There was a good deal of frost in the air, as I made my somewhat bumpy passage over the setts of Brierfield and Nelson, to our meeting place at Colne, at which I arrived at 10-5. In spite of the frostiness, there were several stalwarts reclining upon a form, basking in the rather negative warmth of the morning sun. Did I follow their example? No, I did not, I attended to the necessary inflation of my tyres, and then stamped about to restore the circulation in my extremities. Some ladies may be capable of 'treadling’ their bicycles hard enough to keep their feet warm upon the frostiest of mornings, but I am not one of them. At 10-15 our runs secretary, who was leader for the occasion, decided that we had infested the neighbourhood of Langroyd long enough, so we mounted our machines and "wuthered" through the slight covering of snow that lay upon the road, towards the village of Kilnsey, where we were booked for lunch. I will not dwell upon the humorous commonplaces of our outward journey, let it suffice to say that we walked rather more hills than usual in an endeavour to keep our feet warm. At Kilnsey, we had our lunch at the Tennant Arms, which establishment we kept distinctly busy, since our party, strengthened by late-comers, numbered nearly 50 strong.
The immediate needs of the inner man being satisfied, we ambled out into the warm sunshine that was making this already picturesque portion of Wharfedale into a local Eden. Picture, if you can, a rather narrow valley, carpeted by green fields and divided by the clear waters of the Wharfe; bounded on one side by the magnificent Kilnsey Crag, a solid, overhanging mass of limestone, towering above the road, and on the other side by the gradually rising slopes, intersected by innumerable limestone walls, that culminate in the serene, snow-covered bulk of Great Whernside, which paternally overlooks it all. The sun, shining from a brilliant blue sky with an occasional fleecy cloud drifting across it, made the snow a dazzling white, and threw the walls and trees into strong relief. Such was the picture that greeted our eyes as we stepped out of the hotel on to the road : a picture placed within our easy reach by that inexpensive and health-giving friend — the bicycle, There are still a number of cyclists who, at the approach of winter, carefully cover their machines with vaseline and pack them away in either cotton wool or the coal cellar (whichever they deserve) there to rest till the following Easter. If they only knew what they were missing, they would wipe off such vaseline as was unnecessary, fling away the cotton wool and, suitably attired, hie themselves from the smoky streets of their native towns into the fresh open country.
To return to our run. It was almost 9 o’ clock when we left Kilnsey for our objective, which was Mastiles Lane. The intervening time being spent in various ways: some of our members climbed to the top of Kilnsey Crag (by a circuitous route, of course) and were rewarded by a bird’s-eye view of Wharfedale, surrounded by the snow-covered hills; whilst others watched their more athletic friends jumping across a six-foot stream, in the hope that they might fall in: they were, however, doomed to disappointment, alas. Mastiles Lane can hardly be described as an ideal road for wheeled traffic: it is mostly a grass track. abounding with ruts and liberally sprinkled with infant boulders; add to this occasional gates, snow drifts and steep hills, brakes rendered partially inoperative by snow, and you have all the ingredients necessary for an exciting afternoon. Some riders made it so by riding all they possibly could; whilst others, who have now reached the age of discretion (said he, stroking his long, white heard) preferred to take it more easily and enjoy the panorama of the hills clad in their unusual attire. One member, "Womanaiter" by name, got into a rut and came off at speed. He very cordially did it whilst no one was looking, and upon our requesting him to repeat the performance, he looked so fierce that we fled. So passed the afternoon, now walking, now riding, with an occasional break in the form of a snowball fight, until, with the setting sun colouring the hills with a roseate glow, we dropped down into Malham for our much-needed tea.
It was still quite light when we emerged from the Airedale Cafe, after tea, but the source of radiance had changed from King Sol to his lesser bright co-worker, the moon. who was doing her best to fill the breach. Since it was only 6-30, we went for a walk, which, once we were clear of Malham, developed into a hilarious scramble, punctuated by an occasional snowball. All was going well until someone with vocal aspirations began to sing; this was too much, so we fled back to Malham in haste. Lamps were lighted with the usual comments from the dynamo contingent about "those blighters who spend all night, frigging about with their flapping, smelling lamps,” and so upon the road once more. We passed peacefully along under that star-spangled, inverted bowl we call the sky, through Airton, Gargrave, Thornton, Earby and Colne to our respective homes. So passed another enjoyable day awheel.
