Yorkshire Tea Fun with Jonathan Carswell.


Arriving at Fox Lane Sports and Social Club I noticed that the tables were covered in bright table cloths with the Yorkshire Tea logo emblazoned on them, accompanied by piles of boxes of samples of Yorkshire Tea. So clearly, my job this morning would be to sit up and pay attention to a talk (hopefully funny) about Yorkshire Tea.

But it turned out that in fact although the talk took in Yorkshire Tea and a fair amount about Yorkshire personalities with a few regional facts thrown in, what our speaker Jonathan Carswell had really come to talk about was Christianity.   And that’s fine – I don’t have a problem with religion, but if that’s what you’re here to do, be honest and tell us that. You may find that your audience is a little smaller than it if they were expecting to hear about Yorkshire Tea, but at least the those present would be there because they wanted to hear your story.

Jonathan Carswell is actually a gifted speaker, he engages easily with his audience, and his talk had a good balance of fun and fact to hold attention. But you might argue that his gift is hardwired in his genes, given his father was a preacher – the English equivalent to Billy Graham, Jonathan tells us.

Rather than being a representative of Yorkshire Tea, Jonathan is proprietor of Ten of Those a distributor of Christian literature- a venture started in his bedroom after he graduated from Durham University. The business has grown substantially over the years to its present 1.4 million books distributed annually, and the next step is his plan to relocate with his family to America to establish the business there. After the talk, tea samples were duly distributed and Jonathan also gave out copies of a book written by his mother about folk who found faith at over 50 – Sagas by DJ Carswell is still available on the Ten of Those website should anyone want to obtain a copy >> Here

Kim Whittle


World of Glass Visit

After a prompt start and safe journey we arrived at The World Of Glass at St Helens and  were met by our tour guide.  The first thing we saw as we entered was a magnificent chandelier weighing almost 2 tons.  This had been presented to World of Glass by Manchester airport and had taken 2 days to hang in 2008.



Well it was quite a busy day with lots to see and take in.  We started with a film show telling the story of glass and what made St Helens great from humble beginnings to rise to world class leader in glass making.  Our guide was really informative chatting on our way as we progressed through to the Victorian furnace and underground tunnels built in 1887 by William Pilkington. Hard hats were the order of the day. We quickly realised how hard life must have been working underground in confined space, poor lighting and intensive heat.

It was so cold on the day when we visited that we next visited the café for a welcoming hot drink.  Before lunch we had a glass blowing demonstration.  It was fascinating to see a small ball of glass emerge into a multi coloured vase.  Think the fact that the glass blower was female worth a mention!

Lunch followed when we met up with our afternoon guide.  She accompanied us around the exhibitions of glass from all around the world answering questions as we went.  There is an Artisan Gift shop for those who wanted some retail therapy.  One thing we all went away with was the realisation of what an important part glass plays in our everyday lives.

Barry Price


Hoghton Tower Ramble

Our next walk on Thursday 15th March will be in the area around Hoghton Tower. Alan Fairey and I did the recce yesterday starting at the Royal Oak in Riley Green. According to a write-up of the walk from Lancashire Life it is a 4.5 mile walk but we think it is a little longer. It took us 2.5 hours to get back to the pub where we had a pleasant snack lunch.

There is a short section of the walk along the main road, followed by a mile or two along the tow path of the Leeds-Liverpool canal before we cross the main road to Blackburn near Feniscowles and then we cross farm land and fields to reach the River Darwen and follow it downstream for about 3/4 mile. Here we would recommend you have your camera as you will be in for a big surprise if you haven’t walked here before.

Owing to the recent snow and rain this area is quite wet so boots rather than stout shoes are the order of the day, Alan found his walking pole useful and I wished I had brought something similar. From the river there is a sharpish climb up from Hoghton Bottoms before we cross the railway line and walk around Hoghton Towers boundary wall. We then cross the main drive to the Tower before rising to fields once more from where we have direct line of sight to a lighting tree. Once that is reached the welcome sight of the Royal Oak is in front of us with but a few hundred yards to sustenance and comfort.

The landlady of the pub asked us to let her know how many would be eating so that we can all sit together, I would therefore be grateful if you can let me if you intend to join us.

As previously we will meet up in the Tesco car park, near the Clic and Collect, at 9.45 for a 10.00 start.

A bit more effort than our last walk will be required as there are hill to climb and tracks to descend. Sometimes going down is harder than going up. There are also one or two stiles to climb over.

Looking forward to seeing all.

Roger Taylor

Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre Visit

This was an opportunity to visit the Heritage Centre before it closes at the end of March. The current proprietor of the museum, and resident of Fred’s house, is auctioning off the contents/exhibits of the museum on Saturday 17th March. This will be the last chance to obtain a memento and permanent reminder of Fred Dibnah.

The weather was not particularly welcoming, it probably being the coldest day of the year, but nine hardy souls turned up at the appointed time. The proprietor, Leon Powsney, conducted the tour which was made extremely interesting through the very many amusing anecdotes about Fred, his mates and the many escapades they went through together.

The tour included time in Fred’s workshop when there was an opportunity to buy a memento or two. Also a ‘recovery period’ in Fred’s house, where a cup of hot tea/coffee was enjoyed by all in the welcoming warm house.

May I thank all those who braved the elements and helped to make the visit a success.

Barry Price