshore wind turbines are not the solution for a small crowded island.

Those countries which invested heavily in wind power (Germany and Denmark in particular) are now ceasing to support it, but the general principles (which I could talk about for hours) are not really relevant in this case. Whether you like turbines or not you have to admit that there are good reasons for not planting them too close to communities.

Our village of Birdsedge is currently under threat from a planning application to put 4 monster (100 metre) turbines barely a quarter of the European standoff distance from village houses and the local primary school, overshadowing the whole village. We already have 25 turbines just over the hill, but far enough away to be sensible and we didn't object to those, however, I'm happy to be called a NIMBY for protesting about this new application because it's an unrealistic distance. Turbines this large and this close will be noisy and all the village is in the shadow flicker zone
causing strobe effects in low sun (some houses in the zone of two or even three of the turbines). There are even three of the four turbines within topple distance of a busy road. And then there are the secondary considerations of pedestrians and traffic being in the ice-drop danger zone while walking or driving past. In addition turbines kill bats. We have every known species of British bat - protected species - in this area and they feed in the wood between two of the turbines, but the firm's environmental statement manages to gloss over this.

Last time this firm tried for a windfarm here they contravened so many planning regulations that the application never even came before the planning committee, so this time they've made a few cosmetic changes and they're trying again. Sadly it's now counted as a new application which means that the 600 objection letters our supporters wrote last time will have to be equalled or beaten otherwise the firm will make a case for some of the previous objectors being satisfied by the minimal changes. If you are willing to write us a letter, or send an email to Kirklees' Planning Department please go to: http://birdsedge.co.uk/bolt.htm for the details. You don't have to live here to object. Remember, it could be your home under threat next until the UK gets it's standoff limits officially designated.

Thank you. I know in principle many of you believe in green energy. So do I, but I also believe in sustainable communities and fear that this monster industrial development in greenbelt threatens ours. Who will want to live here or send their children to the school so overshadowed?
jacey: (Default)
Ever since we had new U-PVC windows installed, some 12 or 15 years ago our bedroom sings in the wind. We didn't pay extra, but somehow we got the free upgrade to Aeolian Windows or more likely Aeolian Frames. I guess somewhere there's a tiny gap in the mastic and the whole window resonates like a bass flute. When it's really windy - like last night - both windows go for it in harmony.

So there we were, trying to get to sleep and stay asleep with the whole bedroom howing like ghosts in a bad Victorian melodrama, when BB gives up and goes for some LILO time (liquid in - liqid out, i.e. a cup of tea and a pee) and as he's brailling his way back round the bed in the dark he sees flickering lights outside to go with the woo-woo ghostie noises.

This morning we find that next door's posh garden shed, which backs on to our five foot high, Yorkshire stone, 200 year old garden wall has its toof tied on with rope and two of the coping stones where the roof obviously crashed down on its way north have been dislodged. And the end fence-post for our dog fence (the tensioner for the main support wire) has been knocked two feet out of skew.

Great!

And the weather forecast says it's going to get windy tonight.
jacey: (Default)
Ever since we had new U-PVC windows installed, some 12 or 15 years ago our bedroom sings in the wind. We didn't pay extra, but somehow we got the free upgrade to Aeolian Windows or more likely Aeolian Frames. I guess somewhere there's a tiny gap in the mastic and the whole window resonates like a bass flute. When it's really windy - like last night - both windows go for it in harmony.

So there we were, trying to get to sleep and stay asleep with the whole bedroom howing like ghosts in a bad Victorian melodrama, when BB gives up and goes for some LILO time (liquid in - liqid out, i.e. a cup of tea and a pee) and as he's brailling his way back round the bed in the dark he sees flickering lights outside to go with the woo-woo ghostie noises.

This morning we find that next door's posh garden shed, which backs on to our five foot high, Yorkshire stone, 200 year old garden wall has its toof tied on with rope and two of the coping stones where the roof obviously crashed down on its way north have been dislodged. And the end fence-post for our dog fence (the tensioner for the main support wire) has been knocked two feet out of skew.

Great!

And the weather forecast says it's going to get windy tonight.
jacey: (Default)
The village of Birdsedge and the hamlet of High Flatts - right on the southern boundary of Kirklees where Huddersfield meets Barnsley - are historically and culturally linked and geographically separated by barely 100 yards. Once sharing three pubs, five or six shops (at various times) a Methodist church, a Friends Meeting House, a school, a mill and (I'm told) a fish and chip shop, the amenities are now much reduced. The churches, school and mill remain while the pubs and shops are gone, though a farm shop has sprung up to fill the void.

So how did it all start?

Prehistory to Domesday
An iron age hill fort called Castle Hill even though there's never been a castle on it... The remains of Roman iron mining and smelting, but not enough to excite the local archaeological service to protect it let alone dig it. There have been people living here, a thousand feet up on the edge of Yorkshire's Pennine Hills since men started working iron. Denby - a close neighbouring village - earned a mention in the Domesday Book as Denebi, but there was no mention of settlements which might correspond Birdsedge or High Flatts.

What's in a Name?
Adam Eyre - a Roundhead captain in the Civil War - called the area Bursage. The local farming community still refer to is as B'szidge. I can imagine the scene during the Ordnance Survey of 1851... those 'fine red coated fellows' *[1] who came to 'measure t' land fo' t' queen' march into the village and tap the first local they find on the shoulder and ask what this place is called. 'B'szidge' is the reply. 'And how do you spell that?' asks the sergeant. 'Spell?' says the local. So the sergeant writes down what he thinks he hears and Bursage becomes Bird's Edge. That's just my fancy, but the locals still spell it as one word, of course, despite the road signs. and the maps. We're stubborn in this part of the world and old habits die hard.

Quaker Bottom, High Flatts
In the 17th century a Quaker settlement, hidden away from prying eyes, was founded at High Flatts by John Firth who joined the Society of Friends after hearing George Fox preach from the battlements of Pontefract Castle while Fox was temporarily incarcerated and Firth was one of his guardians. An altercation. The Roundheads werere not keen that Firth had absconded his duties in the name of peace. They sent a troop from Halifax to bring him in. He escaped from the back of a horse in Boxings Wood. One of the Roundhead troop got trigger-happy. The vicar's wife was shot dead in nearby Kirkburton - apparently in error - by a Roundhead firing an arquebus through the vicarage window. Error? It just happened to be that the vicar was as a known Royalist sympathiser who was thought to have been responsible for the decimation (literally one man in every ten executed) of Holmfirth a short time before.


Friends Meeting House
Originally a barn dating from 1620 approx. The meeting house had a new front in the Georgian style in the late 1700s.

Eli the Clothier and Eli the Tanner
Quaker patriarch, Elihu Dickinson the Clothier, (to differentiate from his cousin Elihu Dickinson the Tanner) walked past my house each day as he trudged the eight miles there and eight miles back again (steeply uphill) to do business in Huddersfield's thriving cloth hall.

Eli the Clothier was very industrious and did well for himself, having several different business interests in the area, including mining. He built himself Low House right in the heart of the Quaker Bottom Community

Low House (rear)

But Eli the Tanner was apparently into one-upmanship - literally - and he built Mill Bank House which overlooked his cousin's property from it's position higher up the hill.

Mill Bank House
In the late 1800s this became a Quaker-run Sanatorium for Inebriate Women.

Quaker Influence
The Quakers prospered and from their little enclave in High Flatts (yes we really do call it Quaker Bottom) reached out to help found the school in Birdsedge. They also owned property in the village and some houses still have a clause in their deeds which forbids them to sell alcohol from that property.


New House Farm, Birdsedge


Called New House Farm long before the Victorian New House was built, this photo shows the Old House as an integral part of the farmyard.  The Old House was demolished in the 70s - somewhat precipitously, I'm told.


The Old House at New House

Had the council been aware it may have been saved by a 'listed building order'. The late Susan Horne - an amateur local historian who had examined the house carefully, told me she thought it may have been a cruck cottage, possibly 15th or 16th century and the oldest building in the village.

The farmyard side of the house (when this photo was taken it was used as a farm building) was possibly the back. The other side, facing across fields, looked like this:


Was the old house the new house when the farm was named, or was there some earlier house on the site?



Grinding wheel at the back of the Old House. Note the cellar window, showing (for skeptics) that it was, indeed, a house, before it was used as a farm building. No one builds a windowed cellar under a farm building.

This is the Victorian New House:


To be continued...

