THERE was an interesting programme of films being shown at the Skipton Plaza in October, 1967 (pictured). Two were X-rated - including Kinky Darlings, a 'story of outrageous women' and the Italian French drama, The World Condemns Them. The programme also included a Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan comedy - as to whether that was also x-rated, was not made clear. Also showing was Peyton Place, staring Lana Turner, and telling the story of the residents of a fictional New England town and their lives of scandal, murder, incest and moral hypocrisy - quite a programme for the inhabitants of Skipton. Last week, the Plaza was showing the Stephen King horror It, Judy Dench in Victoria and Abdul, and live from the Royal Opera House, The Magic Flute. Altogether a more refined programme.

AN intriguing case involving the theft of a silk hat came before the Skipton Court a hundred years ago, and caused a 'good deal of amusement' reported the Craven Herald. A Mr Albert Inman, cabinet maker, antique dealer and sometime undertaker, of Kilnsey, sued a Mr Irlam of Grassington for the return of a silk hat, valued at £1 - about £80 in today's money. Mr Inman told the court that Irlam had entered his shop, put on a silk hat that he had found in a storeroom, and left with it still on his head, without paying, and laughing as he had gone. Mr Inman followed the hat thief to the nearby Anglers Arms where he found Irlam with the hat upturned on a bar table full of water. The hat was then emptied of the water and filled with stones. His Honour, Judge Macklin asked Mr Inman if he had done anything to get the hat back, to which he replied he had not, as it had been spoiled. it had been a ridiculous practical joke, said Mr Inman, who added Irlam had been lucky not to have been facing a more serious charge than theft. Asked whether he wore the hat at all, Mr Inman said he did in his role as an undertaker and wore it at funerals. Asked by the judge whether he had been able to buy a new one, seeing as they were 'going out of fashion', he responded he had, even though they were indeed rare in Craven. Mr Inman explained he had bought the hat in London a couple of years earlier and that it had cost him £1 1s, and he had brought proceedings against Irlam because he had refused to pay for the ruined hat. Mr Irlam won the case and was awarded 12s and costs.

IT was good to see Ribblehead Station included in a book just out on the history of the country's railways, and featuring 100 of the best stations. Written by Simon Jenkins, the book was reviewed in The Guardian, which selected Ribblehead as one of its top ten stations. Jenkins says if there is a wilder spot in England, he doesn't know it. Ribblehead, he points out sits 'high and lonely' on a Pennine plateau, guarding the 24 arch Ribblehead Viaduct and close to the twin summits of Ingleborough and Whernside.

Apart from the Station Inn, the landscape is devoid of settlement, he continues. Britain's 100 Best Railway Stations, published by Viking (£25), is available from the online Guardian bookshop.

A COLLEAGUE, out walking around Long Preston recently spotted this footpath sign (pictured) and couldn't resist taking a snap of it. The Edge, apart from being the lead guitarist, songwriter and backing vocalist with the rock band, U2, is also an area not far from Long Preston, and off Edge Lane.

THE oft awarded and favourite eating place, The Angel at Hetton, very nearly got blown to smithereens 50 years ago, when a car loaded with 250 rounds of 12 bore shotgun ammunition caught fire and became lodged in the hotel doorway. In gruff Yorkshire fashion, the then landlord of the hotel, Philip Roddis, told the Craven Herald at the time it was lucky the whole place didn't go up. It was 'not a pleasant situation for anyone' reported the paper - especially the licensee and the owner of the car. The owner of the car, Christopher Sharp, of Carnforth, was on his way out of the hotel when he saw the vehicle was on fire. After trying unsuccessfully to put the blaze out, with the help of Mr Roddis, they called Skipton Fire Brigade. But before the firefighters arrived, a solenoid in the car's engine burnt out, and the vehicle, which had been left in gear, rolled forward and got lodged in the doorway. Trainee hotelier, Geoff Thompson, bravely, or foolishly, managed to squeeze into the car, and slipped it out of gear, allowing the car to be pushed to safety. The fire engine arrived shortly later, the ammunition by that time, out of harms way, and the fire was put out. Sadly, the car, a one year old Triumph Herald saloon, was extensively damaged; but as Mr Roddis pointed out, it was lucky indeed the whole place didn't go up.

IT was a largely jovial gathering of Craven councillors who met for the first time after the district was named happiest and least anxious place in the country. Chairman, and first citizen of Craven, Stephen Place, told the full meeting it was praise indeed after a week which saw the district receive much national media attention.

AND, while on the subject of meetings of Craven District Council, it is interesting to note that at the start of every meeting nowadays, there is a general warning to all - including councillors, officers and any member of the public who happens to be there - about the use of recording equipment. The proceedings of council meetings, unless they are confidential, as in matters of finance, or staffing, are now recorded, on it has to be said, very sensitive equipment, and downloaded onto the council website. More than one committee chairman reminds all to watch what they say, which is a shame in reality, and also makes me wonder just how much of the real debate goes on at group meetings, which are not recorded.