A VERY well done to the four neighbouring households in Skipton who have been busy using up some of their hours during the coronavirus lockdown transforming a previously unkempt and unloved piece of land next to the railway line, pictured both before and after.

The strip of land, which runs alongside a cobbled ginnel at the back of houses in Montgomery Street has been transformed into a prolific flowering community garden by the four households. It has also become a very nice spot for socially distanced tea time get togethers - when the weather is warm and sunny.

One of the neighbours tells me: “At three In the afternoon, weather permitting, members of the households appear with a chair and a cup of Yorkshire Tea. Lockdown blues drift away with the sweet smell of honeysuckle and a backdrop of roses, lupins, pansies, salvia and peonies.”

The flowers are admired by the joggers and walkers, who use the ginnel to avoid the main roads, while children examine the bumblebees attracted to the blooms, she tells me - how lovely, what a smashing way to idle away some of those lockdown hours.

ON the subject of flowers, unlike previous years, florist, Susanne Loweth of Beamsley Blooms, pictured, has been unable to celebrate British Flowers Week, which took place last week.

Instead, she has accepted the challenge set by New Covent Garden Market, which is behind the annual celebration, to decorate her windows with all British Flowers.

“I wanted to celebrate the power of flowers to lift the spirits.” says Susanne. “During lock-down, bunches of British flowers have been bought by many people working from home to cheer themselves up and many have been sent to loved ones to let them know that have been loved and missed. Saying it with flowers has never been more relevant.”

She used mostly her own home-grown flowers with a few sourced from another local flower grower, Claire Clark of Pear Tree House Flowers in Ilkley to create her design.

HOT on the heels of the ‘mounted’ not ‘stuffed’ group of card playing red squirrels sold by Leyburn based Tennants Auctioneers at is annual taxidermy sale, which I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, comes a rare Hornby Train set, which sold for £2,600 - way over its guide price of between £400 and £600.

Interest was especially high for the model seeing as its the company’s centenary year, and this was a rare example of the first model train sold by the company.

Department specialist Kegan Harrison said: “The condition was fantastic. I’ve never seen an example like this so am delighted that it has gone to a keen UK collector”.

The auction, which took place online, because of coronavirus, performed very well, says Tennants, with perhaps even an increased level of interest in the collectable items such as signed football shirts and autographed memorabilia.

One of the top lots of the auction was an Apollo Moonwalker Signature Display comprising a large colour photograph, signatures of all 12 astronauts who have walked on the moon, and six cloth badges, framed and glazed. It was sold for £3,200, against an estimate of £1,500-2,000.

However, it was a model of an Alfetta 158 racing car which was the star of the auction - selling for £3,800.

RESIDENTS of Threshfield Court care home in Threshfield raised a glass and sampled some top ales in celebration of the recent national beer day, so I am told.

Those residents (pictured) with a liking for beer enjoyed sampling some ales during lunchtime after the hospitality team brought in a range of British ales.

Ana Panteleon, acting general manager at the home, which is run by Barchester Healthcare, said: “We love socialising and celebrating all kind of events. Beer day is one that the residents really enjoy, it’s nice for them to enjoy a tipple! We are continually adapting, and finding new ways to make sure every effort is focused on creating an enjoyable environment for all of our residents, whilst adhering to social distancing advice.”

IT’S annual Bring Your Dog to Work Day tomorrow (Friday) which because of the coronavirus pandemic, has been changed to make it an ‘at home’ day, which of course is just fine and dandy for all those dog owners, like me, who are still working from home, and have been for several weeks now.

Indeed, what has been something of an eye-opener, is how much of the day my two pooches, Bo and Jet, actually sleep - apart from rousing themselves to greet the postman, its wall to wall slumber.

Brig Your Dog to Work Day, which every year trends on social media with people posting pictures of their hounds, will be going online with a number of events throughout the day and has got dog loving celebrities - Eastenders Michelle Collins, Downton Abbey’s Peter Egan, Celebrity Vet Marc Abraham, and Anna Webb author and host of BBC’s The Barking Hour - to judge four fun online competitions during the day.

Categories are Britain’s Best-Behaved Office Dog; Lockdown Hero; Best Lookalike to pet parent or celebrity, and Child Handler Kids.

There will also be an opportunity to see rescued moon bears (Asiatic black bears) foraging at Animal Asia’s sanctuary in China - but you will have to get up at 8am.

This year, Bring Your Dog to Work Day will be raising money for All Dogs Matter and Animals Asia, and is asking anyone signing in for the events a donation of £10, per dog.

To take part join in at: #Bringyourdogtoworkday, visit: bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk; and twitter: @BringDog2WorkUK

CRAVEN community groups struggling to cope with the coronavirus crisis can apply for a £500 emergency grant from supermarket giant Tesco.

The supermarket has just announced an additional £2million for its Covid-19 Community Fund, forming part of its £52million package of support to help local communities tackling the coronavirus outbreak.

Keith Jackson, Bags of Help manager at Tesco, said: “Due to the sustained need for the emergency support we’re seeing from local community groups, we took the decision to extend the scheme’s deadline beyond the original 12-week mark.

“We’re already working with all kinds of groups up the length and breadth of the country, all of whom are in urgent need of a cash boost in order to go on providing local people with vital services, but we’ve widened this even further.

“Whether you are from a homeless charity, a foodbank, or a support network for vulnerable individuals, you could qualify for some immediate financial support.”

Tesco says its Bags of Help Covid-19 Community Fund aims to support as many groups as possible across the country with grants of £500. This includes, but is not limited to, women’s refuges, foodbanks, hospices, homeless charities, social isolation groups, schools, charities supporting the elderly and local authorities. The application and payment process is simple to provide support quickly to these important causes.

The process is managed through Tesco’s partner charity Groundwork’s website. To apply, go to: www.tescobagsofhelp.org.uk