Posts Tagged ‘Cumbria’

The Band Played On — short story by Gladys Hobson

February 24, 2010

The Band Played On

They danced to the band with the curious tone…

The Band Played On


Ulverston, noted for its Thursday and Saturday market days, and various festivals throughout the year, is blessed with a number of musicians who willingly give of their time to entertain shoppers and visitors to the area. Throughout the summer, as weather permits, on Thursday mornings a band is playing in the cobbled market square. During festivals bands play also at weekends and are often joined by dancers. Sometimes the whole town is taken over by stalls, musicians, singers, entertainers, Morris men and clog dancers, and all the fun of the fair! There is even a Dickensian weekend when on top of all the above, many people are dressed in historical costume. Add to this carnival day, and Charter Fortnight with events and a lantern parade, and it is clear that the town is far from sleepy!
I love to hear the band play on Thursdays. This is usually a small band of mostly elderly gentlemen dedicated to sharing their gifts with all who wish to listen. They have been entertaining for years and clearly enjoy what they do.
Standing listening, I find my feet tapping to the music, and when the band plays tunes like the Flora Dance, oh how I wish we wrinklies had the freedom to dance like children!

The Band Played On.

In Ulverston’s sunny Market Square, the silver band of mainly red-faced elderly gentlemen gave a lively rendition of the Floral Dance, oblivious to the movement of shoppers at nearby stalls and tourists snapping photographs in front of them.
Children, bored with standing at stalls while their mothers looked for bargains, drew closer to the band intrigued by the hand movements that produced the jolly sound. One boy did a good impression of the trombonist, another lad puffed his cheeks and laboured at producing a sound from his invisible euphonium. Little girls laughed and tapped their feet. Before long, more children joined in, with watching adults smiling, tapping and clapping to the merry beat.
A weathered elderly gentleman, with long white beard wagging in tune with the music, began singing:
‘We danced to the band with the curious tone
Of the cornet, clarinet and big trombone…’
The Floral Dance, now in full swing, more girls were dancing and swinging each other round and around while others jigged about doing their own thing.
The music came to an end, but the crowd hooped and yelled for more.
The conductor bowed, turned to the band and raised his baton.
The white-headed, bearded gent took off his coat, threw it over the nearest stall and started singing again, his elbows keeping time with the music.
Shoppers left the stalls and gathered round; smiling, laughing and clapping while their children merrily danced or imitated the musicians and singer:
‘Dancing here, prancing there,
Jigging, jogging ev’rywhere…’
Market smells of fruit and vegetables, the scent of flowers, young women’s perfume, old ladies’ talc’, sweat, soap and aftershave, mingling with fresh air breezes; rainbow colours of summer clothing, moving sights and sounds — all swelling up to entrance and befuddle minds and bodies. Not one person immune to the hypnotic beat:
‘Bassoon, flute and euphonium…’
Maggie pulled away from the hand holding hers, and ran forward to join the dancing children in the cobbled square. Round and round, arms waving in time with the beat, laughing and singing the words she could easily remember:
‘Dancing here, dancing there…’
The crowd clapped and sang with her. Maggie’s movements became more intricate while retaining the essential simplicity of country dancing. Girls began imitating her and before long the market place became a throbbing beat of music, clapping and dancing feet. Heated musicians played on, mesmerised by what they had created.
‘Each one making the most of his chance
Altogether in the Floral Dance.’
Round and round and roun…
The crowd hushed, the music petered out, children stopped dancing.
The bearded, elderly man ran forward and fell to his knees by the side of the fallen fragile lady. ‘Are you hurt, Maggie?’
She opened her eyes. ‘Lovely, wasn’t it, daddy?’
‘Yes, my darling, you danced beautifully.’
‘I want…’
Maggie’s eyes closed. The elderly man put an arm under her shoulders and held the old lady to his chest, wiping away long strands of grey hair from her wrinkled face. Tears ran down his cheeks.
A large muscular man from the vegetable stall came forward. ‘I’ll carry her into the chemist’s for you, Lambert, mate.’
The crowd, no longer hushed, parted and made way for the carried woman.
‘I’ve called an ambulance,’ someone told the old man as they entered the chemist’s shop.
The old man nodded his gratitude but his eyes told those present that nothing would bring his wife back to life again. Even through his tears, he smiled. ‘She loved to dance and sing, you know. The dementia didn’t rob her of everything.’
Outside the band began to play, We’ll Gather Lilacs.
‘That’s our tune. We sang it at our wedding reception.’ He drew in a deep breath and said in a determined manner, ‘Could I have a drink of water please?’
Lambert sat on the chair placed beside his wife, now stretched out on a couch at the back of the shop, and he hummed to the music of the band. He took the glass of water being passed to him, shook tablets from a small bottle he’d taken from his jacket pocket, and threw them into the back of his mouth, swallowing them down with the liquid. Then he took his wife’s hand and began to sing in a croaking voice:
‘We’ll gather lilacs in the spring again…’
His quivering voice petered out as his body slumped to the floor.