*[1] From the poem 'T' Ordnance at Burton'
jacey: (Default)
The village of Birdsedge and the hamlet of High Flatts - right on the southern boundary of Kirklees where Huddersfield meets Barnsley - are historically and culturally linked and geographically separated by barely 100 yards. Once sharing three pubs, five or six shops (at various times) a Methodist church, a Friends Meeting House, a school, a mill and (I'm told) a fish and chip shop, the amenities are now much reduced. The churches, school and mill remain while the pubs and shops are gone, though a farm shop has sprung up to fill the void.

So how did it all start?

Prehistory to Domesday
An iron age hill fort called Castle Hill even though there's never been a castle on it... The remains of Roman iron mining and smelting, but not enough to excite the local archaeological service to protect it let alone dig it. There have been people living here, a thousand feet up on the edge of Yorkshire's Pennine Hills since men started working iron. Denby - a close neighbouring village - earned a mention in the Domesday Book as Denebi, but there was no mention of settlements which might correspond Birdsedge or High Flatts.

What's in a Name?
Adam Eyre - a Roundhead captain in the Civil War - called the area Bursage. The local farming community still refer to is as B'szidge. I can imagine the scene during the Ordnance Survey of 1851... those 'fine red coated fellows' *[1] who came to 'measure t' land fo' t' queen' march into the village and tap the first local they find on the shoulder and ask what this place is called. 'B'szidge' is the reply. 'And how do you spell that?' asks the sergeant. 'Spell?' says the local. So the sergeant writes down what he thinks he hears and Bursage becomes Bird's Edge. That's just my fancy, but the locals still spell it as one word, of course, despite the road signs. and the maps. We're stubborn in this part of the world and old habits die hard.

Quaker Bottom, High Flatts
In the 17th century a Quaker settlement, hidden away from prying eyes, was founded at High Flatts by John Firth who joined the Society of Friends after hearing George Fox preach from the battlements of Pontefract Castle while Fox was temporarily incarcerated and Firth was one of his guardians. An altercation. The Roundheads werere not keen that Firth had absconded his duties in the name of peace. They sent a troop from Halifax to bring him in. He escaped from the back of a horse in Boxings Wood. One of the Roundhead troop got trigger-happy. The vicar's wife was shot dead in nearby Kirkburton - apparently in error - by a Roundhead firing an arquebus through the vicarage window. Error? It just happened to be that the vicar was as a known Royalist sympathiser who was thought to have been responsible for the decimation (literally one man in every ten executed) of Holmfirth a short time before.


Friends Meeting House
Originally a barn dating from 1620 approx. The meeting house had a new front in the Georgian style in the late 1700s.

Eli the Clothier and Eli the Tanner
Quaker patriarch, Elihu Dickinson the Clothier, (to differentiate from his cousin Elihu Dickinson the Tanner) walked past my house each day as he trudged the eight miles there and eight miles back again (steeply uphill) to do business in Huddersfield's thriving cloth hall.

Eli the Clothier was very industrious and did well for himself, having several different business interests in the area, including mining. He built himself Low House right in the heart of the Quaker Bottom Community

Low House (rear)

But Eli the Tanner was apparently into one-upmanship - literally - and he built Mill Bank House which overlooked his cousin's property from it's position higher up the hill.

Mill Bank House
In the late 1800s this became a Quaker-run Sanatorium for Inebriate Women.

Quaker Influence
The Quakers prospered and from their little enclave in High Flatts (yes we really do call it Quaker Bottom) reached out to help found the school in Birdsedge. They also owned property in the village and some houses still have a clause in their deeds which forbids them to sell alcohol from that property.


New House Farm, Birdsedge


Called New House Farm long before the Victorian New House was built, this photo shows the Old House as an integral part of the farmyard.  The Old House was demolished in the 70s - somewhat precipitously, I'm told.


The Old House at New House

Had the council been aware it may have been saved by a 'listed building order'. The late Susan Horne - an amateur local historian who had examined the house carefully, told me she thought it may have been a cruck cottage, possibly 15th or 16th century and the oldest building in the village.

The farmyard side of the house (when this photo was taken it was used as a farm building) was possibly the back. The other side, facing across fields, looked like this:


Was the old house the new house when the farm was named, or was there some earlier house on the site?



Grinding wheel at the back of the Old House. Note the cellar window, showing (for skeptics) that it was, indeed, a house, before it was used as a farm building. No one builds a windowed cellar under a farm building.

This is the Victorian New House:


To be continued...

*[1] From the poem 'T' Ordnance at Burton'
jacey: (Default)

The Birdsedge Windfarm Debate

Windfarm developers Pure Renewable Energies and their surveyors, Parsons Brinkerhoff, carried out public consultations at Birdsedge on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th March, for the project they are calling 'The Dearne Head Windfarm', by mounting an exhibition in Birdsedge Church schoolroom. It says much for the passion of the anti-turbine faction that volunteers stood outside the exhibition in the cold and the drizzle giving out leaflets from BOLT, the Birdsedge and District Opposition to Large Turbines.

The debate goes like this: Residents want to know why, when European guidelines recommend that turbines should not be sited closer than 2 kilometres to housing, PRE has come up with a scheme to build them on greenbelt, within 500 metres of a village centre, community hall, church and school. PRE say that England isn't signed up to that particular piece of EU legislation. Besides, they say they can't find any land in England which is more than 2k from housing. Residents say if that is the case (and they don't believe it is) that this proves that on-shore windfarms are not the right kind of renewable energy for this island. PRE says residents will have to take that up with the government. Thanks, PRE.

Residents say the four turbines are too close to the village. At a blade tip height of 120 metres and a hill height of 35 metres, the tip of the turbine blades will loom over the school and housing estate at 155 metres. For comparison, Blackpool Tower is 158 metres and Emley Moor transmitter is 329 metres. So the four turbines are likely to be almost as tall as Blackpool Tower with a blade diameter of 80 metres and almost half the height of Emley Moor. PRE actually agrees that there will be a 'loom' factor, but say that residents will have to put up with that because windfarms are A Good Thing and there's nowhere else they can put one. Yeah, right.

Residents say that the turbines will be so close that noise will be an issue, both the swish from the blades and low frequency rumble. PRE says noise will not be an issue, but present no figures to back up their claim. Residents say that studies have proved that noise can be an issue at up to 1.5 kilometres. PRE say that if noise is an issue after the fact they will slow the turbines or stop them to reduce noise at specific rimes – i.e. when people are sleeping. Residents say if PRE is willing to admit they'll make adjustments if there is noise after the fact, that they can't in all honesty claim (before the fact) that the turbines will not be a noise nuisance. There is obviously a considerable element of doubt. Show us the numbers!

Residents say light flicker will be an issue at times of low sun. PRE say they will turn the turbines off when the sun is low enough to cause flicker through the blades. Residents say that this proves the turbines are close enough to produce the strobe-effect flickering, within the village boundary, that can trigger migraines or epileptic seizures in susceptible people, and then ask. 'How can switching off help maximise the turbine's electricity producing potential?'

PRE says a full ecological survey has been done by Parsons Brinkerhoff. Residents ask if they can see it. PRE says. Not until the actual planning application has been made – at which time the data will become public. Residents say that this doesn't give them much time to formulate opinions and objections since PRE have been working on this application since 2006 and residents weren't aware of it until mid 2009.

It's a poor show. This is supposed to be a public consultation, but PRE's understanding of the term is very different from mine. I asked them the direct question: If all the villagers say they don't want the windfarm, will you go away and leave us alone? They said no. In other words their take on public consultation is more like: We're going to show you our plans for your village and your views will not be taken into account.

I'm surprised there were so many people at the exhibition. PRE say they delivered 1000 leaflets to invite people, but I don't know where they went to. They were not even delivered to all the houses in the village. Park Lane was missed out, so were the Park Head Farm houses. the houses closest to the development, and so were some of the outlying farm houses which are barely more than 500 metres from the site on the other side of the village, including the house along Windmill Lane - that's the same road as Turbine Number 3. The BOLT (opposition) group did as much, if not more, to publicise the exhibition than PRE did. PRE's own leaflets only went out on Monday for a Friday event.

It was also a poor exhibition. There were seven or eight panels of mostly general text about how wind-power is supposed to save the planet, with few illustrations. There were a couple of maps that were so small they were next to useless and four mock up photos of what the turbines would look like from Ingbirchworth, Royd Moor and Shelley etc, which obviously minimised the size of the turbines by the distance. On the Royd Moor illustration because of the perspective the turbines looked to be a similar size to the Royd Moor ones when, in fact, they'll be three times the height. That illustration also missed out the three turbines that have just had planning permission from Barnsley council next to the current Royd Moor site, therefore failing to show cumulative effect.