Variety is the spice of life, and presumably the C.T.C. agreed upon that point in more ways than one, when, last Saturday, they temporarily deserted their cycles and indulged in an evening of gaiety and dancing. The occasion was the popular annual Fancy Dress Dance, which this year, was held in the Co-operative Assembly Room, Albert Street, Nelson. Its popularity was again sincerely confirmed by the large attendance of members and friends, who came, not only from Nelson, Burnley and Colne, but even from such outlying districts as Keighley, Rawtenstall, Darwen, Barnoldswick, and - I nearly forgot it — Brierfield, whereby filling the hall to a comfortable capacity. The Bohemians’ Dance Band was in attendance, and. under their rhythmical influence and the able ministrations of the M.Cs! (Messrs. Hudson and Wood) a choice: selection of dances was enjoyed by an appreciative assembly. Naturally, the outstanding feature of the evening was — apart. from minor spot dance prizes — the grand parade, with the judging of costumes and the presentation of prizes. The result was to the entire satisfaction of all concerned, and the judges (Mr. and Mrs. Dewhurst and Mr. and Mrs, Dixon) are to be commended on the impartial manner in which they dealt with that arduous task, made all the more so by an unusually high standard of costumes.
The following were acknowledged winners in their various classes : Ladies : Neatest, Miss Alston, as “Bonny Prince Charlie"; Original, Miss Emmot. as "Flanders Poppies; second Neatest, Mr. Hudson, as "Masquerade"; Most Original, Mr. Smith, impersonating a Turk; Comic, Mr. Willers, as a clown.
Hereunder I submit a few impressions of that evening's jollity. Having safely negotiated the pass between "Shylock" and the door, without loss to life or limb, I stand, wonderstruck, upon the threshold of a new world. From across the hall drifts in rhythmical concord, the wailings and moanings of a saxophone and cornet, the lilting of a violin, the strains of a piano, and the crash of cymbal and drum; their combined efforts blending into a dreamy waltz. Gradually the floor becomes more and more congested as man and maid rise and take their place amongst the apparently mad, whirling throng. What a riot of colour! What a conglomeration of make-ups! Here a dark-eyed, dusky maiden of the South Sea Isles embraced 1n the arms of a “Questionable Character,” gracefully glide by; there a sleek-faced, almond-eyed "Chink" twist and turn in wild confusion, his gypsy maiden dexterously following in his wake; a pious monk in sackcloth attired, walks sedately by, chatting pleasantly to - whom?: Why, bless me, the very "Mephistopheles" himself, his dark, malicious smile dangerously evident. Jovial clowns rollicking sailors, gypsies, matadors, a convict, a cook, a Turk, pierrots, and Mexicans, the place seems infected with nationalities and impersonations of all kinds. Presumably yonder fellow came with the intention of having a "nap" judging by his apparel. Hi! waiter, bring me a little refreshment, please. What, bring it yourself. Sorry, mistakes will happen, and to whom am I speaking. Ha! allow me, for he is worth knowing, here’s Doodles. Really he is not a bad fellow, although his shiny, red nose and acrobatical capers bespeak of a partiality to intoxicants; he is really suffering from excessive rouge and volability. However, whither I look at his shiny "topper," or his white be-spatted shoes, or his white, be gloved hands, my eyes always deviate to what he affectionately calls a collar. However shall T describe it; for it is beyond me, and also beyond him, not only does it' prod his own ears, but those who have the fortune (or otherwise) to-partner him in dancing. Anyhow, suffice it to say that quite a number of persons enquired if he had acquired gliding as a hobby. Hello! there goes; S-----, deluding himself into the thought that he is doing what he fondly terms waltzing. Well opinions differ. Ha! what is that? . Why, it is D-----! Apparently judging from his contortions, his feet have assumed the ungovernable proportions of a couple of obstinate canal barges; and his partner, a touching image of forbearance, charity, disappointment, and anguish, mentally, morally and physically (sorry, my stock has run out, but any how, she has my deepest sympathy). Well, it is time I waded into the fray, so, with “May I have the pleasure of this dance, please?" — "Certainly, it is all yours,” I seize my opponent — sorry, I mean partner — and proceed to push and kick her round the room.