And the band played on…

SNOW: Of Beauty and the Beast

December 24, 2009

Snow can be magically beautiful, it can also be utterly beastly and cause loss of life.
Here in a garden is is simply heavenly.
On Tuesday I did not stray from the house. I have had two lots of hospital treatments due to slipping on ice and I did not fancy such problems over Christmas. Yesterday we ventured out in the car. Our little road was icy but it was okay on the main roads. When we passed through Dalton, we saw very little of the white stuff, and arriving in Barrow not a single snowflake did we see. When I awoke this morning another fine layer of snow had fallen, on top of previous falls. So we took a photo just in case that might be the last snow we witness for a long time.

Ulverston Dickensian Festival — WOW!

November 30, 2009

As usual, Ulverstonians pulled out all the stops to get the ‘show on the road’!
With so many visitors coming along to join in the fun, the delightful costumes tended to get missed in the crush. But the procession brought most of them together and we could see the trouble people had gone to to make this a very special event. Good to see stall-holders dressed up and even Booth’s assistants made it a special occasion by dressing up in neat costumes and putting on welcoming smiles.
With so much to entertain, it is hardly any wonder that people turn up from miles away.
Food, food, food, and plenty of it at stalls and in cafes, made sure no one went hungry or thirsty. Mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, candy floss, old time sweetmeats, and burgers blended into a provocative aroma of all the fun of the fair! (Or should I say ‘fare’?) Dancers, carol singers, brass bands and pipers, small groups and comedians, horse carriages and drays, donkeys and all the fun of the fair, etc etc etc…
I wonder how many other people now have a coconut hanging out for the birds? Many people were not ‘shy’ at having a go at knocking them down. And when you think it is all over — off go the fireworks!

The Lake District National Park — Glorious!

June 27, 2009
Cogna Moss Lake — Paradise!

Cogna Moss Lake — Paradise!

We have spent a week in our caravan just 50 miles away in the Northwest Lake District. The walking has been easy to hard work (for a couple of oldies!). Ennerdale, Whinlatter, Buttermere, Crummock, St Bees and Maryport are some of the places we visited for good walking experiences.

St Bees is a town by the sea and has a splendid coastal walk amid sweet-smelling greenery and wild flowers. Maryport is the site of a Roman Fort with an interesting museum, a marina, and a pleasant walk along both cliff and prom’. I think it is possible to do a complete circular walk in Ennerdale but two hours of walking is about all we can manage.

View from Whinlatter

View from Whinlatter

Whinlatter is spectacular in its mountain beauty with a number of walks and cycling paths — twitters gather there to see the ospreys. It also has an interesting centre with shop and great cafe. A drive along Crummock and Buttermere to navigate Honester Pass is a must (if only to see the energetic intrepid cyclists!) At the top are magnificent views not to be missed.

