Pip’s Patch – an Update


5G mast in Coverdale

On February 9 the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee did approve the installation of a 5G test-bed mast at West Scrafton. In my report on that meeting and in three other posts I have tried to cover aspects of this contentious issue.

Local democracy

There have been many warnings that the pandemic is being used to reduce our democratic rights. And it is possible that the latest alterations to the way the public can interact with the YDNPA’s planning committee could be seen as part of that trend as was pointed out at the Authority’s meeting on December 15.

Also at that meeting the Authority was questioned about how the chairman of its planning committee can be seen as an impartial facilitator. I couldn’t help comparing its response to the stance taken by the British Medical Association: that to maintain the impartiality of its chairman they had to hand over to the vice-chairman if they wanted to speak during a debate.


A very special piece of Aysgarth’s history has been gifted to the community.

The Edwardian Rock Garden has not always been loved and cared for but thanks to those such as Marion and John Kirby it was saved from possible destruction in the 1980s when they successfully campaigned for it to be made a listed building.

It underwent restoration in 2002/3 and then, in 2012, was bought by Rosemary and Adrian Anderson. After eight years of caring for it and ensuring it was open to the public they have now gifted it to Aysgarth and District Parish Council.

Rosemary Anderson’s book about the Rock Garden is on sale at Hamilton’s Tea Room in Aysgarth.

Local democracy in danger

The population of almost quarter of England is in imminent danger of losing the right to local democracy and representation.

This will happen if the government centralises even more power by implementing the proposals of the Julian Glover Landscapes Review. See ARC News Service and  Death of Local Democracy in National Parks?

A book to dance to

Bob Ellis’s book, There was None of this Lazy Dancing, proved to be so interesting and enjoyable that I had to read it from cover to cover. There are intriguing nuggets of information to be found – such as how the WI helped Yorkshire sword dancing to survive! Or how a labourer on the Ribblehead viaduct was also a dance master at Hawes.

Bob has to be congratulated on this labour of love which has led to the publication of a book which is the most complete record to date of Dales musicians and their music. See ‘A Book to Dance to‘.

From the past:

One of my projects while I am “locked down” is to share on this website stories and illustrations from The Church Monthly dating back to 1892 owned by St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, and those from the Heritage Event held at that church in 2009.

Among my latest are those from 1894 about how to care for horses and a ride on a railway engine; how lighthouses were powered with paraffin lanterns and  using steamer horse-drawn fire engines. When rushing to a fire these days those on board the fire engine no longer have to yell ‘Fire! Fire!’ as they did in the 1890s. Nor do they have to harness horses before they could head out to a fire.

From the Heritage Event there is  A Mothering Sunday story about a man who I believe remembered his mother in a most unusual way at Aysgarth church; and the Doctor’s Window.

From The Church Monthly is  Children’s Playtime in early 1890s and the first two of the Rev Wood’s articles covering his natural history rambles in January and March 1892  plus  some local information about Aysgarth parish at that time. The Rev Wood’s nature rambles are included in Nightingale Duet.

And there is the story about the Telegraph Messenger boys of the 1890s. In that article it was stated: ‘If on any given day the electric telegraph suddenly came to an end, business would speedily become disorganised.’ The delivery of those messages depended upon boys aged 13 to 16 working nine hour days!

The 75th anniversary of VE Day was celebrated in style in Aysgarth and, even with social distancing, it provided a great opportunity for the villagers to chat and share stories.  One of the village’s oldest residents, Jean Cockburn, can remember the garden parties and sports at Aysgarth Vicarage before World War II. These followed the annual Flower Service at St Andrew’s from which flowers and other gifts were sent to  St Chad’s Home for Waifs and Strays at Headingley, Leeds – as can be seen from the letter reproduced in Bouquets for Waifs and Strays.

The Waifs and Strays Society sent many orphaned children to Canada in the 1890s and 1900s. They joined many young emigrants from the Yorkshire Dales   So it was fascinating to find, in the May 1892 edition of The Church Monthly, a first-hand account of what it was like on an emigration ship at that time.

Our churches were closed this Easter due to the Coronavirus pandemic. For more about how to share in worship even if in “self isolation” go to the Service page on the Penhill Benefice website.

When my son asked me to go into “self isolation” due to my age I was, I have to admit, quite angry at the thought of being labelled “old and vulnerable”. I have now moved into strict self-distancing and am very grateful to be surrounded by such a wonderful, supportive community. May we all learn how to care for each other and not to make a profit out of the need of others.

It was sad to hear that the Festival of Food and Drink in Leyburn will no longer be held. It did help the Dales recover from the Foot and Mouth epidemic and we do owe a lot to those who founded it and the partnership which kept it running for so long. What will bring us out of the present crisis especially as so many other events, including the Swaledale Festival, have been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic?

Personal memories:

There have been some special moments recently – such as meeting with my friend, Carolyn Murray, and hearing all about her work with Immanuel Kindergarten in Yei.

Then there was the invitation from the Kennel Field Trust to myself and Penny Noake to take the places of our late husbands on its board of trustees. That was followed by an offer to plant trees in the memory of our husbands and also Mike Thomson in a corner of the Kennel Field. That field is already special to me as there is a bench there with my husband’s artwork engraved on it. So to me it’s “David’s bench”.

With each passing month I seem to miss David’s support more and more. Every day I am very aware that social distancing/self isolation is not good when one is grieving. It makes me very aware of the pain so many must be suffering at this time when they can’t be with loved ones who are dying – or be hugged and consoled by friends.

There is an obituary about David  with links to other posts including that about his volunteer work in The Gambia.

Our wedding at Countersett Meeting House on Saturday July 21 2018  made history as it was the first wedding at that Meeting House since 1841. Then we chartered The Albion for our wedding blessing – and were told later that it was probably the first time the wherry  had been involved in such an event. Do see my posts about our Quaker wedding (Parts One and Two) and the wedding blessing.

A very big thank you to all our family and friends who helped to make these two occasions so special for us. And now my thanks to those who are so supportive as I grieve the loss of a very special man. I am so grateful we did have 14 years together.

Farmers and the Dales’ landscape:

For  over 20 years the Association of Rural Communities has been emphasising the  important role that farmers play in managing the beautiful countryside of the Dales. So it was delighted to hear members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority also emphasising that at the Full Authority meeting on September 24.

This was emphasised even more at the Authority’s planning meeting in November 2019 when members warned that the future of farming in the Dales was at stake. My report is a long one because I feel the debate was so important. Today we are in danger of forgetting that the beautiful Dales landscape which attracts so many visitors has been created and maintained by generations of local farmers.

And now those farmers and communities in the Dales could be disenfranchised from local democracy and representation if the proposals in Julian Glover’s Landscapes Review are implemented by the government.