There was no mock up illustration of what the turbines would look like from Birdsedge and High Flatts. I expect PRE didn't have a stand tall enough!

This is the picture they didn't want to show. This was done for us by Peter Stanley, a local photographer, using the height of the 50 metre test mast to get the scale of the 120 metre turbines as close as possible.
Looming turbines

There were also no hard facts about noise measurements or environmental issues save for the fact that we needn't worry. Great plaititude. We're very worried. There were lots of quietly angry people at the exhibition (I won't call it a consultation) on Friday afternoon and in three hours I heard no residents speak up for the windfarm project, but many spoke up against. Residents are definitely going to fight this windfarm development when it comes before the Kirklees planners. If European guidelines stipulate a 2 kilometre stand-off from housing it's for a reason.

The actual planning application for the windfarm won't be presented to Kirklees until April, but PRE have already been consulting with the Kirklees planning office - in secret - for four years.

jacey: (Default)

The Birdsedge Windfarm Debate

Windfarm developers Pure Renewable Energies and their surveyors, Parsons Brinkerhoff, carried out public consultations at Birdsedge on Friday 12th and Saturday 13th March, for the project they are calling 'The Dearne Head Windfarm', by mounting an exhibition in Birdsedge Church schoolroom. It says much for the passion of the anti-turbine faction that volunteers stood outside the exhibition in the cold and the drizzle giving out leaflets from BOLT, the Birdsedge and District Opposition to Large Turbines.

The debate goes like this: Residents want to know why, when European guidelines recommend that turbines should not be sited closer than 2 kilometres to housing, PRE has come up with a scheme to build them on greenbelt, within 500 metres of a village centre, community hall, church and school. PRE say that England isn't signed up to that particular piece of EU legislation. Besides, they say they can't find any land in England which is more than 2k from housing. Residents say if that is the case (and they don't believe it is) that this proves that on-shore windfarms are not the right kind of renewable energy for this island. PRE says residents will have to take that up with the government. Thanks, PRE.

Residents say the four turbines are too close to the village. At a blade tip height of 120 metres and a hill height of 35 metres, the tip of the turbine blades will loom over the school and housing estate at 155 metres. For comparison, Blackpool Tower is 158 metres and Emley Moor transmitter is 329 metres. So the four turbines are likely to be almost as tall as Blackpool Tower with a blade diameter of 80 metres and almost half the height of Emley Moor. PRE actually agrees that there will be a 'loom' factor, but say that residents will have to put up with that because windfarms are A Good Thing and there's nowhere else they can put one. Yeah, right.

Residents say that the turbines will be so close that noise will be an issue, both the swish from the blades and low frequency rumble. PRE says noise will not be an issue, but present no figures to back up their claim. Residents say that studies have proved that noise can be an issue at up to 1.5 kilometres. PRE say that if noise is an issue after the fact they will slow the turbines or stop them to reduce noise at specific rimes – i.e. when people are sleeping. Residents say if PRE is willing to admit they'll make adjustments if there is noise after the fact, that they can't in all honesty claim (before the fact) that the turbines will not be a noise nuisance. There is obviously a considerable element of doubt. Show us the numbers!

Residents say light flicker will be an issue at times of low sun. PRE say they will turn the turbines off when the sun is low enough to cause flicker through the blades. Residents say that this proves the turbines are close enough to produce the strobe-effect flickering, within the village boundary, that can trigger migraines or epileptic seizures in susceptible people, and then ask. 'How can switching off help maximise the turbine's electricity producing potential?'

PRE says a full ecological survey has been done by Parsons Brinkerhoff. Residents ask if they can see it. PRE says. Not until the actual planning application has been made – at which time the data will become public. Residents say that this doesn't give them much time to formulate opinions and objections since PRE have been working on this application since 2006 and residents weren't aware of it until mid 2009.

It's a poor show. This is supposed to be a public consultation, but PRE's understanding of the term is very different from mine. I asked them the direct question: If all the villagers say they don't want the windfarm, will you go away and leave us alone? They said no. In other words their take on public consultation is more like: We're going to show you our plans for your village and your views will not be taken into account.

I'm surprised there were so many people at the exhibition. PRE say they delivered 1000 leaflets to invite people, but I don't know where they went to. They were not even delivered to all the houses in the village. Park Lane was missed out, so were the Park Head Farm houses. the houses closest to the development, and so were some of the outlying farm houses which are barely more than 500 metres from the site on the other side of the village, including the house along Windmill Lane - that's the same road as Turbine Number 3. The BOLT (opposition) group did as much, if not more, to publicise the exhibition than PRE did. PRE's own leaflets only went out on Monday for a Friday event.

It was also a poor exhibition. There were seven or eight panels of mostly general text about how wind-power is supposed to save the planet, with few illustrations. There were a couple of maps that were so small they were next to useless and four mock up photos of what the turbines would look like from Ingbirchworth, Royd Moor and Shelley etc, which obviously minimised the size of the turbines by the distance. On the Royd Moor illustration because of the perspective the turbines looked to be a similar size to the Royd Moor ones when, in fact, they'll be three times the height. That illustration also missed out the three turbines that have just had planning permission from Barnsley council next to the current Royd Moor site, therefore failing to show cumulative effect.

There was no mock up illustration of what the turbines would look like from Birdsedge and High Flatts. I expect PRE didn't have a stand tall enough!

This is the picture they didn't want to show. This was done for us by Peter Stanley, a local photographer, using the height of the 50 metre test mast to get the scale of the 120 metre turbines as close as possible.
Looming turbines

There were also no hard facts about noise measurements or environmental issues save for the fact that we needn't worry. Great plaititude. We're very worried. There were lots of quietly angry people at the exhibition (I won't call it a consultation) on Friday afternoon and in three hours I heard no residents speak up for the windfarm project, but many spoke up against. Residents are definitely going to fight this windfarm development when it comes before the Kirklees planners. If European guidelines stipulate a 2 kilometre stand-off from housing it's for a reason.

The actual planning application for the windfarm won't be presented to Kirklees until April, but PRE have already been consulting with the Kirklees planning office - in secret - for four years.

jacey: (Default)
Late last year a test mast and anemometer went up in the hill above Birdsedge village - literally above the village, and in the middle of greenbelt (and on top of a possible Iron Age site). Apparently unbeknownst to us a wind turbine development company has been in discussion with our local council planning office since 2006. Plans have not been submitted yet, but a huge file of correspondence designed to shape the plans into something which will only need rubber-stamping has been sitting in the planning office at Alpha Centauri for four years, in a filing cabinet in a room in the cellar behind a door marked 'Beware of the Leopard' had we but known to go and seek it out.

It seems that these turbines are planned for - almost literally - our back yard.

European guidelines say they should be 2k away from the nearest housing, but having adopted other (stupid) EU regulations, England has not adopted these. The nearest proposed turbine is less than 500 metres from the village housing and is over 125m tall with another 35m of added 'loom-factor' because of the hill. The most distant turbine is barely 900 metres from housing (mine to be precise).

Now, if you'd asked me before I'd done some homework I'd have said I'm all for green energy, but it appears that the pros are small and the cons are large when it come to these particular turbines. With the accent on 'con'. If it wasn't for the subsidies (coming out of your tax money and energy bills) they would not be economically sustainable. But because of the subsidies the turbine operators and the farmers on whose land they are being built stand to make a lot of money - but apparently make much less electricity.

In the recent snow, for instance, the associated low pressure gave us a more-or-less wind-free month when turbines (we already have 13 of them about 2 miles away) were operating at an average of 9% efficiency. Yes - that's right - at peak demand in the coldest weather it's the coal, gas and nuclear power stations that step into the breach. They will always have to be there for just such an eventuality, so more wind turbines doesn't mean fewer conventional power stations at all.

Four turbines almost the height of Blackpool Tower? The visual impact will swamp our village. Added to that (and the existing 13) there are a number of other windfarms due to spring up in the area - with plans having been passed recently in South Yorkshire - just a few miles away.

