Fallfest at Glusburn

We’ve been to Harrogate and York recently, but we haven’t been to rural Yorkshire for ages. It’s easy to see why Alf Wight fell in love with the place and settled in Thirsk to become James Herriot.  Heather and I are scientific in the way we pick out our weekend destinations; generally we run a finger down the column of Gateshead FC away fixtures, and plump for somewhere exotic, a method which took us down to Braintree last April.  I also like to cast an eye to see where Clare Teal is performing, and I noted that on Saturday evening she was appearing in at Glusburn, near Skipton, close to where she was brought up.

For five years now, Glusburn has hosted a film, arts and literature event Fallfest.   The festival is a marvellous achievement of organisational aptitude, constructed along the lines of similar autumn festivals held in America.  A scrutiny of their website told us that there was a lot going on, and we arrived on Friday evening in time to enjoy a glorious stroll along the Leeds to Liverpool canal, followed up with an Indian meal. So it was upsetting then, to find ourselves on Saturday morning munching breakfast and watching the rain bounce off the conservatory roof.  Disappointing for me, because I’d planned on spending the entire day taking photographs, and massively disappointing for the folk of Glusburn, I really felt for them.

We’d been warned about parking restrictions in Glusburn, so we caught the bus there from our hotel.  The sun shone briefly, and we pottered around chatting to the stall holders. We bought some very nice jam and chutney from a lady who told us she is a retired home economics teacher. All of the fruit she uses comes from her own garden.  I can recommend the Merry Berry.  We also bought a fruitcake from her to give to a friend, on arrival home we left it (wrapped) on the kitchen bench where a cat thought she would sample it, so we’ll just have to go back again next year to buy another one. 

We returned to our hotel for some dry clothes, but when we got back to Glusburn everyone was packing away.  Not to worry, we tipped up at the Crosshills Social Club, and explained that we weren’t members, just a couple of thick Geordie tourists and could we come in and sit down for a bit.  Nobody objected, and we stayed there until it was time to go to the Glusburn Community Arts Centre.  I’d booked for the pre-show meal, and we were shown to a table where we sat with four other guests, one of them a chap who used to have the same occupation as I have now, so I bored him with the details of my imminent retirement.  It was all so British, strangers sitting together and eating,all the while being entertained by a marvellous young clarinet player.  He told me he is 18 and he goes by the name of Jacko.  He performed a set that included several old standards, as well as numbers by the Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, and Crystal Gayle.

At 7.30pm things got underway in the main hall with The Ellie Gill Band, who I haven’t heard before but I hope I do again  It seems that Yorkshire produces great female singers.  Then at 8.30pm it was Clare Teal, as brilliant as ever, and as accessible as ever, staying behind to sign CD’s – she even remembered my name!  She is a nice person, and apparently has the knack of surrounding herself with equally lovely people.  Her bassist Simon Little(who I’ve got a real soft spot for) sought me out in the CD queue to say hello, I got to speak to Clare’s partner Muddy, and Ben Reynolds the drummer.  It was the first time I’d heard jazz pianist Jason Rebello play live, as he only took over from Grant Windsor 9 months ago.  Like the rest of the band he is a world class player, and very unassuming.  Thank you people of Glusburn for a lovely weekend.