Saturday at last! What a relief to be on the road again after a week of the usual daily round; jesting and laughing with one’s clubmates, and making the tyres hum a merry
song. Even Cold Weather Hill does not drag to-day, for our spirits are light, and the sun is shining, giving a touch of warmth to the atmosphere and heralding the approach of brighter days. Gisburn, with its white-washed cottages and mellow, old church, looks charming in the afternoon’s wintry sunlight, and even Hellifield has assumed a peaceful air. Otterburn, with its babbling brook flowing under a rustic, one-arched bridge, we leave behind, for our destination is Malham, that far-famed beauty spot of Yorkshire, with its Cove, its Tarn, its Gordale Scar and host of other attractions. The next place of interest is Airton, which, after a few undulations, gives place to Kirkby Malham; a village like Otterburn, still unspoilt by the advance of "modernisation,” and whose church contains a signature of that "Parliamentarian, Oliver Cromwell. Soon we are upon the crest of the last hill, looking down on Malhamdale. The sun, which resembled a huge golden ball in the haze that overhung Rye Loaf Hill, has slowly disappeared, leaving night to take its place. Already there are lights twinkling in the cottages below, and shadows of evening, fast gathering in the Fast, give the wild gorge of Gordale a sombre, awe-inspiring aspect. Just ahead, rising directly from the village, the moors raise their solemn heights into the solitudes of the hinterland, their face cleft by that huge — geologically called — Craven Fault, the Cove. The village itself presents to the outer-world — although none the worse for it — a rather deserted air, its deadness only broken by an occasional inhabitant going about his task, for Malham in winter is not the Malham one sees on a hot summer’s afternoon.
And so to tea, and a merry company we made; some thirty strong, and with a good representation of the fair sex, making time fly and, generally having what is known in Lancashire as a "reight good toime.” Of that ride home; quite as enjoyable as the outward journey, for, overhead the stars twinkled celestially, adding to our lamps their feeble quota of light. True enough, it began snowing a little and raining more, but not enough to damp our spirits. So, with a "Good night," Saturday draws to a close, giving place to a newer day-—Sunday.
Blue noses, steaming breath, thick scarves and, leather gloves. Why all this paraphernalia? Of course, I had forgotten to tell you that over-night Jack Frost had paid one of his fleeting visits, which have been.the feature of the past winter, and left behind a world of ice, hoar-frost, and - decidedly noticeable — a nip in the air. Seemingly, to our club, as to others seen on.the road. this acted as an incentive, rather than a determent, for at Whalley our numbers were quickly swollen by the arrival of late-comers, until, it was deemed prudent to move lest we should, along with our friends, the Nelson Wheelers, overwhelm the whole village. Of the ride to Preston, little need be mentioned, as a haze overhung the country side practically obliterating the distant surrounding fells, and the only noticeable occurrence was the gradual resignation of Jack Frost giving place to a damp, sodden aspect, the only reminder of what we had left, being occasional, white patches of frost, situated high up in the now near Bleasdale Fells. Preston behind, we quickly sped along the broad highway to Brock and (allow me to mention it for it is important) lunch.
Now for the object of our ride. Sorry, I mean objects — for they were many, according to our tastes. The most important, was to fraternise with the Fylde Section;. the others being, in no order of merit, the railway station, custard pie, and an informal game of football. Why the custard pie, you ask? Ah! suffice it to say that a certain catering establishment situated not fifty miles from here makes the aforementioned pies just like your mother does. Hence their popularity. And the station; well, all I can explain for its attraction is that a spark of that inborn ambition of our childhood days to be an engine driver remains dormant in an obscure corner of our mentality, only awakened with the clanking machinery and the piercing scream of the whistle. And of that, afternoon’s game — that heroic struggle, that-grovelling in the mud, that dogged determination, sportsmanship and cheeriness of the Fylde Section, even unto defeat. Ah! long will it remain in the memories of those who participated, and also in the minds of those spectators whose vociferations rent the air with hope and faith to the losers, and charity to the all-conquering side. Still - those exuberant shouts ring in my ears. Still those exciting combats come across the dim vale of memory — "Play up the Fylde - Come on Nelson ! - A g-g-go—no! - hard lines, Fylde! - Well played, Nelson! - Go it! - We're attacking! - He’s got it! - Shoot! - Go-aaal!! - Hurray! - another for Nelson!" A determined effort from Fylde - a plucky game — there goes the whistle! The game has ended. Bravo, Fylde! Well done, Nelson! We disperse in disorder.