The low frequency noise from turbines is almost inaudible, but you can feel it in your bones, in your chest and inside your skull. It's the noise that's used in the soundtracks of scary films because it makes you feel - well, scared - i.e. uncomfortable and ill at ease. Imagine living with it 24/7. It can lead to depression, anxiety and a load of other very real health problems. It can't be shut out of houses by double glazing as it passes through the ground and through house walls (and floors) without attenuation. Turbine companies usually measure by meters adjusted to the dBA curve - the sound you can hear - and tend to ignore dBC readings which show up low frequency noise pollution.

The turbines are positioned so that light flicker (the setting sun through the blades at sunset) will affect most of the houses in the village. People in other areas who are living with this say it's like having a car parked with its headlamps facing into your windows turning them off and on, off and on incessantly. This can, of course, trigger migraines and epileptic seizures in the susceptible, not to mention the driving hazards for anyone facing them on the roads at the wrong time of day.

There are lots of other reasons for fighting these turbines. Safety being another consideration. Ice - great big heavy chunks of it - can form on the blades and either drop off if the turbine is static or be flung off at great speed if it's turning. The throw is usually up to 200 metres but can be up to 700 metres in the right wind conditions. (The village school is 600 metres from the nearest turbine.) This is the area that saw snow and ice bring down the Emley Moor TV mast in the late 60s, so it CAN happen here and it has! There's also the danger from debris if a turbine fails (which they do more often than you think.) One of these turbines is right next to the road - a minor road popular with dog-walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and pleasure-walkers. All of them are within 200m of roads.

What's wrong with this picture? Why didn't the planning officers laugh the developers out of town?

Because the rub is that the government has committed (to Europe) to achieve a certain level of power production from green energy by 2020. So Miliband et al. are pushing these things like mad and may even - in specific circumstances ride roughshod over local councils anyway!

From a personal point of view, BB is a) a migraine sufferer and b) a sound engineer who does not want low frequency noise getting into his recordings.

Oh joy.

You don't have to live in the affected area to complain to the council. And some of you reading this have stayed with me in Birdsedge anyway, so you know what an imposition something like this will be on a village like ours. We are told that every individual letter received counts for 250 names on a petition, so if you have time to bang out a letter on our behalf, we would be very grateful. If you go to our website, there's a document telling you who to write to and giving some information to help.

http://www.birdsedge.co.uk/bolt.htm

It's a bit rough and ready because our previous website designer dropped off the committee and I had to knock this one together in a couple of evenings.

If you want to see the potential for accidents, look at this...
jacey: (Default)
Late last year a test mast and anemometer went up in the hill above Birdsedge village - literally above the village, and in the middle of greenbelt (and on top of a possible Iron Age site). Apparently unbeknownst to us a wind turbine development company has been in discussion with our local council planning office since 2006. Plans have not been submitted yet, but a huge file of correspondence designed to shape the plans into something which will only need rubber-stamping has been sitting in the planning office at Alpha Centauri for four years, in a filing cabinet in a room in the cellar behind a door marked 'Beware of the Leopard' had we but known to go and seek it out.

It seems that these turbines are planned for - almost literally - our back yard.

European guidelines say they should be 2k away from the nearest housing, but having adopted other (stupid) EU regulations, England has not adopted these. The nearest proposed turbine is less than 500 metres from the village housing and is over 125m tall with another 35m of added 'loom-factor' because of the hill. The most distant turbine is barely 900 metres from housing (mine to be precise).

Now, if you'd asked me before I'd done some homework I'd have said I'm all for green energy, but it appears that the pros are small and the cons are large when it come to these particular turbines. With the accent on 'con'. If it wasn't for the subsidies (coming out of your tax money and energy bills) they would not be economically sustainable. But because of the subsidies the turbine operators and the farmers on whose land they are being built stand to make a lot of money - but apparently make much less electricity.

In the recent snow, for instance, the associated low pressure gave us a more-or-less wind-free month when turbines (we already have 13 of them about 2 miles away) were operating at an average of 9% efficiency. Yes - that's right - at peak demand in the coldest weather it's the coal, gas and nuclear power stations that step into the breach. They will always have to be there for just such an eventuality, so more wind turbines doesn't mean fewer conventional power stations at all.

Four turbines almost the height of Blackpool Tower? The visual impact will swamp our village. Added to that (and the existing 13) there are a number of other windfarms due to spring up in the area - with plans having been passed recently in South Yorkshire - just a few miles away.

The low frequency noise from turbines is almost inaudible, but you can feel it in your bones, in your chest and inside your skull. It's the noise that's used in the soundtracks of scary films because it makes you feel - well, scared - i.e. uncomfortable and ill at ease. Imagine living with it 24/7. It can lead to depression, anxiety and a load of other very real health problems. It can't be shut out of houses by double glazing as it passes through the ground and through house walls (and floors) without attenuation. Turbine companies usually measure by meters adjusted to the dBA curve - the sound you can hear - and tend to ignore dBC readings which show up low frequency noise pollution.

The turbines are positioned so that light flicker (the setting sun through the blades at sunset) will affect most of the houses in the village. People in other areas who are living with this say it's like having a car parked with its headlamps facing into your windows turning them off and on, off and on incessantly. This can, of course, trigger migraines and epileptic seizures in the susceptible, not to mention the driving hazards for anyone facing them on the roads at the wrong time of day.

There are lots of other reasons for fighting these turbines. Safety being another consideration. Ice - great big heavy chunks of it - can form on the blades and either drop off if the turbine is static or be flung off at great speed if it's turning. The throw is usually up to 200 metres but can be up to 700 metres in the right wind conditions. (The village school is 600 metres from the nearest turbine.) This is the area that saw snow and ice bring down the Emley Moor TV mast in the late 60s, so it CAN happen here and it has! There's also the danger from debris if a turbine fails (which they do more often than you think.) One of these turbines is right next to the road - a minor road popular with dog-walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and pleasure-walkers. All of them are within 200m of roads.

What's wrong with this picture? Why didn't the planning officers laugh the developers out of town?

Because the rub is that the government has committed (to Europe) to achieve a certain level of power production from green energy by 2020. So Miliband et al. are pushing these things like mad and may even - in specific circumstances ride roughshod over local councils anyway!

From a personal point of view, BB is a) a migraine sufferer and b) a sound engineer who does not want low frequency noise getting into his recordings.

Oh joy.

You don't have to live in the affected area to complain to the council. And some of you reading this have stayed with me in Birdsedge anyway, so you know what an imposition something like this will be on a village like ours. We are told that every individual letter received counts for 250 names on a petition, so if you have time to bang out a letter on our behalf, we would be very grateful. If you go to our website, there's a document telling you who to write to and giving some information to help.

http://www.birdsedge.co.uk/bolt.htm

It's a bit rough and ready because our previous website designer dropped off the committee and I had to knock this one together in a couple of evenings.

If you want to see the potential for accidents, look at this...
jacey: (Default)


Just for the record, it's was lovely clean crisp snow this morning. BB went out and cleared the front path and even managed to get one car door open (the passenger one, unfortunately) but now it's snowing again and the cleared path is white again, so time for another cup of tea.



jacey: (Default)


Just for the record, it's was lovely clean crisp snow this morning. BB went out and cleared the front path and even managed to get one car door open (the passenger one, unfortunately) but now it's snowing again and the cleared path is white again, so time for another cup of tea.



jacey: (Default)
Birdsedge Village Festival.

Every year I think, "This will be my last year as Artistic Director. Someone else can book the acts for the blooming thing!" And then I get suckered into doing it again... and again.... Just sometimes you know why you do a job that takes much of your time, some of your money and most of your energy, because sometimes it all goes right. Such was Saturday!

The forecast pelting rain held off until 9.00 p.m.on Saturday night by which time we'd had a hugely successful event. Bright weather with occasional overcast skies brought out loads of people to the festival field (more than ever, I think) and we got lots of compliments and very few grumbles. There was a constant crowd around the main ring for the outdoor events. We had the Green Howards (redcoat military reenactors), three dance teams (Appalachian, Sword and Clog and Garland dancers), The Jolly Jester children's entertainer and The Mighty Zulu Nation. Plus craft stalls, games and general fundraising stuff like cake-stalls and tombolas. There was a bouncy castle for the kids and a beat the goalie for all ages. St John Ambulance reported that they had no work to do - not even a grazed knee or a cut finger - which is exactly as we like it.

The Mighty Zulu Nation danced and sang:


Music in the Marquee included the dynamic Canadian singer Cara Luft


And Tanglefoot pulled us a full house for the Saturday evening concert - their last northern gig.


And now I'd like to sleep for a week, please.

jacey: (Default)
Birdsedge Village Festival.

