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Just a few jottings - - Random ramblings, occasional crafty creations & nature notes included. Trying to "Design a life I love" - succeeding I think -----.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

An Outing to - -

The Clog Factory - -
Living on the very edge of the Pennines - the Lancashire side - we were nevertheless within touching distance of Yorkshire, in fact when I was a little girl (Saddleworth - on the outskirts of Oldham - - was in Yorkshire!). From Royton we were less than an hour away from Todmorden, Holmfirth, the Colne Valley & Hebden Bridge - the home of Walkleys Clog factory - They are now the only company in the UK making clogs - but I digress -
the time I am remembering was when this enormous yet beautiful - well to my eyes anyway, building - an old stone built mill, on the edge of the river Colne had the clog workshop and shop on the ground floor (where you can still go to buy clogs - if you go they will draw round your foot and make you a pair of clogs that will only fit YOU. The master clogmakers then, were men of character with broad Yorkshire/Lancashire accents busy in their workshops - where you could watch them at work - and their skill with a few bits of beech & leather has to be seen to be believed. I believe clogs are the most comfortable shoes you will ever wear - but I could never afford to buy any to test the theory out - we were on a tight budget with a growing family.)
However the the upper floors were given over to small and unique retail outlets, selling wonderfully quirky items, and hand made delights like soaps, bath oils & salts, bubble bath, handmade chocolates, sweets, glass ware, pottery, toys - and all manner of other beautiful things - clothes, hats, leather goods, bags, jewelry, scarves & knitwear - - a wonderful place - full of surprises - each little shop like opening the door of the Old Curiosity Shoppe - - you never knew what treasure you would find inside!
The Piece de Resistance - the two top floors -- a German Christmas Market, Santa's Grotto & the Cafe - a Christmas lover's dreams come true!! At this time - probably 20 years ago - this was unique in my part of the UK - there was no where else like it. So on the second weekend of December we would bundle up the children in warm clothes ,wrap up warm ourselves (the van heating system didn't work too brilliantly) collect mum - & dad sometimes too if he felt like it and set off to see the Man in Red. we were welcomed to this magical world of a shop by The Nutcrackers - two beautiful carved & painted life size Nutcrackers on each side of the entrance and inside all the amazing decorations were set out on stalls to browse around, little wooden smoking men - with incense cones, wooden carousels full of tiny Christmas figures, exquisite coloured glass baubles, not only the round ones but teardrops, cones, houses, churches, trees, drums, soldier boys, trains, angels, little children, skaters, dancers, snowmen & Santas - & I am sure I have forgotten some, other stalls contained wooden decorations - toys, stars, moons, eggs - some painted some not - and miniature Nutcrackers!& yet more stalls had cards, giftwrap, tinsel and so on- it was like being a child in a sweetshop - we just didn't know where to look first!

Our fist little wooden Christmas decorations came from Walkleys as the children each chose one decoration they loved each year, as did I & some of my most precious glass tree decorations came from here - now taken out each year - and memories come flooding back. We would finish our trip with the visit to Santa then tea or coffee and spicy biscuits in the cafe before the drive home in the darkening afternoon - watching for houses with Christmas Trees & Lights - getting excited about putting up our own tree & adding the new decorations when we did. Christmas Magic on a cold December Saturday - - wish I could do it again right now!
I don't think that the Clog Factory has the Christmas Market any longer - - so sad to think its gone - & am glad to add it to this years Journal - so at least my memory of it will live on.

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