There are various ways in which, we passed the afternoon until tea-time was with. us, and over which we dared not linger too long, being some thirty miles from. home, and the prospects of an east wind to face. That night’s ride, an unforgettable memory, with its long, slow moving stream of jubilant cyclists, its ruby reflectors scintillating in the head-lamps of those in the rear, its pleasant chatter, and above all, its companionship.
Runs for this week-end ave rag follows :— Saturday, February 1st. Halton Moor; meet Langroyd Hall gates, Colne, 2-30. Sunday, Catterick Force; meet Higherford - 9.15; lunch, Horton.
On New Year’s Eve, the local section the Cyclists’ Touring Club carried out annual custom of riding out to a catering establishment, situated about eight miles away, there to partake of a Potato Pie Supper and to enjoy an impromptu social evening, then at midnight to ride the old year out and the New Year in.
Our old friend "Derailleur,” having promised to take a lady friend (who is a piano expert), I awaited their first attempt on a tandem with interest. Having adjusted the rear saddle of the tandem, and got the music strapped on behind, the small party, accompanied by -the section secretary, Mrs. Hudson, set out for the aforementioned caterer’s
Taking a glance at the clock at the Nelson and Colne Boundary, and finding the time later than we had thought, I told friend "Derailleur” to "step on ’em," which he did, to his lady partner’s horror and to my sorrow. Thereafter, the "hon. sec.” and myself tried to keep up to him, still, it enabled us to get our legs under the table before the rest of the club had demolished the good things thereon.
After support had been disposed of, I took a glance round the empty tables, and counted thirty-three round, shiny faces, and adding my own made thirty-four cyclists who had determined to show the New Year that cycling is not declining. The smokers pulling pipes and cigarettes out, (and one misguided youth, a cigar), we cleared the tables away for the evening’s fun. The first call was for the pianist, who played a few community songs to get things into good working order. Tom Hargreaves, who volunteered to sing "The Village Blacksmith" vas followed. by Harry Nutter, who came forward with "When other lips," "Raymond," the Brierfield Adonis then sang "I don’t care what you used to be,” and the company showed their appreciation by telling him that they knew what he was that day. A pianoforte solo, "D’eau Arabesque" was then enjoyed by the members.
After several appeals for a game, the misguided youth, having recovered from the effects of his cigar, suggested that the ladies should be given a trip to Brighton. Judging by the amount of laughter this game produced, the ladies thoroughly enjoyed the trip though some of them did complain about the bumpiness of the track, and in the case of "Millie," one station refused to stay on the railway line. The clock then showing 11-30 we finished by singing Auld Lang Syne.
Lamps were lit, and, led by our treasurer "Bill” Lord, we started for home, and had just reached the county boundary when 12 o'clock struck, the New Year being heralded in by a carillon of more or less musical cycle bells. On reaching Nelson, the party gradually dwindled, till at last only the Burnley members and "Raymond," were left. Thus we symbolised once again that cycling is till an all year pastime for many of us yet.
"SON OF HUD"
Among the many important events fulfilled, during the past week-end, was one promoted by the Nelson section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club, which took the form of a reliability ride of 200 miles in 24 hours. All cyclists between the ages of nine and ninety were eligible to compete for the large certificates offered by the club to the successful riders who should complete the distance within the limited time.
Since the entry fee amounted to five shillings per head, or mouth - average size— and included two hot meals; an aggregate number of fifteen entrants was considered quite hopeful by the organisers. Unfortunately, but twelve of that number, including our lady secretary, started from Nelson at 6 p.m. on Saturday, and thus began their long journey.
So let the reader hang on to our trail as we rattle out of the town towards Carr Hall Road, where Mr. D. C. Holmes succeeded in waylaying us with photographic interests.The ordeal over and with fervent hopes that the camera would not be found damaged, we continued towards Higham, where rain caused us to adorn ourselves with capes and "oil-skin lids." The downpour prevailed upon the earth as we passed over its surface through Whalley to Preston, where we steered about eight points to starboard and so on to Cabas near Garstang. This was our first halt, and our already damp sandwiches were soon harboured safely internally. Then at 110-20 p.m. we were ready again to sail out into the wet. By that time the darkness of the night also began to reign, so lamps were lighted to guide us through the storm.