Every year I think, "This will be my last year as Artistic Director. Someone else can book the acts for the blooming thing!" And then I get suckered into doing it again... and again.... Just sometimes you know why you do a job that takes much of your time, some of your money and most of your energy, because sometimes it all goes right. Such was Saturday!

The forecast pelting rain held off until 9.00 p.m.on Saturday night by which time we'd had a hugely successful event. Bright weather with occasional overcast skies brought out loads of people to the festival field (more than ever, I think) and we got lots of compliments and very few grumbles. There was a constant crowd around the main ring for the outdoor events. We had the Green Howards (redcoat military reenactors), three dance teams (Appalachian, Sword and Clog and Garland dancers), The Jolly Jester children's entertainer and The Mighty Zulu Nation. Plus craft stalls, games and general fundraising stuff like cake-stalls and tombolas. There was a bouncy castle for the kids and a beat the goalie for all ages. St John Ambulance reported that they had no work to do - not even a grazed knee or a cut finger - which is exactly as we like it.

The Mighty Zulu Nation danced and sang:


Music in the Marquee included the dynamic Canadian singer Cara Luft


And Tanglefoot pulled us a full house for the Saturday evening concert - their last northern gig.


And now I'd like to sleep for a week, please.

jacey: (Default)
Friday night festival performers - Frumptarn Guggenband.
Perfect beer festival guests. Loud, Fun. Thirsty.


jacey: (Default)
Friday night festival performers - Frumptarn Guggenband.
Perfect beer festival guests. Loud, Fun. Thirsty.


jacey: (Default)
A success. Just home. Need big cup of tea and 8 hours sleep - in that order. Everyone had fun. Tonight was specifically the beerfest and many beer drinkers turned up. Much fun and entertainment from Frumptarn Guggenband and from Harry Rowland. BB is down on the field overnight. Having set up the PA he's got to stay with it, so he's sleeping on the stage - in a tent. Brrr!
jacey: (Default)
A success. Just home. Need big cup of tea and 8 hours sleep - in that order. Everyone had fun. Tonight was specifically the beerfest and many beer drinkers turned up. Much fun and entertainment from Frumptarn Guggenband and from Harry Rowland. BB is down on the field overnight. Having set up the PA he's got to stay with it, so he's sleeping on the stage - in a tent. Brrr!

Festival

Jul. 10th, 2009 04:53 pm
jacey: (Default)
Here. Now. Today. Starts in an hour or two. I could have been down on the field all day putting up tents and stuff but the phone has been going mad and it seems like I'm the only person anchoring it. Field the phone call from BB: 'Why has the stage not arrived?' I pass the buck to Bob: 'It'll be here before eleven.' (Which of course, it wasn't.) HS: Where are the rest of the stillage frames for the beer? ' Me: 'I'll phone Rich and find out.' (No answer from his mobile or landline.) BB: 'When Bob phones the marquee company about the stage can you ask him to ask them why there's no door canvas in the foorway? We can't close it up.' Bob:'Yeah they know about that - it's coming with the stage.'

I'm also still phoning people for promised mobile numbers for the emergency contact list but no one is in. Woman: 'Are there any tickets left for Tanglefoot on Saturday?' Man: I accidentally bought two tickets more than I need, can I get a refund?' Task force parent: 'Sorry James isn't coming he's going to Birmingham with the school band.'

Oh great.

Anyway, ready or not doors open in two hours. I'm taking yesterdays batch of cakes (6 cakes, 4 tray bakes and 24 buns), leaving the phone and heading for the field.
www.birdsedgevillagefestival.org

Festival

Jul. 10th, 2009 04:53 pm
jacey: (Default)
Here. Now. Today. Starts in an hour or two. I could have been down on the field all day putting up tents and stuff but the phone has been going mad and it seems like I'm the only person anchoring it. Field the phone call from BB: 'Why has the stage not arrived?' I pass the buck to Bob: 'It'll be here before eleven.' (Which of course, it wasn't.) HS: Where are the rest of the stillage frames for the beer? ' Me: 'I'll phone Rich and find out.' (No answer from his mobile or landline.) BB: 'When Bob phones the marquee company about the stage can you ask him to ask them why there's no door canvas in the foorway? We can't close it up.' Bob:'Yeah they know about that - it's coming with the stage.'

I'm also still phoning people for promised mobile numbers for the emergency contact list but no one is in. Woman: 'Are there any tickets left for Tanglefoot on Saturday?' Man: I accidentally bought two tickets more than I need, can I get a refund?' Task force parent: 'Sorry James isn't coming he's going to Birmingham with the school band.'

Oh great.

Anyway, ready or not doors open in two hours. I'm taking yesterdays batch of cakes (6 cakes, 4 tray bakes and 24 buns), leaving the phone and heading for the field.
www.birdsedgevillagefestival.org

jacey: (Default)
Just spent all day at the village hall doing food for various functions. Am now officially braindead. This is just about my level. Hope it puts a smile on your face, too.

http://www.elwp.com/Joe%20Cocker.html
jacey: (Default)
Just spent all day at the village hall doing food for various functions. Am now officially braindead. This is just about my level. Hope it puts a smile on your face, too.

http://www.elwp.com/Joe%20Cocker.html

What a Week

May. 1st, 2009 08:22 pm
jacey: (Default)
I've probably blogged about our village hall before. For the last seven months it's been closed for renovations - actually more a complete rebuild. Only three of the previous walls still exist and they've been wrapped around completely by extensions. Instead of a hall that measures only 15 ft wide by 45 ft long we now have a space 25 ft wide by 45 ft long with more natural light coming into it. In addition we have new loos, including facilities for the disabed, a pair of outdoor store rooms, a new small meeting room and bar area, an upstairs office and store and a whopping great commerical quality kitchen that just scored 30/30 on its hygiene test. The whole thing has been done with the aid of a Big Lottery Fund grant and several smaller grants and in total cost about £360,000.

It's been a dream for ten years. For the last three years it's been a project and with the commencement of building work it became a nightmare. However today it became a reality.

We are now open for business.

http://www.birdsedgevillagehall.co.uk - No new pics up there yet (just the old hall) but new pics coming soon.

And that's what I've been doing for the wnole of the last week or two: painting, cleaning, tidying, shopping for coffeemakers (and coffee) and (today) making the buffet for the opening party and chatting up the mayor and the grant fuinders. Tomorrow we open our doors to the public for an open day. More buffet-food to make and more making nice wioth folks who may well say: I wouldn't have done that if I were you...

Thankfully the comments today were full of phrases like: 'Marvellous,' and 'I wouldn't have recognised the old place,' and, 'What a difference. Brilliant!'

We are mightily pleased.

What a Week

May. 1st, 2009 08:22 pm
jacey: (Default)
I've probably blogged about our village hall before. For the last seven months it's been closed for renovations - actually more a complete rebuild. Only three of the previous walls still exist and they've been wrapped around completely by extensions. Instead of a hall that measures only 15 ft wide by 45 ft long we now have a space 25 ft wide by 45 ft long with more natural light coming into it. In addition we have new loos, including facilities for the disabed, a pair of outdoor store rooms, a new small meeting room and bar area, an upstairs office and store and a whopping great commerical quality kitchen that just scored 30/30 on its hygiene test. The whole thing has been done with the aid of a Big Lottery Fund grant and several smaller grants and in total cost about £360,000.

It's been a dream for ten years. For the last three years it's been a project and with the commencement of building work it became a nightmare. However today it became a reality.

We are now open for business.

http://www.birdsedgevillagehall.co.uk - No new pics up there yet (just the old hall) but new pics coming soon.

And that's what I've been doing for the wnole of the last week or two: painting, cleaning, tidying, shopping for coffeemakers (and coffee) and (today) making the buffet for the opening party and chatting up the mayor and the grant fuinders. Tomorrow we open our doors to the public for an open day. More buffet-food to make and more making nice wioth folks who may well say: I wouldn't have done that if I were you...

Thankfully the comments today were full of phrases like: 'Marvellous,' and 'I wouldn't have recognised the old place,' and, 'What a difference. Brilliant!'

We are mightily pleased.

jacey: (Default)
I've organised a concert tonight with the excellent Canadian performer Dan McKinnon. Venue: our house.

