The Folly, Settle, has acquired a highly detailed and intriguing drawing of Settle done by a 15-year-old in October 1940. The artist, Geoffrey Jenkinson, was born in Leeds and had a passion for art from an early age. At 15, he began working with his father designing stained glass windows. In the evenings he attended art courses at Pudsey Grammar School and became the protege of art teacher Fred C Jones. Under Fred’s guidance he flourished with a first exhibition at the Cartwright Hall Bradford in 1941. In May 1950 he sailed on the Queen Mary to America to follow his dreams. He travelled all over America recording everything in his sketch books. He worked as a furniture designer and, having applied for American citizenship, was drafted into the US army and served as a cartographer in Korea. In 1954 he returned to North Carolina as a professional artist, where he worked in oil and water pastel, as well as pencil and ink. Eventually, homesick for England, he moved back to Pudsey and died in 2005 aged 80. His picture of Settle is said to be very special. Copies are available through the Folly at a cost of £15 unmounted and £20 mounted.
* A reader and keen watcher of wildlife dropped in this week to tell me about an otter he had sighted while driving through Skipton in the early hours of the morning. Sadly, the otter – a rare sighting indeed in our area – was dead. It had been hit by a car as it had crossed Broughton Road, presumably having left the nearby River Aire. The former slaughterrman told me he had seen plenty of otters around the River Wharfe, but never close to the Aire and had been very sorry that the first one he had seen had been dead. He moved the otter, which he believed to be a male because of its size, of about three to four kilos and about three times the length of a ferret, to the side of the road before driving home.
* Here’s an offer not to be missed. Zarina’s Tearoom in Kettlewell is holding a free tea day tomorrow – and is inviting everyone to come along and enjoy a free pot of Teapigs’ Everyday Brew. The tearoom will be open between 10am and 4pm.
* Aireville School science teacher Rebecca Crawshaw has been praised for her understanding – by her new husband. Rebecca, 32, married the Rev Toby Webber, at Blackburn Cathedral on Saturday. But Toby was rather distracted in the run-up to their wedding day – he is chaplain to the Bishop of Blackburn and had a pivotal role in preparing for his new boss, the Right Rev Julian Henderson, who was inaugurated on Saturday, October 19. Toby said his fiancée had been very understanding of his absences and added: “This month is very much a time of new beginnings. We are very grateful to have found each other.” The couple met on a Christian holiday in Switzerland.
* The Flagcrackers of Craven – who have spent the summer celebrating 25 years of morris dancing – want to recruit some new members. And they are holding an open session in Kildwick and Farnhill Village Institute next Sunday, November 10, at 1pm, where beginners, improvers and experienced musicians and dancers can have a go. Many Morris sides have all-men or all-women dancers, but the Flagcrackers are unusual as they actively encourage families to join. This means they can all enjoy festivals together instead of worrying about what’s going on back at home. Anyone interested should visit flagcrackers.co.uk or call the Squire on 07772 165135.
* A touch of spider panic appears to have made its way to Craven, I have learned. Following reports in the last few months of people being bitten by false widow spiders, it seemed only natural that sightings went on the increase. Now, a sighting has been reported in Carleton and the spider taken away by Craven District Council officers for analysis – although early indications are it is only of the common variety. Even if it does turn out to be a false widow spider, which have actually been in the country since the late 19th century, its bite is not actually venomous, say experts, and a spider is only likely to attack if under threat. So, there you have it. There are always more spiders around at this time of the year, and if you really can’t live with them, simply scoop them up on a bit of paper and a glass and put them outside. And if you really want help in identifying a spider, there is a very useful guide on the Natural History Museum website.
* We are indebted to Skipton Cycling Club members who posed for last week’s front page picture following the announcement that Tour de France’s Grand Depart would go up the town’s High Street. To allow our photographer Stephen Garnett to get a perfect shot, they waited around in the rain and wind for 45 minutes without any complaint. So thank you.