In Lancaster we pitied the picture-goers as they endeavoured to board late ’buses, with fears that they would have to walk home in the rain; while we imagined that they in turn would. perhaps be sorry for us. Little did they think that a hot dinner was being prepared for our special consumption at Windermere.
Therefore our favourite “track-eaters” were permitted to feed rapidly upon the juicy road to Kendal, while the tyres wallowed with evident relish in the mud, and in due course of time we arrived on the scene of the feed. After a much needed toilet we all sat down to a very early morning dinner, while mountains of steak pie and vegetables were surveyed for the last time by twelve pairs of eyes squinting along knives and forks, which were used as theodolites. Some of our friends appeared quite "fed up" in more than one sense, ’ere they had eaten the cairns from off their hills of food; while others with keener appetites called for second "peaks" some of which were left unconquered.
By 3-20 a.m. we might all have been able to depart had not Arthur George calmly informed us that his conveyance had developed a serious wheel-wobble, due to several of the spokes being broken, thus preventing his continuation of the ride. But, while seven of the party remounted their steeds, a repair gang of five rebuilt rear wheel, and Arthur will never forget their good deeds, for to him the repair did truly appeal.
So the latter part set out from Windermere an hour behind the scheduled time, and a little later the day broke upon them, while the light scattered in all directions. It was then time to turn out our lights, quite a simple matter for all of us except Squire, whose light-giving dynamo was, held in gear by the tension provided by three yards of string passed between the handlebars and the dynamo itself. This festoon arrangement he contrived to untie without dismounting, and his efforts as the loose end increased to more than an arm’s length above his head, became rather amusing, especially when his mouth, too, was required to prevent an almost unmanageable length of cord from becoming entangled in the wheels. Then, unfortunate Arthur solemnly announced that-the rent was over due in his cape, and true enough that very moment had parted from the neck right down the spine seam, thus presenting a rather exaggerated swallow-tailed appearance. And as our little party proceeded along to Ambleside and Grasmere, then over Dunmail Raise, from the top of which Thirlmere can be seen in the distance, inviting road users to come down from the heights and take a closer view. A following wind helped us quickly down to the lake avenue of trees, whose fresh green leaves contrasted pleasantly with the dark clouded sky overhead.
Our route led us through the Vale of John's by Threlkeld to Keswick, where breakfast was to be served, but not before we had travelled all the way round Bassenthwaite lake and entered the town for the second time that day. By that time the advance. party had been overtaken by the repair section, so we were all able to beak-fast together.
About 8 p.m. we left Keswick and commenced the return journey to Kendal, while our shoes were still able to spout water from the lace holes. On arriving at the up-to-date Westmorland town, we were again provided with another meal to keep us awake and active, leaving later about 12 a.m. for Kirby
Lonsdale. There we began meeting the animals from a travelling circus, and by pretending not to see them, a few of the sleepy ones were easily led to believe that the elephants and zebras they saw were merely imaginary, such visions being the result of staying awake all night.
This event helped to bring some of the party to their normal senses, and was about the time when the rain had ceased sufficiently to enable us to take off our capes for the remainder of the day.
After traversing familiar roads Settle was reached, where those who still possessed appetites partook of a little more refreshment. Later, we were all riding along the last lap of our lengthy course form Settle to Skipton, then Colne, where all the twelve riders finished in time to qualify for the gold clocks which will never be presented, though we may each be the proud recipient of quarter yard's of wallpaper printed to show that on such a said day we rode a bicycle a distance of 200 miles in 23 hours - and survived.
One would think, in view of Saturday’s, (March 3lst) persistent downpours that cycling, let alone cycle-camping, would be out of the question, but it was not so. Oh no! The Nelson section of the Cyclists’ Touring Club had the date fixed for their opening camp, and nothing short of a great flood was sufficient to damp their ardour in this direction. Apart from it raining, the only unusual happening on the journey to Malham took place near Gargrave, when "T.W.” had the dual surprise of coming down in the world a distance of thirteen inches, and also being beaten to the bottom of the hill by his own back wheel. It was getting dark when the party arrived at Malham, so haste was made in the direction of Gordale. where we were pitching. Arriving there "Jay Bee" who had set out very early, greeted us with forced gaiety, for only two tents had yet arrived. “Nonstop,” who was dying to hear the music of the Primus, was already engaged in a dust up with a brand new set of tent poles, but on finding their joints too complicated for him in his present state of mind conveniently went into a trance whilst “Jay Bee" did all the dirty work.
