The Fabulous Felted Yurt


yorkshire-yurt-2The Felted Yorkshire Yurt Festival (July 1st – 5th, in Holme Village Centre, near Holmfirth)


Of all the extraordinary and colourful events connected to the Yorkshire Tour de France, the Felted Yorkshire Yurt Festival is surely going to be the most unique and stunning, for its venue alone … and then there’s so much happening inside too.


Sue Clay, textile artist, has created seven huge felted panels depicting iconic Yorkshire landscapes, with bikes flashing through – a sort of ‘Yorkshire Bayeux Tapestry’ in felted wool, only with bikes not war! These will decorate the interior of the Yurt, along with felted bird and animal sculptures made by children across West Yorkshire. The Felted Yurt is Sue Clay’s dream and her vision.


The Festival programme has been devised by local writer, Mary Lister, on behalf of Holmfirth Writers’ Group, who are hosting the event. It runs daily 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from July 1st to July 5th up to the eve of Le Tour coming through. It showcases a huge range of Yorkshire creative, comedic and musical talent, with performances for children and adults. It includes a daily school programme, family barbeque and evening entertainment with a bar. The outside of the Yurt will be highly decorated with strings of gaily coloured poetry / picture postcards, all created by children in the Holme Valley, with Holmfirth Writers’ Group. Only fifty-five people can get in the Yurt at one time, so it will be a rare and special experience to sit in Sue’s amazing cavern of colour, among her extraordinary felts, with wonderful music, comedy, poetry and a glass of wine.


The Yurt is provided by the wonderful ‘Yorkshire Yurt Company’, and the project is part-funded by Kirklees, through the Holmfirth Writers’ Group.


Tickets are available in advance from Holmfirth Tourist Office (01484 222444) or on the door of the Yurt, (July 1st to 5th) at the centre of Holme Village.


Contact Mary Lister on 01484 685577, or Sue Clay on 01484 686642, if Look North would be interested in covering this event.



Back to the Future Holidays

TWO VALLEYS RADIO LOGO ROUNDELOn Sunday, I lead (Amy tells me I was the producer but that sounds way too highfaluting) the monthly Institute of Ideas programme on Two Valleys Radio. It was scary, frustrating but also quite good fun. As it was on Spring Bank Holiday Sunday, “holidays” was the obvious theme. But while so many are feeling the squeeze of austerity, are holidays a luxury or a necessity?

Do holidays have to be expensive? Can we look at holidays in the past for ideas for the future?

What is the essence of a good holiday?

Why does the Candlelighters’ charity offer holidays for families with children undergoing cath-3ncer treatment?

For answers to these questions, an interview with someone who remembers holidaying before WWII and to hear some outstanding writing visit the Two Valleys Radio website and listen again ~

What are you working on?

What am I working on? Hmmm…

Well, I’ve started two or three novels that have dribbled to a stop.

There’s a frizzle of excitement building around a series of children’s books but they need illustrations so I’m stuck wondering how to go forward…

There are the articles I write for my church magazine, bits and bobs for Two Valleys Radio, poetry for the upcoming cycling extravaganza coming to Yorkshire/Holmfirth Arts Festival and Yurt experience.

My veg plotMy guilty secret? Mostly, I’m working in my garden. Oh, and having a rather remarkable year ~ the christening of my first grandchild in Finland, watching my niece in the Olympics, lunch at Highgrove ~ and it’s only March. Possible inspiration for future epistles?

How does my writing differ from others in it’s genre?

Herein lies one of many obstacles to my success as an author. I’ve never been able to squeeze myself into tiny boxes. Genre, what genre would that be?

cover LLL

This banner was created using quotes from some of Once Removed's brilliant reviews.

So far I’ve written a memoir and a novel.







Why do you write what you do?

The simple answer ~ I can’t help it. My fizzy brain requires me to get things down on paper/screen before I blow up. It can be a journal, story, novel, memoir, letter, lesson plan, poem, article, blog post…

How does the writing process work for you?th-1

Good question. Sometimes it’s a writers’ group that kicks me out of my comfort zone, or a deadline, or a challenge, or inspiration might fire me into action. When I was writing my two books, I sat at my computer every workday morning and wrote for several hours.

What’s this all about?

514HF84FgWL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_My friend, Christina Longden, has just published her first novel, Mind Games and Ministers. She fancied joining the Monday Blog Tour and needed friends to take part. Writers of any description answer the questions above on a Monday and pass the baton on to two others. I received the ‘push’ from Laura Ripper, a proofreader and copy editor, to see her post visit I like the idea because it’s more about information sharing than blatant self-promotion. 

Fellow Crooked Cat authors, Ailsa Abraham and Carol Hunter, have agreed to follow me. I’ll post Carol’s links later today.

The break is over!