That may seem a little weird to those of you who aren't familiar with the folk scene but houseconcerts are an important part of the circuit in the USA and Canada. People literally book a performer, invite a load of friends who 'make a donation' instead of paying a ticket price (that means you're not turning your house into a venue as it remains - technically - a private party). They give the whole of the proceeds to the performer and also provide them with a meal and a place to stay overnight. It's a sensible filler for performers on tour and far from home. And it's a lovely experience for the audience to get so up-close-and-personal to great performers and also to socialise with them.

I hadn't intended tonight's concert to be a houseconcert, however...

We're in a state of limbo with the folkish concert series I run at Birdsedge Village Hall. I had six concerts booked before we got notification that we'd got a grant to refurbish the hall, so I arranged temporary accommodation for the concerts up at the church hall, just a few hundred yards away from the Village Hall. It's a slightly smaller venue, but quite a pleasant room. The only disadvantage is that being a Methodist church we can't have a bar in there and can't offer our patrons the option of bringing in their own beer. (I'm a bit cross about the latter because the church body seems to make exceptions for the art group who have wine at their showings - but one of the main churchies is on the art group committee - go figure!)

Whether it's the church thing or the beer thing that's putting them off or whether people just don't like change - my ticket sales have not only slumped, they've dropped out of sight. (Or maybe people are really believing the credit crunch to the extent they've pulled up their own personal drawbridges.) When we sell out (which we do about twice a year for certain artists) we sell 100 tickets. I reckon on a good day we generally get sixty to seventy people to our concerts. On a bad day I'd say the turnout is about thirty and we can manage on that if we have to as long as the artist is not too expensive... but the September concert pulled in just 17 people and the advance ticket sales for tonight are just 13. Yes THIRTEEN. I'm gutted.

And that's why I've moved the venue to our house. At least we won't have to pay rent on the hall and I can easily seat twenty five people in my living room in relative comfort. (Thirty at a push.) It means I won't be paying out of my own pocket to stage the event and the performer gets 100% of the 'donations.' It also means the Village Hall doesn't make anything on the catering but - hey - I can live with that, especially since none of them ever buys a ticket.

And the performer, Dan McKinnon, is great! I mean GREAT. He's got a voice that just melts you instantly and has been described by other Canadian performers as 'the best voice in Canada'. He writes intelligent, engaging songs and he also does brilliant interpretations of Stan Rogers' songs - whom he resembles vocally. (Stan being the great Canadian songwriting hero, writer of 'Mary Ellen Carter' and 'The Lock Keeper' who died tragically young in 1983). He's also a charming chap - very likeable both on stage and off.

I don't think it's the performers that are putting people off... and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. So where's my audience? At the end of the day I have to ask myself if I can continue. I run these concerts to a) contribute to the Village Hall's fundraising and b) provide another venue on the circuit for touring musicians. I don't actually make anything out of them for myself and they're a certain amount of hard work. (Mailshots, both paper and electronic, designing advertising, remembering to meet advertising deadlines, sending promo to newspapers, taking ticket orders and posting them out, plus all the stuff on the day like setting out chairs, arranging the stage, doing PA (Best Beloved's job) and helping to clean up and wash up afterwards.)

Our first ever concert in the Village Hall was in 1983 and for 25 years we've been working in less than ideal conditions in a scruffy old hall which was not perfect for our purpose. Now at last we're going to have a shiny new refurbished hall and I'm seriously doubting whether I'll still be able to run a concert series in it. Without an audience a concert is just an expensive rehearsal.

jacey: (Default)
I've organised a concert tonight with the excellent Canadian performer Dan McKinnon. Venue: our house.

That may seem a little weird to those of you who aren't familiar with the folk scene but houseconcerts are an important part of the circuit in the USA and Canada. People literally book a performer, invite a load of friends who 'make a donation' instead of paying a ticket price (that means you're not turning your house into a venue as it remains - technically - a private party). They give the whole of the proceeds to the performer and also provide them with a meal and a place to stay overnight. It's a sensible filler for performers on tour and far from home. And it's a lovely experience for the audience to get so up-close-and-personal to great performers and also to socialise with them.

I hadn't intended tonight's concert to be a houseconcert, however...

We're in a state of limbo with the folkish concert series I run at Birdsedge Village Hall. I had six concerts booked before we got notification that we'd got a grant to refurbish the hall, so I arranged temporary accommodation for the concerts up at the church hall, just a few hundred yards away from the Village Hall. It's a slightly smaller venue, but quite a pleasant room. The only disadvantage is that being a Methodist church we can't have a bar in there and can't offer our patrons the option of bringing in their own beer. (I'm a bit cross about the latter because the church body seems to make exceptions for the art group who have wine at their showings - but one of the main churchies is on the art group committee - go figure!)

Whether it's the church thing or the beer thing that's putting them off or whether people just don't like change - my ticket sales have not only slumped, they've dropped out of sight. (Or maybe people are really believing the credit crunch to the extent they've pulled up their own personal drawbridges.) When we sell out (which we do about twice a year for certain artists) we sell 100 tickets. I reckon on a good day we generally get sixty to seventy people to our concerts. On a bad day I'd say the turnout is about thirty and we can manage on that if we have to as long as the artist is not too expensive... but the September concert pulled in just 17 people and the advance ticket sales for tonight are just 13. Yes THIRTEEN. I'm gutted.

And that's why I've moved the venue to our house. At least we won't have to pay rent on the hall and I can easily seat twenty five people in my living room in relative comfort. (Thirty at a push.) It means I won't be paying out of my own pocket to stage the event and the performer gets 100% of the 'donations.' It also means the Village Hall doesn't make anything on the catering but - hey - I can live with that, especially since none of them ever buys a ticket.

And the performer, Dan McKinnon, is great! I mean GREAT. He's got a voice that just melts you instantly and has been described by other Canadian performers as 'the best voice in Canada'. He writes intelligent, engaging songs and he also does brilliant interpretations of Stan Rogers' songs - whom he resembles vocally. (Stan being the great Canadian songwriting hero, writer of 'Mary Ellen Carter' and 'The Lock Keeper' who died tragically young in 1983). He's also a charming chap - very likeable both on stage and off.

I don't think it's the performers that are putting people off... and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. So where's my audience? At the end of the day I have to ask myself if I can continue. I run these concerts to a) contribute to the Village Hall's fundraising and b) provide another venue on the circuit for touring musicians. I don't actually make anything out of them for myself and they're a certain amount of hard work. (Mailshots, both paper and electronic, designing advertising, remembering to meet advertising deadlines, sending promo to newspapers, taking ticket orders and posting them out, plus all the stuff on the day like setting out chairs, arranging the stage, doing PA (Best Beloved's job) and helping to clean up and wash up afterwards.)

Our first ever concert in the Village Hall was in 1983 and for 25 years we've been working in less than ideal conditions in a scruffy old hall which was not perfect for our purpose. Now at last we're going to have a shiny new refurbished hall and I'm seriously doubting whether I'll still be able to run a concert series in it. Without an audience a concert is just an expensive rehearsal.

jacey: (Default)
If I've been quiet for the last week or two it's because as one of the festival organisers I've been running round like a blue-arsed whatsit, helping to get everything ready for Birdsedge's biggest event of the year. A Friday rock concert (a Springsteen tribute band this year); followed by a family fun day and evening folk concert; followed by a children's day including family singing workshops and our musical youth competition.

I think it went well. Friday night absolutely pissed it down and Saturday had one dodgy moment when it looked like rain would set in, but it didn't. It was cold though, and quite blustery. If the weather had been kinder we might have made more profit, but as it turned out I don't think we did too badly, though we haven't got the figures yet. When we take the bar profits into consideration I think we'll have made t least two thousand quid for the Village Hall (hopefully more).

But... I'm knackered.

And Best Beloved looks as though he needs to sleep for a week.
jacey: (Default)
If I've been quiet for the last week or two it's because as one of the festival organisers I've been running round like a blue-arsed whatsit, helping to get everything ready for Birdsedge's biggest event of the year. A Friday rock concert (a Springsteen tribute band this year); followed by a family fun day and evening folk concert; followed by a children's day including family singing workshops and our musical youth competition.

I think it went well. Friday night absolutely pissed it down and Saturday had one dodgy moment when it looked like rain would set in, but it didn't. It was cold though, and quite blustery. If the weather had been kinder we might have made more profit, but as it turned out I don't think we did too badly, though we haven't got the figures yet. When we take the bar profits into consideration I think we'll have made t least two thousand quid for the Village Hall (hopefully more).

But... I'm knackered.

And Best Beloved looks as though he needs to sleep for a week.