Night had fallen ere more tents were erected in a straight line in the shelter of the wall. "Here, hold this lamp!” “Oh hang! Who wrapped my tent up that last camp,” were common expressions borne on the night winds, as usually patient chaps - endeavoured to straighten out a knot of guy-lines in the darkness. The prearranged social and lantern lecture had been delayed somewhat owing to the intermittent additions to our little community, but by ten o’clock “Jay Bee” opened the affair, which was held in the neighbouring farmhouse, thanks to the generosity of the residents. Camping songs were the first item on the lengthy programme. Having been adapted to well-known tunes, the verses were thrown on the screen by "Smiler’s” lantern, but owing to non-availability of instruments musical we were entirely at the mercy of a long-winded chappie with a mouth organ. Mrs. Hudson gave a solo with such a depth of feeling that we excused her missing a line or two. Our secretary, "Gee Whiz," excels in monologues (humorous of course), so he read one out, as did "Jay Bee", whose Yorkshire Blood entitled him to utilise his native dialect.
The star turns of the evening now appeared on the schedule, these being in the form of lecturettes by "Jay Bee" and "Smiler.” The former gentleman is already well known to the lecture going public, by his earnest endeavours (in the time at his disposal after the chairman has died through shortage of breath) to instil into his audience some of his love of the out-o-doors. Mr. King is one of this year’s - debutantes, shall we say - to the wand and reading lamp; our hats off to him for the outstanding success of his first attempt. Possessing no definite title, the lecturette by “Jay Bee" gave his listeners a brief survey of the possibilities of lightweight cycle-camping, and short though it was, I guarantee that the "away-from-home-three-times-a-year" town dweller would feel strangely stirred when he saw what could be done with the "push-bike" (curse the misnomer!) "Smiler" up, on his pet subject "Pots.” “The geological formation of Gordale,” was one of his subjects, and was illustrated by diagrammatic drawings and photos shown on the screen. Our "potty" comrade handled his matter in a very comprehensive style, as he did also when describing the caves and "pot-holes" shown later. Both of our friends had many beautiful slides of which they are justly proud. Our thanks to them for the unique evening’s entertainment they provided. At 11-45 the evening closed with a community song, the "Campers' Good-night."
Out in the moon-bathed valley there was an immediate scuffle for the tents and supper, after which, some in search of more fresh air went for a stroll up the ravine, but by 12-30 Nature had drawn her children to her bosom and they slept. "Jay Bee" was first man up, why, I can’t say, for his bones are inured to the ‘hardest granite. Anyway, he commenced to brew tea in wholesale quantities, much to the satisfaction of the lucky recipients thereof.
As the camp awakened in easy stages, we were able to take a census of those present. Seventeen tents of all shapes and shades, ranging from sea-green to a dirty yellow had sheltered over forty, including four of the weaker (?) sex. A large number of Lancashire and Yorkshire towns were represented, Leeds, Bradford, Nelson, Burnley, Accrington and Oldham, oh! and Hebden Bridge, of course, all had their representatives amongst the jovial throng of fresh air friends squatted about preparing the morning repast. After breakfast the party split up into small groups which broadcast themselves in all directions, some up in the Gordale chasm or over Mastiles in the direction of Kilnsey. In fact, when viewing the surrounding landscape from an elevated position on the fells we could see our friends everywhere, indulging in a mind refreshing saunter over the windswept uplands, or scrambling over white limestone crags, some even risking life and limb on a treacherous face climb.
Whatever pursuit they had followed however, the whole bunch automatically made their way back to camp about dinner time. The light was now very strong in active ray, so our photographers prepared to shoot the camp and its inhabitants, who bravely faced a barrage from a row of cameras. Voracious appetites will not permit longer delay than is necessary, and soon the Primus stoves were to be heard roaring in every tent. But hark! A roar not so musical comes from friend "Samson,” who discovers that a pound of juicy beefsteak, carefully conveyed from home, is no longer to be found. A similar complaint is received from Mrs. Hudson, whose Sunday dinner has taken unto itself legs and walked. After a very careful search of the surrounding country failed to reveal the presence of the missing foodstuffs, immediate suspicion was fastened on the farmer’s dog. Why, I can’t say, a more honest, truthful dog you would never see. Admitted, it looked well fed and at peace with the world as it sat there with a face wreathed in smiles. Of course Samson promised to strengthen his acquaintance with the bow-wow as soon as he had time.