Of all the places where we walked my favourite is the lesser known jewel of a lake called Cogna Moss, Apart from authorised anglers, (who have keys to the gates and so can use a car) the only way to get there is to walk. We went in the golden light of a setting sun — magical! To get there from the caravan site first we walked across a field with friendly horses and dear little pigs munching on the grass, then on to gates and styles to follow a quiet lane until the lake is reached. The lake lies in a hollow overshadowed by high wooded hills rich in wildlife. We only met two people, partly because of the lake’s isolation and also because of the late hour. For me it is a golden treasure chest full and overflowing with such beautiful ‘jewels’ that tears came to my eyes. Ducks on the water, foxes barking, wind whispering in the trees and birds singing were in wonderful harmony. A single angler stood thigh height in the water, rod in hand. The sun appeared to sprinkle gold dust over the whole scene. As we left, we vowed that one day we would go back and spend a whole day there.SDC11399

Ulverston, Cumbria — a walk in May

May 25, 2009

SDC11234I can’t say that I felt like walking yesterday, I felt old and weary! I was also trying out a Nitrolingual spray, which I have not used since I was told my arteries are pristine! But having certain problems I was asked to try it out for diagnostic purposes. Okay, so I started out with head bursting, muscles aching, bones creaking, spirit flagging! Even so, determined to get to the top of Hoad hill, via the Flan (hill) footpath, across the road to the bluebell woods, over the footpath ladder and the long stretch up to the Monument. (Long for me, a few minutes trot for accomplished runners!)SDC11241

The pleasant paths and magnificent views are worth the physical endeavour and it is always a joy to accomplish the self-given task. Pleasant too, to walk down the other side with its different views, and have a cuppa at Booths before setting off home a different way. What a great feeling to have made the effort!










Lake District National Park

April 13, 2009

sdc11040We are very privileged to live close to one of the loveliest places on earth, and it is pretty good here too! We do go away for holidays, usually to Derbyshire (Bronte country) to visit both the area and relatives. But I love the rugged coastal regions and we have to travel much further to get there.

With spring in full bloom, it takes a lot to drag me away from our garden. But we take a walk to either the local hill to get the fantastic vistas of sea and mountains, or down via a canal walk to the Morecambe Bay shore. Today we took a drive into the upper Lakes area and visited Wasdale, stopping for lunch at a pleasant place in the middle of woods. 

Sun and shadow over the rugged rock and screes dropping down to deep Waswater, Sheep and their lambs grazing peacefully, sunlight glinting on rippling streams. No hussle, no noise, no clutter, no shacks — just peaceful countryside littered with primroses and sorrel. 


Wasdale in spring 2009

Wasdale in spring 2009

Great Gable, in the far distance, caught in the sun as the mist is lifting. This is one of the most rugged areas of the Lake District. It contrasts with the more heavily wooded slopes of Whinlatter and similar parkland. 

See my anthology, Still Waters Run Deep, Stories of Hidden Depths,  centred mainly in the Furness peninsular and Keswick areas. for viewing samples.

For more photos of the Lake District, and others, visit:

English Lake District, home of artists and writers

February 14, 2009


Coniston in winter

Coniston in winter

The English Lake District has long been known for its writers and artists, including Wordsworth and Ruskin. Visitors come from all around the world to visit the houses where they lived, wrote or painted. The tradition goes on and many writers live and work in this area of outstanding Beauty.

Coniston Water in February - after the snow.

Coniston Water in February - after the snow.



This is the area close to where I live and work. The beauty of where I live is a constant inspiration to my writing. Likewise the area where I lived as a child and a young married woman. For that was an area of clothing manufacture and, for me,  the trials and tribulations of factory work and struggling to be an established designer. Later on a teacher. That area was the Midlands, where I once dreamed of visiting the Lake District for a holiday. That is, if ever I had the money. Now I live here and think myself ‘rich’ indeed — for beauty of landscape is worth more than gold. Peace and tranquility worth more than the burden of wealth. This is my home, or at least close to where I live. From our market town of Ulverston we can see for many miles — out to sea across the bay, as well over to the Pennines and the far reaches of Cumbria.