£235,000

Jun. 4th, 2008 09:53 pm
jacey: (Default)
No, I haven't got a book deal to end all book deals, (I wish), but I (and two other team members of our village hall committee) have got a BIG Lotter Fund Grant for our Village Hall. We've been workng on this for the last ten years (and the last three years really seriously) and at last all out hard work has come good.

We start in September on our quarter million pound project to renovate and extend Birdsedge Village Hall

How cool is that!

We still have £50,000 to raise in goods or in kind but we're already part way towards this. If anyone wants to contribute cash or services, just yell.
:-)

£235,000

Jun. 4th, 2008 09:53 pm
jacey: (Default)
No, I haven't got a book deal to end all book deals, (I wish), but I (and two other team members of our village hall committee) have got a BIG Lotter Fund Grant for our Village Hall. We've been workng on this for the last ten years (and the last three years really seriously) and at last all out hard work has come good.

We start in September on our quarter million pound project to renovate and extend Birdsedge Village Hall

How cool is that!

We still have £50,000 to raise in goods or in kind but we're already part way towards this. If anyone wants to contribute cash or services, just yell.
:-)
jacey: (Default)
[personal profile] maeve_the_red and D are visiting this weekend, so not much time for posting. We're having a lovely time talking writing... well, talking anything actually... and eating and drinking.

 We went for a walk down into the the bluebell wood this morning (the longest walk I've been on in years) and though my feet are protesting, we had a lovely time and I managed to get a few snaps (nothing fancy). My little camera is an old Fuji Finepix 50i if anyone is counting. Very low tech and portable. It's been way superseded by better cameras for a quarter of the price but I'm still very fond of it.

The wood just below Birdsedge is deeply bisected by the embryonic River Dearne before it gets to South Yorkshire and becomes all industrial.


Here's [personal profile] maeve_the_red and Best Beloved hanging about waiting for D and I who were dawdling behind.


The bluebells are gorgeous at this time of year


Though the wood is pretty damn fine splendid at any time of year.


Tomorrow we are heading north, possibly to see Fountains Abbey, but our ultimate destination is the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond to see Tanglefoot in concert. Whoo-hoo. We got the last tickets in the place. That's the advantage of being Tanglefoot's UK management. We've got the two company seats in the pit  which [personal profile] maeve_the_red and D can have and I'll be up in the gods, almost clinging to the outside of the lighting box.
jacey: (Default)
[personal profile] maeve_the_red and D are visiting this weekend, so not much time for posting. We're having a lovely time talking writing... well, talking anything actually... and eating and drinking.

 We went for a walk down into the the bluebell wood this morning (the longest walk I've been on in years) and though my feet are protesting, we had a lovely time and I managed to get a few snaps (nothing fancy). My little camera is an old Fuji Finepix 50i if anyone is counting. Very low tech and portable. It's been way superseded by better cameras for a quarter of the price but I'm still very fond of it.

The wood just below Birdsedge is deeply bisected by the embryonic River Dearne before it gets to South Yorkshire and becomes all industrial.


Here's [personal profile] maeve_the_red and Best Beloved hanging about waiting for D and I who were dawdling behind.


The bluebells are gorgeous at this time of year


Though the wood is pretty damn fine splendid at any time of year.


Tomorrow we are heading north, possibly to see Fountains Abbey, but our ultimate destination is the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond to see Tanglefoot in concert. Whoo-hoo. We got the last tickets in the place. That's the advantage of being Tanglefoot's UK management. We've got the two company seats in the pit  which [personal profile] maeve_the_red and D can have and I'll be up in the gods, almost clinging to the outside of the lighting box.
jacey: (horseface)
So it's like this... Until eight years ago there used to be a post office and general store in the village. In fact, once upon a time, a long long time ago, yours truly was the village postmistress and grocer. I ran it for 4 years while my kids were tiny and in 1984 I decided I wanted to play at something else and sold the business to a lady who used to work for me. Then I ran away (metaphorically speaking) to join a folk trio. Ex-assistant ran it very well for six years, then sold it on to a chap who sank his redundancy pay from an engineering job into it, struggled with it for ten years, but eventually ran it into the ground by the sheer force of his er... personality. (ME: Have you got [item of shopping]. HIM: I've no call for that! ME: You obviously have because I'm asking for it. HIM: Hrmph!)

The building (still ours) is currently in a state of limbo. (OK, we use it to store junk, okay?)

So when we had a village post office it didn't matter that the postbox was a piddly little thing because anyone with big packages to post could just bring them into the shop to have them handed to the postie in the afternoon collection.

But now we don't have a PO in the village our postbox is still a piddly little thing. The aperture is too small to take a standard A4 letter.

When the Royal Mail charges me extra for an A4 letter regardless of its weight, I do believe they should provide me with somewhere to post said letter without having to get the car out and drive to the next village. The aperture on the current village box it too damn small to take an A4 envelope without folding it. (And if i could fold the contents I'd be sending it in A5 because it's cheaper, dammit!)
Park head Postbox
jacey: (horseface)
So it's like this... Until eight years ago there used to be a post office and general store in the village. In fact, once upon a time, a long long time ago, yours truly was the village postmistress and grocer. I ran it for 4 years while my kids were tiny and in 1984 I decided I wanted to play at something else and sold the business to a lady who used to work for me. Then I ran away (metaphorically speaking) to join a folk trio. Ex-assistant ran it very well for six years, then sold it on to a chap who sank his redundancy pay from an engineering job into it, struggled with it for ten years, but eventually ran it into the ground by the sheer force of his er... personality. (ME: Have you got [item of shopping]. HIM: I've no call for that! ME: You obviously have because I'm asking for it. HIM: Hrmph!)

The building (still ours) is currently in a state of limbo. (OK, we use it to store junk, okay?)

So when we had a village post office it didn't matter that the postbox was a piddly little thing because anyone with big packages to post could just bring them into the shop to have them handed to the postie in the afternoon collection.

But now we don't have a PO in the village our postbox is still a piddly little thing. The aperture is too small to take a standard A4 letter.

When the Royal Mail charges me extra for an A4 letter regardless of its weight, I do believe they should provide me with somewhere to post said letter without having to get the car out and drive to the next village. The aperture on the current village box it too damn small to take an A4 envelope without folding it. (And if i could fold the contents I'd be sending it in A5 because it's cheaper, dammit!)
Park head Postbox
jacey: (Default)
Just back from the village hall and possibly our most successful Quiz Night ever with about sixty people there (including kids). I thought we were going to run out of food - but we didn't, however out of everything i took I only brought 2 choc. cheesecake muffin things back.

Didn't win the quiz, though. It was sport-heavy and I'm rubbish at sport. My answer is always Terry Venables on the understanding that one day I'll get it right. Unfortunately the only time Terry Venables was the correct answer I put something different...

brownnicky thinks I'm on extra strong coffee already so i hardly dare say I forgot to to include something in my list of things done today... I stripped the wallpaper in the bathroom this afternoon between making the cakes and getting the gigs.
:-)
That sounds totally super-mumish, but in fact the wallpaper was only holding on by willpower, so it took about five minutes. All I had to do was grab a corner and pull. I've been dying to do it for ages. I figure that now I've stripped the paper off, Best Beloved may do as he has promised and finish the boxing-in around the bath and the shower and we might actually decorate in there. (Lord knows, it needs it!)
jacey: (Default)
Just back from the village hall and possibly our most successful Quiz Night ever with about sixty people there (including kids). I thought we were going to run out of food - but we didn't, however out of everything i took I only brought 2 choc. cheesecake muffin things back.

Didn't win the quiz, though. It was sport-heavy and I'm rubbish at sport. My answer is always Terry Venables on the understanding that one day I'll get it right. Unfortunately the only time Terry Venables was the correct answer I put something different...

brownnicky thinks I'm on extra strong coffee already so i hardly dare say I forgot to to include something in my list of things done today... I stripped the wallpaper in the bathroom this afternoon between making the cakes and getting the gigs.
:-)
That sounds totally super-mumish, but in fact the wallpaper was only holding on by willpower, so it took about five minutes. All I had to do was grab a corner and pull. I've been dying to do it for ages. I figure that now I've stripped the paper off, Best Beloved may do as he has promised and finish the boxing-in around the bath and the shower and we might actually decorate in there. (Lord knows, it needs it!)
jacey: (Default)
Late last night...
Finished the first run through the magic pirate adventure quest novel following [profile] brownnicky's hugely fast beta read of the first draft and a few of her comments that made me go duh-oh, of course. It didn't change too much, just pinned down mommy-dearest in the grand scheme of things and added one somewhat raunchy scene in which our heroine gets to grips with rival Pirate Gentleman Jim Anderton. (And yest I do mean 'gets to grip with'... though it's coitus very much interruptus... the earth moves too soon - helped by explosives.) Have sent the Beta Two version to [profile] bluehairsue since I doubt she'll have started on Beta One (waves to Sue) while on her ski-trip.

