It was raining hard when I got up. I’d had to move out of my third floor apartment because it had been rented for the weekend. So I had moved everything from my space into the spare bedroom which had a lovely view right out onto the canal. Nicola had spent a long time time night helping me book my train ticket to Aberdeen. I’d had the same difficulty last year when trying to book a train to Edinburgh but we had eventually sorted it out, so first thing this morning was a trip to the station with Nicola to obtain my ticket from the machine. Hey, it worked!

For the first weekend on my trip I had nothing planned. I looked to see what was on in Bradford, Ilkley, Leeds etc but eventually I decided on calling Jean who had mentioned that she was going to a brass band at a church on Saturday afternoon. I called her and she invited me to meet with her and her friend Katrina who was visiting from Stockport. Katrina had been born and raised in Sowerby but had moved to the Manchester area when she was seven. She has strong feeling that she would like to move back to the area, so we had lots in common. I took the train to Sowerby Bridge, had tea and crumpets in Gabriel’s cafe and the caught the bus which struggled to get to the top of Sowerby. I spent half an hour looking for graves of Barracloughs in St Peter’s churchyard and easily found three memorials. I’ll have to do a lot of work to find out if I was related to any of them.

IMG_2601I met Jean and Katrina and we walked along the top road to Steep Lane chapel, the baptist church of Sowerby. It seemed almost surreal to walk through this rural landscape, past isolated farms and cows to arrived at a lonely chapel in which we were to hear ¬†Skelmanthorpe Prospect Brass Band followed by afternoon tea for 8 pounds. About 45 people had showed up. I think we were the only ones arriving on Shanks’s pony. The conductor set up a ¬†brilliant repartee with the audience with his strong South Yorkshire accent. He told amusing anecdotes and encouraged audience participation, at one point stopping the band when the audience were too quiet. The whole atmosphere was relaxed and fun. The 13 piece band had a good mix of ages with the majority looking to be in their 20’s, all wearing their uniform with pride.

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The remote chapel in Sowerby

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View from the chapel

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Click to listen to the conductor introducing two pieces:

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Afternoon tea in the Sunday School

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This serves 4!

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Katrina, Jean and friend

The band played for just over an hour and then everyone headed into the Sunday school for afternoon tea. Each table was filled with sandwiches and a great variety of cakes on cute little cake stands. everything had been homemade either by the church or band members and was absolutely delicious. Jean seemed to know most of the people and as we walked back to Jean’s house she pointed to each house and told us who used to live there when she was a child. We were even able to take a look at the under-dwelling that Katrina used to live in.

After trying not to do much walking today I’d ended up walking 5 1/2 miles so I decided to stay in and catch up with journal writings and sorting out photos.