Visit AG Press for details of the USA editions of When Angels Lie, Blazing Embers, and (shortly), Desire (all by Gladys Hobson) Magpies Nest Publishing for Gladys Hobson books published in Cumbria (the ‘home’ of the Lake District National Park) . My E-book, Awakening Love, (Stonehedge Publishing) can be found at Powell’s books and all major E-book sellers. Mythica Publishing (up in Bonnie Scotland) will shortly be publishing my books too.

Doom and Gloom? Look for the rainbow!

February 4, 2009


Promise of light in the darkness

Promise of light in the darkness

When skies are dark with rain clouds, I look for rainbows.



Dark sky, bright rainbow

Dark sky, bright rainbow

Like many people of our generation who were taught to live within their means, we have never overreached ourselves when buying anything.. In our day, not for nothing did Building Societies only loan what a single person could afford to pay back. The rapid rise in house prices followed by repossessions has been the ultimate price of careless lending.


The present situation was bound to happen. It is sad for those who will lose their jobs and homes, and how infuriating that the bankers and financiers who brought the situation about get even more millions in unearned bonuses. Would we pay a bonus to a shoddy builder if a new roof fell in?

And yet, all is NOT doom and gloom unless WE allow it to be so. It is our own attitude to present circumstances that determine whether we look for, and grasp, unforeseen opportunities to work things out for the better. This we owe to ourselves and to all who will have to pay for the country’s growing debt.

It was redundancy years ago that brought us to our present location. Very many job applications all over the country came to nought until one was offered in what most people seemed to think was beyond civilisation! (But to me, a paradise!) Things were tough for various reasons I will not go into, But, we all thrived and the family did far better than we could possibly have envisaged. Yes, money was in short supply but not for the first time. I knew how to create tasty dishes on a low budget and I could sew. We never did go in for foreign holidays so nothing missing there.  We were blessed with a utility type caravan and that ensured us reaching beautiful places in Scotland each year with visits to Wales and the West Country occasionally. When things improved, we continued to live within our means — only too aware that times could not always be financially good. The country has had several lean times since then but people never seem to learn — buy now, pay later with interest!

The piper always has to be paid.

Marketing New Book…Still Waters Run Deep, stories of hidden depths

December 8, 2008
Still Waters Run Deep, stories of hidden depths

Still Waters Run Deep, stories of hidden depths

My new books arrived last week and straight away I set about getting them into the shops. Everyone so far is delighted in the glossy cover with its photograph of Bassenthwaite Lake. Some of the stories have settings of that area but most of them are in our own area of the Furness region of Cumbria.

Some of the stories have been posted on my various web sites and full details of the book, plus reviews are on the Magpies Nest Publishing website where books may be ordered, although Amazon and other on-line booksellers will have it for sale as well. Bookshops in my own area already stock it. I hope to get a mention in the local paper shortly and there is also a possibility of an interview on local radio.

So much for Still Waters. Concerning a different book —  Awakening Love E-book — a lovely thing happened this morning. After me think no one I know is likely to buy an e-book, I met someone I know who used to work in our local Building Society. She told me that she had bought the e-book and intended doing a reader review and star rating! She also said that the e-book was lovely. I think it is the first one she has bought. Golly, that made me feel better about e-books!

Ebook delight!

Ebook delight!

Still Waters Run Deep, tales of hidden depths

November 20, 2008


At last my new book is not only at the the printers, but today we approved the proofs!

Hopefully we will get the books ready for a December launch. At £5.99 it could be a nice little stocking filler, and just the thing to pick up during the long Christmas holiday and read one of the short stories. There is a story to suit every mood. 


The tales have Cumbrian settings, although some are imaginary even if based on actual places. Mystery and imagination: humour and horror, love and hate, joy and sorrow, poignancy and lust. Passions run deep wherever you live, and characters may be recognised as someone you know even though they are plucked from my imagination, which has been nurtured by a lifetime of observation of human characteristics — especially those little foibles seldom admitted to.

Each tale has an introduction as to what inspired the story to be written.

Visit Magpies Nest Publishing for all my books