There are still things to alter and beef up following [profile] brownnicky's extremely helpful comments, but I'm going to wait for my other two beta readers before going any further.

Staring this morning...
* Dashed down to Morrison's for ingredients
* Made two huge pots of curry - enough to feed 30 people. One Korma and one Madras. It's my turn to cater for the Quiz Night down at the village hall tonight. Curry in quantity holds no fears for me.
* Made two chocolate wacky cakes (24 portions - for above event)
* Made 12 chocolate cheesecake muffins (as above)
* Did the graphics for a full page, full colour ad in a national music magazine (fiddly and time consuming but rewarding)
* Confirmed four gigs for touring artists

Right, OK... I'm out of time. I'm off down to the village hall now. Hope I get the several gallons of curry there without slopping them over the boot of the car. Post Office elastic bands are my friend. I haven't even given a thought to answering the quiz questions. I think my brain has possibly died of curry. I always join a different quiz team since I'm a floating committee person and can generally be relied upon to get a decent percentage of questions right.
jacey: (Default)
Late last night...
Finished the first run through the magic pirate adventure quest novel following [profile] brownnicky's hugely fast beta read of the first draft and a few of her comments that made me go duh-oh, of course. It didn't change too much, just pinned down mommy-dearest in the grand scheme of things and added one somewhat raunchy scene in which our heroine gets to grips with rival Pirate Gentleman Jim Anderton. (And yest I do mean 'gets to grip with'... though it's coitus very much interruptus... the earth moves too soon - helped by explosives.) Have sent the Beta Two version to [profile] bluehairsue since I doubt she'll have started on Beta One (waves to Sue) while on her ski-trip.

There are still things to alter and beef up following [profile] brownnicky's extremely helpful comments, but I'm going to wait for my other two beta readers before going any further.

Staring this morning...
* Dashed down to Morrison's for ingredients
* Made two huge pots of curry - enough to feed 30 people. One Korma and one Madras. It's my turn to cater for the Quiz Night down at the village hall tonight. Curry in quantity holds no fears for me.
* Made two chocolate wacky cakes (24 portions - for above event)
* Made 12 chocolate cheesecake muffins (as above)
* Did the graphics for a full page, full colour ad in a national music magazine (fiddly and time consuming but rewarding)
* Confirmed four gigs for touring artists

Right, OK... I'm out of time. I'm off down to the village hall now. Hope I get the several gallons of curry there without slopping them over the boot of the car. Post Office elastic bands are my friend. I haven't even given a thought to answering the quiz questions. I think my brain has possibly died of curry. I always join a different quiz team since I'm a floating committee person and can generally be relied upon to get a decent percentage of questions right.

More Music

Feb. 23rd, 2008 11:47 am
jacey: (Cromer04)
We have Roger Davies, a young Huddersfield singer songwriter playing at Birdsedge Village Hall tonight. Tickets are selling well. He seems to have a good local following. Anyone who can write a song about Huddersfield without making me want to gag gets my vote. Having lived with Best Beloved's songwriting habit, I thoroughly appreciate that it's not what you write that matters, but what you keep out of what you write.

More Music

Feb. 23rd, 2008 11:47 am
jacey: (Cromer04)
We have Roger Davies, a young Huddersfield singer songwriter playing at Birdsedge Village Hall tonight. Tickets are selling well. He seems to have a good local following. Anyone who can write a song about Huddersfield without making me want to gag gets my vote. Having lived with Best Beloved's songwriting habit, I thoroughly appreciate that it's not what you write that matters, but what you keep out of what you write.
jacey: (blue eyes)
Not like me at all, but this morning I was up at 7.15 and by 8.00 I was walking up the lane with my camera. [personal profile] heleninwales is a bad influence on me, obviously.Park Head lane

There was such a heavy frost that all the trees were sugar-sprinkled and sparkling in the early light.

Our road dwindles into a farm track. Once upon a time, before Blind Jack of Knaresborough built our turnpike road, this was the main road from Denby to Holmfirth and on mornings like this you can still see ghosts of farm carts and the occasional mail coach.



Frozen DaffiesI've been amazed by tales of [personal profile] mevennen's daffodils. This is why we don't have daffodils yet. the poor little things are struggling against hard frosts. They've barely stuck their heads above the ground.
jacey: (blue eyes)
Not like me at all, but this morning I was up at 7.15 and by 8.00 I was walking up the lane with my camera. [personal profile] heleninwales is a bad influence on me, obviously.Park Head lane

There was such a heavy frost that all the trees were sugar-sprinkled and sparkling in the early light.

Our road dwindles into a farm track. Once upon a time, before Blind Jack of Knaresborough built our turnpike road, this was the main road from Denby to Holmfirth and on mornings like this you can still see ghosts of farm carts and the occasional mail coach.



Frozen DaffiesI've been amazed by tales of [personal profile] mevennen's daffodils. This is why we don't have daffodils yet. the poor little things are struggling against hard frosts. They've barely stuck their heads above the ground.
jacey: (Default)
I'm impressed, [info]mevennen has been gardening. In January.

Here in Birdsedge (yes it's the place I live not just my LJ name) it is snowing. Heavy snow and winds are forecast for this weekend which means pull up the drawbridge and put the kettle on. It doesn't get too bad up here now, but it used to be interesting in winter when we first moved here in 1980.

Winters in recent years have been relatively mild, but we should always remmeber that we are a thousand feet above sea level. it can still get tricky. It's not just the cold or the snow or the wind, it's the combination that gives us most problems.

snow shovelling This is Birdsedge winter as it used to be. Number One Son is shovelling a path from the front door to the road.

Have the weather forecasters got it right this time? This morning we had thunder, hail and snow, leaving a thin white coating on the ground, which is sticking obstinately... A portent of things to come, maybe. I actually miss having occasional bouts of heavy snow. Of course, Best beloved and I both work from home so we don't have to dig out the car to get to work like some of our neighbours do.
jacey: (Default)
I'm impressed, [info]mevennen has been gardening. In January.

Here in Birdsedge (yes it's the place I live not just my LJ name) it is snowing. Heavy snow and winds are forecast for this weekend which means pull up the drawbridge and put the kettle on. It doesn't get too bad up here now, but it used to be interesting in winter when we first moved here in 1980.

Winters in recent years have been relatively mild, but we should always remmeber that we are a thousand feet above sea level. it can still get tricky. It's not just the cold or the snow or the wind, it's the combination that gives us most problems.

snow shovelling This is Birdsedge winter as it used to be. Number One Son is shovelling a path from the front door to the road.

Have the weather forecasters got it right this time? This morning we had thunder, hail and snow, leaving a thin white coating on the ground, which is sticking obstinately... A portent of things to come, maybe. I actually miss having occasional bouts of heavy snow. Of course, Best beloved and I both work from home so we don't have to dig out the car to get to work like some of our neighbours do.
jacey: (Cromer04)
I'm going down to the Village Hall again tonight, this time to see the lovely Liverpool-Irish singer-songwriter Anthony John Clarke. He writes lovely intelligent songs and delivers them with a nice dollop of humour.

I've been organising concerts at our local hall for the best part of twenty five years, but over the last few years our audiences have started to decline slowly. I don't think we're upsetting them with anything specific, they just reduce by natural attrition. It's only when we get a big name guest like John Tams or Vin Garbutt that we have a full house, these days.

Maybe it's time to stop doing the events, but that seems like giving in and I don't do that so easily.
Birdsedge Live
jacey: (Cromer04)
I'm going down to the Village Hall again tonight, this time to see the lovely Liverpool-Irish singer-songwriter Anthony John Clarke. He writes lovely intelligent songs and delivers them with a nice dollop of humour.

I've been organising concerts at our local hall for the best part of twenty five years, but over the last few years our audiences have started to decline slowly. I don't think we're upsetting them with anything specific, they just reduce by natural attrition. It's only when we get a big name guest like John Tams or Vin Garbutt that we have a full house, these days.

Maybe it's time to stop doing the events, but that seems like giving in and I don't do that so easily.
Birdsedge Live

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