Writers’ block, too busy, need a holiday… all those excuses are behind me now. It’s back to work big style. Today, I must finish a short story involving some of the characters from Once Removed banner2.jpgfor an anthology Crooked Cat are putting together.

Tomorrow, I’m running a workshop for a group in Howarth on setting up a writers’ group.

cover LLLOn Sunday, I’ll be driving to Coulsdon for my niece’s baptism but good friends from the Holmfirth Writers’ Group will be reading a short clip from A Life Less Lost for me on Two Valleys Radio. Phew!!!!TWO VALLEYS RADIO LOGO ROUNDEL

A Christmas treat or two

Holmfirth IMG_3464m

Holmfirth IMG_3464m (Photo credit: Philip Talmage)

At our recent Holmfirth Writers’ Group meeting, Mary Walker lead us in a “fan-ficwriting workshop. Richard Raby wrote this wonderful story, as a result. I know you’ll be able to guess which classic fiction it was based on!

“Bump, bump, bump . . .

“What’s that big thing Poet?” said Playwright.

“It’s the Writers’ Block said Pooh and we’re going on an Expedition to get rid of it”

“What’s an Expition, Playwright?”

“It’s when you go off in search of Inspiration”, said Poet, “and we are going to go together to find it.”

“What does the Inspiritatioin look like, Poet?”

“Nobody knows, but when we find it we’ll know we have.”

“How will we know?”

“We’ll know because it will creep up behind us and suddenly strike us”, said Poet.

“Oh dear, Poet” said Playwright, trembling a little. “I don’t want to be striked by the Inspiritatioin”

“Come along”, said Poet, “you’ll be safe with me”.

Playwright felt a little better for this. “Where shall we start looking, Poet?”

“We’ll go and ask Christopher Author because he’s big and clever and knows everything”.

So, off they went through 100 Page Wood to look for Christopher Author and when they came to the bridge which crosses the Stream of Consciousness Poet said “We’re going to play a game which is called Poet Sticks. We’ll throw the Writers’ Block into the stream then run to the other side and the one whose Inspiration appears first wins the game”.

But the block just sat in the water and the Inspirations didn’t appear so they forgot about the Expedition and went back to Poet’s house where he remembered he had some jars of brandy.

And as they went Poet hummed a little hum to himself: “Isn’t it dandy how a Poet likes brandy – wiz, wiz, wiz, I wonder why that it is?

And Playwright was happy and said “Will we find the Inspiritation tomorrow?” And Poet said “Yes, or another day  . . . because some days it doesn’t want to come, and if it doesn’t want to, you can’t make it”.

“But it will come, won’t it Poet?”

“Oh, yes – it always comes – and if we wait together it will be better than waiting not together because the Inspiration knows how to hide from people who are looking for it the hardest. So we’ll go and hum a ‘We don’t mind if we find you or not’ sort of hum and then it will think we don’t care about it and it will come to us because even the Inspiration wants to be friends sometimes.”

“But we’ll always be friends, won’t we, Poet?”

“More than always” said Poet “because being friends is longer than forever and better than best”

“That’s good”, said Playwright.

“Yes”, said Poet, “isn’t it?”

Breaking is now up and running. It’s a brand new website to help readers find new books to match their reading tastes. And authors, why not add details for your books?

  • Book It! (

Book It!

Sine FM

Sine FM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely Sheila North, presenter of Sine FM, came to my house. Both Americans who’ve made our homes in England, we had a lot to talk about. We walked the dog, had an ice cream at Yummy’s, tea at The Sovereign and then she joined in with the Holmfirth Writers’ Group. She also interviewed Joyce, Martin and me for Book It! 

Book It! is a monthly programme for book lovers and writers around the world, and is available on on the last Saturday of each month at 10 am BST.  Check out the latest edition at to hear those interviews.

Sine FM, Doncaster’s local radio station, is the first not-for-private-profit station in the area.  It was launched in January 2007, and provides a platform for creative expression and a distinctive, accessible community radio service, celebrating the diversity of Doncaster.

The station has more than 90 local presenters playing great music every week, and reaches over 116,000 households and 7,100 businesses, whilst the website receives 1.65 million hits monthly.

Sine received its FM Broadcasting License in December 2007. The station ran several trial broadcasts before launching full-time service in September 2009 on 102.6 FM acrossDoncaster,alongside its internet radio station / online media service.

A typical edition of Book It! features an interview with a published author, book reviews by our panel of reviewers, and stories or poems read by featured writers. Previous guests include the American poet Thomas Lynch; best-selling novelist Joanne Harris; historian George Goodwin, author of ‘Fatal Colours’; new novelists such as Richard Pierce, author of ‘Dead Men’; Barnsley author Milly Johnson; Michael Stewart, author of ‘King Crow’, and many others. Book It! is produced for Sine FM by Sheila and David North, with frequent contributions by author Stephanie Cage, and members of Doncaster Writers.

For more information on Book It!, contact Sheila at

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