After dinner a "siesta" and a pipe, and it was time for some of the lads to commence packing for the homeward journey. Experience and compactability of kit makes this job far from as fearsome as it appears, for one can cook breakfast, pack up and be away in one hour. The Nelsonians having time to spare spent an hour or two on the fells and in paying "social" calls on remaining campers. By tea only six of the seventeen tents remained, and as the Nelson section were last to leave the site, they saw to it that no paper, tins, or egg shells had been left lying about. To leave even a match stem or bit of string where it can be seen after a night’s camp is an unpardonable sin amongst true lovers of the country. In conclusion, it was passed unanimously that our "opener" had been an outstanding success, thanks to all who defied the elements to swell the numbers participating
The activities of the Nelson Section of the cyclists' Touring Club were many and varied during last week-end. On Saturday a social evening and supper was held in the Co-operative Rooms, Cumberland Street, where members and their friends, who had not been turned away at the door, were provided with first-class entertainment, most of the artistes having been commandeered from the ranks of the C.T.C. There were others, however, who, although non-members, were pleased to give their contributions to the evening programme. Miss Dixon, L.L.C.M., A.T.C.L., was at the piano, and tickled the ivories deftly, as she accompanied the vocal aspirants. Her rendering of the "Autumn
Prelude” was much appreciated by the audience.
Mr. Herbert King, C.T.C.-ite, gave a few songs, being in excellent voice for the occasion; while the Misses Sugden, who are also club members, did justice to the occasion by blending their voices in duet.
Madame Crossley also gave songs, which were well received; and yet again Jack Whittle, from "Barlick,” convulsed the audience with his recitals in Yorkshire dialect. We shall never tire of his description of "Jonathan Swale."
An unusual feature in the programme was the demonstration in "limb swinging" and other physical contortions, by three juvenile lads and their instructor, who is also instructor of a certain Health and Strength League in Burnley. Their efforts were well applauded although there would probably have been some complaints if the audience had been asked to try some of the exercises
at the conclusion of the act.
During the interval refreshments were given away—but only to those with refreshment tickets. Tea, broth, coloured cakes and meat pies were much in evidence, and there were many in the audience who began feeding “Squire” with buns in a manner which left his attendants open-mouthed in astonishment at his capacity.
The “bun-fight” over and the multitude fed, the work of gathering up the fragments of cakes, pies and plates was begun (I am not going to say how many baskets were filled) while the artistes, who were about to appear in a sketch, were undergoing painting decorations by Mr. W. Hampton, who also coached them in their previous rehearsals. This little play was shortly presented to the audience, and was entitled "The Stop-Gap Hero,” and is really a play within a play, in which the real hero is indisposed, and to save disappointment, a stop-gap hero, in the shape of a young Yorkshireman, is put on, who is supposed to have had no rehearsals. Mr. R. Greenwood as "Hemingway," played his part so well in pretending to forget his lines and substitute others, that many in the company actually thought he was spoiling the play. Mrs F. Baldwin took the part of "Rosy Rapture," "the maiden in distress,” who is about to be forced into marriage by her uncle, Sir Anthony Bickley (played by Mr. E. whitehead) to Septimus Whitclock, a rich old merchant (R. Harrison). Rosy, with the aid of her servant, Lydia (in reality Miss E. Plews) who calls the hero to the rescue, disposes of old Septimus. Then the villain, a motor highwayman comes on the scene (L. Hartley in disguise), and of whom, I overheard, played his part naturally—now what was meant? After making dove to Rosy, he dances with her, and, is finally kicked off the stage by Hemingway.
The old uncle brings another suitor, Fred Baldwin, as "Professor Le Pomme," an inventor, who, after describing his inventions, is thrown out by the hero, and exposed by him as an old rascal in debt. The uncle, in astonishment, then allows his niece to marry the hero, who has just received the news of his inheritance of a fortune.
All the actors played their parts admirably and were given much applause.
At the conclusion of the programme a vote of thanks to the artistes was made by Mr. H. Blezard, and seconded by Mr. H. Leaver, 11 p.m. bringing to a close a very enjoyable evening.