Chorley. Leek & Potato Soup

The weather in my part of the UK is currently bouncing to and fro between wet, windy or just plain horrible and it’s been like this for the past few weeks. I finally ran out of patience a couple of days back and decided I had to get out of the house come what may. I had counted all the flowers on my wallpaper more than once and my camera was sat in it’s case feeling lonely and neglected.

It was Tuesday, that meant Flat Iron Market day in the nearby town of Chorley. I believe the name comes from the practice in years gone by of turning up at the market with an old blanket, the corners of which you weighted down with anything to hand, old flat irons etc and that was your stall and that name stuck. Things are more organised today. Due to building work the Flat Iron isn’t on it’s usual site, a large car park instead the stalls are threaded through the streets around the covered market. I must admit I like it, the arrangement means you get the best of both worlds, the regular shops, Chorley has a fine selection of independent traders, mixed in with the market stalls.

You would have to put a lot of effort into going hungry in Chorley, the choices of places to eat is really wide. To warm up on this visit I took myself to Bees Country Kitchen on the side of the covered market. This place is a true gem, an almost bewildering selection of food comes out of a single market stall. I went for the Leek & Potato soup, perfect for the cold weather. Seating is in a couple of pavilions alongside so you get to eat and watch the world go by. Perfect if you are looking for inspiration for that project/image/idea.

The Bees Country Kitchen






Appleby Horse Fair

In an earlier post I mentioned in passing the Appleby Horse Fair and I thought I would revisit it and add a few more images. 

The fair takes place annually at the beginning of June and centres on the former county town of Appleby, once of Westmorland now of Cumbria. The fair has been in existence since the sixteenth century when horses were the mainstay of agricultural work plus horses transported the armies that waged the wars across the fells, Appleby is not too far south of the border city of Carlisle with the Scots just across the Solway Firth. Things quietened down a little in these debatable lands with the Union of the Crowns under James 1st& VIth ( he was James the first of England but was already the sixth of that name of Scotland ) So illegal sales of horses to the Scots gave way to other money making ventures. The Appleby Fair was once part of a chain of fairs which took place around the country, which one by one have fallen by the wayside or have changed their character so much to be unrecognisable. Buying and selling was the mainstay of these fairs, cattle, horses and other goods. Horses and their equipment are still a large part of the Horse Fair scene, plus other items you never knew you needed.


CUMBRIA. Appleby. The Market & camp on the hill. Harnesses and bridles and all other kinds of leather work.


CUMBRIA. Appleby. The Market & camp on the hill. What every home wants, a big shoe to keep things in.

The camp and the market area are together on top of a hill that overlooks the town centre and there is a regular traffic of people and horses between the two, one of the daily rituals is taking the horses down to the River Eden which flows through Appleby so the horses can be washed. It’s purely coincidental that the mile or so route is perfect for the young men to show off their horseriding skills and you do have to keep an eye open for the traps as they flash past.


CUMBRIA. Appleby. The Market & camp on the hill. Buggy coming through.

Down by the river is the popular spot for the tourists and photographers050610 APPLEBY  Say cheese

as they watch the horses and riders plunge into the water. Again it’s pure coincidence that it’s a chance for the young men to show off again. Horses in the water3678977601_f5e34c114d_b

All around are the incessant chatter of accents and deals being done as the horses are tethered up or paraded or paraded around in front of potential buyersAppleby horsefair 110606 horse group050610 APPLEBY  White horsesP04-06-11 APPLEBY Horses and carts

Up until recently the horses shared the road to the camp with other traffic, which could be interesting03060512

Apart from the smell, horse manure on the roadway doesn’t help a cars braking distance. While there is a lively atmosphere the Police  are always in discrete attendance along with the animal welfare charity the RSPCA. So while there’s fun to be had at the fair there’s also a steadying hand. The event generally runs from a Wednesday to the following Wednesday, though after the middle weekend things rapidly calm down and the travellers start to make their various ways out of Appleby, it is a feature of both the build up and the break down of the fair, the long line of traffic on the main A66 route being held behind a group of horse drawn caravans with impatient HGV drivers drumming their fingers on their truck’s steering wheels as they wait to get past. 

The details for the next fair.